For those who have been sports fans in America for a long time, you know that the one carrot that comes with a disappointing season [or being a Cleveland Browns fan] is a great draft pick the next year. Of course, a baseball draft pick is less gratifying because of how far they are from your team when they are picked. But, having laid a 71-91 egg one season off a World Series Champion, the Red Sox will pick 7th in the 2015 draft.
The last time the Red Sox picked 7th in the draft, they emerged with Trey Ball two years ago. If there is anything to learn about that selection it is this: developing players is not an automatic, and it takes time. Ball went 5-10 with a 4.68 ERA in Single-A Greenville last year. This may not mean he is a bust, as he is learning and being developed. Not every hyped left handed pitcher gets to be Clayton Kershaw.
When it comes to the draft, I am firmly in the “take the best guy available” camp. There is certainly no reason account for Dustin Pedroia or Xander Bogaerts when you are selecting an 18 year old. If they are elite, or even good, you will find space for them on the diamond or in a trade when the time comes. That said, the Red Sox farm system, still very good, but having graduated the likes of Bogaerts, Mookie Betts, Christian Vazquez, Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa, and Jackie Bradley, Jr. It needs a reinfusion of talent on the backend.
The current top prospects are Blake Swihart, Garin Cecchini, Henry Owens, Brian Johnson, Manuel Margot, and Rafael Devers. In that group likely only Devers has a ceiling of being an elite player regardless of position. While Swihart is wildly exciting, much of his value is tied to his mastery of his very difficult position.
The 2015 draft, while evaluations are very early, seems to be top heavy with pitchers. Fangraphs has
pitchers in 7 of their top 10 slots. While you can never have enough pitching, it would be great to see another exciting bat come into the system. Maybe that is just 634 runs being scored in 2014 talking.
Either way, some of the exciting names in this draft [potentially] are Brady Aiken (again), Phil Bickford (again), Mike Cameron’s son Daz Cameron, Dansby Swanson, and Brendan Rodgers [not Liverpool FC’s manager, though there could be a lot of fun stories with John Henry and FSG having two Brendan Rodgers’ on their payroll].
Until the beginning of June, it will be fun to read the speculation and scouting reports of the incoming crop of talent into MiLB. Here’s hoping the Red Sox make something nice out of their clunker of a 2014 season and add another piece of value to their farm system.