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June 20, 2013

Young gun

At just 18, Callahan a rising star in Sox organization

LOWELL — At just 18 years old with a baby face, lanky build and shy disposition, Jamie Callahan looks like a high schooler left over at LeLacheur Park from the state title games played here over the weekend.

Without a uniform, the unassuming righty easily blends into the crowd of young interns who man the park throughout the season.

But as he worked through his warmups on the field yesterday, in preparation for his start tomorrow, Callahan showed the stuff that makes him one of the most exciting prospects in the Boston organization

Callahan earned his first real taste of being a Red Sox prospect last night as a member of the Lowell Spinners. They opened their home schedule with a 5-1 victory over the Connecticut Tigers.

“This is quite an experience,” said Callahan, the No. 27-ranked prospect in the organization. “It’s pretty weird being so young and going through all of this. It’s humbling. I feel very privileged to have this opportunity. This was the first time I really got to be in front of a crowd.”

Callahan kicks off his second summer of professional baseball, after being selected by the Red Sox in the second round of the MLB draft last season when he was just 17.

“If we didn’t think he was ready, he wouldn’t be here,” said Lowell Spinners manager Bruce Crabbe. “We are excited to see what he can do.”

Callahan first began to create buzz as a first baseman his junior season at Dillon (S.C.) High, hitting .450 with seven homers and 45 RBIs.

But as a senior, he firmly established himself as a pitcher, finishing 7-1 with a 0.89 ERA and 113 strikeouts in only 50.0 innings pitched.

His talent, production and size — 6-foot-2, 210 pounds— began to draw the attention of scouts. He was ranked the No. 49 prospect overall by Baseball America, and ESPN even called the righty with the low 90s fastball and sharp slider a potential late first-round pick.

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