The Red Sox selected Mikey Romero in the 1st round of the MLB draft
For the second year in a row, the Boston Red Sox used their first-round draft pick on a high school shortstop. With the No. 24 overall pick, the Red Sox selected Mikey Romero from Orange Lutheran High School in Southern California.
Romero joins a farm system that added Marcelo Mayer with the No. 4 overall pick in last year’s draft. The pair of California kids have played together in the past and have already formed a strong bond. According to MLB.com’s Ian Browne, Romero considers Mayer his best friend.
"“I mean, me and Marcelo, I would say, are best friends,” said Romero. “I text him on a regular basis. We played travel ball together for two years. The relationship is really good and I’m really close to Marcelo.”"
Mayer expressed his excitement for the opportunity to work with Romero in a tweet shortly after the Red Sox announced the pick.
Romero’s impressive contact skills and ability to hit the ball to all fields gives him the potential to develop into a plus hitter. He has a good eye for the zone and rarely strikes out. His 175-pound frame doesn’t have much power but that will change as he gets older. He might not turn into much of a home run threat but he’ll have the power to drive the ball into the gaps. Romero is a smooth fielder who should have the arm and range to stick at shortstop.
It’s easy to see the comparison between Romero and Mayer. Both are left-handed hitting shortstops selected out of high schools in California and they have similar skill sets. Romero’s ceiling isn’t as high but being considered “Mayer-lite” is quite a compliment considering Mayer immediately vaulted to the top of the Red Sox prospect rankings after he was drafted last summer.
The Red Sox are loading up on shortstop prospects. After taking Mayer last year and Romero to kick off their draft this year, Boston added shortstop Cutter Coffey out of Liberty High School in California with the No. 41 overall pick.
Coffey might play the same position as Romero but he brings different skills to the table. The right-handed slugger has impressive raw power.
Their draft strategy shows that the Red Sox have wisely valued the best player available over positional need. You can never have too many great shortstop prospects. The athleticism required to play the position generally means they can seamlessly transition to other positions. The Red Sox can find room for more than one of these talents in their long-term future.
Stockpiling talent at the same position also creates a surplus that can be used in trades to fill needs a the major league level. The Red Sox farm system might be thin on high-upside pitching but drafting a pitcher in the first round to fill the void is a short-sighted strategy. If they liked a shortstop at that spot more than any pitcher available, you take the top talent on your board.
Mayer has been excellent in low-A Salem this year, hitting .297/.395/.517 with eight home runs and 34 RBI in 53 games.
Romero probably won’t make it to Salem until next spring, by which point Mayer should be moved up to Advanced-A in Greenville. Their minor league journeys might overlap at some point, although Mayer might fly through the system too fast for Romero to catch up. We can’t rule out the possibility that one of them gets traded, although Mayer should be close to being off limits in trade talks.
One day these talented first-round picks could get to play together though. It will be years from now, but the concept of two best friends manning the infield in Boston together generates excitement about the future.