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Red Sox Draft Preview: Left-handed pitchers

2020 Boston Baseball Writers Dinner Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

We are still waiting to see whether or not there will be baseball this season, with the coming week being the big step in that process. Either way, though, the MLB Draft is still coming, and in fact is quickly approaching. Scheduled for June 10 and 11, we are less than two weeks away, so it seems like it’s time to turn our focus at least partially towards what the Red Sox will do. Of course, it’s not a normal draft with only five rounds this year, and Boston also missing their second rounder. Over the next four days, we will be looking at some players who could be available for the Red Sox’s first pick. Today we move on to the right-handed pitchers. This list was helped by the top draft prospect lists from Baseball America and FanGraphs.

Garrett Crochet, University of Tennessee

The class of lefties doesn’t appear to be quite as strong as the class of righties, at least among players who could be available when the Red Sox pick at 17. There are a couple southpaws — Asa Lacey and Reid Detmers — who are just about certain to be off the board in the top ten. As for Crochet, the Volunteer comes in at number 25 on Baseball America’s list and 23 for FanGraphs. He is a big, big kid with big, big stuff, coming into the draft listed at 6’6” equipped with a fastball that can get up to triple digits along with a plus breaking ball. In their writeup, BA says he definitely has the best stuff of any lefty in this draft and perhaps of any pitcher. So why is he likely to fall out of the top ten? The main issue seems to be a lack of track record, as he hasn’t started his entire college career and injuries have made the track record even shorter. He also doesn’t have a consistent changeup just yet, though there’s not major concern into him being able to develop that starter’s arsenal. There’s certainly some risk here, but while it’s not exactly what you are wanting to hear from a first rounder, Crochet at least has the stuff to be a dominant reliever if it doesn’t work in the rotation.

Jared Shuster, Wake Forest University

If we’re being honest, Crochet is really the only southpaw who could be in play at 17, with the rest of the names being reaches at that spot and more guys you hope fall down to the third round for some reason or another. Shuster is an interesting prospect and as a pop-up guy, he is one of the players most hurt by having the 2020 spring cancelled. He had a ton of helium heading into the season sparked by a strong showing on the Cape last summer, and he was continuing that progress early in the season. If he continued to dominate the ACC, he could have made his way even further up the draft boards. Shuster has a fastball that now gets up into the mid 90s with some consistency, and pairs it with a very good changeup and a breaking ball that is getting better as well.

Daxton Fulton, Mustang HS (OK)

First of all, is there a cooler high school in America than Mustang High? I’m sticking with no until proven otherwise. As for the player specifically, he is a very, very interesting player and one of the guys the Red Sox could have been in on with a second rounder. He was looked at as a potential first rounder as recently as last summer, but he suffered an elbow injury that required Tommy John Surgery and prematurely ended his high school career. Before the injury he had all the makings of a top prep arm, with a big frame (he’s listed at 6’6”, 225), a big fastball, a sweeping breaking ball, an improving changeup and mechanics that are trending in the right direction. BA says, however, that if he is not selected on the first day he’s likely headed to the University of Oklahoma, and the Red Sox of course only have their first rounder on day one.

Logan Allen, Florida International University

Perhaps the Red Sox want another Logan Allen? This is obviously a different player than the Logan Allen they drafted and quickly traded to the Padres for Craig Kimbrel, unless there’s some weird cloning going on about which I am unaware, but I don’t think that’s the case. This Allen is the first “prototypical” southpaw in this class, as he doesn’t come with the big fastball. Instead, he sits in the low 90s but has the pitch play up thanks to deception in the delivery. Allen also pairs it with a couple of plus offspeed pitches with a changeup and a curveball. It seems likely he’ll find a landing spot in the second round, but if teams are looking for upside and bigger stuff, maybe there’s an outside chance he slides.

Jake Eder, Vanderbilt University

Eder is the one player on this list that could legitimately be available in the third round without it being a major surprise, and in fact could even fall further than that. He’s ranked 70th on BA’s list, but opinions vary wildly on this southpaw. When he’s on, Eder is a very, very good pitcher with a fastball in the mid 90s, a plus breaking ball and a changeup that is making progress. The issue is that he’s not on enough and the inconsistency from start to start is impossible to overlook. If teams see something they can tweak to unlock the consistency, there’s a very good pitcher here, but that will be easier said than done.