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September 9, 2020 at 12:30 PM

2016 Draft Retrospective: The Picks

We welcome you to the 2016 edition of the SoxProspects.com Draft Retrospective series. Over the next several weeks, we will revisit each Red Sox 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. 

This is the first year of overseeing a Red Sox draft for Dave Dombrowski, although he kept the organization's amateur scouting department intact when taking over. The Red Sox were coming off their second consecutive last-place finish, but 2016 was off to a much better start, as they would eventually win the division. Dombrowski came in and made a big splash right away, signing David Price to what was at the time the richest contract ever for a pitcher. Part of what made Price so appealing was  that he was ineligible to receive a qualifying offer due to a deadline day trade from Detroit to Toronto, and the Red Sox could ink him without surrendering the 12th overall pick. Dombrowski also made his first of many impactful trades in Boston, dealing Manuel Margot, Javier Guerra, Logan Allen, and Carlos Asuaje for closer Craig Kimbrel

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

1 (12) Jay Groome, LHP, Barnegat HS (N.J.)
Bonus: $3,650,000; Slot: $3,192,800

Groome (pictured, left) is one of the more interesting picks the Sox have had in recent memory. Coming out of high school, Groome was thought of as a potential number one overall pick, but as the draft neared, makeup concerns caused teams to become hesitant. Committed to Vanderbilt, the school pulled his offer shortly before the draft and he committed to a junior college, while rumors flew regarding other off-field issues related (and not) to his transferring to IMG Academy as a junior only to return to New Jersey as a senior. Groome fell to Boston at 12, where the club selected him despite his reportedly having agreed to a large deal with another team later in the first round. Groome has a smooth delivery and can run his fastball up to 96 MPH to go along with a hammer curveball. Unfortunately, Groome has missed a ton of development time due to injuries. He missed all of 2018 and most of 2019 with Tommy John Surgery. He has thrown just four professional innings in the past two years and he is currently on the Red Sox 60-man player pool, where he has impressed of late, giving hope he might still one day approach the lofty potential he held when he was drafted and signed. 

SoxProspects.com peak rank: 1

Baseball America Top 100: #43 in 2017; #83 in 2018
MLB.com Top 100: #41 in 2017; #85 in 2018

Notable players passed on: Forrest Whitley (17), Gavin Lux (20)

2 (51) C.J. Chatham, SS, Florida Atlantic

Bonus: $1,100,000; Slot: $1,232,800

The Sox went with a tall, athletic college shortstop with their second pick. Chatham got off to a slow start in the organization as a hamstring injury limited him to just seven games in 2017. He bounced back with a .314 average across Greenville and Salem in 2018 on his way to SoxPropsects.com Comeback Player of the Year honors. He hit .297 in 90 games with Portland last year, then went up to Pawtucket for 20 games and hit .302. He is currently ranked 17th in the system.

SoxProspects.com peak rank: 5

Notable players passed on: Pete Alonso (64), Bo Bichette (66)

3 (88) Shaun Anderson, RHP, Florida

Bonus: $700,000; Slot: $697,300

Anderson became the first member of the 2016 draft class to make his MLB debut, he just did it for the Giants. Anderson was a reliever in college on a loaded Gators pitching staff, but Boston immediately developed him as a starter, as he showed a solid five-pitch mix. Anderson pitched very well for Greenville in 2017 and earned a promotion to Salem before being dealt to San Francisco in the summer of 2017 along with Gregory Santos for Eduardo Nunez. Last year with the Giants, he appeared in 28 games and made 16 starts, posting a 5.44 ERA. Anderson pitched out of the bullpen for about a month this year and had significant control issues before being optioned to the Giants' Alternate Training Site.

