MLB Draft Insider's Chris Crawford is back with another mock draft, and a new pair of picks for the Boston Red Sox. This time he's got Boston slated to snag the power-hitting A.J. Reed with the 26th pick, and outfielder Marcus Wilson with the 33rd.
A.J. Reed is the less familiar of the two. Named the National Player of the Year by Collegiate Baseball, Crawford describes Reed as "the best power hitter in the collegiate class." The 21-year-old first baseman has backed that reputation up with numbers in 2014, hitting .351 with 23 homers in only 58 games played.
Reed is also an accomplished pitcher, but would almost certainly be leaving that behind no matter which organization he joins. Simply put, there's one major league quality player here, not two, and there doesn't seem to be much question which side of Reed fits that bill.
This would be a pretty significant divergence from Boston's tendency to select athletic center field and shortstop types with their early position player picks. In fact, there are few players like Reed in Boston's system at all. Perhaps this is a sign that the Red Sox are focusing more on producing big bats from within as a reaction to some of the ridiculous contracts handed out to players like Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder in recent years.
Even the two players Crawford mentions the Sox would likely prefer--Connor Gillaspie(predicted to go 21st to the Indians) and Derek Fisher (17th to the Royals)--are bat-first, glove-second. Crawford had previously predictedDerek Hill to the Red Sox, who is far more in keeping with Boston's usual picks. This time, however, Hill is projected to go 14th to the Giants, well ahead of Boston's first selection.
More familiar to us is Marcus Wilson, who has been projected to the Red Sox before. Where Keith Law had the Sox pegged to take him 26th, however, Crawford expects they can get away with waiting a little longer.
Wilson is definitely more of Boston's athletic type. As Marc covered last time:
Wilson, a 6-foot-3, 175-pounder from Serra High School, doesn't quite fit that mold, as he's a high school outfielder who is "more athlete than baseball player". Law says he could be a center fielder, but he's so raw at the moment that he won't look like one immediately, and that his skill set is a volatile one, even if he has seen improvements in his swing.
Frankly, that reminds me of Williams Jerez--Boston's peanut-hitting second rounder from 2011--just a little too much. But that's the nature of these all-or-nothing players. If they hit, you get a chance at something special, which is probably what the Red Sox want their system to be doing more than pumping out a consistent supply of players ranging from below to above average.
We'll find out what the actual picks are in just a week's time. But for now, it's looking like it could be an unusual year for the Red Sox.