Boston Red Sox lose FanGraphs top-10 prospect and second pitcher in Rule 5 draft

Nine different players were poached from Boston's farm system on Wednesday.
Red Sox pitching prospect Shane Drohan throws a pitch during his Worcester Red Sox debut on Thursday
Red Sox pitching prospect Shane Drohan throws a pitch during his Worcester Red Sox debut on Thursday / Photo/Worcester Red Sox/Ashley Green /

The Boston Red Sox’ farm system was a breeding ground for 2023 Rule 5 selections.

During the major league portion of Wednesday’s Rule 5 draft, the Red Sox lost pitching prospects Shane Drohan and Ryan Fernandez.

Red Sox lose Shane Drohan in Rule 5 draft

This is a major loss for Boston. FanGraphs ranked Drohan eighth among Red Sox prospects, citing increased velocity, a drastically improved changeup, and pure athleticism as some of his top traits.

On one hand, it’s easy to see why Boston left Drohan unprotected this winter. He posted a shaky 5.41 FIP, 5.27 BB/9, and .314 BABIP between Double- and Triple-A last year. On a positive note, though, he totaled 9.44 K/9, pitched relatively deep into starts, and can shuttle between the bullpen and rotation.

He’ll now compete for an Opening Day roster spot with the White Sox, who must keep him on their 26-man roster (or injured list, with some restrictions) for the entire 2024 season or else he’ll be offered back to Boston.

Red Sox lose Ryan Fernandez in Rule 5 draft

Fernandez might not be as much of a household name as Drohan, but his loss is arguably just as noteworthy. The right-hander was selected two picks later, at No. 6 overall by the St. Louis Cardinals.

A hard-throwing prospect out of Hillsborough Community College in Florida, Rodriguez’s repertoire includes a mid-90s fastball and lethal slider. He’s briefly flirted with adding a changeup to his two-pitch mix, but right now, he can only trust the pair of offerings.

Through 54.1 innings of relief work last season, Fernandez posted a 3.91 FIP, 11.10 K/9, and 2.98 BB/9. There’s a chance that St. Louis could try to stretch him out to a multi-inning role, but it seems like he performs better in shorter outings where he can preserve his high velocity and the effectiveness of his breaking ball.

Red Sox lose seven players in minor league phase of Rule 5 draft

The Red Sox’ biggest loses came in the major league portion, but they also lost these seven players in the Triple-A phase.

  • Round 1: RHP Jose Ramirez, acquired by White Sox
  • Round 1: C/INF Johnfrank Salazar, acquired by Cardinals
  • Round 1: OF Alexis Hernandez, acquired by Blue Jays
  • Round 1: RHP Railin Perez, acquired by Astros
  • Round 2: RHP Ryan Miller, acquired by Angels
  • Round 3: INF Ryan Fitzgerald, acquired by Royals
  • Round 4: RHP Brock Bell, acquired by Reds

It may seem like Boston’s farm system was gutted on Wednesday, but they made some additions, too. You can find BSI’s analysis of the two players Boston acquired here.