Keith Law's mock draft projects Casey Gillaspie to Red Sox

MLB.com

Don't worry, he doesn't sound like his brother Conor.

The Red Sox are in a weird spot in the draft. They select 26th out of 27 first-round picks, meaning that, in a draft without much in the way of high-end talent but plenty of depth, the quality of who is being projected to them varies wildly. Sometimes, you get exciting bits of news, like the possibility that Erick Fedde might fall to them. Sometimes, you see a player like Derek Fisher, an outfielder who has his downsides but also has 70 raw power: potential power is exciting!

Then, you get mock drafts like Keith Law's latest, where Casey Gillaspie is projected to the Sox. He is the brother of White Sox third baseman Conor Gillaspie, who is bringing his career numbers to the realm of average thanks to his early season .407 batting average on balls in play this year. It's not fair to compare Casey and Conor directly even if they're brothers, but when you've got limited information to go on and he's the younger brother of a player you're not impressed by, it makes me make a face, okay?

On the non-Conor end of the spectrum, Gillaspie comes off a lot better, even if it's not, to keep with the theme, exciting:

Gillaspie is a quality defender, capable of digging balls out of the dirt with soft hands and he moves well enough to get to the bag quickly. His upside is limited, but he's good enough offensively and defensively that he has a chance to be an everyday first baseman, just probably not one who you can hit in the middle of the order.

A solid defensive first baseman who could hit 18-20 homers per year and show off plate discipline could turn out to be a fine player. It's just not a sexy one. The thing is, though, at 26th in the draft, no one is going to be a sexy pick. The aforementioned Fisher has that potential power, but it's still only raw, not in-game, and he's a mess defensively. Fedde has the upside to be a number two starter, but he's also undersized and will miss time thanks to undergoing Tommy John surgery this spring. Many of the other alternatives are high schoolers who are more athlete than baseball player at this point, and for all their upside, you know how that can end up.

Gillaspie might have limited upside per Law, but he has a chance to be a productive regular. At 26th, in a draft where the talent level evens out in a hurry, a regular first baseman is far from the worst thing you could draft -- even if it doesn't sound all that exhilarating. For what it's worth, Baseball America rated him as the top first baseman available in the draft, ranked him the 29th-best draft prospect overall, and wrote he would "look even better to teams that lean on analytics", so the Sox getting him at 26 would be properly rating him through that lens.

With that being said, "college first baseman" doesn't sound very Red Sox, not unless this is part of a larger plan. Like, say, to guarantee they get their first overall pick and the budget attached to him, and can then take a chance on Fedde at 33 should he miraculously fall that far, or any number of signability guys later on who will cost the Sox less in terms of lost budget should they fail to sign them. That's a definite possibility. There is also the Occam's razor version of events, where the Sox just think Gillaspie is a good player worth drafting, and will do their best to do just that next week.

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