The latest (and last) mock draft out of MLB.com has Jonathan Mayo tabbing the Red Sox to take catcher Matt Thaiss, with Jim Callis landing on right-handed pitcher Ian Anderson.
This, basically, is the scenario where the Red Sox don't see one of the top prospects fall to them, and apparently don't take much of a liking to Nolan Jones (who both have going in the 20s). The Mickey Moniak possibility is erased in this scenario with the first overall pick in both man's drafts, which suggests it's as much of a pipe dream as we thought. Zack Collins, the Miami catcher often linked to Boston, goes to the Brewers for Callis (though he says he expects him to fall to Boston if Milwaukee doesn't pick him), while Mayo expects the Mariners to snipe him away right ahead of the Red Sox.
So let's start with Thaiss. It makes sense that the Sox might turn to him in the event that Collins doesn't fall to them, since he basically is a poor mans' Collins. He, like his Miami counterpart, is a bat-first "catcher" who may or may not wind up in a different position down the road. Collins has a better trend of late defensively, and where Thaiss shows excellent pitch recognition and strike zone judgment, Collins just straight-up led the NCAA in on-base percentage. He's got some power, but not the kind that can produce the sort of tape-measure bombs Collins has, on occasion, produced.
If you get the feeling I'm not sold on Thaiss, well, I'm not. Maybe it's just because the seemingly superior Collins has been dangled before me, but he just doesn't seem all that impressive for the first half of the first round. Notably, Callis doesn't have him going until the Nationals pick at 28th.
Ian Anderson, at least, seems more in line with the talent level of players the Red Sox have been tied to before. His name comes up pretty early on as a candidate for teams picking even in the top-five. Baseball America even has him perfectly lined up as the 12th best prospect in the draft. He's even a Red Sox fan despite havin grown up in New York.
Where did Hanley Ramirez's power go?
Hanley Ramirez's defense has been a nice surprise, but it doesn't matter if he can't produce the power we expect.
As for what he brins to the table, the high-school righty already sits in the low-to-mid 90s with some late action on his fastball, and can hit higher velocities. That's no small thing when you consider that he's still likely to fill out some more as he matures. He also has a strong changeup, and an inconsistent-but-promising curveball. He's dealt with some minor injury issues this past year, and is a Vanderbilt recruit, but there's little in that which should really hurt his stock.
Landing Anderson would not be a coup, exactly, but certainly a reasonable get at 12. The Red Sox have been burned by prep pitchers before, certainly, but not every high school arm can be said to be Trey Ball any more than Andrew Benintendi can be called just another Bryce Brentz. The Sox will likely hope he doesn't even fall to them, since that will mean someone else does, and they very much seem to be on the hunt for guys who end up dropping. But if things play out such that Anderson is the best talent available, the Sox can walk away happy with him as their pick.