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August 25, 2020 at 12:30 PM

2014 Draft Retrospective: The Picks

We welcome you to the 2014 edition of the SoxProspects.com Draft Retrospective series. Over the next several weeks, we will revisit each draft going back to the start of the SoxProspects.com era. Each retrospective will come in two parts: The first will be a pick-by-pick recap of each selection with very brief comments, including their peak rank on the SoxProspects.com Top 60, as well as some of the notable players the team passed on to make those picks. Players who signed are in bold, those who did not are in italics. Bonus numbers are included where available.

The Sox were back to picking at the back end of the first round following a surprise championship season in 2013. They received a compensation pick as well because of Jacoby Ellsbury’s free agent departure, meaning they had two of the first 33 picks. Those two picks turned out to be key pieces of Boston’s future, each in a different way. The team gambled on a couple high school kids, one an infielder and the other a right-handed pitcher. Both have worked out just fine. One of them helped land a key piece of the 2018 championship team, while the other had a nice rookie campaign for the Sox in 2019.

For a quick list and links to player pages, check out our Draft History page.

1 (26) Michael Chavis, SS, Sprayberry HS (Ga.)
Bonus: $1,870,500; Slot Value: $1,870,500
Chavis’ (pictured) road to the big leagues had several obstacles including thumb, finger, elbow, and wrist injuries that cost him significant time. He also dealt with an 80-game suspension in early 2018 for violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Policy. The suspension came after Chavis broke out in 2017, hitting .282 with 31 home runs between Salem and Portland. Chavis finally made his big league debut on April 20, 2019, with a pinch-hit double in Tampa Bay off of Jose Alvarado in his first plate appearance. Chavis was on fire to start his career, giving the Red Sox a much-needed jolt. He maintained a .903 OPS through his first 34 games, hitting .279 with a .376 OBP and 10 home runs through 149 plate appearances. The Red Sox went 21-13 in those 34 games. Once the league adjusted to Chavis and started throwing him more high fastballs, he came back down to earth and struggled to the finish line in 2019 with just a .682 OPS over his final 233 plate appearances. An oblique injury kept Chavis off the field for the final month and half of 2019. 
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 1
Baseball America Top 100: #85 in 2018 MLB.com Top 100: #79 in 2018; #79 in 2019
Notable players passed on: Luke Weaver (27)

1 (33) Michael Kopech, RHP, Mount Pleasant HS (Tex.)
Bonus: $1,500,00; Slot Value: $1,678,000
This was a pick the Red Sox received as compensation for losing Jacoby Ellsbury to free agency. The tall, flame-throwing right-hander was used as a major piece along with Yoan Moncada in the deal for Chris Sale in the winter of 2016. Kopech was a strikeout machine for Salem in 2016, punching out 82 in just 52 innings. He debuted for the White Sox in 2018, making four starts before tearing his UCL and wiping out his 2019 season. He was back and ready to pitch in 2020, as he got an inning in spring training, but opted out of the season amid reports of issues in his personal life.
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 5
Baseball America Top 100: #89 in 2016; #32 in 2017; #11 in 2018; #21 in 2019; #33 in 2020 MLB.com Top 100: #16 in 2017; #10 in 2018; #18 in 2019; #20 in 2020
Notable players passed on: Jack Flaherty (34)

2 (67) Sam Travis, 1B, Indiana
Bonus: $846,000; Slot Value: $846,800
The Grapefruit League star was a solid offensive contributor in the minors who has never quite found his stride at the big league level. From 2017 to 2019, Travis bounced back and forth between Triple-A Pawtucket and Boston. In his MLB career, Travis has appeared in 111 games and has posted a .659 OPS with just seven home runs. A good contact hitter with an advanced approach, Travis lacked the power of a prototypical first baseman, with attempts to adjust his swing to fix the issue instead making him a worse hitter overall, and his attempts at learning the outfield were a work in progress. With Travis out of options, Boston shipped the 26-year old to Texas for Jeffrey Springs in January. Travis is not on the Rangers’ 60-man player pool. 
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 3

