5 dream targets for Red Sox in Rule 5 draft

Boston could address key holes on its roster by adding high-level prospects this week

Oct 7, 2022; Peoria, Arizona, USA; Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Carlos De La Cruz (35) plays
Oct 7, 2022; Peoria, Arizona, USA; Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Carlos De La Cruz (35) plays / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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Matt Sauer, RHP, Yankees

Red Sox fans are still celebrating their theft of Garrett Whitlock from the Yankees in the 2019 Rule 5 draft, but they could commit another coup this week. Sauer was a 2017 second-round pick who provides immediate pro-ready relief as a rotation or bullpen option.

Sauer, much like Whitlock, is a talented right-hander with impressive velocity and an effective slider. Drafted out of high school, the California native has enjoyed a steady rise through the minors, posting results at every stop along the way. Through 17 games (16 starts) across three levels last year, Sauer posted a 3.41 ERA, .189 OBA, 11.31 K/9, and 4.14 BB/9.

The Red Sox would love to see him cut down on walks and home runs, but they can’t afford to ignore the talent and pro-ready profile here. Sauer could immediately contribute out of the bullpen, using his high-velocity fastball and effective breaking ball to provide value in the late or middle innings.

Aaron Schunk, INF, Rockies

Schunk is a former second-round pick who, like Mann, is 26 years old and has reached Triple-A. His relatively high age in a rebuilding organization is likely the reason why Colorado left him unprotected ahead of the Rule 5 draft.

At Triple-A last season, Schunk slashed .290/.350/.461 with 14 homers, 77 RBI, and 12 stolen bases. These are solid offensive numbers, but there remain some concerns with his 8.7 percent walk rate, 24.0 percent strikeout rate, and 93 wRC+.

Schunk, a two-way prospect in college, has spent most of his time at third base thanks to his strong arm. In Boston, he’d obviously be blocked at the position by Rafael Devers but should be able to handle a switch to second base, which has been his secondary position ever since being drafted.