Fred Lynn (1973, 2nd round)
The New York Yankees actually drafted Fred Lynn out of high school in the 1970 draft but he spurned wearing pinstripes in favor of attending the University of Southern California. Three years later, the Red Sox drafted him in the second round. Boston dodged a bullet when Lynn decided to go to college, ensuring he’d be available for them to take rather than seeing him join their greatest rival.
It’s difficult to fathom a better first full season than the one Lynn had with the Red Sox. The Rookie of the Year award wasn’t enough for the young center fielder, as Lynn added the AL MVP and the first of his four career Gold Glove awards.
As outstanding as his debut season was, Lynn’s best year was 1979 when he won a batting title with a .333 average, blasted 39 homers and drove in 122 RBI. That was somehow good enough for only fourth on the MVP ballot that year.
Lynn would rate higher on this list except that he lasted only six full seasons in Boston before bolting back to his home state of California where he spent the next four seasons with the Angels. He was an All-Star in each of those full seasons wearing a Red Sox uniform yet the lack of longevity in Boston places Lynn only 20th among position players in franchise history with 30.7 fWAR.