The Red Sox are coming off a terrible year, and while it came over a shortened 60-game season that didn’t make it any easier to watch. There is no wholly positive spin to put on a season like the one just experienced by Boston, but the bit of good news that does come out of it is that they have a high draft pick coming up later this summer. When the draft comes around in July — the event has been pushed back to All-Star week — the Red Sox will be picking number four overall, their highest position since 1967.
We are obviously still quite a ways away from that draft actually taking place, and a lot is sure to change between now and the time teams make their first selections. That is true every year, and it is even more true this year coming off a season in which most amateurs missed most if not all of their seasons. It’s still not clear what will happen to amateur baseball this spring, either, for what it’s worth. But despite all of that, there are still some ideas of who is at the top of the class, which is where Baseball America comes in.
BA has long been the best place to go for information about amateur players coming into professional ball, and on Monday they released their first full first round mock draft for 2021. Boston’s pick is high enough, though, that they actually have had a couple of projections already, including a connection to high school shortstop Jordan Lawlar. In this edition, Lawlar goes one spot ahead of Boston to the Tigers, and the Red Sox pivot to another high school shortstop in Marcelo Mayer out of East Lake High School in California.
Mayer and Lawlar are, at this point, almost unanimously considered the top high school players in this year’s class. And as Baseball America points out in their write up of the pick, Boston has been leaning towards high school bats early in recent drafts with guys like Triston Casas, Nick Decker, Nick Yorke, and Matthew Lugo, among some others. That doesn’t mean they won’t consider college players, of course, but it does indicate they are confident in their ability to get the most out of young talent, even when it is that raw.
As for Mayer himself, he is one of the best pure hitters in the class, with BA mentioning that many teams see him as the top hitter among high school players. Scouts indicate a strong approach all the way through for the young shortstop who could max out with a plus hit tool to go with solid power as well. MLB Pipeline throws out a comp to Corey Seager while Prospects Live likens his smooth approach to that of Robinson Canó and Manny Machado. In addition to the bat, at this point it is not expected to be much of an issue for Mayer to stick at shortstop. He has the athleticism and the instincts to play there, with the only question being that he may fill out enough to need to be moved off. That is not necessarily the expectation, however.
As I said at the top, things are going to change along the way and Mayer’s stock could very well rise or fall as the year goes on, and we will hear more names in connection to this spot. The only name that may not be realistic at this point is Kumar Rocker, for whom it would be surprising to see slide down to number four. As we get closer to what will hopefully be a full amateur season, keep an eye on Mayer and Lawlar, as well as guys like Jack Leiter, a pitcher from Vanderbilt; Adrian Castillo, a catcher from the University of Miami; Jud Fabian, an outfielder from the University of Florida; and Matt McClain, a shortstop of UCLA, among others.