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Red Sox 2013 draft review: What makes a successful draft?

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There's failure at the top, but a deep selection of picks and trades already made might have 2013's draft as more of a success than you'd think.

asuaje Kelly O'Connor

The 2011 Red Sox draft is easy to figure out. Boston managed to get Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley, Travis Shaw, Matt Barnes, Blake Swihart and more out of it. The 2012 draft is also simple enough: it's still a work in progress, but Boston has two first-round picks with a good chance to be big-league regulars, plus a couple of other selections with promise remaining to them.

The 2013 draft, though? That makes you wonder about just what makes for a successful draft. Since it was only three Junes ago, it's not surprising that Boston hasn't graduated a single player from it. Some of them -- important early ones with significant signing bonuses, even -- might never graduate to the Red Sox, however, and that's a problem.

With that being said, Boston has already managed to trade a handful of members of this draft class, and in a couple of those scenarios, as parts of trades for key pieces. In some of these cases, those players have even gone on to produce and show just why they were drafted in the first place and desired in a trade afterward. In addition to those instances, there are also a significant number of late selections who still show promise of reaching the majors someday, but given their youth at the time the draft, aren't quite there yet.

It's a draft that makes you think, and it would be better if some of the first few picks had worked out better -- or at all. Boston has already benefited from a number of these selections, though, and this class might have more help on the way.

1. Trey Ball, 7th overall

You could probably glean from the above that Ball was the subject of the "might never graduate" line. He's now in his second go at High-A, and while his ERA sure is shiny, that's about all he has going for him. He once again possesses a 1.3 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and is whiffing 0.1 more batters per nine than he did in 2015, when he managed a 5.4 mark. He might even be doing an acceptable job of things even with the low strikeout rate thanks to his grounders -- he's inducing them 56 percent of the time, a huge jump from last summer's 24 percent rate -- but Ball is still walking far too many batters.

trey ball Kelly O'Connor

He's 22, and will be 23 at the end of this month. So he's still young, but time is becoming a factor for a pitcher drafted three years ago. If he can bump up his strikeouts and reduce his walks while keeping these new-found grounders, then maybe there is still something here. If he has to restart the entire process after a promotion and ends up being 25 by the time he figures out Double-A, then the more optimistic of us will understand the more pessimistic of us.

2. Teddy Stankiewicz, 45th overall

Stankieiwcz looked like he had figured some things out and had pushed himself back into the starting pitching prospect conversation. A drop in his strikeouts combined with an increase in his walks, bookended by two blowouts, has brought him back down once more, though. There is still hope here, of course -- Stankiewicz is 22 and just got to Double-A, and he's shown himself capable of making adjustments in the past. The longer it takes him to get things together in a sustainable fashion, though, the more like it is that starting isn't in his future. We're not quite at the point where we need to worry about that, but he's not going to get any younger.

3. Jon Denney, 81st overall

You know the details, and if you don't...

4. Myles Smith, 113th overall

Smith was a project who struggled during his time in the Red Sox organization, but he ended up being a piece sent to the Diamondbacks in the deal that brought Boston Wade Miley. A year later, Miley was sent to the Mariners in a trade that brought back Carson Smith and Roenis Elias. It's not quite the same as Smith developing into a valuable pitcher for the Sox, but Smith is going to be plenty valuable when he comes back from Tommy John next year, so hey.

5. Corey Littrell, 143rd overall

Littrell was also traded before fully developing, as part of the John Lackey trade that brought back Allen Craig and Joe Kelly. Littrell is no longer a starting pitcher -- there was the chance of that happening at some point, and the Cardinals didn't hesitate to move the lefty to the pen during a 2015 where his strikeouts dipped. Littrell has been dominant in relief, and was recently promoted to Triple-A, where he's striking out 6.5 times as many batters as he's walking and has a 0.82 ERA in 11 innings.

St Louis Cardinals Photo Day Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Now I don't feel so bad about waiting until Littrell was announced to be annoyed by the trade. Or I feel worse. I'm still working through this, okay?

9. Kyle Martin, 263rd overall

Martin is striking out 11.6 batters per nine and has a K/BB nearly as lofty thanks to exactly one free pass per nine. The big right-hander -- Martin is 6-foot-7 and 230 pounds -- should be added to the 40-man roster and the Boston bullpen next time they need someone who isn't Heath Hembree to come up. He'll be the first of this Boston-specific draft class to make it to the majors, so long as the Cardinals, Padres, or Orioles don't make a move with one of their former Sox farmhands first.

11. Carlos Asuaje, 323rd overall

Asuaje was someone I was a big fan of when the Sox drafted him and as he quickly rose up the organizational ladder. He was included as part of the prospect return for Craig Kimbrel this past offseason, and you can see why both myself and the Padres were into him by checking in on his 2016. Asuaje is batting .333/.383/.508 at Triple-A this year, and while it is the Pacific Coast League we're talking about, the average hitter there is at .267/.335/.409, so Asuaje is still comfortably above.

He's going to be a valuable utility man when he gets to the majors, or maybe he'll even hit enough to claim a position for his own. The Sox will miss him in the sense he could have been useful, but whenever they feel that way, they can just ask Kimbrel to close out a ballgame to help them forget.

MLB: San Diego Padres-Media Day Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

13. Jordan Sheffield, 383rd overall
22. Ryan Boldt, 653rd overall

Neither Sheffield nor Boldt signed, but Boldt is now ranked 13th on Baseball America's college draft board, and Sheffield is 19th. The Sox made the right call drafting them, and these two made the right call waiting for the kind of money that could go to a first-round-ish player rather than sign this late.

17. Joseph Monge, 503rd overall

Monge took some time to get going, but the outfield is still just 21 years old, and hit .338/.392/.479 for Low-A Greenville this spring before a promotion to High-A Salem. This could be nothing, but it could also be something, especially since he's got some real range in the outfield. If he can keep hitting even a little, there might be a future for him.

18. Joe Gunkel, 533rd overall

Gunkel is the last of the traded draft prospects, as he was sent to the Orioles last summer for Alejandro De Aza, who was later dealt by the Sox to the Giants for a different relief prospect, Luis Ysla. Gunkel is now in Triple-A, and the O's still have him starting. He's not doing too well in that role, but a switch to the bullpen was always the eventual plan, anyway, and it's in that space where Gunkel just might thrive.

26. Mauricio Dubon, 773rd overall

Like Asuaje, Dubon could be a pretty good utility player in the majors someday, or he might hit enough to wrest away a position from someone less deserving. The difference is we're a lot further away from seeing which is Dubon's path, given he's 21 and in High-A, but you can probably safely lean on the utility route given his current .377 slugging percentage. That's not a bad thing, though: a 26th-round pick becoming a big-league player -- even as a utility player -- is a win.

30. Nick Longhi, 893rd overall

Longhi has a lot of ceiling left, thanks to some real power. The problem is that, to this point, we've mostly been talking raw, not in-game power. Still, he's still only 20 years old and won't be 21 until a couple of weeks before the minor-league season is over, and he's making contact and drawing walks. If the power comes eventually, he's going to change the perception of this draft at least a little bit on his own.