The 2014 MLB draft gets underway on Thursday, June 5. With that date rapidly approaching, here are a variety of speculations as to who the Boston Red Sox may choose with their pair of first-round picks.
The Red Sox have the 26th overall selection, and the 33rd as well—a compensatory pick awarded in return for losing Jacoby Ellsbury to free agency. On his Top 100 Big Board, Bleacher Report's Mike Rosenbaum ranks Hawaiian high school pitcher Kodi Medeiros at No. 26 and Foster Griffin, a high-schooler from Florida, at No. 33.
Medeiros, a left-handed pitcher committed to Pepperdine, has registered as high as 95 mph on the radar gun and also throws an impressive slider and change-up. MLB.com rates Medeiros the 25th-best prospect available.
Also a left-hander, Griffin is slated to attend Mississippi in the fall, and he features the same three-pitch arsenal as Medeiros. Griffin is ranked No. 37 overall by MLB.com.
Sports Illustrated's mock draft by Dave Perkin has the Red Sox choosing catcher Max Pentecost with the 26th pick. A junior at Kennesaw State, Pentecost was the MVP of the Cape Cod League last summer. The Texas Rangers previously drafted Pentecost in the seventh round in 2011, but did not sign him.
Many experts are of the opinion that Pentecost will be off the board long before the Red Sox are up. Rosenbaum has him slotted 13th, and most mock drafts project him to go in the top 15.
Ryan Fagan of the Sporting News believes Boston will nab Wichita State first baseman Casey Gillaspie at No. 26. Like Pentecost, the junior switch-hitter also excelled on Cape Cod last year, leading the league with eight home runs. Fagan writes of Gillaspie: "He’s not quite big-league ready at the moment, but he’s closer than most hitters in this draft."
In his latest mock, BaseballAmerica.com's John Manuel picks the Red Sox to take Virginia righty Nick Howard 26th, and New Jersey high school senior Joe Gatto 33rd.
A former starter turned closer, Howard's velocity has increased since switching to short relief, with his fastball clocked at 98 mph.
Gatto intends to play for North Carolina next year, but at 6'5" the hard-throwing right-hander already looks very appealing to major league clubs. According to Manuel, Gatto "has as much upside as anyone in the draft."
Most other prognosticators expect both Howard and Gatto to be taken outside of the first round. Rosenbaum ranks Howard No. 58, and Gatto No. 76.
Kiley McDaniel of Scout.com suggests a different Virginia Cavalier may be chosen by Boston with the 26th pick, junior left fielder Derek Fisher. Another Cape Cod star, the left-handed batting Fisher posted a league-best .453 on-base percentage in 2013.
With the 33rd selection, McDaniel thinks the Red Sox could snag California high school outfielder Marcus Wilson. Wilson has great speed, but at 6'3" and only 170 pounds, he still needs to develop a major league body.
Written by Jim Callis, the most recent mock draft on MLB.com projects UNLV junior Erick Fedde to land in Boston at No. 26. The righty recently had Tommy John surgery, which has caused an obvious drop in his draft stock. Callis explains why this may be of interest the Red Sox:
Because Boston has a second first-rounder at No. 33 (compensation for free agent Jacoby Ellsbury), it's in better position than most to gamble on one of the college pitchers with a reconstructed elbow. If the Red Sox want a healthy college arm, they could turn to Florida State right-hander Luke Weaver.
At No. 33 Callis has Boston picking Kentucky first baseman A.J. Reed. Reed was originally drafted by the New York Mets as a left-handed pitcher in 2011. His power at the plate makes him a much more likely prospect as a hitter this time around, and his lack of speed points to first base being his only option in the field.
Stats and information courtesy of MLB.com.