The Red Sox selected Michael Chavis in the first-round in the 2014 draft. The 2015 draft will be Red Sox Director of Amateur Scouting Mike Rikard's first draft leading the way. (Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Red Sox Director of Amateur Scouting Mike Rikard feeling 'anxious,' but 'excited' for first MLB draft

Ryan Hannable
June 05, 2015 - 9:59 am
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Monday night will be a big night for Red Sox Director of Amateur Scouting Mike Rikard. Rikard was promoted to the position this past offseason and Monday is his first big test with the 2015 MLB Draft. The Red Sox will have the No. 7 overall pick, which only adds to the excitement, but he also noted there is some anxiety with it being his first draft leading the way. "I'm very excited," Rikard said on a conference call Friday afternoon. "I think that number one, everything that we do in amateur scouting starts with the amateur scouts. I mean, they are truly the lifeblood of what we do and they have done an incredible job of putting us into a really comfortable position to consider what all the options may be. "Obviously, going through anything of this magnitude for the first time there's going to be some level of anxiety and you just try and keep that positive and it's certainly an exciting time. To be quite honest, anytime you think about just how important this is it doesn't take too long to realize the people that we have here in place and our staff and how good we feel that we are. It gives you a lot of comfort with with where we're at." Rikard is taking over for Amiel Sawdaye, who led the draft for five seasons and was promoted this past offseason to Vice President of Amateur and International Scouting. Rikard worked right along side Sawdaye for the five drafts as a national cross-checker. Led by Sawdaye the Red Sox have had successful drafts of late, highlighted in 2011 when the organization selected Blake Swihart and Henry Owens, along with Matt Barnes, Jackie Bradley, Jr. and Mookie Betts. Also taken under Sawdaye have been Brandon Workman (2010), Deven Marrero (2012), Brian Johnson (2012), Trey Ball (2013) and Michael Chavis (2014). Rickard says his transition has been an easy one because he worked so closely with Sawdaye and is familiar with the rest of the staff. "The transition has been as easy as I could have anticipated," Rikard said. "We a staff that has been together a long time, so there's a great amount of trust factor and quite honestly there's a lot of comfort level in all of the people that are in the room together. We work very well together and things have gone fine so far." He's no stranger to the game, as before the Red Sox he was a scout for four years in the Padres organization. He joined the Red Sox' scouting department in 2004 as an East Coast cross-checker after he was with the Padres. A former college shortstop at UNC Greensboro, Rikard was an assistant coach at both Wake Forest and Elon before moving to the majors and to the Padres organization. In 2012, Rikard was identified by Baseball America as one of 10 Future Scouting Directors. Leading the staff hasn't been much different for him in terms of traveling, and seeing potential draftees leading up to the draft. "As far as the travel goes, to be quite honest with you, it hasn't been a whole lot different than what I've been doing for the past really 10 years," Rikard said. "In scouting, whether you are cross-checking or national cross-checking or the scouting director, you're out, you're traveling, you're trying your best to see the best players. The travel hasn't been a whole lot different." With the amount of success the organization has had in the draft in recent years, general manager Ben Cherington is confident it will continue under Rikard's watch. "If you look at the history of the draft for the Red Sox going back a period of several years, I think this is an area that we've been strong in and I expect it to continue that way," Cherington said on Friday's conference call. "There's always adjustments and you have to make adjustments as time goes on, as you get new pieces of information and learn new things and I'm confident with Mike's leadership and the rest of the people we have in the room -- our cross-check group and the front office group that we will continue to do that in the draft this year and going forward."

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