SoxProspects.com peak rank: 11

4. Bobby Dalbec, 3B, Arizona
Bonus: $650,000; $501,300

Dalbec (pictured, right) was selected as a position player after starring as both a hitter and a pitcher at Arizona. On the mound, he posted a 2.73 career ERA in 194 2/3 innings, and at the plate hit .282 with 24 home runs in his college career. He had a strong preference for hitting, and the Red Sox obliged after nabbing him in the fourth round. Dalbec's high-power, high-strikeout approach will be discussed in greater detail in Friday's analysis, but the story of his career will be whether he can make enough contact to tap into his prodigious power. He crushed 26 home runs in 2018 in Salem, which is particularly notable considering Salem’s ballpark, and the Carolina League in general, is known for suppressing home runs. He earned a promotion to Portland later that year and hit six more bombs in 29 games. Last year, he hit 27 home runs in 135 games between Portland and Pawtucket. Unfortunately, Dalbec came down with COVID-19 in early June, but was still added to the 60-man roster and eventually made his MLB debut on August 30. He hit a towering opposite-field home run in his first game and has hit five homers in this first nine games.

SoxProspects.com peak rank: 2

Baseball America Top 100: #75 in 2020

5. Mike Shawaryn, RHP, Maryland

Bonus: $637,500; Slot: $375,500

Shawaryn was looking at being a possible first-round pick after a dominant sophomore campaign in which he posted a 13-2 record with a 1.71 ERA and 138 strikeouts in 116 innings. He came back to earth the following year, partly due to some nagging injuries, and it caused him to fall to the fifth round. He uses a low-three quarters arm slot combined with some good arm-side run on his fastball to find success. Shawaryn's best season as a pro came in 2018, as he delivered in a 3.44 ERA in 149 1/3 innings between Portland and Pawtucket, striking out 132 against just 38 walks. He followed that with a very good performance in the Arizona Fall League, and he went on to make his MLB debut in June of last year. He posted good strikeout numbers for Boston out of the pen, with 29 in 20 1/3 innings, but he also allowed five home runs and walked 13, leading to an ERA over nine. He was recently designated for assignment and removed from the Club Player Pool after clearing waivers on August 26. 

SoxProspects.com peak rank: 6

6. Stephen Nogosek, RHP, Oregon

Bonus: $250,000; Slot: $281,100

Nogosek was already the second right-handed college reliever taken by Boston in this draft, although unlike Anderson, he stayed in the bullpen. He spent just a year and a half in Boston’s system before being dealt to the Mets along with Jamie Callahan and Gerson Bautista for Addison Reed. Mostly a fastball-slider guy, Nogosek was having a really nice 2017 with Greenville at the time of the trade, with 45 strikeouts, 11 walks, and a 2.55 ERA in 35 1/3 innings. He made his MLB debut for the Mets in June 2019, but threw just 6 2/3 innings and allowed eight earned runs. He was designated for assignment in December to clear a spot on the Mets 40-man roster for newly-signed free agent Rick Porcello.

SoxProspects.com peak rank: 20

7. Ryan Scott, OF, Arkansas-Little Rock

Bonus: $10,000; Slot: $210,700

A senior sign, Scott had put up monster numbers during his senior season at Arkansas-Little Rock, hitting .435/.516/.713 with 12 home runs and 20 doubles. He had a lot of raw power, and was going to need the bat to carry him through the minors. He showed some pop in 2017 with Greenville, swatting 14 home runs, 20 doubles, and four triples in 115 games, but struggled in 2018 with Salem, hitting just .194. He was released in January 2019. 

8. Alan Marrero, C, International Baseball Academy (P.R.)

Bonus: $160,000; Slot: $180,300

Marrero is a stocky catcher that has spent all of his time in the low minors so far. He will likely stay there, with the potential to become an organizational depth catcher. He is defensive-minded, although he showed a bit of pop last year with seven home runs and 10 doubles in 64 games with Greenville. 

SoxProspects.com peak rank: 60

9. Matt McLean, OF, Texas-Arlington

Bonus: $10,000; Slot: $168,400

The Sox saved some money with this pick, taking their second senior sign. McLean had some good bat-to-ball skills and rarely struck out, but he also had no power, with zero home runs in 418 career at-bats at Texas-Arlington. He had some good speed as well, but ended up getting released in March 2018 after playing in just 50 minor league games over two seasons. 

10. Santiago Espinal, SS, Miami Dade CC South

Bonus: $50,000; Slot:$157,200

Espinal is a contact-first infielder who hit .432 with just 11 strikeouts in 43 games during his final year of junior college. The Sox were able to sign him for well below slot. After putting up some really nice numbers in Salem in 2018 with an .840 OPS and rising up our rankings with equally encouraging scouting reports, he was dealt to Toronto for eventual World Series MVP Steve Pearce. Espinal has made 10 starts at shortstop and one at third base so far this year for the Blue Jays, hitting .270 with a pair of doubles and a stolen base. 

