Mookie Betts. (Elsa/Getty Images)
BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- The 2011 MLB Draft was Theo Epstein's last as general manager of the Red Sox before he departed to take charge of the Cubs' baseball operations but, goodness, Epstein left Boston one heck of a parting gift that June.
Boston drafted Matt Barnes and Blake Swihart in the first round, Henry Owens and Jackie Bradley Junior in the supplemental first round, and Travis Shaw in the ninth round.
Oh, and one more guy in the fifth round you've probably heard of: Mookie Betts.
That's right, the 2016 MVP runner-up and last year's sixth-place vote-getter was the 172nd overall pick that spring, and Epstein said this week he never expected Betts to have this kind of success.
"Certainly, from where he was when we drafted him, I didn't anticipate him being second in the MVP and one of the better overall players in the game," Epstein said. "So, credit to him for what he's been able to do to get the absolute most out of his physical ability and establish himself as a star player."
Epstein still roots for his old pick, too.
"You do keep an eye on those guys and root for them," he said. "Something about getting to know a kid's first year in the organization, or right when he's drafted--you always pull for them."
The Red Sox open their season Thursday in Tampa.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Adam Kaufman reports