Thursday night, the Red Sox added three high upside prospects to their minor league system in the 2014 first year player draft. Early reviews of the Sox haul have been positive, with Keith Law from ESPN declaring them one of his winners from the first night.
The first selection for the Red Sox was high school infielder Michael Chavis. Considered one of the most advanced bats in the high school class, it was a mild surprise that he was still available at pick number 26. Chavis showed good power in high school and in scout showcases, and this may be his best attribute going forward.
Chavis was a shortstop in high school, but will likely move to another infield position once he begins his professional career. The Georgia native features great bat speed, with many reports comparing him to 2013 first round pick Clint Frazier.
The Red Sox have only taken three high school position players in the first round since the John Henry ownership group took over (Jason Place-2006, Reymond Fuentes-2009, Blake Swihart-2011). The current strength of the farm system seems to have given the front office license to gamble a bit on upside with Chavis rather than a college pitcher or position player with higher probability.
They went for potential again with their second pick, high school righthander Michael Kopech. A big righty from Texas (Josh Beckett anyone?), Kopech’s fastball has regularly been clocked in the mid 90’s . He will need to work on his secondary pitches and possibly his delivery in the Sox system, but the plus fastball gives fans something to dream on.
With their final pick on the first night, the Sox selected Sam Travis, a first baseman from the University of Indiana. Travis brings good power to the system at a position where the Sox have little depth. Travis doesn’t have the defensive chops to play anywhere other than first base, but the Sox are hoping his bat (he had a .576 slugging percentage this season) will carry him.
The Kopech pick (#33 overall) came to the Sox as compensation for Jacoby Ellsbury signing with the Yankees. This extra pick means the Sox have the 16th highest draft budget this year. The three picks from Thursday night are all expected to sign at close to slot numbers, so the Sox will likely take some gambles on signability guys later in the draft to possibly steal another high-upside talent.