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July 14, 2022 at 11:00 AM

2022 Red Sox Draft Preview

It’s that time of year again! The MLB Draft gets underway Sunday evening at 7:00 pm ET. Day One will include the first two rounds; Day Two will be Monday at 2:00 pm, covering rounds 3 through 10; and Day Three will be Tuesday at 2:00 pm, covering rounds 11 through 20.

This year, the Red Sox have four picks in the top 100, including #24 (first round), #41 (second round compensation pick for not signing 2021 second-round pick Jud Fabian), #79 (third round, compensation for losing Eduardo Rodriguez in free agency), and #99 (fourth round). Our predictions for some possibilities for those picks are below. The team previously forfeited the #61 pick (second round) for signing Trevor Story in free agency.  Boston’s bonus pool cap is $8,078,300 this year, down from roughly $11 million last year when the club had the fourth overall pick. 

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), Clay Buchholz (2005, 1st), Justin Masterson (2006, 2nd), Daniel Bard (2006, 1st), Josh Reddick (2006, 17th), Anthony Rizzo (2007, 6th), Christian Vazquez (2008, 9th), Jackie Bradley, Jr. (2011, supplemental 1st), Matt Barnes (2011, 1st), Mookie Betts (2011, 5th), Michael Kopech (2014, supplemental 1st), Andrew Benintendi (2015, 1st), Bobby Dalbec (2016, 4th), and Tanner Houck (2017, 1st). They have also successfully selected several relievers, part-time contributors, and trade chips over that period, and there is a bevy of recent selections at the top of the club's current top prospect rankings. 

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), Trey Ball (2013, 1st, 7th overall), Teddy Stankiewicz (2013, 2nd), Austin Rei (2015, 3rd), Cole Brannen (2017, 2nd), and Brett Netzer (2017, 3rd). 

Some of the most notable players selected at #24 overall over the last 40 years include Terry Mullholland (1984), Alex Fernandez (1988), Rondell White (1990), Joe Blanton (2002), Chad Billingsley (2003), Randal Grichuk (2009), Walker Buehler (2015), Tanner Houck (2017), Nico Hoerner (2018), Daniel Espino (2019), and Nick Bitsko (2020). Some hits, a lot of misses in between those picks, and some future potential mixed in there. 

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 2022 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 early slot, I still like to think that our draft preview has been somewhat prophetic over the past 12 seasons, although perhaps less so over the last few years. We mentioned Marcelo Mayer and Niko Kavadas in 2021; Matthew Lugo and Sebastian Keane in 2019; Tanner Houck in 2017; four picks in 2016 including Bobby Dalbec; three picks in 2015 including Andrew Benintendi; Michael Chavis in 2014; two picks in 2013 including Trey Ball; three picks in 2012 including three of the team’s first four picks; both Matt Barnes and Blake Swihart in 2011; five picks in 2010 including the team’s first three picks in order, and a whopping 13 picks in 2009.

With that preface, here’s a list of players that we think could be possible targets for the Red Sox this year. Scouting reports are compiled from our review of video, college baseball games, and ongoing review of scouting reports from sites such as Baseball America, MLB Pipeline, and Perfect Game.

First Round (#24 overall)

Our best guess is that the team goes the college route this round, and maybe a college outfielder (of which there are many). Just a guess. Hot take though, don’t believe the prognosticators that tell you that teams always pick the BPA (best player available) and never consider need. While that's like 95% true, there’s nuance there. Teams certainly don't consider need for the current year, but long-term system strengths and holes are part of the consideration set, as are signability concerns that can sometimes lead clubs away from going with the BPA at the top of the draft. Also, reports are that BPA is tough to nail down in the 25-50 range in this draft. With that caveat, here are some possibilities that the Red Sox might explore in the first:

Connor Prielipp, LHP, Alabama. Drafted by Boston in the 37th round in 2019, but opted not to sign and enrolled at Alabama to pitch for the Crimson Tide. Impressed on the mound in 2020 before COVID prematurely ended the season. Looked solid out of the gate in 2021, with some scouts projecting him as a top ten pick. Ended up having Tommy John Surgery in May 2021. Missed the 2022 season but impressed scouts during workouts in May and June. Above-average 92-95 mph fastball, plus-plus slider, major league changeup, solid control. Frontline starter potential. Obviously a limited track record. Still, he has been mocked as high as the mid teens.

Jordan Beck, OF, Tennessee. Another former Red Sox draft pick, selected in the 14th round in 2019. Hit .298/.391/.595 with 18 home runs for the Vols in 2022. Potential five-tool player with a major league body. Consistently draws Hunter Renfroe comparisons. Bat grades out at fringe-average. Tends to be overly aggressive and doesn't make the best reads on pitches, which led to struggles in the Cape League in 2021. Above-average raw power and solid-average speed. Profiles as a solid-average right fielder with an above-average arm. Could be given an opportunity in center field. 

Dylan Beavers, OF, California. Another toolsy college outfielder. Fringy bat from the left side; may need some work to improve his swing mechanics. Plus power; hit 18 home runs in 2022. Above-average speed, above-average arm. Might stick in center field. Big upside but hit tool leaves room for bust potential.

Sterlin Thompson, OF, Florida. Draft-eligible sophomore. Thompson is more of a pure hitter than the other candidates but also less toolsy. Above-average hit tool with some plus potential. Hit .354 with a .443 OBP for the Gators in 2022. Fringe-average power and speed. Frame has some projection, so power could develop. Solid but unspectacular defensive player likely best suited for corner outfield. 

