June 3, 2012; Charlottesville, VA, USA; Oklahoma Sooner pitcher Jonathan Gray (22) pitches against the Army Black Knights in the first inning in game three of the Charlottesville regional at Davenport Field. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Laferriere-USA TODAY Sports

Upcoming MLB Draft: What Positions Do The Sox Need To Fill?

About the only silver lining when you have a season in which your team becomes completely unhinged and finishes dead last is the draft the next year. This year, for the first time in 20 years, the Red Sox will have a first round pick. Boston will be drafting seventh overall.

Admittedly, the individual players and the draft tactics are one of my weakest areas. Fortunately, I am surrounded by BSI writers who follow this beat hot and heavy and are very astute observers of the college and minor league ranks. See Harry Burnham’s article to get up to speed. Also check out The Bleacher Report’s top 10 fastest rising 2013 draft prospects.

While I may not know the players I can say what the Red Sox should be looking for. Allow me to set a modest table and let the team to bring on the smorgasbord.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia‘s shortcomings are well-documented and he’s fast wearing out his welcome. David Ross is a solid backup catcher and a great club house guy and nothing more. Ryan Lavarnway can’t hit big league pitching period and he’s a defensive liability. Sure, Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart are in the wings but may be a way off before their readiness is determined.

First Base
With Mike Napoli perhaps a one and done or at the very least a short-term solution, Boston will need to address first base sooner rather than later. Pedro Ciriaco won’t be the answer. Others say Middlebrooks will move over to first base when Xander Bogarts is ready for prime time, which I think is good move. And speaking of third base…

Third Base
Middlebrooks’ brief injury last week clearly revealed that Boston’s quality and depth at a position that requires both solid defense and a steady bat is lacking. If Napoli doesn’t hang around, Middlebrooks moves to first and Bogaerts moves to third Boston will be thin at two positions.

Corner Outfielders
Jonny Gomes? Nah. Daniel Nava? Love the guy but I don’t think he can be every day productive. I believe Ellsbury will walk at the conclusion of this season regardless of his numbers. Sure, they’ve got Victorino for two more years but will need at least one outfielder, especially in left once Jackie Bradley comes up for good and eventually takes over in center field.

What do you think? How can Boston improve the club in this year’s June 6-8 2013 draft?

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  • Harry Burnham

    I’m pulling for Indiana State Lefty Sean Manaea. He’s a little more raw than some of the other guys on the board, and a hip injury has caused his stock to drop a bit, but he got himself back on track last weekend. The Sox have some decent pitching as it is, but by the time the number 7 pick rolls around Manaea might be the best college pitcher left. If he is gone, I’m taking Nevada ace righty, Braden Shipley whose solid spring has shot him up draft boards.

    If Kohl Stewart were older, I’d pick him, but I dont feel comfortable with high schoolers, it’s too much money for too much risk.

    I cant advocate for Kris Bryant, unless they move him to first. His tremendous power profiles beautifully in Fenway, but there is talk he may even go number one overall.

  • Willy W

    The Sox most certainly lack Quality Depth at a number of Positions, C-, 1st Base, 3rd Base, certain OF positions, top end SP BUT the draft isnt going to help them. And what I mean by that is Yes it will help to put the Ponies in the Stable But NO it wont help them( the big club) with their obvious needs Now. Those “Needs” can only be filled by Ben signing a Free Agent or swinging a trade. So what is he waiting for? You never want a GM to overreact but we can all see what the Yankees have been able to accomplish despite the fact theyve lost their starting 1st basemen, 3rd Basemen, SS, & CF. So once again I say, What is Ben waiting for?

    • stephenepeterson

      Point well taken.

  • John Fahrer

    Either a starting pitcher or first baseman

  • Aidan Flynn

    I say take the best player available. So much can change in terms of positional needs by the time these kids are ready, so honestly I find it kind of silly to draft this way. I think one of Meadows/Frazier should be available by 7 and it appears they would be the top talents if they made it that far. One of them would be my top choice, as none of the pitchers other than Gray/Appel really excite me too much and like the potential their bats provide.

