The Red Sox are not playing on Monday, but that doesn’t mean it’s a day to not pay attention to the club. We all know the major-league roster is the focus of the organization right now (as it should be), but the lack of talent on the farm is certainly not ideal. Promoting a bunch of star-level talent in recent years while trading for more stars will do that, and they’ve made good use of what was a great minor-league system. Now, the goal is to rebuild things. It won’t happen in one fell swoop and the amateur draft is certainly not the only way to boost the system. That being said, it is perhaps the biggest chance Dave Dombrowski has to swing the fortune of the lower levels of the organization. Here’s what you need to know for the draft, which starts Monday night and will continue through Tuesday and Wednesday.
Where are the Red Sox picking?
Boston has the 26th overall pick this year. Obviously, you’d like to be higher but at the same time you wouldn’t because that means you had a worse regular season the year before. The history of the 26th overall selection in the amateur draft isn’t great, but Alan Trammel was taken with that pick. He is easily the best ever taken in this slot, with Dave Henderson being second by WAR. The Red Sox have made this selection a few times over the last 10-15 years, selecting Michael Chavis, Blake Swihart and Craig Hansen.
How much slot money do the Red Sox have?
The Red Sox have the fourth lowest total amount of money to spend on draft picks this year, with a total of $5,723,300. Their first pick has a slot value of $2,552,800. For those unaware, teams can go over their allotted money, but rarely blow by it. Teams have to pay a tax for anything between 0-5 percent over their budget, and for anything more than 5 percent over they lose a first-round pick the following year. So, in essence the Red Sox have $6,009,465 to spend.
Who have the Red Sox been connected to?
It seems the Red Sox are going to take the best player to fall to them, which sounds a bit more obvious than it is. Given how much developmental time is required for prospects, worrying about need is rarely (if ever) prudent. That being said, a lot of teams have preferences in terms of position player vs. pitcher and/or high school vs. college. The Red Sox don’t seem to have much preference this year, as they just want the best chance at an impact talent. Here’s a very quick look at the four names to whom Boston has been most connected for their first-round pick.
- Brice Turang, SS, Santiago HS (CA): This is who I am hoping for the Red Sox to get. The infielder was seen as a potential 1-1 pick as recently as this time last year, but has fallen since then. However, that doesn’t appear to be the result of any major red flags but rather just not blowing scouts away. I can live with that. Turang is fast, has the ability to stick at shortstop, a good line-drive oriented approach and some power upside. I’m not sold he’s going to make it this far, but if he does fall to 26 I’d be shocked to see the Red Sox pass up on the infielder.
- Ryan Rolison, LHP, Ole Miss: This pick seemed more likely a few weeks ago as the southpaw had been fine but not great for Ole Miss for much of the spring. He’s turning it on at the right time, however, and while he doesn’t have a huge ceiling I’d be surprised if a polished college arm makes it this far. Again, if the Red Sox see him at this spot I don’t think they’ll let him keep falling (unless Turang is also there).
- Seth Beer, OF, Clemson: Among the four names most connected to the Red Sox, Beer seems like the most likely to be the selection. On the one hand, the bat could be special. The outfielder had a huge year a couple of years ago, and while he hasn’t kept that up in 2017 or 2018, he’s heating up again. Scouts don’t unanimously love the bat, but the ceiling is high and he could be an all-around threat at the plate. The big issue is his defense, as he is an outfielder by name but many see him as a future DH. If the bat reaches its ceiling that can be a fine pick this late in the first round, but I’m not sure that’s the kind of risk I’d take here. Still, if they do pick him you bet your ass I’m buying a Beer jersey.
- Steele Walker, OF, Oklahoma: Walker is a similar player to Beer, though he’s not as extreme on either end. The Sooner is certainly someone who relies more on offense than defense, but his bat doesn’t have the same potential as Beer’s while he should be able to remain in a corner spot as he continues to progress. I think if it comes down to Walker vs. Beer, they’ll go with Walker.
How to watch
So, we know where the Red Sox stand. How can you follow along? Well, for one thing we’ll have an open thread for discussion today and throughout the rest of the draft. Additionally, you’ll be able to watch on TV. Here’s all the information you need to know:
When: Monday June 4, 7:00 PM ET.
Watch: MLB Network
When: Tuesday June 5, 1:00 PM ET
When: Wednesday June 6, 12:00 PM ET
Well, there you have it. We’ll have a ton of coverage the next few days, so keep it here.