Red Sox complete unorthodox draft by signing lefty Shane Drohan

BOSTON, MA - June 6: A hat and glove sit in the Boston Red Sox dugout during the third inning of the game against the Detroit Tigers at Fenway Park on June 6, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - June 6: A hat and glove sit in the Boston Red Sox dugout during the third inning of the game against the Detroit Tigers at Fenway Park on June 6, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

The Red Sox have agreed to terms with 5th-round pick Shane Drohan.

The 2020 MLB draft was expected to be unusual since it was chopped from 40 rounds to five but the Boston Red Sox utilized a more unorthodox method than most. The curious strategy unfolded as planned and appears clearer now that all selections have been signed.

The last of Boston’s draft picks to come to terms was left-handed pitcher Shane Drohan, the fifth-round selection from Florida State. The 21-year old posted a 4.98 ERA and 11.6 K/9 in 22 appearances (11 starts) during his three years at FSU.

Red Sox director of amateur scouting Paul Toboni expressed his excitement when Drohan fell to their spot in the final round of the draft, praising the lefty for the easy delivery on a fastball that reaches 95 mph. Drohan also flashes a deceptive curveball to complement his mid-90s fastball.’s Jim Callis reports that Drohan signed for $600,000, nearly double the $364,400 slot value projected for the No. 148 pick in the draft.

Drohan already spurned the Philadelphia Phillies when they selected him in the 23rd round of the 2017 draft in order to honor his commitment to FSU. It was unlikely he’d pass up another opportunity to be drafted in order to return to school for his senior year, leaving him with little leverage. Was it really necessary for the Red Sox to overpay by this much?

Paying Drohan above slot might seem unusual but it fits with the approach taken by the Red Sox in this draft. Boston shocked the world by using the No. 17 overall pick on Nick Yorke, an offensive-minded infielder who essentially nobody had ranked as a top-100 prospect in this draft class. They did so knowing that Yorke would sign for under slot, which he did when he came to terms on a deal with a $2.7 million bonus, well short of the projected $3,609,700.

The savings allowed the Red Sox to pay up for the powerful bat of Blaze Jordan in the third round. The high school third baseman has been a social media sensation from a young age due to his ability to smash mammoth home runs but his youth and commitment to Mississippi State made Jordan too risky for teams that couldn’t afford to overpay his slot value. He fell to the Red Sox at No. 89 overall and they enticed him to sign with a $1.75 million bonus.

The money it took to sign Jordan ate up more of Boston’s available bonus pool than they saved by signing Yorke for under slot. However, they more than made up for it by getting fourth-round pick Jeremy Wu-Yelland to sign for $200,000, a figure that was less than half of the $487,900 recommended slot value at pick No. 118.

The Red Sox, who lost their second-round pick as a penalty stemming from the sign-stealing investigation, had only $5,129,900 in bonus pool money to spend in this draft. That’s the fifth-lowest total among MLB teams.

The four selections combined to earn $5.25 million, slightly more than what the Red Sox were allowed to spend. By overspending by under five percent, Boston will be penalized a 75 percent tax on the overage. It’s a very minor penalty in the grand scheme of things but it makes the decision to overpay Drohan even more curious. The Red Sox could have afforded to spend over slot on their fifth-round pick without exceeding their allotment by $121,200 but they gave him more than double the slot value anyway.

The Red Sox ended up paying well under slot on their first-round pick in order to overspend on their next selection, then paid their fifth-round pick triple the amount that they gave to their fourth-rounder. It’s not how teams typically draw up a draft plan and the strategy would be unfathomable in any of the other major professional sports.

Next. 10 Red Sox 1st-round draft pick disasters. dark

Ultimately, Boston signed all four draft picks. They took a risk on two high-upside high school bats and a pair of lefties that will improve the organization’s thin pitching depth. It was certainly an unusual approach but it could pay off big in the long run.