With the No. 7 pick overall, the Sox should be able to address any area of need with an impact player. Given the organization’s depth and financial resources, Boston also has the luxury of not feeling rushed to bring whatever player it selects up to the MLB team in the next year (or two, or three).
It looks like GM Ben Cherington is 1-for-1 in his drafting, as last year’s first-round pick, Deven Marrero, has impressed early on and is currently ranked as the organization’s No. 13 overall prospect by SoxProspects.com.
Many of the team’s previous two years’ worth of first and supplemental round picks under Theo Epstein (Matt Barnes, Blake Swihart, Henry Owens and Jackie Bradley Jr. in 2011, Bryce Brentz and Anthony Ranaudo in 2010) have shot up to the top of the organizational depth chart as well. It’s fair, then, to expect a solid return on whoever the Sox select at the top of this deep draft.
Bleacher Report’s Adam Wells suggests that the Sox use their pick on high school outfield prospect Clint Frazier. While he’s raw, Frazier has the physical tools to be an impact player and also would be afforded patience as he refines his game.
ESPN’s Keith Law (subscription required), on the other hand, thinks the Sox will go the pitching route and select Arkansas right-hander Ryne Stanek. He’s a hard thrower who has seen his stock slip a bit after struggling with his command this season. While Law also sees the Sox as players for third basemen Colin Moran and Kris Bryant, he doesn’t think those guys will be around long enough for the Sox to have to make a hard choice.
MLB Draft Insider’s Chris Crawford agrees with Law’s pitching-first assessment and has the Sox slotted to take Nevada right-hander Braden Shipley. Shipley is still early on in his development as a pitcher (he was a shortstop until last season), but he has shown enough promise that he could be worth the wait.
There’s yet another pitcher some have linked the Sox to, as Minor League Ball’s Matt Garrioch proposes that the Sox will select high school right-hander Kohl Stewart. Stewart is a hard thrower who some see as a potential No. 1 starter. Though the Sox tend to shy away from high school pitchers, Stewart in this position could be too tempting to pass up.
Sports Illustrated’s Dave Perkin, though, doesn’t see the Sox taking a pitcher. Instead, he has them taking Moran at No. 7, citing the North Carolina Tar Heel’s ability to drive the ball other way as a major plus in this left-handed hitter’s game. The Sox already have Will Middlebrooks entrenched at third base, but it certainly never hurts to have options available.
The ultimate lesson of all these mock drafts (none of which can agree) is that, no matter what, the Sox will have options. Whether he chooses to go with a pitcher or a position player, Cherington will further add to the talented resources of this organization as it looks to build a team ready to win both now and in the long term.