3 (103) Jake Cosart, RHP, Seminole State (Fla.)
Bonus: $450,000; Slot Value: $509,400
The younger brother of major league hurler Jarred Cosart, Jake had gone to Duke as an outfielder, but transferred to Seminole State after a redshirt year and moved to the mound full time. He came into the system with a big fastball and rough delivery. The team attempted to use him in a starter role initially while working with him to better incorporate his lower half, but the changes did not take and he struggled in Lowell in 2015. The team put him back in the 'pen and let him go back to his original delivery in 2016, to great initial success. Splitting the year between Greenville and Salem, Cosart posted a 1.78 ERA and struck out 104 in 70 2/3 innings, earning SoxProspets.com Pitcher of the Year honors. His stuff always allowed him to post great strikeout numbers while keeping his batting average against extremely low, but command and control issues eventually caught up to him in the high minors. When he reached Double-A in 2017, he walked 41 hitters in 49 1/3 innings. In 2018, he fixed his walk issues a bit but got hit hard, posting a 5.02 ERA in 61 innings. Released in December 2019, he remains a free agent.
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 15 

4. Kevin McAvoy, RHP, Bryant
Bonus: $300,000; Slot Value: $377,600
After a standout career at Bryant, the Red Sox nabbed McAvoy based on a hard sinking fastball that generated lots of ground balls. However, control became an issue for the righty: For his minor league career, he had only 369 strikeouts in 499 2/3 innings to go along with 240 walks. After being released in March 2019, McAvoy found himself playing independent ball with the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League.
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 25

5. Josh Ockimey, 1B, Neumann-Goretti HS (Pa.)
Bonus: $450,000; Slot Value: $282,800
A big first baseman with excellent raw power, the Red Sox gave Ockimey an above-slot bonus to sway him away from his commitment to the University of Indiana. The power has come as advertised, with 81 home runs already in his pro career, and he has supplemented that with an approach that has been at times overly patient. His prospect status and batting average have been held back by big strikeout numbers. The big first baseman belted 25 home runs in 122 games in Pawtucket last year, but his batting average landed just a tick above the Mendoza line. Even then, he still had a .811 OPS due to the power and 82 walks. But as a first baseman with no speed who struggles on defense, Ockimey is going to have to be great at the plate in order to make an impact. He is currently in the 60-man player pool and is headed to minor league free agency this offseason.
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 7

6. Danny Mars, CF, Chipola College (Fla.)
Bonus: $211,800; Slot Value: $211,800
Mars, like McAvoy, spent five seasons with the Red Sox before being released in early 2019. The outfielder had a solid 2017 season in Portland, hitting an empty .304 in 119 games, but he fell off in 2018, slumping to a .676 OPS, also in Portland. He played independent ball in 2019 and posted a .689 OPS in 357 plate appearances. 
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 38

7. Reed Reilly, RHP, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo
Bonus: $107,500; Slot Value: $163,500
A closer in college, the Red Sox used Reilly as a starter in the pros. The righty had good control despite a herky-jerky delivery, walking only 21 in 140 innings over two seasons. He was released in spring training 2016.

8. Ben Moore, C, Alabama
Bonus: $152,700; Slot Value: $152,700
Moore had played catcher early in his career at Alabama, but had moved exclusively to the outfield for the Crimson Tide before being drafted. The Red Sox saw an opportunity to develop him as a bat-first backstop whose skill at the plate ran ahead of his polish behind it. He posted respectable offensive numbers in Greenville during a 2015 season shortened by a knee injury that required surgery, then struggled to a .582 OPS in 49 games with Salem in 2016. After being released by the Sox in April 2017, Moore played two seasons of independent ball before being given another shot by the Dodgers in 2019. Injuries again derailed his season, however, playing just 12 games in Triple-A for Los Angeles. 
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 43

9. Kevin Steen, RHP, Oak Ridge HS (Tenn.)
Bonus: $255,000; Slot Value: $142,600
Steen was an intriguing athlete who showed some projection, leading to his signing an overslot deal away from a commitment to Tennessee. After spending both the 2015 and 2016 seasons in Lowell, Steen was in a deadly car accident in Fort Myers in April 2017 in which another driver crossed over the median and hit his car head-on, leaving him critically injured and requiring 16 surgeries since. Most importantly, Steen appears to be doing well now.
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 47

10. Cole Sturgeon, OF, Louisville
Bonus: $10,000; Slot Value $137,600
A senior sign, Sturgeon is still in the system, having turned himself into a nice organizational player. Known largely for his defense, Sturgeon got off to a hot start in 2018 with Portland, hitting .365/.421/.579, winning SoxProspects.com April Player of the Month honors. The 28-year old got 379 plate appearances in Pawtucket last year and hit .277 with a .760 OPS. Although he will hit minor league free agency this offseason, it would not be surprising for the Red Sox to bring him back to provide depth in Worcester.
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 44