SoxProspects.com peak rank: 15

11. Nick Quintana, IF, Arbor View HS (Nev.)

The Red Sox made a strong push to bring Quintana into the fold, but the Nevada native opted to fulfill his commitment to Arizona instead. He went on to have a great career there, with an OPS north of 1.000 in both his junior and senior seasons. He also spent a couple summers in the Cape Cod League with Yarmouth-Dennis. He moved up to the second round in 2019, where he was drafted by Detroit. He forced his way out of the New York-Penn League after just 25 games but struggled during his first exposure to the Low A Midwest League, hitting just .158/.228/.226 and getting demoted back to the New York-Penn League to regroup. He is currently ranked 25th in the Detroit system by both Baseball America and MLB.com, and will need to learn to make enough contact to tap into his prodigious power.

12. Matthew Gorst, RHP, Georgia Tech

Bonus: $115,000

Gorst was an interesting pick for the Sox, as he was one of their first draft picks in whom they were interested based heavily on Trackman pitch data. He was already the third collegiate relief pitcher taken in the first 12 selections. Gorst has a deceptive delivery with a good cutter as well as a slider and changeup. He clearly made some positive adjustments in college, as he had 48 strikeouts and 48 walks in his first two college seasons in 54 2/3 innings. During his senior year, he posted 55 strikeouts and just 13 walks in 49 innings to go along with a 0.55 ERA. He reached Pawtucket in 2018, but was released in May 2020. 

SoxProspects.com peak rank: 46

13. Brady Bramlett, RHP, Mississippi

Bramlett made the choice to give up baseball entirely after being selected by the Sox. He took his visit to Boston and did not feel right about continuing his baseball career. He decided to not play his senior year at Mississippi either, and instead focus on academics and his professional career. He had a great career in college, going 20-8 with a 3.40 ERA and 203 strikeouts in 190 2/3 innings. He now works in the athletic department at Ole Miss.

14. Robby Sexton, LHP, Wright State

Bonus: $100,000

The first left-hander taken since Groome at number one, Sexton started in college, but the Red Sox used him as both a starter and a reliever in 2017 with Greenville. His fastball topped out at 91 MPH, projecting as a lefty specialist at higher levels. He was released in March 2018, but got picked up by the Diamondbacks right away. He spent 2018 with Arizona before being released by them in March of last year. 

15. Michael Wilson, SS, Colonia HS (N.J.)

Wilson elected to go to Stony Brook instead of signing with Boston. The left-handed hitting outfielder had a very nice collegiate career, slashing .297/.365/.509 with 19 long balls in three years. He didn’t move much in the draft in either direction, as he was drafted last year in the 16th round by the Mets and did not distinguish himself in the Rookie-level Pioneer League.

16. Alberto Schmidt, C, Colegio A-D (P.R.)

Bonus: $100,000

A short, stocky catcher, Schmidt had a good defensive reputation but hit just .181 with one home run across three seasons with the GCL Sox and Lowell. He did not play in 2019 due to a PED suspension and was eventually released in November. 

17. Nick Sciortino, C, Boston College

Bonus: $80,000

It was back-to-back catchers here for Boston, this time tabbing a local product from Boston College. Like Schmidt, Sciortino was also a defensive-minded backstop whose prowess behind the plate outpaced his stature in the batter's box. He played in Salem for both 2018 and 2019, but after struggling at the plate in both years, he retired in February 2020. 

18. Trevor Stephan, RHP, Hill (Junior) College (Tex.)

Stephen chose to take an opportunity to pitch at Arkansas over signing with the Sox. The gamble paid off, as he had a tremendous season there, posting a 2.87 ERA with 120 strikeouts in 91 innings. The result bumped him to the third round in 2017 to the Yankees. He reached Double-A in 2018 and spent last year split between Double-A and High-A, where he posted a 4.73 ERA in 80 innings. 

