July 24, 2015 at 12:00 PM
After losing the 47th and 72nd overall picks for signing free agents Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval, the Red Sox entered the 2015 First-Year Player Draft with the ninth-smallest bonus pool despite picking seventh overall. Of their $6,223,800 pool, $3,590,400, or 58 percent, was tied to that first-rounder. Because of this, there was some added pressure to not miss on that pick, and when the time came, they selected University of Arkansas center fielder Andrew Benintendi (pictured, left). Benintendi was named the National Player of the Year by Louisville Slugger, and he also won the 2015 Golden Spikes Award and Dick Howser Trophy.
With Benintendi receiving the full slot amount, the Red Sox did not have much room to get creative with the rest of the draft, and they only signed two players to significantly over-slot deals. In all, the Red Sox signed 27 of their 39 picks, and went $230,700, or about four percent, over their bonus pool. The team will have to pay a tax on that overage, but will not lose any future draft picks. Below is a breakdown of the draft, with some background on the bigger names that Boston signed.
Be sure to check out our Draft History page for a list of everyone drafted by the Red Sox.
Logan Allen – $725,000 ($549,900 over slot). A 6-foot-3 left-hander out of IMG Academy, the Red Sox signed Allen away from the University of South Carolina, and placed him in the Gulf Coast League, where he made his debut on July 22. Allen has stated that his favorite player is Jon Lester, and Allen also revealed that the Red Sox refer to him as “Lester” when talking to him. While those may be lofty expectations for the 18-year-old, he arguably has the highest ceiling of any pitcher the Red Sox selected in this draft.
Marc Brakeman – $225,000 ($125,000 over "slot"). Signed on the day of the deadline, many assumed Brakeman was heading back to Stanford University for his senior season before the news broke that he would be signing. The right-hander was outstanding in the Cape Cod League last summer, sitting 93-95 with a plus changeup and an average slider according to Baseball America, who ranked him as the seventh-best prospect in the league last year. Injuries limited him in a big way this past year at Stanford, as he only made nine starts and his stuff was down across the board when he did pitch. His 6-foot-1, 180-pound frame and history of injuries hint at a future in the bullpen, but as a bit of a flier in the 16th round, the Red Sox can take it slow and see if he can show the same stuff he did last summer on the Cape.
At or about slot signings
Andrew Benintendi - $3,590,400. As stated earlier, Benintendi is by far the most important player in this draft class. After hitting only .276/.368/.333 as a freshman at Arkansas, Benintendi came out of nowhere to become the consensus best player in college baseball as a sophomore, batting .376/.488/.717 and leading his team to a spot in the College World Series. He put up the rare 20-20 season in college, slugging 20 home runs while stealing 24 bases. The left-handed hitting center fielder is lauded for his excellent approach at the plate, surprising raw power, above-average run times, and strong defense up the middle. He has been excellent since joining the Spinners, launching four home runs in 14 games with an OPS of .982. He figures to progress on a similar track to Sam Travis, who was drafted in 2014, spent a little over a month in Lowell before being promoted to Greenville, and then opened the next season in Salem before a mid-season promotion to Portland.
Austin Rei - $742,400. Rei was a good value pick in the third round, with many scouts considering him to be the best defensive catcher in the daft. The University of Washington product boasts a plus arm as well as some potential at the plate. He missed time during his junior season with a torn left thumb ligament, but came back to hit .330/.445/.681 in 25 games that were split between catching and serving as the designated hitter. He slugged seven home runs in those 25 games despite hitting only two in his previous 75 games. He is currently splitting time at catcher in Lowell with Jhon Nunez, and figures to start next season in Greenville or Salem.
Tate Matheny - $512,700. A solid all-around player, Matheny (pictured, right) lacks a plus tool, but he makes up for it with great instincts and an excellent baseball IQ, which was certainly passed on from his father Mike Matheny, the manager of the St. Louis Cardinals. Matheny has split time between all three outfield positions in his 14 games with the Spinners, and he projects as a fourth outfielder in the long run. He was a consistent performer at Missouri State University, with an OPS of .855 in his freshman year, .949 in his sophomore year, and .866 in his junior year.
Travis Lakins – $320,000 ($32,500 over slot). A draft-eligible sophomore out of Ohio State University, Lakins figured to go much earlier in the draft at this time last year, when he was a freshman coming out of the bullpen throwing 96 with a good changeup and slider. As a starter during his sophomore year, his stuff backed up a bit, with his fastball working at 88-92 and his breaking ball becoming more inconsistent. The up-and-down season dropped him to the sixth-round, and the Red Sox hope he can regain the stuff he had back in 2014.
Yomar Valentin - $130,000 ($30,000 over slot). The son of long-time big leaguer Jose Valentin, Yomar has a first name that will appeal to all Red Sox fans, though they should not expect this shortstop to hit 35 home runs in a season. Valentin, who is listed at 5-foot-8 and 145 pounds, has good speed and a good swing from both sides of the plate, though his diminutive frame limits his power potential, and ultimately his upside. Drafted out of the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy in Puerto Rico, the 20th-rounder was one of the youngest players eligible for the draft this year, and he will not turn 18 until December.
Kyri Washington - $100,000. A surprising slot signing considering Baseball America had him ranked as the 149th best prospect in the draft, the 23rd-round pick out of Longwood University has a high ceiling, but also a low floor. Washington has plus raw power that he generates from his powerful 5-foot-11, 220 pound frame, but he also has severe contact issues that will limit the utilization of that power. He struck out in over 32 percent of his at-bats as a junior, though his 15 home runs were more than the rest of his team combined.
Ben Taylor - $10,000 ($205,500 under slot)
Tucker Tubbs - $5,000 ($158,500 under slot)
Mitchell Gunsolus - $10,000 ($142,700 under slot)
The following players are all drafted after the 10th round, and their signings have no impact on the bonus pool since they all signed for $100,000 or less:
Nick Hamilton, Kevin Kelleher, Matt Kent, Bobby Poyner, Jerry Downs, Chad De La Guerra, Logan Boyd, Danny Zandona, Max Watt, Brad Stone, Andrew Noviello, Nick Duron, Tyler Spoon, Trevor Kelley, and Adam Lau.
Photo Credit: Andrew Benintendi and Tate Matheny by Kelly O'Connor