More College Outfielders. There’s a bevy of additional college outfielders to watch for when Boston’s first pick rolls around. Tennessee CF Drew Gilbert has fringy power but his other tools all profile as potentially average or better. James Madison CF Chase DeLauter is a potential middle-of-the-order bat, but he could be well off the board at #24. Stanford CF Brock Jones is extremely athletic, but his bat is fringe-average similar to Beck and Beavers. 

Beyond that, there are some late breaking rumblings that the Sox could be interested in Tri-Valley RiverCats RHP Kumar Rocker. For those who don't remember, the former Vanderbilt ace was once considered a strong possibility to go 1-1 in the 2021 draft. He was drafted 10th overall by the Mets, who rescinded a pre-draft verbal offer after reviewing his medicals. Rocker has been pitching in the Frontier League in 2022.

Second Round (#41 overall)

Tucker Toman, 3B, Hammond (SC). Switch-hitter committed to LSU. Polished bat-power combo for a prep player, but his speed and defense are lacking. Unclear defensive profile. 

Jacob Melton, OF, Oregon State. If Boston doesn’t go with a college outfielder at #24 and Melton is still around at #41 -- which is questionable -- he’s a prime candidate to be snatched up here. Plus speed. Hitting approach needs refinement. 

Logan Tanner, C, Mississippi St. Solid-average defensive backstop with a plus-plus arm. Potential fringe-average hit tool with average power. Profiles to stick at catcher.

Landon Sims, RHP, Mississippi St. Helped lead the Bulldogs to a championship in 2021. Elite closer potential with a plus-plus fastball and plus-plus slider. Had Tommy John Surgery in March 2022, so likely won’t be ready to pitch as a pro until mid-2023. 

Dalton Rushing, C, Louisville. Bat-first catcher. Was one of the top performers on the Cape in 2021, hitting .314/.401/.542 for Bourne. Went on to hit .310/.470/.680 for the Cardinals in 2022. Possibly could develop into an adequate catcher defensively but has limitations due to quickness and agility. 

Compensation Round (#79 overall)

Hunter Barco, RHP, Florida. Potential back of the rotation starter. Decent fastball but has two impressive secondaries in his curveball and slider. Solid control. High floor, moderate ceiling. 

Reggie Crawford, LHP, UConn. Closer potential. 97-100 mph fastball with a plus sider and passable control. Had Tommy John Surgery in October 2021. Potential two-way prospect.

Luke Gold, 2B, Boston College. Hit .303/.374/.540 over three seasons with the Eagles against some tough ACC competition. Consistent bat, fringe-average defender at second or possibly third base. 

Brady Neal, C, IMG Academy (FL). Solid both offensively and defensively for a prep player. While he’s an impressive all-around player, he doesn’t have an above-average carrying tool, which limits his ceiling. Committed to LSU.

Michael Kennedy, LHP, Troy (NY). Another LSU commit. Three solid pitches with advanced pitchability for a high schooler. Fastball currently tops out at 92 mph. Athletic left-hander with projection.

Third Round (#99 overall)

Dominic Keegan, 1B/C, Vanderbilt. Solid-Average bat with some pop. Might be able to stick at catcher. Native of Methuen, Mass., attended Central Catholic (MA).

Nate Savino, LHP, Virginia. Left-hander with three potential major league pitchers, but none are above-average. High floor, moderate ceiling. 

Nazier Mule, RHP/SS, Passaic (NJ). Legit two-way prospect, unclear if he ends up on the mound or in the field as a pro. Fastball hits 100 mph. Committed to Miami. 

Xavier Isaac, 1B, East Forsyth (NC). 6’4”, 240-pound first baseman committed to Florida. Solid-average current in-game power, massive raw power. 

Clark Elliot, OF, Michigan. Led the Cape League in batting average and OBP in 2021. Center fielder with above-average speed. 

Later Rounds

New England products. The Red Sox haven’t historically shown a penchant for selecting local players in the draft, although there have often been a couple New Englanders picked or signed as undrafted free agents each year. Nonetheless, I like to give some attention to New England products who could garner interest from Boston or other clubs. This year that list includes South Kingstown (RI) RHP Ben Brutti, Winnacunnet (NH) RHP Joe Allen, Houston RHP Ben Sears (Riverside, RI), Northeastern RHP Cam Schlittler (East Walpole, MA), Harvard RHP Adam Stone (Stamford, CT), Dexter Southfield SS Ivan Arias (Boston, MA), Austin Prep LHP Evan Blanco (Walpole, MA), Belmont Hill 3B Jack Winnay (Waban, MA), Pinkerton LHP Liam Doyle (Derry, NH), Barlow RHP Matt Scott (Redding, CT), Brockton Rox 3B D’Angelo Ortiz (son of David Ortiz), and Ayer (MA) IF Albert De La Rosa

Former Red Sox picks. Former Boston draft picks who are eligible for selection in 2022 include the aforementioned Fabian, Prielipp, and Beck. Prior unsigned draftees must give permission to their previously-drafting team to sign them again, and it is our understanding that Fabian will not grant permission to the Red Sox this year. Other former Sox picks eligible again this year include Texas SS Trey Faltine, California 1B Nathan Martorella, NC State SS Josh Hood, Louisville RHP Jared Poland, California RHP Aaron Roberts, Coastal Carolina LF Nick Lucky, Kentucky OF Oraj Anu, and Northeastern RHP Sebastian Keane

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