19. Kyle Hart, LHP, Indiana
Bonus: $5,000

Hart has turned into a really nice story, as he was a 23-year-old fifth-year senior signed for $5,000 who recently made his MLB debut. In 2019, he posted a 3.52 ERA in 156 innings between Portland and Pawtucket. Injuries and a thin rotation at the big-league level for Boston in 2020 gave Hart an opportunity to become part of the rotation. In three starts so far, he has struggled with both control and command, allowing 17 hits and 15 runs in just nine innings with 12 strikeouts and 10 walks. Although he has struggled so far in the big leagues, his having made it at all, and having potential to develop into at least an up-and-down piece for the Red Sox, must be seen as a development success.

SoxProspects.com peak rank: 35

20. Nick Lovullo, SS, Holy Cross

Bonus: $5,000

The Red Sox turned to back-to-back senior signs at the midpoint in the draft. Lovullo is the son of Torey Lovullo, the former Red Sox bench coach and interim manager, as well as current Diamondbacks skipper. Nick was able to provide a lot of versatility in the infield as organizational depth for the Sox over the past four years, mostly at second base, but was able to play some short and third as well. He made it to Triple-A in 2019, but was released in May. 

21. Beau Capanna, SS, Bishop Gorman (Nev.)

The undersized shortstop elected to go to New Mexico instead of signing with Boston. He posted a .764 OPS there in 48 games with no home runs as a freshman, then went the JuCo route the following year, transferring to College of Southern Nevada. He has not played organized baseball since.

22. Granger Studdard, OF, Texas State

Bonus: $75,000

Studdard showed some nice pop in college with 21 long balls in three seasons. In limited chances over his year and a half in the system, he failed to hit and posted a 35 percent strikeout rate, and he was released in March 2018.

23. Juan Carlos Abreu, CF, Winter Springs HS (Fla.)

Bonus: $100,000

The young outfielder spent three seasons with the GCL Sox, finally breaking out offensively there in 2018 with a .351 batting average and a .920 OPS. Despite the step forward offensively, Abreu was held back by a tweener profile, fitting more comfortably defensively in a corner outfield role that he lacked the traditional power to fill. He reached Greenville in 2019 but was released in July of last year. 

24. Hunter Smith, RHP, UNC-Greensboro

Bonus: $25,000

After two years at Gardner-Webb, the right-hander redshirted his third year and transferred to UNC-Greensboro for his final year of college ball. He had a three-pitch mix with a fastball, slider, and changeup. Smith put together a nice 2017 season with Greenville with a 3.45 ERA and 68 strikeouts with 18 walks in 73 innings. He got a taste of Double-A last year but was released in July. 

25. Francisco Lopez-Soto, RHP, Allen County CC (Kan.)

Bonus: $40,000

Lopez-Soto was a tall right-hander with a live arm, sitting between 92 and 94 with his fastball. He appeared in 40 games between Lowell and the GCL Red Sox over three seasons. He posted a solid 2.38 ERA in 15 appearances in 2017, but he was derailed by control trouble and released in August 2019.

26. Jared Oliver, RHP, Truett-McConnell

Bonus: $10,000

Oliver was another 23-year-old senior sign, and he ended up spending three seasons in the Sox system. He had some life on his fastball, topping out at 96 MPH. He got some time with Portland in 2018, but control and command became a big issue and he was released in March 2019. 

27. Vince Arobio, RHP, Pacific

Arobio chose to head back to Pacific for his senior season. He was able to move himself up a few rounds to the 24th to the White Sox. He is still with the franchise after reaching Double-A for the first time last year. He also played in the Arizona Fall League last year. 

28. Jordan Scheftz, RHP, Saddleback CC (Calif.)

Scheftz is the fifth consecutive right-handed arm taken by the Sox in this draft. He went to UCF instead of signing, where he posted a 3.23 ERA with 40 strikeouts in 30 2/3 frames. He moved up a little bit to the 23rd round in 2017, when Cleveland took him. He never reached Double-A and was released in October of last year. 

29. Cam Shepherd, SS, Peachtree Ridge (Ga.)

Shepherd went to Georgia instead of signing and ended up playing a full four seasons there. A defensive-minded player, Shepherd was drafted again after his junior year by Tampa Bay in the 20th round but decided to play his senior year. He hit just .262 for his career, but popped 22 home runs. He was not picked in the truncated 2020 draft, but signed with the Braves in June. 

