Red Sox 2020 MLB Draft Preview: Boston Returns To The First Round
Unlike the NBA or NFL drafts, MLB teams do not draft for immediate need. There’s good reason for that, as even the most MLB-ready draft prospects usually take two seasons to get fully established in the majors. But as we ready for the 2020 MLB draft, it is useful to look at where teams are deep and where they are thin at the MLB and minor league level.
Also of note:
2019 MLB RECORD: 84-78
STATE OF THE SYSTEM: After bottoming out in 2019, things are looking brighter. Excellent seasons from righty Bryan Mata, third baseman Bobby Dalbec and outfielder Jarren Duran helped boost the system’s stock, as did the emergence of low-level outfielder Gilberto Jimenez. Boston’s farm system could jump even higher if lefty Jay Groome can reestablish himself the next time some form of minor league baseball gets played.
BEST DRAFT PICK OF THE DECADE: Easily Mookie Betts. Selected in the fifth round as a shortstop out of high school in Tennessee in the middle of Boston’s boffo 2011 draft (Matt Barnes, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Travis Shaw also came from this class), Betts developed into a slam dunk superstar. He’s accumulated 41.8 WAR, an American League MVP and a World Series ring.
WORST DRAFT PICK OF THE DECADE: Trey Ball (first round, 2013). The Red Sox don’t often have one of the first 10 picks of the draft, but that was the case in 2013, when they selected Indiana high school lefty Trey Ball with the No. 7 overall pick. Ball never made it past Double-A as a pitcher and spent last season in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League trying his hand as a hitter. The rest of that first round included Aaron Judge, Hunter Dozier, Austin Meadows, Dom Smith, Hunter Renfroe, J.P. Crawford, Tim Anderson and Marco Gonzales.
DEEPEST POSITION(S): Unlike many systems, a lot of Boston’s farm’s value is stored on the corners. Its Nos. 1 and 2 prospects are first baseman Triston Casas and Dalbec, and third baseman Brandon Howlett can be found among the Top 30 Prospects as well.
WEAKEST POSITION(S): Although Boston has a fair amount of outfield prospects, only Duran projects to play center field. That’s particularly glaring considering Jackie Bradley Jr., one of the sport’s premier defenders at the position, is a free agent after this season.
DRAFT TRENDS: There are no particularly obvious trends that have emerged in Boston’s most recent drafts. Last year, the Red Sox did not have a first pick because of luxury tax penalties. They made their first pick at No. 43, selecting Arizona shortstop Cameron Cannon.