The MLB draft is much different than the other drafts across the sports world. For one thing, players can go to college even if they are drafted, as long as they don’t sign. There is also the matter of bonus slots. Each pick in the draft has a different bonus slot associated with them, and players can sign over or under slot value based on the leverage of the player. Because of this, the order in which players are chosen does not always line up with their talent level. With that in mind, let’s rank the seven players chosen on Day Two based on talent.
Alex Scherff, 5th Round, RHP
Although he was the third draft pick of the day, Scherff was definitely the most exciting player taken by the Red Sox on Tuesday. The big righty is a little bit older than your typical high school draftee, but the talent is more than enough to put that loss of a developmental year aside. He features a big fastball to go with a plus changeup. His biggest challenge as a pro will be to develop a breaking ball, but if he can do so this is a legitimate major-league starter. Along with being the most talented pick of the day, he is also going to be the most expensive. It’ll take some work, but the Red Sox should be able to make room for Scherff in the budget.
Jake Thompson, 4th Round, RHP
Scherff is the most exciting talent and will likely sign for the most money, but Thompson is another prospect who was ranked as a top-100 draft prospect by multiple outlets. The college junior possesses a huge fastball — get used to hearing about that with this Dave Dombrowski draft class — and also boasts a nice slider. There’s a chance he’ll end up in the bullpen because he doesn’t have a great third pitch at this point, but his changeup has come around some in 2017. That, combined with his new simplified delivery, gives Thompson a solid chance at sticking in the rotation.
Zach Schellenger, 6th Round, RHP
Schellenger might be the most underrated draft pick by the Red Sox on Tuesday. Taken in the sixth round, he has a ton of talent but was held back by his health. The righty missed almost all of his junior year with a biceps injury. Before that, though, he excelled as Seton Hall’s closer as well as out of the bullpen in the Cape Cod League. Drafting a reliever is never as exciting as taking a starter, but Schellenger has real talent and can make a big impact at the highest level. If he gets back to his pre-injury level, he has the talent to be a major-league closer.
Brett Netzer, 3rd Round, 2B
Netzer was the first selection of the second day, but he certainly wasn’t the most talented. That’s not to say there isn’t anything to like about the middle infielder, though. The college junior out of UNC-Charlotte has a strong hit cool with extremely quick hands. The hope is that he can generate enough power to get that up to average, but there’s a decent base with which to work even if he doesn’t reach that level.
Tyler Esplin, 7th Round, OF
Esplin is the best power hitting prospect the Red Sox drafted on Tuesday. The lefty wasn’t really on many radars heading into the day, but coming out of IMG Academy there is plenty to like. He is a big kid who can use his frame to generate plenty of power despite a relatively short swing. He’ll probably take more than the slot allotment to sign, but there’s enough here to believe he could be worth it.
Zach Sterry, 8th Round, 1B
Sterry was the first of three college seniors drafted at the end of the day. He’ll sign for a minimal amount of money, but he starred at Oakland University and was one of the more intriguing college seniors in the class. The likelihood of him becoming a big prospect is small, but if you were to bet on any of the last three players on this list, Sterry is the guy.
Tanner Nishioka, 9th Round, 2B
Nishioka is another interesting name who put up big college numbers. The big difference between him and Sterry is that Nishioka played against Division III talent. That doesn’t mean his talent can’t translate into the professional level, but it holds him back just slightly.
Jordan Wren, 10th Round, OF
This was a nepotism pick with the son of front office executive Frank Wren and it was the second year in a row in which the Red Sox drafted him. It’s entirely possible I’m underrating him, as being the son of a member of the organization doesn’t automatically make him forgettable, but the reality is that this is just about saving money for guys like Schreff and Esplin.