30. Tyler Fitzgerald, SS, Rochester HS (Ill.)

Fitzgerald really helped himself out by going to school at Louisville, as he moved up to the 4th round in 2019 to the Giants. He had a big senior season, hitting .315 with eight home runs. He also spent a pair of summers in the Cape Cod League with Bourne, hitting .298 with two long balls there in 2018. Fitzgerald got off to a solid pro debut with a .753 OPS across three levels for the Giants last year. With a chance to become an MLB utility infielder, he was ranked 28th in the Giants system by Baseball America entering the season, although he was bumped out by the 2020 draftees.

31. Christian Jones, OF, Federal Way HS (Wash.)

Jones went to the University of Washington instead of signing with Boston. The outfielder suffered a hand injury that knocked him out for the 2019 season, and he has struggled otherwise with just a .687 OPS in 75 games. He used an injury redshirt in 2019 and maintains a year of eligibility for the Huskies.

32. Jeff Belge, LHP, Henninger HS (N.Y.)

Belge was rated a top-100 draft prospect by both Baseball America and MLB.com and was considered a longshot to sign. Hoping to solidify his status as a potential first-round pick, Belge instead battled control issues at St. John’s and went in the 18th round in 2019 to the Dodgers. The 6-5 left-hander pitched very well last year with a 1.16 ERA in 23 1/3 innings and 31 strikeouts. 

33. Chad Hardy, CF, Paris JC (Tex.)

Bonus: $75,000

Hardy was another player who spent three seasons with the GCL Sox, although one of them was a three-at-bat season due to a PED suspension. He came back in 2018 and showed some pop, with six home runs in 41 games, but he also hit just .215 with seven walks and 53 strikeouts. He was released in March 2019. 

34. Aaron McGarity, RHP, Virginia Tech

The Sox took McGarity despite him missing most of his junior year due to injury. He tossed just 11 1/3 innings that year, but with 19 strikeouts. He elected to go back to school for his senior season and was selected in the 15th round of the 2017 draft by the Yankees. He is still with them, as he pitched for Surprise last year in the Arizona Fall League, where he dominated with 15 strikeouts, one walk, and a 0.79 ERA in 11 1/3 frames. 

35. John Rave, CF, Central Catholic (Ill.)

The Sox tried another young outfielder here, and again lost him to college. Rave had a very nice career at Illinois State, hitting .301 with 22 home runs and 29 stolen bases in 170 games there. He moved all the way up to the fifth round in 2019 to the Royals. He struggled in his first run as a professional, hitting .234 with a .646 OPS between Rookie ball and A-ball. 

36. Jordan Wren, OF, Georgia Southern

Wren, the son of former Red Sox Senior VP of Baseball Operations Frank Wren, did not sign with the Red Sox here, but did as a 10th-round senior sign in 2017. More on him in next year's recap.

37. Carter Aldrete, SS, Monterey HS (Calif.)

Aldrete went to Arizona State over signing with Boston, and it was a good decision for him, as he moved up to the 15th round in 2019 to the Giants. He hit .282 with 15 home runs and 107 RBI in three seasons in Tempe. The infielder played pretty well last year between rookie ball and Low-A, with a .749 OPS. 

38. Austin Bergner, RHP, Windermere Prep (Fla.)

Bergner was drafted two more times after choosing to go to UNC, once by the Diamondbacks in 2018 and again by the Tigers in the ninth round of 2019. He struggled last year in Detroit’s system, with a 6.33 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 27 innings. 

39. Jake Wilson, CF, Nottawasaga SS (Ontario)

Wilson elected to go to Bowling Green State, where he hit .297 in four years and was twice named to the MAC All-Defensive team. Unfortunately, he was not drafted again. 

40. Carter Henry, RHP, Port Neches-Groves HS (Tex.)

Henry was another guy that saw limited time during his senior year of college in 2020 due to the pandemic and was not drafted again. He played for four years at Houston, posting a 3.92 ERA with 114 strikeouts in 103 1/3 innings.

Raw totals:
Players drafted: 40
Players signed: 22
Baseball America/MLB Top 100 prospects: 2
Signed players who have reached majors: 6

Photo Credit: Jay Groome, Bobby Dalbec, and Kyle Hart by Kelly O'Connor