What is a Shadow Draft?
A Shadow Draft is essentially a live simulation that follows set rules. I insert myself into the role of “drafter” for the Boston Red Sox organization, and choose a player I believe to be the best talent, or best fit, when the Red Sox are on the clock. It’s a simple premise that makes more sense in action than it does through explanation. Basically it’s a real-time mock draft. Do not believe this is what happened or people will laugh at you.
Here are a few rules I had to follow:
- I cannot chose players taken earlier in the draft. I’m not going to get to take Hunter Greene 24th, as much as I’d probably like to. If a player is taken 23rd, and I have the 24th pick, I can only choose from players currently available.
- I am allowed to take the same player the Red Sox take in real life. If the Red Sox draft Frederick Ron in the 8th round, I can draft Frederick Ron in the 8th round. Not in the 9th, but in any round prior to the 8th.
- I do not have to worry about signing the player. That would throw in too many variables. For the sake of this exercise, we’re going to pretend my job is just to make sure the Red Sox have the best talent to choose from. I will be choosing players who are seniors, no doubt, because it’s simply not realistic to grab a bunch of high school arms and expect to sign all of them (no team can). I get a little leeway here, just because of how difficult it is to expect a player to sign with you for a certain dollar sign.
- I cannot be fired. The Red Sox gave me a lifetime contract in this simulation, and terminating the contract means I’m the new owner of the Red Sox, which allows me to continue to draft. My agent was really good. You should give him a call.
- This is fun and while I obviously want to do well, I’m probably going to do poorly. Actually, this isn’t really a rule. I don’t know why I put it in the rules. Whatever.
So, here goes something. I’ll be breaking this up into two posts, one for the first day, and one for the second.
1st Round - 24th Overall - Alex Lange
In real life, the Red Sox selected Tanner Houck. Houck is not a bad pick, in fact, he’s a decent pick who has a chance to impact the major league club as soon as any other guy in this draft. By not picking Houck here, I’m accepting I cannot pick Houck later in the draft. I’ve passed permanently on Houck.
With this pick, I was hoping Jeren Kendall was going to continue his improbable fall, but it turns out, that wasn’t in the cards. Neither was Trevor Rogers or Jake Burger, who would have made this choice a tough debate for me. I chose to pass on Bubba Thompson, Seth Romero, and Griffin Canning (just to give you a few more names I was considering, in case you dislike Lange).
Lange has two plus pitches I’m fond of: a fastball that he can gear up to 96/97 mph, and a power curve that I personally think could end up being a monster curve. He once had a solid changeup, that has deteriorated in college ball, but is a pitch I think he can get back professionally. If he can get that pitch back to the level it was prior to college, I feel like he can be a #3 SP.
The biggest weakness with my pick here, is that Lange has an inconsistent arm motion. This ultimately makes it difficult to project how useful he’ll be in the minor leagues, let alone the majors. It’s a pick of faith that the organization can fix his mechanics, and get him to the level he’s capable of playing.
Lange was drafted by the Cubs with the 30th overall in the actual draft.
2nd Round - 63rd Overall - Nick Allen
I wanted no part of Nick Allen in the first round. That’s nothing against the young shortstop, but I just didn’t feel like buying in on his skillset in the first round, particularly with so much talent still around, like Lange, Canning, and Thompson.
I had originally planned on taking Canning, but the Angels drafted him a few minutes prior, and unfortunately, they are the benefactors. I will merely settle for drafting a player many expected to be taken in the first round. Other players I considered with this pick were Coleman Brannen, Hans Crouse, Wil Crowe, and Jacob Heatherly.
The Red Sox, in reality, of course, drafted Coleman Brannen, and while I like that pick a lot, and am sad I cannot make that pick in the third round (he would have been in contention, if he were still there), I think Nick Allen is a first-round talent, just not the first-round talent I wanted in the first round (if that makes sense).
Enough about players we didn’t fake-draft though. Nick Allen is a plus defender at shortstop, who has drawn comparisons (though I believe these comparisons are obviously generous) to Jose Altuve and Dustin Pedroia. He doesn’t profile as a power hitter, but can hit the ball to all fields for decent gap power. His speed in conjunction with this will lead to a lot of doubles, and potentially triples.
The lack of power is the primary concern with Allen, as many feel he has the ability to hit for a decent average. And from a plus defender, there’s not a whole lot more you can ask out of a shortstop.
Allen wasn’t drafted on the first day, but this post will be updated when Allen’s fate is determined.
EDIT - Allen would be drafted by the Athletics 81st overall, in the third round.