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Red Sox second round pick Jud Fabian does not sign, will go back to school

And other notes from the final Red Sox draft class

Florida v Arkansas
Jud Fabian
Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

It’s been said over and over again these last few days, but just about everything is going wrong for the Red Sox right now. Not only did they get swept by the Rays over the weekend to lose their grip on first place in the AL East, and not only did they not get the kind of reinforcements many were hoping for before Friday’s trade deadline, but they also missed out on grabbing one of their top draft picks from this year’s class. Sunday was the deadline for teams to agree to signing bonuses with their draftees, and most notable among players with whom Boston did not come to an agreement was second round pick Jud Fabian. The outfielder will head back to college and play his 2022 season at the University of Florida, and the Red Sox will get the 41st pick in next summer’s draft in addition to their normal second rounder.

There are other tidbits from this class I do want to get to, but the big story from the class is the Fabian news. In this new era of the draft, as it becomes harder for teams to blow by slot values to sign players, it has become increasingly rare that we see top players forego signing to go back to school. It’s not as though it never happens, but it’s not very often. This is the first time a player chosen by the Red Sox in the first 10 rounds hasn’t signed since 2011, and the first time a pick in the top two rounds didn’t sign since 2007.

Given that information, it’s obviously surprising that they couldn’t come to terms here with Fabian. The outfielder is betting on himself, as he will need to be a sure-fire first round pick to be able to beat what he was likely being offered from the Red Sox. That’s risky, but he has the talent, and before this season he was seen as a potential top five selection. If he can show improvements with his ability to make contact, it’s not difficult to envision a team in the middle of the first round grabbing him next season. He also was not the highest pick to go unsigned, as the Mets failed to come to an agreement with number 10 overall pick Kumar Rocker.

As for the rest of the Red Sox draft class, the players expected to sign did end up in the organization. That includes 11th rounder Niko Kavadas, fifth rounder Nathan Hickey, and 17th rounder Luis Guerrero, all of whom signed right before the deadline. The other unsigned players were high school infielders Zach Ehrhard and Payton Green as well as college infielder Josh Hood.

All in all, this was still a solid class, and as we’ve mentioned before they provided something of a floor for themselves with the selection of Marcelo Mayer at the very top of the draft. Other players, Hickey and Kavadas perhaps chief among them, were also exciting picks. That said, it’s impossible not to ding this class at least to some extent with Fabian not signing. Without being at the negotiating table it’s hard to criticize the front office too emphatically, but at the very least they or the scouting department misread how Fabian valued himself, and it cost them very real talent that could have given this farm system a boost.

Here is how the full draft class wound up shaking out. Signing information from Sox Prospects.

Red Sox 2021 Draft Tracker

Round Pick Player School Age Position Bats/Throws Signed (Y/N) Slot Value Signing Bonus
Round Pick Player School Age Position Bats/Throws Signed (Y/N) Slot Value Signing Bonus
1 4 Marcelo Mayer Eastlake HS (CA) 18 SS L/R Y 6,664,000 6,664,000
2 40 Jud Fabian University of Florida 20 CF R/L N 1,856,700 -
3 75 Tyler McDonough North Carolina State 22 2B S/R Y 831,100 831,100
4 105 Elmer Rodriguez-Cruz Leadership Christian Academy (PR) 17 LHP L/R Y 554,300 497,500
5 136 Nathan Hickey University of Florida 21 C L/R Y 410,100 1,000,000
6 166 Daniel McElveny Bonita Vista HS (CA) 18 UT R/R Y 306,800 200,000
7 196 Wyatt Olds University of Oklahoma 21 RHP R/R Y 239,000 236,500
8 226 Hunter Dobbins Texas Tech University 21 RHP R/R Y 188,900 197,500
9 256 Tyler Miller Auburn University 21 3B L/R 160,300 160,300
10 286 Matt Litwicki University of Indiana 22 RHP R/R Y 148,400 47,500
11 316 Niko Kavadas Notre Dame 22 1B L/R Y 125,000 250,000
12 346 Christopher Troye University of California-Santa Barbara 22 RHP R/R Y 125,000 122,500
13 376 Zach Ehrhard Wharton HS (FL) 18 SS -- N 125,000 -
14 406 Jacob Webb Miami University (OH) 22 RHP L/R Y 125,000 122,500
15 436 Payton Green Green Hope HS (NC) 18 SS R/R N 125,000 -
16 466 BJ Vela Reedley College 21 2B R/R Y 125,000 122,500
17 496 Luis Guerrero Chipola College 20 RHP R/R Y 125,000 -
18 526 Phillip Sikes Texas Christian University 22 OF R/R Y 125,000 97,500
19 556 Tyler Uberstine Northwestern University 22 RHP R/R Y 125,000 97,500
20 586 Josh Hood University of Pennsylvania 20 SS R/R N 125,000 -
Total 9,502,900 9,959,400
Total + 5% 9,978,045