Red Sox draft: reviewing the first ten rounds
The first two days and ten rounds of the MLB Amateur Draft are finished, meaning that (after they sign), the Red Sox will have added nine new names to their organization. Even though the Red Sox did select seventh overall, they missed out on a second-round pick due to the Pablo Sandoval signing and, in general, drafted high-floor collegiate players rather than going with high-upside high schoolers. Still, the Red Sox likely have come away with some future major leaguers and promising talent, so let’s recap the first ten rounds.
1st round (7th): Andrew Benintendi
- A draft-eligible sophomore from the University of Arkansas, Benintendi shot up draft boards this spring with a phenomenal performance. I profiled this pick two nights ago and this, more than any other pick, should produce a quality major league player. Of course, that’s generally true about a first-round pick, but Benintendi in particular brings a strong combination of tools and polish to the table. Benintendi has the potential to do everything at an average or better rate on the baseball field and should develop into a center fielder that can hit near the top of a major league lineup within a few years.
3rd round (81st): Austin Rei
- The Red Sox had a long wait before they had their second pick of the draft but they came away with a solid player nonetheless. Rei, a junior at the University of Washington, was considered one of the top college catchers in this draft class and would have likely gone much earlier if not for a torn ligament in his thumb. Rei was excellent both behind and at the plate once he returned from injury, though, and profiles as a great defensive catcher with some power.
4th round (111st): Tate Matheny
- The Red Sox went with bloodlines with their fourth-rounder, selecting the son of former Cardinals’ catcher and current manager Mike Matheny. This selection continued Boston’s pattern of selecting college players, with Matheny, a center fielder at Missouri State University. Though he doesn’t quite have the raw tools of Benintendi, Matheny has just as much polish on his game (if not more) and the potential to do just about everything well. Matheny could develop into a starting center fielder if he does not fill out too much or a fourth outfielder if he is unable to stick in center, but that has plenty of value in a fourth-round pick.
5th round (141st): Jagger Rusconi
- The Red Sox finally broke from their trend of selecting college players in the fifth-round, bringing Rusconi aboard. Rusconi is a bit of a strange pick here as he is ranked only 322nd in the draft class by Baseball America but might not sign too far under slot because a commitment to the University of Southern California. Still, Rusconi is a promising switch-hitter with the potential to hit for power and average. It’s unclear yet where he’ll play in the field, but outfield or second base appear the most likely destinations.
6th round (171st): Travis Lakins
- Boston dipped back to the collegiate pool here but did break from its mold of picking position players, selecting a right-handed pitcher from Ohio State University. Another draft-eligible sophomore, Lakins pitched from the bullpen as a freshman and showed plus stuff. As a starter this season, however, his fastball has fallen back to the low 90’s and he doesn’t have reliable secondary offerings. He profiles as a reliever in the long run, but the Red Sox will begin his professional career as a starter in the hopes that he can figure it out.
7th round (201st): Ben Taylor
- The Red Sox went with a well under-slot selection here, as Taylor does not even rank on Baseball America’s top 500. A college senior who is also a reliever, Taylor doesn’t bring a ton of upside to the table. However, he had a successful career at the University of Southern Alabama, posting huge strikeout numbers in his senior season. Like Lakins, he will enter the system as a starter, but his long term role will be in relief.
8th round (231st): Logan Allen
- Here comes arguably the most intriguing pick of the entire draft for the Red Sox. The Red Sox appear to have crafted much of their draft to be able to afford a high price tag on Allen, a high schooler committed to the University of South Carolina. An 18-year old southpaw with a low 90’s fastball and a four-pitch mix, Allen ranked 128th in the class according to Baseball America. Still, he has the upside of being a major league starter (though he’s very far away from that title) and represents the highest ceiling of any player that the Red Sox have drafted thus far.
9th round (261st): Tucker Tubbs
- After selecting Allen, the Red Sox clearly are in the process of moving some money around and they accomplished that goal in signing Tubbs. A college senior from the University of Memphis, Tubbs broke out with a big season as a senior. Still, as a first baseman, he’ll really have to hit in order to make a name for himself in the Red Sox organization and that might be too much to ask.
10th round (291st): Mitchell Gunsolus
- Gunsolus is another college senior, but he has quite a bit more upside than Taylor or Tubbs. A third baseman at Gonzaga University, Gunsolus has an intriguing offensive pedigree, with some power and a knowledge of the strike zone. He’ll likely move off third base but, if he can hit, then he’s got value as a tenth round pick.