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June 15, 2020 at 2:00 PM

Minor Notes: 2020 draft class nearly finalized

Here are Monday's minor league notes:
  • All eyes were on the MLB Draft last week, and there was a lot of discussion about the Red Sox first-round pick. Boston selected Nick Yorke, a high school second baseman from San Jose, CA, which was a surprise to everyone. The most bullish ranking for Yorke was from Baseball America, who had him ranked 96th, while Perfect Game USA ranked him at 236th. No media outlet had him ranked close to his 17th overall selection. 
  • Chris and Ian recorded a podcast after the first night of the draft, discussing Yorke in more detail as well as going over the different strategies the Red Sox could employ on day two of the draft. 
  • One of Chris and Ian's theories about day two quickly came to life when the Red Sox drafted Blaze Jordan with their third-round pick. Jordan is a highly-rated high school power hitter who will require an above-slot bonus to forgo his commitment to Mississippi State. The public perception of the draft quickly shifted after fans went on YouTube and found clips of Jordan hitting 500-foot home runs
  • The Red Sox rounded out the draft with two college left-handed pitchers. In the fourth round they took Jeremy Wu-Yelland out of the University of Hawaii and in the fifth round they took Shane Drohan out of Florida State University. The Wu-Yelland pick has some extra significance, as the signing scout was J.J. Altobelli. Altobelli's parents and sister were killed in the helicopter crash that also killed Kobe Bryant in January. 
  • The 2020 Draft Recap was posted on Friday which shows how the four draft picks were ranked by all the major publications. 
  • The Draft History page has been updated to reflect both the drafted players as well the the undrafted signees. If the Red Sox go approximately five percent over their bonus cap, as they have done in prior years, they will $5,386,395 to spread across their four draft picks. The undrafted free agents are capped at $20,000 and will not count against the bonus pool.
  • As of now the Red Sox have signed 10 undrafted fee agents. The first undrafted player to sign with Boston was Jacinto Arredondo, a right-handed pitcher from the University of Tampa. Arredondo has a 92-94 mph fastball and an above average slider to go along with an unusual delivery. He uses a "hop-step", similar to Carter Capps, which shortens the distance between him and the batter before he releases the ball.
  • Juan Montero was the next player to sign, a catcher from the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy. Montero is a good athlete that can play multiple positions, and he has shown good bat speed with strong launch angles on the showcase circuit. He was committed to Kansas City Kansas Community College. 
  • The next three signings were from the college ranks, with right-hander Jordan DiValerio signing out of Saint Joseph's University, infielder Jake MacKenzie signing out of Fordham University, and Graham Hoffman signing out of the University of South Florida. MacKenzie was hitting .356 with seven steals in 16 games before his junior season was cut short due to COVID-19, while DiValerio had an ERA of 2.38 with 33 strikeouts and five walks in 22 2/3 innings. Hoffman had Tommy John surgery in 2019 and had appeared in five games this season out of the bullpen. He is signing with the Red Sox as a redshirt sophomore.
  • Jose Garcia was drafted by the Red Sox in the 38th round in 2017, and he signed with Boston as an undrafted free agent after spending three years at Florida International University. A catcher and first baseman, Garcia hit 25 home runs in 288 at-bats in his FIU career. 
  • The Red Sox signed another player out of Puerto Rico with Henry Nunez Rijo agreeing to terms. A right-handed pitcher who is listed at 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, Rijo has a fastball that has hit 93 mph while mixing in a curveball and changeup. He was committed to San Jacinto Community College. 
  • Arguably the most interesting arm to sign was Merfy Andrew, a right-handed pitcher from St. Thomas University. He struck out 42 batters in 25 1/3 innings this year, and has a fastball that has hit 101 mph. 
  • The ace of the University of Miami staff, Brian Van Belle, also signed with the Red Sox. Van Belle struck out 38 and walked only four in 26 innings this year. He doesn't have overpowering stuff, but he has a good changeup and is a smart pitcher. Van Belle was ranked 16th on Baseball America's Seniors to Watch on the undrafted free agent market. 
  • Last but not least, the Red Sox signed Cole Milam out of SIU-Edwardsville. Milam stands 6-foot-4 and 255 pounds, and his fastball sits between 93-95. He complements that with a curveball and a slider.
  • None of these undrafted signings ranked in the Baseball America top 500, but there are definitely a few interesting names to keep an eye on for the 2021 season.