    • Harry Burnham

      Both of those guys have commitments at Clemson and Georgia, respectively. I think it’s a big risk selecting them, no matter how high the ceiling is. I’d rather take Colin Moran if i were going to Position player route. He’s as toolsy as those guys, and he plays a premium position.

      • Aidan Flynn

        High school bats don’t carry nearly the same risk as high school arms, although it still larger than college kids. College commitments aren’t really an issue when you have $5 million reasons telling you otherwise. I like Moran and think he is a very good player, but he is pretty unlikely to stick at third, or otherwise he’d probably be my guy.

        • Harry Burnham

          Hes compared to Joey Votto in bleacher reports most recent mock, so a move to first could be a good thing. and that is exactly my problem with highschool kids. look at billy beane all those years ago… signed away from Stanford, took the money, flamed out. these kids also cost more, meaning less money to buy talent later on. I am a big advocate of the Astros ‘trade down’ strategy, leaving themselves more capital for more good talent instead of one elite prospect, and a couple of fringey players

          • Aidan Flynn

            I loved what the Astros did last year, and if the Sox could do that sort of strategy, I would absolutely be in favor. There is definitely risk (and with good reason) with high school kids, but it’s not like college bats can’t flame out either. My point just is, whoever the best player available is, he should be the pick. Also, I am not a huge fan of player comps, especially one that is as lazy as seeing a kid with good plate discipline and automatically calling him Joey Votto. I realize you aren’t saying that comp, but it is just a pet peeve of mine. Votto is one of the top ten players in the game, in my opinion. Calling Moran the next Votto is borderline ridiculous. That would be the ultimate, pie in the sky, best case scenario for Moran, and as we all know with baseball, is something that practically never happens.

          • Harry Burnham

            I agree with you in that player comps can be absurd, but i think in a situation like this, the comparison is Colin Moran possesses some of the same, comparable, skills as joey votto did at 20. But man, can you imagine drafting Moran and getting the second coming of votto? Votto is certainly up there for discussion as one of the top 10

  • Conor Duffy

    Because it takes so long for baseball prospects to get to the majors, drafting for need may not be the best plan. I’m pulling for one of the top power prospects (Bryant or Frazier) to last until the sox pick. I’m also partial to college pitcher Braden Shipley who can throw up into the high 90′s.

    • Harry Burnham

      I dont think that there is any way that Bryant lasts until seven. do you really think Frazier is worth the gamble? I like the Shipley pick though. maybe even more than Manaea, Manaea just has the left factor working for him.

      • Aidan Flynn

        I’m not as high on Shipley as Conor and would still lean Manaea. Shipley is still really raw for a college arm because he is a converted position prospect and still needs a lot of refinement on his secondary stuff. Not to say he doesn’t have a great arm, which clearly he does, just that he is more of a prep arm than college kid given his lack of experience. Even though I think Manaea is the third best arm in the draft, I’m not sure I’d be willing to take him at seven when there are more talented position players available. Frazier’s bat, in my opinion, is the real deal mostly because of his insane bat speed, regarded by many (including Keith Law) as the best by a high schooler in years. Of the bats most likely to still be there, give me one of Frazier, Meadows, and Moran.

        • Harry Burnham

          I dont think its fair to call Shipley a converted position player, he has been pitching since his junior year in high school, were he a highschool guy (a la allen webster) sure call him a convert… but i think hes established himself as a pitcher.

          • Aidan Flynn

            He really wasn’t a major arm at the high school level. Yes, it’s not his first time pitching, but my point is, he has not received the same development and time that most kids in college have. Two years pitching at the college level is obviously more than getting his feet wet, but for a guy that focused much of his amateur and freshman year focusing on hitting and shortstop, I don’t think he is quite as polished as most of his collegiate peers.

          • Harry Burnham

            That’s true. But that also means he has a ‘fresher’ arm than some guys. But youre right, I’m not convinced he’s as elite/polished as say Appel, Gray or maybe even Manaea, but Manaea’s hip is some cause for concern…

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