11. Karsten Whitson, RHP, Florida
Bonus: $100,000
Selected ninth overall by San Diego in 2010, the Padres could not bring the righty into the fold despite an offer of $2.1 million. Whitson was outstanding in his first year in Gainesville, earning Freshman All-American honors. Injuries completely derailed Whitson’s college career from there, as he injured his shoulder during his sophomore year, requiring surgery. Injuries continued to plague him after the Red Sox took a flyer here, as he only pitched seven professional innings in 2014 and proceeded to miss the entire 2015 season due to injury.
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 39

12. Jalen Beeks, LHP, Arkansas
Bonus: $150,000 ($50,000 over slot)
One of the more notable drafting and development success stories in recent years, the Red Sox 2020 Opening Day starter was acquired for Beeks back in the summer of 2018. Beeks briefly spent time in a Boston uniform prior to the trade, nabbing 6 1/3 innings for the Red Sox. A more detailed chronicle of his rise in status will come in the second part of the 2014 analysis, but an addition of a cutter in 2017 under the direction of pitching coordinator Brian Bannister helped him reach the show. In 2019, Beeks settled into a nice role with Tampa Bay as a guy they looked to after an opener. In 20 of his 33 appearances in 2019, Beeks entered the game in either the second or third inning. He is off to a hot start in 2020, with 25 strikeouts against only four walks in 18 innings.
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 5

13. Chandler Shepherd, RHP, Kentucky
Bonus: $90,000
Shepherd became the seventh right-handed pitcher taken already and fifth out of college. The tall right-hander started out in the bullpen but transitioned into a full-time starter role in 2018 with Pawtucket after gaining some experience starting over the previous winter with Hermosillo. He was durable and had a solid season, making 25 starts and posting an ERA of 3.89. He was claimed off waivers in May 2019 by the Cubs, but he was claimed a few days later again by the Orioles. He made his major league debut in 2019 with Baltimore, making three starts. He is currently a part of their 60-man player pool.
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 20

14. Jordan Procyshen, C, Northern Kentucky
Bonus: $50,000
The second catcher taken in this draft had the opposite skillset of Moore, with excellent defense but less presence at the plate. He reached Portland in 2017, but hit just .200/.295/.298 and got moved back to Salem in 2018, where he also struggled to hit. He was released in August 2018. Procyshen spent 2019 in the Dodgers organization where he struggled to hit again. He signed a minor-league deal with the Cubs this past winter but was released at the end of May. 
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 29

15. Trenton Kemp, CF, Buchanan HS (Calif.)
Bonus: $250,000
Kemp was a very raw, athletic outfielder that could never really put it all together due to a ton of injuries and too many strikeouts. Kemp played more than 59 games in a season just once in his five years in the system, back in 2016 with Greenville. He showed some solid pop that year with 13 home runs, 18 doubles, and three triples in 92 games, but he struck out about 35 percent of the time and hit just .244. The injury bug caught up to him again last season when he appeared in just six games. He was released in May 2020.
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 42

16. Michael Gunn, LHP, Arkansas
Gunn was the second college relief pitcher taken in this draft. He got hit hard in Greenville and struggled to find the zone as well, leading to an ERA over six and a release in December 2015. He has managed to stick around in pro ball, however, as 2020 is now his fifth season of independent ball. Across those five seasons, he has logged 273 2/3 innings with 241 strikeouts and a 4.47 ERA. 

17. Jeremy Rivera, SS, El Paso CC (Tex.)
Similar to Cole Sturgeon, Rivera has turned into a nice organizational player at shortstop. He is the godson of Andres Torres, who spent nine years in the major leagues and was a key member of the 2010 World Champion Giants. Rivera has stuck around because of his above-average glove, but hasn’t hit nearly enough to get past the Double-A level. In two seasons with Portland, he has posted OPSes of just .632 and .621, but he hit much better this past winter with Mayaguez, hitting .348 in 15 games. 
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 31

18. Jordan Betts, 3B, Duke
The Sox went with back-to-back infielders here, this time nabbing a third baseman with some pop. Strikeouts limited Betts' ability to tap into his power, as a solid .150 career Iso was offset by a .239 career batting average. The highest level he reached was Triple-A before being released in January 2019. 
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 51

