MLB Draft 2013: Could the Red Sox draft Braden Shipley?

Mike Stobe

The system has a lot of pitching prospects already, but you can never have too much pitching depth.

Kiley McDaniel of FOX Sports' Scout.com has his most recent mock draft up that runs through the first 33 selections for the 2013 amateur entry draft. The Red Sox will pick seventh thanks to their abysmal 2012 campaign, and since they're currently in first place in the American League East, we can actually enjoy that as more than just a reward for being terrible. (Sorry, Astros, Cubs, etc.)

McDaniel gives information on a few different players, but focuses mostly on Braden Shipley, a 21-year-old, 6-foot-2, 180 pound right-handed pitcher who has converted from the infield. He's "new" to pitching, but "flashes a plus fastball-changeup combo and the makings of an above average breaking ball." He's also the cousin of Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Jordan Shipley, so there are some athletes in the family.

Something to remember about mock drafts: things don't necessarily turn out the way they're envisioned. McDaniel even says that a player Boston would like isn't available in his particular scenario, as he's already been taken off of the board -- Shipley is referred to as a "consolation prize."

Christopher Crawford, a prospect analysis for ESPN, recently wrote about Shipley while discussing pitchers who have thrown too many pitches of late. Shipley tossed 130 pitches for the second time in three weeks -- one wonders if that's the sort of thing that could push a team away from Shipley and on to another prospect they like.

There's a lot to like about Shipley, though, that might make him worth the risk so long as health issues don't come up between now and the draft. Baseball America thinks he's a lock for the first round and a potential top-10 pick, one that flashed 97 but sat in the mid-90s as a closer in the Alaska League last summer. That velocity sits about 93-96 even when starting, so he's got some serious heat on that fastball. That's not all he throws, though:

"He's got arguably one of the best righthanded changeups in the country-and that's including the major leagues," a National League area scout said. "It's a devastating pitch, a separator. And I think his breaking ball could be a plus pitch in the future. It's a true curveball, late and hard, and I've seen it up to 79-80 (mph), but there are also times you see it floating in at 74-75."

From the sounds of it, Shipley is highly athletic -- he played basketball and football in high school -- and has even played golf from an early age. He's described as an "adrenaline junkie" in Baseball America's description of him, a fact that played in his favor while closing last summer. He's also described as a potential clubhouse leader, and comes off sounding like a hard worker -- these are all positives, and the kinds of bonuses on top of performance that make you attractive to a club on draft day.

Will Boston end up getting him? That's something we won't know until June, as if he continues to succeed at Nevada, there are a few teams in front of the Red Sox who might decide they want this promising young hurler. He does sound like a name we'll want to keep in mind for the next month, though, as rumors come alive and die leading in to the draft.

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