The last time the Boston Red Sox had a pick in the Top 10 was 1993. First pick in that draft was shortstop Alex Rodriguez (you’ve heard of him) by the Seattle Mariners, the easy No.1, even coming out of high school (he turned down playing shortstop and quarterback for the University of Miami). Following Rodriguez came five straight pitchers: two of whom suffered career-shortening injuries, all of whom had an ERA well over 4.00. The Red Sox, picking 7th, took an outfielder out of New Hanover High School in North Carolina, who had been named the Baseball America High School Player of the Year and the North Carolina State Player of the Year, leading his team to a State 4A title. He became the original Boston “dirt dog”, a fantastic teammate, and a key piece of the ’04 champs. That man was Trot Nixon.
Ten years later, the Sox will once again pick 7th. And (knocking wood) it may be the last time for a while that the Sox get a pick this high. The drafted player won’t need to be a player immediately pushed as a potential team savior. He can be brought up slowly, amongst an already strong farm system. I’m not saying the draft pick will be the second coming of Trot Nixon (scratch that, that’s exactly what I’m saying), but it is exciting as a Sox fan to be picking so early for once! So below are three players on my wish list. The consensus seems to be that Jonathan Gray and Mark Appel will go 1-2 respectively, and, the way I see it, there’s no way Kris Bryant or Kohl Stewart make it past the Rockies, Indian, or Twins. Therefore:
Choice No. 3 – Ryne Stanek, University of Arkansas, RHP
Photo Credit: AP
First of all his name is Ryne Stanek. Absolutely fantastic name. Imagine him on the 2018 Red Sox with Rubby De La Rosa, Garin Cecchini, and Xander Bogaerts. Jerry Remy’s going to lose his mind.
More importantly, the kid’s a beast. 6-4, 190 righty, with a fastball in the mid 90s, and fantastic breaking stuff: a mean curve and slider. In his final season at Arkansas he went 9-2 with a 1.40 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 90 innings. So how does he end up this far? He’s got some command issues and pretty violent delivery that’s almost sure to wear down his elbow.
But guess what? That’s fine! In a farm with some steady pitching prospects and Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester possibly reliable for the next 5 years, there’s no need to rush Stanek. Let him develop in the minors, shift his delivery a bit, focus on his control, and figure out a half-decent changeup. At the very least he’ll be a pro-level reliever, where his delivery and control issues won’t be nearly as problematic. But he’s got a great ceiling, a potential ace for a promising young Sox team.
Choice No. 2 – Clint Frazier, Loganville High School (Georgia), OF
I’m not crazy about the Sox taking an 18 year old raw high school outfielder with such a high draft pick. But if they were ever going to take one, it might as well be Clint Frazier, the kid who Keith Law says has the fastest bat speed he’s ever seen on a prospect. Frazier swings hard and often. He’s got a great arm and above-average speed, that projects well as an outfielder, possibly in center, but most likely in right (and there’s the Trot link). He’s got great pull power, and it’ll be nice to see him put dents in the Monster for years to come. He’s a little on the small side (a generous 6-0, 190), but has a great motor.
Best part about Clint Frazier? He’s got red hair. Now, for a city that bestowed such love and affection on Celtics’ perpetual 12th man, Brian Scalabrine, how do you think they’ll treat a five-tool outfielder who goes all out on every play and is blessed with beautiful flowing auburn locks?
The downsides? There aren’t too many. He has high high upside, but of course has the potential to be a bust. The Red Sox system has quite a few outfield prospects (JBJ, Bryce Brentz, Keury De La Cruz, Brandon Jacobs, etc.) Frazier has superstar potential, but a fan’s worst fear is that he either flames out or that he gets lost in the outfield shuffle and loses his motor while slugging through the minors. That’s a stretch, however, and Frazier has maybe the best upside in the entire draft, and is absolutely on the Sox’s shortlist.
That being said…
Choice No. 1 – Colin Moran, University of North Carolina, 3B
I love Colin Moran. I don’t know why. Which is to say, I know exactly why. He’s 6-3 220, throwing from the right, batting from the left. He was a proven winner at a top school, named ACC Player of the Year in 2013.
Photo Credit: AP
And he can hit. Oh boy, he can hit. He has a wide, open stance, with a beautiful, easy swing. As a sophomore he hit .365 with 3 HR and 24:21 K/BB. But as a junior, he hit .369 with 13 knocks, 84 RBI (leading the country) and an unseemly 19:52 K/BB. He has a fantastic eye at the plate, uses all parts of the field, just as likely to pull towards Pesky Pole than go opposite against the Monster. His power may not be as bad as some scouts say, his frame suggesting that it will only improve (and 13 home runs in a season for a 20-year-old is nothing to sneeze at). He will hit consistently even at a major league level.
The issue is what to do with him in the field. He has an above average glove and a solid arm, but doesn’t have the best footwork or range. Plus the Red Sox have Will Middlebrooks (who it seems ridiculous to discuss replacements for) and Garin Cecchini (and possibly Xander Bogaerts if he grows out of short) already as young possible-star third basemen. A possible solution: throw Moran across the diamond, where his above average glove will be a huge asset. He may not be the stereotypical power-hitting first baseman, but who cares at this point. It’s always nice to have options, and the Sox will be able to find a spot for a young hitter with plus-.300 potential. He may not nearly have the same upside as Frazier, and certainly not as much as Kris Bryant, but he arguably has the highest floor in the draft. He’s a strong, hyper-competitive, low-risk, high-character pick, one that may not excite most fans, but a player they will almost certainly SEE play and, in my opinion, thrive at the major league level.
What do you think of these picks? Who would you want to see taken?
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