Who is he and where did he come from?
He’s Nazzan Zanetello, a high school shortstop who was considered the best prospect whose name also sounds like a delicious Italian cookie. The Red Sox just selected him with the 50th pick in the MLB Draft.
What position does he play?
He’s a shortstop — or I should say, he’s a shortstop, right now. A ton of high school draftees play shortstop, on account of the fact that they’re almost always the most athletic and talented players on their teams. Most of them are eventually moved off the position as they move up through the minors. As we’ll discuss below, though, Zanetello certainly has a chance to stick there.
Is he going to be any good?
We’ve already been over this! Absolutely no one knows, and if they tell you they do, they are a lying liar who lies!
Having said that, this is another case where the Sox made what is considered to be a solid pick. MLB Pipeline had him rated as the 52nd best prospect in the draft, almost exactly where the Sox picked him. And while Baseball America had him all the way down at 109, Keith Law had him all the way up at 33.
What’s his game like?
The discussion about Zanatello begins with his athleticism. He’s considered to be one of the best pure athletes in the draft, with good speed, good power, and a wiry, 6’2’ frame that’s still filling out (he juuuust turned 18 in late May, believe it or not). But, as is usually the case with toolsy high-schoolers, the question is whether his baseball skills will catch up to his physical gifts. He’s a long way from the Majors and he’s going to be challenged with significantly better pitching than he’s ever seen before; we don’t yet know how he’ll fare.
Defensively, he has a strong arm and quick reactions, so the consensus is that he has a chance to stick at short. But the Sox have already come out and said that he’ll get some playing time in center, too.
Show me a cool highlight.
Is a grainy video of a home run hit in a high school game where you can’t even see the ball considered cool? If so, here you go!
Ok, here’s one that’s actually cool: a walk-off grand slam in an international tournament.
What’s he doing in his picture up there?
Getting super excited to see that, while he was only ranked as the 52nd best prospect overall in the 2023 class, he’s #1 on the list of prospects whose first names are palindromes.