With the draft in the rear view mirror, and questions about who will and won't sign the next item on the summer's agenda, it's time to start thinking about just how good the players the Red Sox selected are. It's a bit difficult to fit them in, as there's a lack of context until they play professionally, but you can still get a sense of where prospect experts see them.
Keith Law kicked things off today over at ESPN.com, when he looked at where each first-round selection fit in to his team-by-team rankings. For the Red Sox, that means shortstop Deven Marrero, drafted out of Arizona State University. Law has Marrero "Fourth, behind the Killer B's on Salem's roster." While he doesn't explicitly rank them, Law is referring to Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley, and Matt Barnes -- that's not bad company to be in, especially in a system with as many bright spots in the 10-15 range as the Red Sox. They might not be loaded with outright stars, but there are a number of potentially productive, future major-league caliber players here.
How do other scouting gurus feel about Marrero? We asked around to see just what Boston has in their newest first-round selection.
Marrero is a guy that generates wildly varying opinions. He's a plus SS, but is he going to hit? Gut says he'd slide into the back of their 11 somewhere. -Kevin Goldstein, Baseball Prospectus
When asked who he would take from Boston's trio of Jose Iglesias, Deven Marrero, and Jose Vincicio if he could only have one of the three two years from now: "I don't think Vinicio is close in two years, but he has more upside than any of them. It's just risky to take him over two more polished guys." This adds to the idea that, while Marrero does have upside to him, he's considered more of a high-floor player thanks to that glove that you know is going to be there.
I've been able to see Marrero a few times at ASU, and I was impressed in that context. He has a legit skill-set for SS, which is where his value lives. His bat is okay; he has bat speed and some bat control, but he's not going to be a big offensive force. In Boston's system, I'd put him in top 10 without thinking, but would need to think with more depth to pinpoint exactly where in the top 10. I'm not sure I would put him ahead of Jose Vinicio at this point. The reports on that kid have been impressive. -Jason Parks, Baseball Prospectus
Parks might think a little more highly of Marrero than Goldstein, but not as much so as Law. Once again, Vinicio gets some love.
Just outside the Top 10, 11-13 to start. I prefer Jose Iglesias right now because of the defense. Once I see Marrero hit with wood and get a feel for the skills that may change. I have questions about how Marerro's bat will translate to wood given his struggles with composite bats in college. Told his defense is plus.
-Chris Mellen, Sox Prospects
Marrero wasn't necessarily bad with the composite bats in college, but his offense took a definite downturn once the NCAA made the switch two years ago. Boston likes his swing more than his results, though, so, like Mellen, we'll just have to wait and see what happens with pro coaching (and wood bats) at his disposal.
That's one more vote for the back-end of the top 10, giving us quite the range here for Marrero. Badler prefers Marrero out of the three shortstops in the system, but says, "they've all got question marks on the bat."
One reason Law might think so highly of the shortstop is that he thinks he'll be able to get his bat back to where it was. From Law's pre-draft rankings:
Deven Marrero, #13. Analysis: Once viewed as a top-five pick, Marrero's stock has dropped a bit after a lackluster spring compounded by various adjustments to his setup and swing that have made things worse. He still has the potential to be an above-average shortstop if he can get his swing back to where it was last season.
Previously, Law ranked Marrero as #7 and #4 in his pre-draft rankings, so if the bat does come back, Boston got themselves quite the player at #24. Of course, Marrero hasn't even signed yet, so this idea of where he slots is all hypothetical for now. That's half the fun with prospects, though, isn't it?