The draft is in the books, but that doesn’t mean the draft process is completely over. Today, we have a couple of updates regarding the Red Sox in that area, with a look at a new top 100 prospect ranking that includes the newly drafted players, as well as a not-so-great-update on one of Boston’s top picks and his willingness to sign.
Baseball America’s new top 100 list
We start, though, with the more positive side of the news, which is that Baseball America has unveiled a newly-updated top 100 list incorporating the prospects who were just drafted earlier this month. That, of course, includes Red Sox top pick Marcelo Mayer, who has signed with the organization and was the number one rated prospect in this class by many draft experts.
Baseball America wasn’t one of the outlets to have him number one among 2021 draft prospects, but he wasn’t far off and he was included high on this latest top 100 list, along with fellow Red Sox prospects Triston Casas and Jarren Duran. Casas, who is currently in Japan with Team USA, still tops this list for the Red Sox, coming in at number 25, right between Joey Bart of the Giants and Reid Detmers of the Angels. Jarren Duran is right there as well, coming in at number 27 between Detmers and Brandon Marsh, also from the Angels system. Mayer made it three Red Sox prospects on the list, coming in at number 35 right behind fellow 2021 draftee Jordan Lawlar and Marlins pitcher Sixto Sanchez. For what it’s worth, Jack Leiter came in at number 37.
All in all, three prospects is about what you’d expect mathematically from every team if things were evenly distributed. The difference here for the Red Sox is they have three relatively highly-ranked players on the list for the first time in a few years. They’ve been building depth in this system for a couple years now, but generally have had trouble finding the high-end talent. Duran figures to graduate from this list sooner than later, but Mayer starting out this high on the list bodes well for their future standing here, and more importantly their future standing on the major-league infield.
Jud Fabian may not sign
Now for the not-so-great news. While Mayer was a great selection on his own in the first round, what made the Red Sox draft feel so much better was that they also drafted Jud Fabian in the second round. The former Florida Gator was seen as a potential top five pick coming into this past college season, so there is some clear upside here with the outfielder. Given that players picked in the first 10 rounds almost always sign, it was assumed by me at least that the Red Sox would be able to bring both players into the organization. That’s no longer as clear given a report from Peter Gammons.
Agency for Boston’s 2d round draft choice Florida CF Jud Fabian isn’t signing. Two teams behind Bostonntalked $3m before draft, Sox not going to 3— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) July 27, 2021
This is a blow for the draft class this year if it does come to fruition. I understand the logic here from the Red Sox to call Fabian’s bluff here and dare him to go back to school, basically requiring him to be a no-doubt first rounder next year to out-earn what is likely an offer somewhere in the $2.5 million range. And to be clear, they have until August 1 to come to a deal. This report from Gammons is not officially closing the door on a deal being had.
That said, it’s not looking as open-and-shut as it had before, and it seems Fabian may just make good on his bluff and walk away. If that happens, the Red Sox will get the 41st pick in next year’s draft along with their normal second rounder, but they lose the slot money associated with Fabian’s pick this time around. They should still have enough money to sign Fabian’s former teammate Nathan Hickey and perhaps a few other later picks like Luis Guerrero and Josh Hood, but the draft goes from great to just fine if they do indeed lose out on this second rounder. That they were able to grab Mayer does, however, provide a solid floor for the whole class in terms of immediate evaluation.