The Red Sox made 30 draft picks on Wednesday, and not all of them are worth paying attention to. That's not meant to discredit any of the players chosen, or anything like that: it's just that some of them are drafted for the purpose of being new organizational players, not as future big leaguers, and others were selected with the chances of even signing them basically nonexistent.
So, with that in mind, we're going to pick out the 10 most intriguing and fascinating of the 30 players the Red Sox drafted on Wednesday. If you want to read about every draft pick from this week, well, we can help you out there, too.
- Red Sox draft Andrew Benintendi 7th overall
- Red Sox draft results, rounds 3 to 10
- Red Sox draft results, rounds 11 to 20
- Red Sox draft results, rounds 21 to 30
- Red Sox draft results, rounds 31 to 40
Round 11: Nicholas Hamilton, 321st overall
Hamilton's big thing is speed: he registers as an 80 on the 20-80 scouting scale, which means he's got elite wheels. He has potential as a hitter, too, but he's very raw at the plate as a switch-hitting high school outfielder from upstate New York. He's very likely to be both a project and an overslot pick -- every selection from rounds 11 through 40 can cost up to $100,000, and every bonus dollar over that counts against the draft pool budget for the first 10 rounds -- but an outfielder this fast has all kinds of potential if they can hit even a little.
Round 14: Bobby Poyner, 411th overall
Poyner is a senior and a southpaw, and while his future is going to be in relief, he'll likely kick things off as a starter. He can throw strikes and his slider grades out as a future major-league-average offering, so he should produce quality work in the lower minors, and might even move through the system quickly since he already has so much college experience.
Round 16: Marcus Brakeman, 471st overall
Brakeman ranked 141st on Baseball America's top-500 draft prospects list, but he fell all the way to round 16 thanks to arm soreness that cut into his velocity and effectiveness this spring. When his arm is feeling fine, his fastball sits in the mid-90s, and he has control of his pitches that should make him a big-league starter. The big question is health: if he's not durable enough for starting, he should still make for a high-quality reliever, so the Sox getting him this late and for what will likely be something a little over $100,000 is a steal.
Round 18: James Nelson, 531st overall
He's a high school shortstop who won't turn 18 until after the MLB season is over, but he's also something of an under-the-radar prospect. Given that, the Sox should be able to sign him for over $100,000 without it cutting too much into their other overslot plans.
Round 20: Yomar Valentin, 591st overall
The son of former big-league player Jose Valentin, Yomar is just 5-foot-7 but gets credit for his makeup and for playing "above his size". In an organization with Dustin Pedroia, Brock Holt, Carlos Asuaje, Sean Coyle, and so on, there is no shock to be seen in the Sox drafting someone with that description attached.
He'll probably be one of the more expensive players to sign from these rounds -- out of ones who realistically could sign, anyway -- as he's just a high school talent and has the bloodline to bring in more money should he honor his commitment to Auburn.
Round 23: Kyri Washington, 681st overall
He's a risky prospect, as the ceiling is high, but the floor is low, low, low. He has tools, but there is always the chance they won't translate into in-game ability: looking like an athlete who can do special things is a whole lot different than actually doing those special things.
That's the beauty of drafting Washington in the 23rd, though: if he fails spectacularly, then at least it was only a large bonus relative to his draft position. If he puts everything together and cuts down on the swing-and-miss while improving his strike zone recognition under the tutelage of Boston's coaching, then wow, how did they get this guy in the 23rd round?
Round 25: Andrew Noviello 741st overall
Noviello is new to catching, as he used to be a second baseman, but scouts apparently believe he has the tools necessary to stick behind the plate. He's also a local guy, as he played for Bridgewater-Raynham High School, and he'll be 19 years old by the time the 2016 season rolls around.
He's not just a curiosity, as BA rated him the 207th draft prospect on their top-500, but he will end up costing the Red Sox more than the $100,000 allotted for this pick. Can Boston afford Noviello and Valentin and Washington and Hamilton and everyone else like that? Maybe! But they'll probably need to get not just those three college seniors from the first 10 rounds at a serious discount, but maybe number seven pick Andrew Benintendi, too.
It should be said that if the Sox do manage to get all of these picks, then their draft went very, very well.
Where does Benintendi rank in the Sox system?
The Red Sox picked a center fielder out of Arkansas with their first selection in the 2015 MLB draft, so let's give him some context.
Round 27: Saige Jenco, 801st overall
He's another speed-first guy like Hamilton, and he slipped in the draft in part because he's not the player he was a couple of years ago: he tore his labrum as a freshman, and his arm strength is just starting to round back into form. He has two years of eligibility left, so he might stick at Virginia Tech a little longer, but maybe offering him $100,000 will convince him to go pro now and finish the final stages of rehabbing that injury while cashing checks.
Round 35: Tyler Spoon, 1041st overall
Spoon may or may not be a prospect, but his placement here is fascinating as he was teammates with first-round pick Andrew Benintendi at Arkansas, and even an outfielder there as well. There could be something here, as his low strikeout rates were notable this spring, as was his .505 slugging. It's also the second time he has been drafted, as the A's tried to get him a year ago a round later.
Round 37: Adam Lau, 1101st overall
Lau might be more of a curiosity than anything at this stage, but there is some potential here. He was a two-way player who was decent at the plate but showed more potential upside on the mound, where he struck out 12 batters per nine this season in relief. Maybe the switch to pitching full-time, under the guidance of pro coaching, can help him refine his control and become a legitimate bullpen prospect.
There were other good prospects selected, such as Daniel Reyes in the 39th round, but some of them seem like a longshot to sign, as they could go to college instead and end up drafted much, much earlier, in a place where they can earn much, much more money. The 10 above represent that intersection of signability and ability, with a few intriguing projects and potential sleepers thrown in for good measure. That kind of balance is about all you can ask for out of the back-end of a draft, and, assuming the Sox can sign these guys, then they have likely succeeded in that goal.
Is there anyone you're drawn to that isn't listed above? These are the ones who stuck out to me, but there are others hidden among the 30.