It’s here. The MLB Draft is back. And just like last year, I’m going to try my hand at drafting alongside the Red Sox.
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 Casey Mize 26th, as much as I’d probably like to. If a player is taken 25th, and I have the 26th 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 Shaun Jero in the 8th round, I can draft Shaun Jero in the 8th round. Not in the 9th, but in any round prior to the 8th.
- Unlike last year, I “do” have to worry about signability. Turns out, last year, I did fine without worrying about it as much, and finished within my budget, so it’s definitely doable for me. I’m just going to self-impose penalties. If I go over, I suffer the same penalties that a real life team would. I’m going to make an exception, which I’m going to call the Corey Dempter rule, which will be explained next.
- In 2017, I drafted Corey Dempster in the 10th round, but nobody drafted him. If I draft a college senior who does NOT GET SELECTED, I get the player at the lowest cost I got another player at. If a second college senior I draft, for example, gets 10,000 dollars, then the undrafted college senior I chose will get the same amount for the sake of calculations. I doubt I’ll use this rule often, but it’s a way to cover my back and ensure I don’t miss cap stuff based on technicalities. Corey Dempster would have signed, and so would any other undrafted college senior.
- 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.
1st Round - 26th Overall - Jackson Kowar, RHP, University of Florida
In real life the Red Sox picked Triston Casas. I like the pick, at least somewhat. It’s not what I would have done, however, because it was in my draft strategy to avoid high school players in general with an exception or two here and there. Casas is going to have to learn how to hit the ball, because his current hit tool is really mediocre, and that may be generous. His power is massive, and I love it, but I think I’m gonna get power later on anyways (my initial plan was Beer in the second, but the Astros dashed that). I think he’s a great talent, and he’s gonna be rad, but I want multiple good talents with higher floors. Casas doesn’t have much in the way of floor due to contact issues.
Jackson Kowar is my pick. Now, picking him is going a bit against my strategy as well, so let me explain. I didn’t expect him to slip to 26. I didn’t expect him to slip to 20. To get him this late in the first round is a great feeling for me. Over the past year, he’s improved his whiff rate, and he’s become less prone to being hit. But he’s done this without boosting his walk rate at the same time, which tells me all I need to hear. He’s a big, lean righty and when he’s on, he’s got three plus pitches. He needs to refine his consistency with his secondaries, but I believe he’s the best talent available. To get a guy who I think could have been a top 10 pick this late in the first is great.
Kowar was selected in real life by the Kansas City Royals at 33rd overall.
2nd Round - 64th Overall - Tristan Pompey, OF, University of Kentucky
In real life, the Red Sox selected Nick Decker, a left-handed high school outfielder. It seems like the Red Sox and I are just going two different directions. They are going prep early, whereas I prefer my college players this time around. Decker is another power bat, and I like him. But I’m not taking prep players until later, if at all. There’s too much risk that they’ll go overslot, and since I’m caring about finances this time around, I don’t want to risk going over budget right now.
Maybe this isn’t a good idea, but I’m going with Pompey. His main concern is his ability to hit with a wooden bat. This is a legitimate concern and why I didn’t take him in the first round, but if the wooden bat does end up working out, and his batting ability translates, we’re getting an all-around hitter, rather than one with a single standout skill. I see his skillset translating into a 15 HR, 20+ 2B threat, with baserunning ability to boot. He probably ends up in left or right field, due to his lack of a great arm, but we’re not worrying about position right now. I figure he’ll sign underslot, and give us a little bit more weight to throw around in the later stages of the shadow draft tomorrow.
Pompey wasn’t selected on the first day of the draft, but once he is selected, this article will be updated with his pick selection.
EDIT - Pompey was drafted 89th overall by the Miami Marlins.
Tune in for tomorrow’s Shadow Sox picks!