19. Tyler Hill, CF, Delaware Military (Del.)
Hill was a fiery, strong-jawed competitor who was extremely popular with teammates and coaches. He earned New York-Penn League All-Star honors in 2016 with a .332/.400/.487 line, but the lack of natural speed to play center or the kind of pop that plays in the corner gave him a tweener profile that limited his upside. He never made it to Double-A, as he posted just a .660 OPS for Salem in 2018, hitting just one home run in 124 games. He was selected by the Tigers in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft in December 2018, and has since bounced around to the Yankees and Royals, where he is still hanging around after a brief stop in independent ball.
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 30

20. Devon Fisher, C, Western Branch HS (Va.)
$300,000; $200,000 over slot
Fisher was drafted as a catcher out of high school but transitioned to the mound after failing to hit in the GCL. He was committed to Virginia, but he ended up signing with Boston because they went well over slot to get him. While he could run his fastball up to 95 MPH, he was still very inconsistent and struggled to find the zone. He never made it past High-A and was released in November 2019. 
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 60

21. Ian Rice, C, Chipola College (Fla.) 
Rice became the first player in this draft to not sign with Boston. He didn’t do himself any favors, as he dipped to the Cubs in the 29th round in the 2015 draft. He showed some nice pop for a catcher, belting 17 homers in 119 games in Double-A in 2017. He reached Triple-A last year but was released in May of this year. 

22. J.J. Matijevic, SS, Norwin HS (Pa.)
Matijevic was considered something of a longshot to sign, and he did honor his commitment to Arizona. That ended up being a solid choice, as a dominant junior season led to the Astros grabbing him in the second round in 2017. He has posted some solid numbers in the minors for Houston, reaching Double-A in his second full pro season and getting an assignment to the Arizona Fall League last year. Matijevic spent two seasons in the Cape Cod League prior to being drafted, including a 2016 summer in which he posted a 1.002 OPS. 

23. Derek Miller, CF, Texas - Arlington
Miller was an outfielder with a bit of speed but not nearly enough in his bat to stick around as an organizational player. He hit just three home runs in 822 career minor league plate appearances in the Sox system. He peaked with a cup of coffee with Double-A Portland in 2016. His best quality was a good eye, as he walked a good amount and put up respectable OBPs. He last played professionally in 2017 in independent ball, where he posted a .656 OPS in 340 plate appearances. 
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 61

24. Cisco Tellez, 1B, Cal-Riverside
Tellez was a thick first baseman that was going to have to hit for a ton of power to advance anywhere. Unfortunately, that raw power did not translate in-game, as he hit just .232 with three home runs in 422 career minor league plate appearances. He was released in December 2015 and has not played professionally since. Despite a similar physical stature, he is no relation to Blue Jays first baseman Rowdy Tellez.

25. Gabe Klobosits, RHP, Galveston
Kobosits was another high schooler that chose a big school in Auburn over signing with the Sox. He struggled in school, posting a 4.91 ERA in 77 collegiate innings, dropping him to the 36th round in 2017. He has been in the Nationals’ system for the past three years, and while he has put up some solid numbers out of the bullpen, he has yet to throw an inning in Double-A. 

26. Ryan Harris, RHP, Florida
Harris bumped up 11 rounds in the draft by going to college, as he chose not to sign with the Yankees after being selected by them in the 37th of the 2011 draft. He was the third pitcher in this class that was a primary reliever in college. He posted a decent 2.27 ERA in 2015 for Greenville, but the strikeouts just weren’t there. He only punched out 38 in 49 2/3 innings. He was released in March 2016 and has not pitched since. 

27. Taylor Nunez, RHP, Southern Miss
Nunez was highly touted out of high school, getting drafted in the 19th round by Pittsburgh in 2011. He fell to the 27th in 2014 however, and a big reason was injury concerns. He missed most of his sophomore season in college due to a major arm injury. The right-hander logged just 31 2/3 innings for the Sox before being released in December 2015. 

28. David Peterson, LHP, Regis Jesuit HS (Colo.)
Peterson made a wise choice to not sign with the Sox and go to Oregon, as a dominant junior campaign led to him being selected 20th overall by the Mets in 2017. The lefty logged 100 1/3 innings for the Ducks in 2017, posting a 2.51 ERA with 140 strikeouts and just 15 walks. He spent 2019 in Double-A where he had a 4.19 ERA in 24 starts. Ironically, Peterson made his major league debut on July 28 this year at Fenway Park against the Sox, where he pitched well, lasting 5 2/3 innings and allowing just two runs. He has been solid for the Mets this year, although shoulder fatigue recently landed him on the IL.

