SoxProspects News

May 29, 2019 at 7:01 AM

2019 Red Sox Draft Preview


It’s that time of year again! The MLB Draft gets underway next week on the evening of Monday, June 3. Day One will include the first, supplemental, second, and competitive balance rounds. Day Two will be Tuesday, June 4, covering rounds three through 10, and Day Three will be Wednesday, June 6, covering rounds 11 through 40.

This year, the Red Sox hope to follow up on what, a year out, looks to have been a fairly successful 2018 draft class that filled in the ranks of the Red Sox prospect rankings with some intriguing talent. That said, the club needs to continue that replenishment this draft, as well as in the upcoming international signing period, to raise the system up out of the lower-ranked farm systems (talent wise) in all of baseball. 

The 2019 draft class looks to be somewhat top heavy, with some outstanding prospects at the very top of the draft, but is generally considered to be on the thinner side in terms of depth. 

Boston will have two picks on Day One, #43 overall (2nd round) and #69 overall (2nd round), followed by the #107 overall pick (3rd round) on Day Two and the 30th pick in rounds 4 through 40. The team’s first round pick originally fell in at #33 overall based on 2018 standings - and because a few teams got extra picks for failing to sign their 2018 first round pick -- but Boston’s draft slot was bumped down ten spots for exceeding the luxury tax threshold in 2018. 

At SoxProspects, we’ve been covering the draft in depth since 2005. During that time, the team’s best selections have included Jacoby Ellsbury (2005, 1st round), Justin Masterson (2006, 2nd), Josh Reddick (2006, 17th), Anthony Rizzo (2007, 6th), Christian Vazquez (2008, 9th), Jackie Bradley (2011, supplemental 1st), Matt Barnes (2011, 1st), Mookie Betts (2011, 5th), Travis Shaw (2011, 9th), Michael Chavis (2014, 1st), Michael Kopech (2014, supplemental 1st) and Andrew Benintendi (2015, 1st). They have also successfully grabbed some relievers, replacement-level players, and trade chips over that period. 


On the downside, some of the misses include Jonathan Egan (2005, 2nd), Jason Place (2006, 1st), Ryan Dent (2007, supplemental 1st), Kolbrin Vitek (2010, 1st), and, to date, Trey Ball (2013, 1st, 7th overall).

Some of the most successful players selected in the early-40s portion of the draft since 2000 are Joey Votto (#44 overall, 2002), Huston Street (#40, 2004), Clay Buchholz (#42, 2005), Joba Chamberlain (#41, 2006), Sean Doolittle (#41, 2007), Wade Miley (#43, 2008), Bradley (#40, 2011), and Trevor Story (#45, 2011). 

Boston’s bonus pool cap is $4,788,100 this year, roughly $1 million less than last year's cap, and overall the lowest pool in all of baseball. 

You can follow the Red Sox draft with us at SoxProspects.com as the picks come in, as we’ll have live coverage of Boston’s selections on SoxProspects News, the 2019 Draft page, and the @SoxProspects Twitter account. For now, here's a preview of potential picks to whet your palette.

Possible Draft Selections

While we typically cast a wide net by listing a handful of potential targets at each slot, I still like to think that our draft preview has been somewhat prophetic over the past ten seasons. Except last year of course, in which we totally whiffed. Didn’t nail a single pick. While we can maybe use the excuse that the club significantly altered its draft strategy in 2018, let’s just say we took the collar, rub some dirt on the wound, and take another shot. 

In 2017, we listed Tanner Houck as the second-most likely Red Sox' first-round pick, and the club ultimately selected Houck at #24 overall. Senior Staff Writer Will Woodward authored our draft preview in 2016, listing Bobby Dalbec (ultimately picked by Boston in the 4th round), Mike Shawaryn (5th round), Stephen Nogosek (6th round), and Nick Quintana (11th round) as possible selections. 

In 2015, we linked Benintendi as a strong possibility at the #7 overall pick and listed fourth-rounder Tate Matheny and 34th-rounder Nick Lovullo as draft targets. In 2014, we projected Chavis as a leading option at #26 overall, where he ended up getting selected. In 2013, we listed Ball as one of Boston’s top targets at #7 overall, and also tabbed Nick Zammarelli (28th round) as a potential late-round pick. In 2012, we nailed Brian Johnson as a possible pick at #31, and mentioned Pat Light (1st) and Jamie Callahan (2nd) among the club’s other potential targets at the top of the draft. They ended up being three of Boston’s top four picks.

