The Red Sox signed highly-regarded 17-year-old pitcher Daniel McGrath Tuesday, with the left-hander making the deal official at his Melbourne home in front of significant gathering of Australian media.
McGrath will travel to Fort Myers for just more than a week during spring training, but then return to Australia where he won't graduate from high school until December. The 6-foot-3 southpaw will also pitch in the under-18 Nationals for a third time, having already shown the best velocity (approximately 91 mph) of any Australian pitcher to throw in the tournament.
According to one major league source, there were 15 big league organizations interested in McGrath, who narrowed down his decision to three teams at the end. A longtime Red Sox fan, McGrath turned down richer offers from other teams in order to sign with the Sox, the source added. The Red Sox were represented at Tuesday's signing by the organization's scouting director for the Pacific region, Jon Deeble, who first saw the big lefty pitch four years ago.
McGrath was thought to be leaning toward playing college baseball in the United States until recently. He was thought to have drawn the most interest from major league clubs of any Australian teenager in at least the past 10 years.
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