University of North Carolina third baseman Colin Moran may be Boston's first-round draft pick.
This will be the fifth time since 1965 that the Red Sox hold a pick within the top 10, the last coming in 1993 when Boston drafted Trot Nixon with the No. 7 overall selection.
As Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal wrote back in February, “Every day is an opportunity to look at a player” for a scout.
Boston’s director of amateur scouting, Amiel Sawdaye, and his team of scouts have worked tirelessly to determine which high school and collegiate players to take a chance on.
So who are some of the young prospects that Boston may be looking at for the No. 7 overall selection when it’s on the clock on June 6?
Let’s take a look at what some of the experts are saying.
Clint Frazier, Outfielder, Loganville (GA) HS
The Red Sox have a bunch of outfield talent in the minor leagues that has them set up well in the future. With guys like Jackie Bradley, Bryce Brentz and potentially Jacoby Ellsbury—should Boston re-sign him this winter—the Red Sox could have one of the best outfields in baseball.
Is it too risky to take a high school player at No. 7?
That likely won’t stop Boston from looking Clint Frazier’s way, one of the best high school prospects in the draft. The risk, as always with players in high school, is that he may not sign.
Frazier has already committed to the University of Georgia, but could decommit if a team can talk him out of it, and make Frazier an offer that he can’t refuse.
Baseball America’s Jim Callis, in his first mock draft, has the Red Sox taking a chance on the young outfielder with the seventh pick in the draft.
ESPN’s Keith Law, in his list of best available prospects, ranked Frazier No. 7,
“Frazier has the best bat speed in this draft—maybe the best I’ve seen on an amateur prospect—overcoming concerns about his size (he’s generously listed at 6-foot-1) and lack of foot speed."
According to MaxPreps, Frazier is hitting .525/.568/.1.175 with 14 home runs and 40 RBI for his school.
Colin Moran, Third Baseman, University of North Carolina
Although the Red Sox don’t have a backup third baseman right now, the team is set up well going forward. As Tim Britton, MacPherson’s partner in crime at the Providence Journal, told me Wednesday during a weekly chat, Boston has a couple of prospects that do have potential.
Michael Almanzar, Kolbrin Vitek and Garin Cecchini were the three third basemen that Britton mentioned. He also said, “Every indication is that the Red Sox want to keep [Xander] Bogaerts at short as long as possible,” when I asked whether the current lack of depth at the corner could result in a transition for Boston’s No. 1 prospect.
Will Boston select Moran at No. 7?
In Baseball America’s Jim Callis’ first mock draft of the year, he noted that Boston is “interested in sweet-swinging North Carolina third baseman Colin Moran.” But it is worth noting that Callis has Moran going to the Pittsburgh Pirates with the No. 9 overall pick in the draft.
B/R MLB Lead Writers Adam Wells and Mike Rosenbaum recently put together their first mock draft and Rosenbaum has Moran going to Boston.
“Although Moran possesses arguably the most advanced hit tool and plate discipline in the 2013 draft class, there is some concern as to whether he can remain at third base long term,” said Rosenbaum. “Regardless, the left-handed hitter will be selected for his offensive prowess and presume proximity to the major leagues.”
Moran has played in 48 games this season for the TarHeels, hitting .386/.508/.636 with 12 home runs and 75 RBI. Wells has Moran going to the Cleveland Indians at No. 5.
Kris Bryant, Third Baseman, University of San Diego
Kris Bryant is another third baseman that could tickle Boston’s fancy come June 6.
He’s a big kid that has a ton of power, but it’s unknown as to whether he’ll be able to stay at the hot corner in the future or if he’ll be forced to move to the outfield.
Where will Bryant go in the MLB draft?
ESPN’s Keith Law has Bryant as the third-best prospect on his draft board and that he expects him to go in the first five picks (Insider subscription required). Law says that Bryant can “murder a good fastball” but isn’t “sure how he’ll react to better off-speed stuff in the pros.”
Bryant was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 18th round of the 2010 draft, but decided to go to school instead.
“Teams in the upper rounds want a for-sure sign, and I wasn’t that guy because I take pride in my schoolwork,” Bryant told the Associated Press (h/t New York Times). “Coming to U.S.D. and having three years of schooling under my belt is only going to help me in my future.”
So where will Bryant be spending the near future?
Callis has the Colorado Rockies selecting Bryant with the third pick of the draft, calling him the best bat available in the pool. This season, Bryant is hitting .333/.506/.851 with 25 home runs and 51 RBI.
Those numbers make it tough to argue with Callis’ point.
B/R’s Wells has the Red Sox taking Bryant at No. 7, but Rosenbaum thinks that he’ll land with the Minnesota Twins with the fourth overall selection.