In 2011, Barnes and Blake Swihart were both among the first few players we listed, and they ended up as Boston’s two first-round picks. In 2010, the first three players we listed were Vitek, Bryce Brentz, and Anthony Ranaudo—ultimately Boston's first three picks of that draft. We also tabbed Sean Coyle (3rd round) as a potential third-rounder and discussed Kendrick Perkins (6th round) as a possible early-ish pick in our draft preview podcast.

In 2009, we projected Reymond Fuentes (1st round), David Renfroe (3rd round), and Seth Schwindenhammer (5th round) as potential high picks, and noted Mike Yastrzemski (36th round) as a local product who could get drafted by the Sox in the later rounds. In 2008, we listed several names in our preview and nailed nine in Casey Kelly (1st), Peter Hissey (4th), Ryan Westmoreland (5th), Ryan Lavarnway (6th), Tim Federowicz (7th), Alex Meyer (20th), Anthony DeSclafani (22nd), Seth Garrison (23rd), and Matt Marquis (29th), all of whom were selected by Boston.

But enough tooting our own horn. Here’s a list of players that I think could be possible targets for the Red Sox this year. Scouting reports are compiled from my review over time of reports available on Perfect Game, Baseball America, MLB.com, and 2080 Baseball:

Second Round (#43 overall)

Kendall Williams, RHP, IMG Academy (FL). Williams has an ideal pitcher’s frame at 6-foot-6 and 205 pounds with room to grow. At 18, he already has five pitches with above-average potential, including a low-90s fastball that tops out at 94 mph, a mid-70s curveball, a low-80s slider, a low-80s changeup, and a high-80s two-seamer. He’s committed to Vanderbilt, which could result in signability concerns – but also could mean he’s available at #43. 

Isaiah Campbell, RHP, Arkansas. Campbell has been one of the best pitchers in the SEC in 2019 as a redshirt junior. He has a solid frame at 6-foot-4, 225, but will need to watch his weight as his career progresses. The right-hander mixes an above-average low-to-mid-90s fastball with an above-average mid-80s slider, and a developing splitter with solid potential. His fastball has hit the high-90s in short bursts. Campbell has the ceiling of a mid-rotation starter if he can keep his command consistent and continue to hone his secondary pitches. 

Rece Hinds, 3B, IMG Academy (FL). Williams’ teammate at IMG Academy, Hinds is the top power bat in the draft, already showcasing plus plus power from the right side at the age of 18. However, his hot tool is questionable, he has struggled recognizing average off-speed stuff, and he lacks plate discipline. Defensively, he’s played at shortstop in high school but will likely move to third base or cornr outfield as a pro. His plus arm strength would play up at third base or right field, but he hasn’t looked comfortable in the outfield as a prep player. Hinds is committed to Louisiana State. He could be off the board by the end of the first round. 

Tommy Henry, LHP, Michigan. Henry would instantly be Michigan alum Ian Cundall’s favorite prospect out of the gate. At 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, he has a projectable frame and room to add more velocity to his 90-92 mph fastball, which has peaked at 94 mph. His secondary pitches, a low-80s slider and a low-80s changeup, both have above-average potential. Henry has plus control of all three pitches. He likely will be available at #43, and it’s not inconceivable that he slips to Boston’s next pick at #69.

Brooks Lee, SS, San Luis Obispo (CA). Lee has a plus hit tool from both sides of the plate, making him one of the best prep prospects on the West Coast. He’s a line drive hitter that should hit for a high average with doubles power, and he has some projection to add a little bit of home run pop. Lee is an above-average defensive player with a high baseball IQ and outstanding fundamentals – he should end up at shortstop or second base as a pro. He’s committed to Cal Poly, where his father is the head coach. 

