Once it was clear the Red Sox were not going to be real contenders in 2020 despite the expanded format, something that happened just weeks into the season, the focus for fans shifted to the draft. There was a time when it looked like they may have a legitimate chance at the number one overall pick (assuming things are based on 2020 record, which is the expectation), but the team improved their play down the stretch. In the end, they wound up with the number four overall selection in next year’s draft, again, assuming it is based on 2020 record.
Next summer’s draft — the draft has been pushed from it’s normal time in early June to the All-Star Break — is going to be a potentially loaded one, and right now we just don’t have a ton of information with amateur baseball being shut down basically all spring. With the NCAA giving extra years of eligibility, there will be an uptick of draft-eligible sophomores. All of that is to say, things are going to change significantly many times between now and next July.
That being said, Baseball America is one of the best out there at scouting the amateur world of baseball and having connections with amateur scouting departments across the league. And so when they drop a mock draft, even this early in the process, we pay attention. They did just that on Monday with a mock covering the top ten picks. You can see it in its entirety here.
This early mock draft does not have the Red Sox taking one of the two Vanderbilt pitchers (despite one being available), but instead taking Jordan Lawlar, a high school shortstop from Texas. As BA indicates, this would continue a trend of the team picking prep infielders, which they have done with their first round selection in each of the past two years. I certainly don’t think they’ll lock in on that profile — and that’s not the suggestion in BA either, to be clear — but they’ve shown a willingness to do so. Lawlar is an all-around talent at a premium position, with BA saying he has a chance to get 55 grades across the board. On the 20-80 scouting scale, 55 indicates above-average talent, so getting that grade across the board is very good. Lawlar is committed to Vanderbilt following his high school career.
Of course, throughout this entire “tank watch,” the focus for many fans was on pitching, and specifically the aforementioned Vanderbilt arms, Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter. Rocker is the presumed number one overall pick, so something would have to happen to hurt his draft stock for the Red Sox to end up with him. Leiter, meanwhile, falls to number seven overall here. While Boston clearly needs pitching help, remember that with the lead time between draft day and when a player makes it to the majors, as well as the high level of variance for even the top selections, teams will pretty much always go with the best player available — or the best player for their strategy that year as it relates to spreading their pool money around — rather than position. And, most importantly, as I stated above things are going to change many times between now and July.