With the 191st overall pick, the Red Sox selected Zach Schellenger, a right-handed pitcher out of Seton Hall.
Here, Boston picked their third college pitcher of the draft, and their fourth pitcher overall, with a college junior out of Seton Hall. There is a near-consensus on his status among draftees, with Baseball America ranking the righty 195th overall and MLB Pipeline having him come in at number 193. Schellenger is a big dude listed at 6’6” and 215 pounds.
Once upon a time, he was a high schooler that everyone had their eyes on, mostly due to his big frame. He made good on that whenever possible at Seton Hall, taking over as the team’s closer as a sophomore in 2016. That year, he tossed 45 2⁄3 innings out of the bullpen and the 21-year-old struck out 70 batters while walking 21. Unfortunately, Schellenger missed almost all of this season with a biceps injury. When he did pitch, his stuff had taken a serious step back, with the injury presumably to blame.
When Schellenger is on, he is someone that really impresses scouts. Particularly, his fastball/slider combination can be deadly when it’s working to its full potential. The fastball reaches the mid-90s and the slider has big-time movement. Specifically, scouts were impressed with his two-pitch repertoire in the summer of 2016 in the Cape Cod League when he 32 batters in 20 1⁄3 innings. The righty also features a changeup, though it’s a below-average pitch.
For all of the positives associated with Schellenger, though, there is real concern. Obviously, the health is a main one. If he can’t fully recover, there’s no guarantee the Red Sox will see the version of Schellenger that has captivated scouts in the past. Beyond that, there have always been some issues with command and he has a high-effort delivery. As a result, this isn’t a college reliever who will be converted to the rotation a la Shaun Anderson. You can expect Shellenger to remain in the bullpen when he is pitching. The good news is that scouts see him as a potential closer, or at least late-inning reliever, if he can stay healthy. That’s a lot of red flags, but as someone who may be able to be signed underslot, there’s plenty to like. Plus, if he does in fact remain healthy he is an arm that should be able to move relatively quickly through the system.