GM Ben Cherington had a very successful 2013 MLB draft.
The Sox had their highest pick since 1993 and used that seventh overall selection on left-hander Trey Ball out of New Castle High School in Indiana. Ball projects as a high-ceiling starter who throws three pitches well, including a fastball that currently tops out at 95 mph.
He signed quickly and received a $2.75 million signing bonus for his trouble and will be taking the mound for the rookie league Gulf Coast Red Sox in the near future. While this pick was perhaps a little higher than some thought Ball would go, there’s no doubting his talent and that he’s got the raw tools to become a successful MLB player.
There’s also the possibility that Ball could be a regular position player, as well. He is a talented left-handed hitter and was considered by most to be the best two-way player available.
In a larger context, the goal of the draft is to help stock (or restock) the farm system with talented players who will help the franchise maintain or increase its level of success on the MLB level. To do that, one needs to actually sign the guys they pick.
The Sox were wildly successful in this regard in 2013, inking 19 of their first 21 picks to contracts and 27 of 40 overall (with an additional two undrafted free agents also brought aboard). They made some excellent value selections too, grabbing Teddy Stankiewicz in the second round after the Mets failed to sign him last year.
Stankiewicz can touch the mid-90s with his fastball, although there are questions as to whether his violent delivery will allow him to be a full-time starter. Even if he does become a reliever, he very well could become a nice asset.
They also grabbed catcher Jon Denney in the third round—a huge talent—who many worried would not be signable after he committed to Arkansas. He bit at the Sox’s $875,000 signing bonus and will be joining Ball with the Gulf Coast Red Sox.
He provides excellent power behind the plate and could potentially become a contributor a few years down the road.
They grabbed and signed a couple more intriguing prospects in Myles Smith, a hard-throwing right-handed starter, and reliever Mike Adams, a soft-tossing left-hander who put up outstanding numbers in Division II college ball last year.
Ultimately, the success of this draft will hinge on the success of the Sox’s first few picks—particularly Ball. The focus was obviously on pitching, as the Sox used four of their first five and nine of their first 13 picks on pitchers—all but one of whom they signed.
While time will be the ultimate judge of general manager Ben Cherington’s effort, right now it looks like the Sox did an outstanding job reloading their lower-level farm system.
Final Grade: A