Other players who the Red Sox could look at this pick include Providence HS (FL) 3B Tyler Callihan, Eastern Florida State JC RHP Carter Stewart, and Penn Charter HS (PA) OF Sammy Siani

Second Round (#69 overall)

Trejyn Fletcher, OF, Deering (ME). Extremely athletic prep prospect out of Maine who recently reclassified to become 2019 draft eligible. Committed to Vanderbilt. Hasn’t faced enough quality competition to adequately measure his hit tool. Beyond that, his power, speed, defensive, and arm tools all flash plus potential. 

Ethan Hearn, C, Mobile Christian (AL). Large-framed prep catcher with a plus arm and above-average raw power. Hit tool is below average and he needs to work on his defensive actions behind the plate. Hard worker. Committed to Mississippi State. 

Josh Smith, SS, Louisiana State. Another Josh Smith in the Red Sox system? Sure, why not, especially when this Josh Smith is a potential five-tool shortstop. Each of his tools have potential to be average or better, although none stand out as plus. High floor. Excelled on the Cape in 2017. Could shift to second base as a pro. 

Davis Wendzel, 3B, Baylor. Boston selected the slick-bearded Wendzel in the 37th round last year, knowing full well he intended to return to Baylor for his junior season. Above-average hit tool, below-average present power. Solid-average arm and defense at third base. Below-average runner. 

Matthew Lugo, SS, Carlos Beltran Academy (FL). Top Puerto Rican prospect in the draft class. Committed to Miami. Plus arm, plus speed. Needs work on defense but shows the athleticism to develop into an outstanding shortstop. Impressive but very raw offensive tool set. There’s a lot of variability in his projected draft slot – he could go as early as the first round if a team is enamored with his high ceiling, or could slip a few rounds due to his rawness and signability concerns. 

Third Round (#107 overall)

Hayden Dunhurst, C, Pearl River Central HS (MS). Prep catcher with an impressive left-handed bat, solid power, and solid arm. Defense needs work to stick behind the plate, but he has the tools to work his way up to becoming an average defender. Committed to Mississippi. 

Erik Miller, LHP, Stanford. Big left-hander with a 94-97 mph fastball and a plus slider. Dicey command. Likely profiles as a bullpen arm. 

Zach Watson, OF, Louisiana State. Selected by Boston in the 40th round in 2018, but did not sign. Outstanding defensive center fielder. Above-average to plus speed. Average arm. Questionable bat. 

Dasan Brown, OF, Abbey Park HS (Ont.). Plus plus speed and range in center field. Average arm. Raw offensively. Committed to Texas A&M. Will likely take a lot of time to develop. 

Alec Marsh, RHP, Arizona St. Five average pitches. Can pump his fastball up to mid-90s on occasion. Could be off the board by #107, could even be a candidate for Boston at #69. 

Later Rounds

Senior signs. Boston will likely target some college seniors in rounds five through ten, and then at other slots peppered throughout the draft. Some potential senior signs this year include LSU OF Antoine Duplantis, Louisville RHP Bryan Hoeing, Mississippi St. OF Jake Mangum, Duke OF Kennie Taylor, and UCLA OF Jake Pries.

Local products. The Red Sox haven’t shown a particular penchant for selecting local players in the draft over the last few years, although historically there have often been a couple New Englanders picked each year. Nonetheless, it’s worth calling attention to a few New England products who could garner interest this year: North Andover (MA) RHP Sebastian Keane; Bryant OF Ryan Ward, Vanderbilt LHP Jackson Gillis (hometown: Wilmington, MA); Bishop Hendricken (RI) OF Tucker Flint, Boston College RHP Matt Gill (hometown: Avon, CT), and Newton North (MA) SS Dante Taylor.

Former Red Sox picks. Former Boston draft picks who are eligible for selection in 2019 include Arizona 3B Nick Quintana (likely a second rounder), Louisville SS Tyler Fitzgerald, Georgia SS Cam Shepherd, Arizona IF Carter Aldrete, and St. John’s LHP Jeff Belge

Other possible targets. Some other draft prospects to watch include East Bridgewater (MA) RHP Liam Levangie (son of Dana Levangie), LaBelle (FL) RHP Tyler Nesbitt, Northwood (OH) SS Jase Bowen, Fort Myers (FL) LHP Carson Palmquist, and San Jacinto RHP Dane Acker


Mike Andrews in the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MikeAndrewsSP.

 
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