Red Sox 2018 MLB draft signings, news and rumors
By Damian Dydyn
With the 2018 MLB Draft in the rearview mirror, we now get to enjoy the signing period. A few of the Red Sox picks have already inked deals. Who’s next?
The MLB draft has been a hit or miss proposition for the Red Sox. But that’s actually true of every team. There’s no such thing as a sure thing, and even first round picks bust on a fairly regular basis. That said, this particular Red Sox ownership group has had a fairly specific approach toward drafting. For bats, they’ve mostly targeted up the middle players with plenty of athleticism. This led to first-round selections of players like Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Blake Swihart. It’s also led to less exciting players like Deven Marrero and Rey Fuentes.
That’s why their selections in the 2018 MLB draft were so surprising. It was like an entire organizational shift was unfolding before our eyes. Instead of those athletic up the middle players, we saw big bats like Triston Casas, Nick Decker, Kole Cottam, and Nicholas Northcut. All but Cottam high schoolers who play corner positions. Casas is a third baseman likely to move to first with massive power and a pretty good hit tool. Decker is a corner outfielder with big pop and some swing and miss. Nicholas Northcut, a Vanderbilt commit and tough sign, has excellent raw power and uses it to all fields. Kole Cottam is a college catcher, but he’s a below average defensive one. His carrying tool, like the previous three, is his power.
Identifying the problem.
So it seems that the front office identified power bats as an area of weakness that needed addressing via the draft. Coming into the season, the only power hitter left on the farm was Michael Chavis. Unfortunately, he is currently serving a suspension for failing a PED test. As the season has progressed, first baseman Josh Ockimey has started hitting for power. He is currently lacing the cleats up for AA Portland. And forgotten 2016 4th rounder, Bobby Dalbec, has resumed tearing the cover off the ball.
Adding Casas, Northcut, Decker, and Cottam gives the Red Sox another legitimate chance to develop a big power bat internally. And doing so is imperative if the club wants to avoid a long rebuild when they start shedding veterans to retain their homegrown stars like Mookie Betts or Xander Bogaerts. In fact, having a few big prospects working their way through the upper minors may increase the chances that the young core sticks around. None of them are likely to want to play for a bad team as their prime years wind down. In a way, it’s almost like the Red Sox had no choice but to draft for big upside, despite the increased risk.