2013 Draft Review: Boston Red Sox

Denney, Jonathan

Over the next six weeks, MLB-DI will take a look at each teams draft class, breaking down the best — and most questionable — over the past week.

Next up, the Boston Red Sox. This was the first time Boston was drafting in the top ten since 1993. How did the Red Sox do with that selection and the rest of the draft? Let’s discuss.

The Decision Makers

General Manager: Ben Cherington

Director, Amateur Scouting: Amiel Sawdaye

The Breakdown

College: 18

Prep: 22

Pitchers: 18

Position Players: 22

LHP: 05

RHP: 13

Catchers: 05

Corner infielders: 04

Middle infielders: 06

Outfielders: 07

 The First Ten Rounds

Value Key:

Steal: Player was selected several rounds — or in the case of the first-round, several picks — later than his value indicated.

Solid: Player was taken later than his value indicated.

Average: Player was selected where his value indicated.

Slight-reach: Player was taken slightly earlier than his value indicated.

Reach: Player was drafted several rounds or picks earlier than his value indicated.

Pick Player Position  School Value
01.07 Trey Ball LHP New Castle H.S. (Ind.) Slight-reach
02.45 Teddy Stankiewicz RHP Seminole State C.C. (Okla.) Slight-reach
03.81 Jon Denney C Yukon H.S. (Okla.) Steal
04.113 Myles Smith RHP Lee University Solid
05.143 Cory Litrell LHP Kentucky Average
06.173 Jordan Austin OF Forest H.S. (Fla.) Reach
07.203 Mike Adams LHP University of Tampa Average
08.233 Forrestt Allday OF Central Arkansas Average
09.263 Kyle Martin RHP Texas A&M Slight-Reach
10.293 Taylor Grover RHP South Carolina-Aiken Slight-Reach

Analysis: The Red Sox taking ball really surprised me, as I thought they would take whomever was left between Austin Meadows or Clint Frazier, or possibly Braden Shipley. I get the intrigue with a 6’6″ left-hander with good athleticism and projection, but I still think he’s a better prospect with the bat than on the mound and I think he’s more of a mid-rotation guy than a No. 1 or 2. I don’t hate the pick, I just think Meadows or Shipley were better value here.

Stankiewicz was more of a late second, early third round guy to me, but again, I get the appeal. He’s got a 60 fastball and knows how to pitch, but his secondary offerings don’t project to be anything more than average. I think he’s one of the safer plays in the draft because he knows how to pitch and throws strikes, but there isn’t a ton of upside here.

While I wasn’t in love with Boston’s first two picks, I loved what the Red Sox did from this point on, starting with the stealing of Jon Denney. Are there questions about whether or not he can stay behind the plate? Absolutely, but the offensive upside is so high that it’s well worth the risk. Even if/when Denney has to move to first I think the bat will play, and if he can catch he’s an all-star.

I thought Myles Smith would go in the first couple rounds as a fast-track reliever, but Boston getting him in the fourth round is great value, particularly if Boston gives him a chance to start. Smith has two plus offerings in his fastball and slider, and his change is good enough to keep hitters off-balance. There’s very little projection and the mechanics aren’t clean, but I’d give him a chance to throw every fifth day, and know that high-leverage reliever is a solid floor.

Littrell wasn’t the value that Smith and Denney were, but I was surprised he was still on the board as well as a left-hander who pitched well in a very good SEC. He’ll show four pitches — including a cutter that gave lefties fits — and he has good feel for his change and curve. He has occasional fits of poor control, but a solid back-end starter is certainly within Littrell’s grasp.

One pick that didn’t get a ton of attention was Forrestt Allday, but if you’re a fan of guys who draw walks and play plus defense in centerfield — and you should be — than you’ll like Allday quite a bit. It remains to be seen if he can get on-base at the next level, but I see a guy who could be a very valuable reserve because of his defensive ability.

The Red Sox have been a team that takes risk in the later rounds for quite some time, and this year was no exception. The two big names are Jordan Sheffield and Ryan Boldt; both guys who would have gone much higher if not for injuries, with Boldt having a chance to go in the first fifteen picks before his knee injury. I would expect both guys to honor their collegiate commitments (Sheffield to Vanderbilt, Boldt to Nebraska), but if the Red Sox can get creative they may find a way to get one of them done. I wouldn’t put it past them, anyway.

Final Thoughts

I really liked what the Red Sox did in this draft. Even though I thought they reached with their first-two picks, they still acquired two first and two second round talents with their first four picks, and they took some interesting — possibly signable — risks after the tenth round. If Denney can catch and Smith can start this could be the best draft in all of baseball, but even as a first baseman and a reliever Boston did very well over the first weekend in June, which should surprise no one.

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One Response to “2013 Draft Review: Boston Red Sox”

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