After going with a couple of high school bats with their first two picks in this draft, the Red Sox have gone in the total opposite direction with their fourth round selection, taking Jeremy Wu-Yelland, a left-handed pitcher coming out of the University of Hawaii. He was ranked 261 on Baseball America’s top prospect list and 139th on FanGraphs. MLB Pipeline did not have him ranked.
Yelland has spent most of his college career as a reliever including all seven of his appearances this spring before the season got cancelled. In all with Hawaii, he has pitched in 24 games with seven starts totaling 59 1⁄3 innings with a 3.94 ERA, 60 strikeouts and 37 walks. He also tossed 25 2⁄3 very good innings on the Cape last summer, finishing with a 3.16 ERA, 26 strikeouts and 15 walks.
On the scouting side, there is a chance Wu-Yelland can stick as a starter if he can tighten up his control a big. He has the frame to start, although he could probably fill out a little bit more, and he also has the arsenal. The southpaw has a fastball that can sit in the low-to-mid 90s as well as a good curveball and a change that can do the trick against righties. However, the lack of consistent control holds back the ceiling and leads scouts to believe his future is likely in the bullpen.
Expect the Red Sox to give him every chance to develop as a starter, however. Remember, they selected Chris Murphy with similar control issues last year (albeit with better stuff) and he looked much better in a small sample size in his first summer as a pro. I’d expect Wu-Yelland to likely sign a bit under slot.