Red Sox 2020 Draft: MLB.com predicts lefty pitcher in first-round mock
By Sean Penney
A mock draft on MLB.com predicts that the Boston Red Sox will aim to upgrade their pitching prospects in the first round of the 2020 draft.
Details about this year’s MLB amateur draft are still a bit hazy. We know the date will probably be pushed to July and there will almost certainly be fewer rounds than in previous years. There are plenty of unanswered questions but the one we care about most is which prospect the Boston Red Sox will select in the first round.
MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo provided a mock draft predicting all 29 selections in the first round. The Houston Astros lost their first- and second-round picks as punishment for their sign-stealing scandal, which is why there are fewer picks in the opening round than there are MLB teams.
The silver lining of missing the playoffs last year is that the Red Sox have their highest draft selection since they picked 12th in the 2016 draft.
With the No. 17 pick this year, MLB.com predicts the Red Sox will select left-handed pitcher Garrett Crochet from Tennessee
"“If questions about the injury that sidelined him before the shutdown are answered, he could either go much earlier than this or be a huge steal because his stuff is legit,” writes Mayo."
A shoulder injury limited Crochet to one appearance this spring before the sports world was shut down indefinitely. It doesn’t seem to be a serious issue but the lefty comes with some risk since we don’t know if we’ll see him back on the mound before the draft.
The Red Sox could understandably be gun-shy about using a first-round pick on a left-handed pitcher. The last time they did so was Jay Groome in 2016. He’s made only 20 starts in four years since he was drafted and missed all of 2018 after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Crochet could be worth the gamble though. The 6-foot-6 lefty was named a 2020 Baseball America preseason first team All-American. He went 5-3 with a 4.02 ERA while pitching for Tennessee in the SEC last year and he struck out 81 batters in 65 innings.
MLB.com has Crochet ranked No. 18 on their list of the top 150 draft prospects, right in the range where the Red Sox will be selecting.
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According to their scouting report, Crochet was working with a 91-95 mph fastball last spring but by the fall he was sitting between 96-100 mph. The high spin rate gives his fastball good life and makes it more difficult for hitters to pick up. His mid-80s slider also has an above-average spin rate and he throws a deceptive 90 mph changeup.
The Red Sox haven’t drafted well in recent years and their history of drafting pitchers is abysmal. Jon Lester is the last legitimate ace drafted by the Red Sox and that was in 2002. That’s nearly two decades ago!
This is a different regime running the Red Sox front office though. Chaim Bloom has taken the reigns and he comes to town with a great reputation for developing pitching from his tenure with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Boston has one of the weakest farm systems in baseball. They have a few appealing assets but their three highest-rated prospects are all infielders. Bryan Mata is the team’s top pitching prospect but he might be destined for the bullpen. Noah Song has to serve two years in the Navy before his baseball career can get back on track. Groome’s stock has dropped significantly since his surgery. This farm system needs some arms.
Crochet is the type of high-upside pitcher the Red Sox should target. He has ace potential and could be a great value if any lingering health concerns result in the lefty falling to No. 17 when the Red Sox are on the clock.