29. Josh Pennington, RHP, Lower Cape May RHS (N.J.)
Bonus: $90,000
Pennington is a hard-throwing right-hander that the Sox used to start games to begin his professional career. Without a notable secondary pitch to pair with the big fastball, he profiled as a reliever in the future. He put up some decent numbers in 2016 with Lowell, but in the winter of that year, he was shipped to Milwaukee along with Mauricio Dubon and Travis Shaw for Tyler Thornburg. He had Tommy John surgery in the summer of 2014, and injuries caught up to him again while with Milwaukee. Instead of undergoing a second Tommy John surgery, Pennington officially retired in May 2018. 
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 24

30. Jeren Kendall, CF, Holmen HS (Wis.)
Kendall is another one whose decision to go to college paid off, as he was a star at Vanderbilt. He ended up being taken three picks after Peterson in the 2017 draft by the Dodgers. Unfortunately, his collegiate success has not translated into pro ball, as the outfielder has now played two full seasons in the California League, hitting just .215 and .219, respectively. 

31. Alex McKeon, C, Texas A&M International
McKeon was a glove-first catcher that didn’t get much playing time at all in the system. He was released after a 2015 season in which he recorded just 31 at-bats. He would go on to play two seasons of independent ball, but he hit just .228 in 88 games. 

32. Case Rolen, RHP, Sherman HS (Tex.)
Rolen chose to go to Dallas Baptist, where he struggled mightily and was not drafted again. In three collegiate seasons, he posted an 8.88 ERA and walked 60 batters in 49 2/3 innings. 

33. Luis Alvarado, RF, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy
Alvarado also chose to go to school at Nebraska. He spent a couple summers in the Cape Cod League, where he allowed just two earned runs in 20 2/3 frames. He was drafted two more times, once in 2017 by the Mariners in the 13th round and again the following year in the 17th round by the Angels. He has spent two seasons in the Angels system, seeing moderate success both starting and relieving in the Low A Midwest League last year.

34. Kuehl McEachern, RHP, Flagler College
McEachern was a tall, lanky right-hander with a side-arm delivery that was tough on right-handed hitters. He put up some decent numbers in the lower minors, as he posted a 2.52 ERA in 82 innings in Greenville in 2015, but he never advanced past Salem and was released in December 2016. He would go on to play two seasons of independent ball. 

35. Ross Puskarich, 3B, Liberty HS (Calif.)
Puskarich went to the University of San Francisco to play third base after not signing with Boston. He had a terrific junior year there, but fell off quite a bit his senior season and was not drafted again. In 2018, he played three games of independent ball but has not played since. 

36. Bradley Wilpon, RHP, Brunswick HS (Conn.)
Wilpon chose to go to the University of Pennsylvania instead of signing with the Sox, where he ironically was a teammate of your humble author's brother. Wilpon is the son of Mets owner Jeff Wilpon. He stopped playing in 2016, as he had only grabbed six innings in two seasons at Penn.

37. Hector Lorenzana, SS, Oklahoma
Lorenzana was drafted as a shortstop but could play all over the infield. His bat lagged behind his glove, as he struggled to hit .200 in the lower levels. He was released in December 2015 and has not played since. 

38. Brandon Show, RHP, San Diego
Show had a bit of deceptive delivery, but his fastball sat around just 86-89, and as a result, he struck out just 21 in 48 2/3 innings across three levels in 2015. He also struggled with control and command and was released in April 2016. 

39. Mike Gretler, SS, Bonney Lake HS (Wash.)
Gretler chose to go to Oregon State instead of signing, where he played four seasons and got drafted again in 2018 in the 10th round by the Pirates. He played a couple seasons in their system before retiring in February 2020. 

40. Joe Winterburn, C, La Verne (Calif.)
The final pick of this draft for the Sox never actually appeared in a game for the team. He was a college catcher but was converted into a pitcher, although the conversion apparently did not take.


Raw totals: 
Players drafted: 41
Players signed: 31
Baseball America/MLB Top 100 prospects: 2
Signed players who reached majors: 5

Photo Credit: Michael Chavis, Sam Travis, Jalen Beeks by Kelly O'Connor