Earlier today, I wrote about the Rule 5 Draft and how the Red Sox could actually participate this year, something they have not done much in the past. They did indeed participate. They also did not select anyone from my list of 14 possibilites. So, half right!
Instead, they took a young infielder from the Astros organization. Jonathan Arauz was their selection. He is a former Phillies prospect who was traded to Houston in the deal that sent Ken Giles to the Astros prior to the 2016 season. Arauz was suspended for 50 games in 2017 after testing positive for a banned substance. Splitting last season between High-A and Double-A, hitting .249/.319/.388. About 75 percent of those plate appearances came in High-A, where he finished with a 107 wRC+. He had a 97 wRC+ in Double-A.
Arauz, who will be in his age-21 season in 2020, was described by Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper as a stash candidate. There is not a lot in the way of power for Arauz, but he doesn’t strike out much and has drawn a solid number of walks in the minors. Defensively, he’s average to maybe a bit better than average at shortstop and has also played second and first base. He could perhaps stick as a depth piece, but the switch hitter is not ready for any thing close to a full-time role. If Arauz is taken off the Red Sox roster for anything besides an IL stint, he will be returned to the Astros organization.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox did not lose any of their own prospects. Eduard Bazardo was seen as a possibility, and as Chris Hatfield pointed out they could have potentially lost Brian Johnson as well.
In the minor-league portion of the draft, the Red Sox selected a couple of pitchers in Raynel Espinal from the Yankees and Jose Espada from the Blue Jays. The former, who turned 28 shortly after the regular season ended, served a swingman in Triple-A last year. He got a good number of strikeouts and has solid control, but seemed to be hurt by the major-league ball being used at that level. Ian Cundall points out he tore his UCL and is out for at least half of the upcoming season.
Espada, a 23-year-old former fifth round pick, was limited to just ten appearances and 11 2⁄3 innings between Rookie Ball and A-Ball. He pitched to a 3.86 ERA with 13 strikeouts and three walks.