The 2015 MLB Draft is just 10 days away, and the first few selections still don't seem to be settled. Part of the reason for that is the Diamondbacks' silence on their preference with the first-overall selection: who they pick could end up rearranging a few things, making certain players the Red Sox would like to fall to seventh available -- think Alex Bregman, Dansby Swanson, and Dillon Tate.
In Keith Law's latest mock draft, all three of those players are off the board, leaving the Sox to choose between their secondary favorites. One of those is a newcomer to this discussion, Andrew Benintendi, and he's who Law believes Boston will pick.
Law says the Sox are "almost certain" to take a bat with the seventh pick, which means those early rumors of Vanderbilt right-hander Carson Fulmer to Boston might not carry weight any longer. Benintendi is apparently the top bat choice with the others from above gone, as the outfielder projects as an above-average regular so long as he can stick in center. If he can't, then he'll need to hit for enough power to make up for the move to a corner.
The Arkansas sophomore was named SEC Player of the Year, but there are fears his swing won't work as well with wood bats. Still, as Kiley McDaniel points out in his own recent mock -- which also suggests Benintendi to Boston -- his "high level of play in the SEC" combined with his ability to play up the middle make him something of an obvious choice at seven, assuming these others are off the board.
There is still a chance that Alex Bregman is around at seven, though: Law believes the Twins will take him, but also mentions that Kolby Allard and Daz Cameron are possibilities at six. If Minnesota were to take one of those two over Bregman, and the Rangers don't pick Bregman at four as McDaniel believes, then he'll still be there for the Sox, and they'll at least have options for an up-the-middle position player. There is also the possibility that the D-Backs go with someone besides Swanson at number one, which could set off something of a cascade that results in the Sox having more to choose from than Benintendi.
Law also mentions that Boston is high on Canadian slugger Josh Naylor, but that seems unlikely to be their pick, as McDaniel sees him gone by the middle of round two, while Christopher Crawford ranked the high school outfielder 75th in his top-100 draft prospects list and MLB.com ranked him 59th:
It will be his bat that will be his calling card. The Texas Tech commit makes hard, consistent contact from the left side of the plate, something that should improve even more as he refines his approach. There is a ton of power in the bat as well, with the potential to be a serious home run threat in the future. The other parts of Naylor's game lag behind as he is a well below-average runner and doesn't really have a true defensive position, though first base is likely to be his home.
The team taking Naylor in the top few rounds will be buying his power potential, even if his best position will always be "batter's box."
The Sox would have to be ridiculously high on Naylor to pass up on one of the more obvious top-10 selections, but if they think his power is going to play and he'll have an impact bat at first, maybe they are that high on the Canadian. Still, it seems unlikely, but you can watch video of him all the same.
Who knows, maybe he'll slip to the third round and the 81st pick, and Boston can get one of the top-10 guys as well as Naylor. We'll know in 10 days.