The 2013 MLB draft is just one week away, meaning we'll know just who the Red Sox are selecting with the seventh-overall pick seven days from today. That's the question of the week, though: who are the Red Sox planning to take with their earliest draft pick since 1993, when Trot Nixon was selected -- oddly enough -- seventh overall?
Based on the mock drafts we've seen rolling in over the last month, we can develop something of a short list of candidates that are rumored to intrigue Boston.
Braden Shipley, RHP, University of Nevada
Shipley was pegged as a Red Sox pick by Scout.com's Kiley McDaniel. With arms like Sean Manaea falling down the draft board due to injury, Shipley is one of the few intriguing -- and potential impact -- hurlers who could be available at #7. There are many mock drafts that have him going earlier than McDaniel says, though, so as with everyone else, don't fall too in love with a player who might never even be an option for the Red Sox by the time they get to make a decision.
He hasn't been a pitcher for long, but you wouldn't know it given his arsenal and the poise he reportedly shows on the mound. Shipley sounds like a potential front of the rotation type arm, one who his coaches and scouts feel succeeded in a closer role in an Alaskan summer league due to his embrace of adrenaline and a stage. A National League scout had some lovely things to say about him in a Baseball America profile:
"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."
The Red Sox have a lot of pitching prospects in the system at the moment, but you don't draft for need in MLB: you take the best available player, and there are situations where Boston could be picking, and Shipley is that guy.
Colin Moran, 3B, University of North Carolina
Moran has been linked to the Red Sox a couple of times, first by Sports Illustrated's Dave Perkin, then by Minor League Ball's John Sickels. Keith Law says Moran is "the best pure college bat in this draft class," and that he has "incredible bat speed" as well as the ability to barrel up the baseball. His plate discipline gets approval as well, as Law says it's"superb." In addition, Law believes that Moran could hit for a high average in the pros. He might not be a third baseman long term, but if his bat develops as expected, first base should be an option.
Sickels' believed Moran was something of a safe pick for the Red Sox -- they could get someone with a real (potential) future, but not have to use the seventh pick on someone from high school with maybe a higher ceiling, but one that's likely more of a dream. I still think the Red Sox would rather maximize this rare opportunity to draft inside the 10 by going with as much upside as possible, but, depending on who gets picked in the first six spots, that decision might be made for them, anyway.
Clint Frazier, OF, Loganville High School (Georgia)
Frazier joins Moran as the only other draft prospect to show up in multiple mocks, with Jim Callis going with Frazier not once, but twice, and Jonathan Mayo from MLB.com also went the Frazier route twice. (While mentioning Frazier worked out with the Sox recently, even.) He's the high-ceiling high schooler referred to above as the competition of Moran for the #7 slot, assuming both of them are even still on the board at this point. Baseball Prospectus' Nick Faleris grades Frazier as a well-rounded hitter, with a future power rating of 60 on the 20-80 scale, as well as a hit tool of 50-55. His speed and defense are both in that same above-average range as well, suggesting that, while Frazier might not dominate any single tool or statistic, he has the potential to be very effective at all facets of the game -- there's huge potential value in that.
There are questions as to whether he can stick in center or has to go to a corner spot, and even which corner, based on how tendinitis in his arm heals up. There's also, of course, the potential for Frazier to completely fall apart once he jumps from high school to the pros, hence the notion of Sickels seen above. He sounds like he could be a worthwhile risk, though.
Ryne Stanek, RHP, University of Arkanas
Photo credit: USA TODAY Sports
Stanek is Law's selection from his own mock, and he projects as a #2 starter in the majors, assuming he can work out all the kinks he has with his breaking balls and mechanics. Out of all the potential options presented in mocks, Stanek is the one I warmed up to the least, given all the question marks: if the Sox go with a pitcher, I'd rather Shipley assuming he's around, and if it's down to Stanek or one of the two position players, than position player is the direction I'd prefer the Red Sox take -- it's hard to believe two of those three would be off the board by the time Boston comes up, lest someone who should have gone earlier is skipped over because of it.
Stanek, in some ways, sounds a bit more like the kind of player the Red Sox would have hoped fell out of the top 10 and into their neighborhood later in the draft. They might see something more in him that I do not -- they are trained for that sort of thing, after all -- but my unprofessional thought on the matter is that he should go later than this. If they think they can sort out all of the potential problems easily, though, with less of a problem than Anthony Ranaudo had in a similar situation, than that would explain his place here.
Update: It's worth pointing out that, while this was being written, Keith Law updated his mock draft, and has instead picked Austin Meadows to the Red Sox. It will take a very intriguing, draft-changing pick for that to occur, though.
Do you like the targets that seem to be in the Red Sox' sights? They're likely looking at more players than this from the first round -- not that they're likely to make it to #7, but if, say, Kris Bryant or Kohl Stewart fell to Boston, they'd be hard-pressed not to go off the expected course -- and have far, far more than this to consider for the first few rounds of the draft. It all begins with that #7 pick, though.
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