Red Sox Sign 27 Players From MLB Draft; Time To Go Young?


After watching the debacle of the four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels and the disappointing opener against the Houston Astros, the Boston Red Sox are in need of a change. Trades, free agency, waivers, firings, something has to give. The Red Sox find themselves 10 games out of the race for the American League East title, and they are slipping fast.

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However, an influx of assets has come into Boston’s possession. Jen McCaffrey of has reported that the “Red Sox officially announced the signings of 27 of 39 players selected in June’s First-Year player draft.”

"Of the 27 signed players, 14 are pitchers (nine right-handers and five left-handers) 13 are position players: seven outfielders, two catchers, one first baseman, one second baseman, one third baseman, and one shortstop.– Jen McCaffrey,"

This mass import gives Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington some more chips to play with at the trade-deadline poker table. Maybe many, a few, or none of these players will be a part of any deals that he makes, but at least Cherington has a few more options.

Boston’s first round, second round, and fourth round picks are currently playing with the Lowell Spinners. However, not everyone has joined up with the Red Sox. “The only player not signed within the top 25 rounds was Georgia State shortstop James Nelson, selected in the 18th round.”

Check out McCaffrey’s article for a full list of the players the Red Sox selected and signed. Their background information is also provided.

This news coincides with the Boston Globe‘s Alex Speier’s article where he questions if a youth movement is needed. Nobody is saying to put the draft picks into the big club’s lineup and feed them to the wolves; however, it’s hard not to agree with him about the youth that was already with Boston after watching the veterans continue to struggle.

When big-name hitters like Hanley Ramirez (.261 BA) and Pablo Sandoval (.263 BA) are hitting just above rookie Blake Swihart (.237 BA), there’s definitely at least some validity in Speier’s article. However, Speier believes that the venture for change will not be like last season, where the Red Sox had assets to expel to other teams:

"This year, the Sox don’t have a Lester or Lackey or Miller to deal. Those players were capable of intriguing virtually every contender, creating considerable value. Unless the Sox decide to deal one of their young building blocks (Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Eduardo Rodriguez, Blake Swihart), they won’t find comparable interest in anyone they’d consider moving this year.– Alex Speier, Boston Globe"

Yet, these listed players are starters whom the Red Sox depended on to get them even this far. Bogaerts should have made the All-Star Game with the season he’s having, Betts is the human highlight reel on defense with clutch at-bats that have won close games, and Rodriguez was the only reason why Boston’s starting rotation wasn’t being laughed out of buildings until his ‘tell’ was reported.

The argument to trade Swihart could be made, as the Red Sox have plenty of catchers in their system and will likely start young Christian Vazquez next season, as he’s been out with a season-ending injury before the 2015 regular season. Even then, don’t the Red Sox need to play Swihart more to strengthen his value, either for themselves or another team?

Regardless of the endgame of the situation, a youth movement does seem to be in order and in full swing. That movement explains why prospect pitcher Brian Johnson was made the starter last night to begin the Astros series. Talk about pressure; the game was in Houston, not the Red Sox family atmosphere of Fenway Park for Johnson to adjust his comfort level.

Speier also stated, “Perhaps more moves are coming soon in the rotation (Henry Owens is amidst his best run in Triple A), right field (to look at Jackie Bradley Jr. and/or Rusney Castillo), and at first base (Travis Shaw, Daniel Nava, or Allen Craig), even if it comes at the expense of valued veterans like Shane Victorino or Mike Napoli or even newcomer Alejandro De Aza.”

Jul 7, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox left fielder Alejandro De Aza (31) congratulates center fielder Mookie Betts (50) at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

This is where the issue becomes more convoluted: what makes one of these veterans ‘valued’ and what makes them expendable? Production should determine it, instead of paychecks.

Right now, De Aza leads the team in batting average (.320) and is second in on-base percentage (.360) only to Brock Holt (.372). Benching him for a younger player could destroy any chance of success in 2015. Even if you have given up on this season you still need to keep bums in seats, which will not happen if there’s nobody on base to be cashed into home. De Aza’s success could rub off on the younger players who are still learning the proper habits of being in the big leagues.

Victorino, with all of his years of successful heroics, has been nearly a forgotten man by everyone not named manager John Farrell. Napoli isn’t even hitting close to his weight. Both men look tired at the plate and on the field, making it easier for people to argue that they need to warm up the pine in the dugout immediately.

Forget the 2015 post-season. Forget 2016, for the moment. Today, the Red Sox are better with the younger players than the veterans. Even if the rookie arms struggle, the experience that they will get will be more valuable than the moments that they watch the elderly struggles of bigger-named heroes of the past. Even if the rookie bats suffer severe strikeout totals, at least there is hope. Instead, there is currently only depression, angst, and deeper suffering from Red Sox Nation. If Cherington can make deals with the new signings and / or a package of veterans and youth, Boston may be better for it. What is for sure is that the Red Sox cannot continue being loyal to the veterans just because they are who they are. We thank them for their service, but it’s time to raise the youth to take over for multiple reasons.

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