While the MLB Amateur Draft doesn't get as much attention as those of the NFL and NBA, that doesn't mean that it's any less important.
Cheap, young talent is the most valuable commodity in baseball, and can help close the revenue gap between some teams.
The Sox own the 13th pick in the draft, which starts on Monday. While they won't get a sure-fire impact player at their pick, there are a number of players that could make a difference in a few years.
I made a couple of assumptions in cutting down to this short list.
1) The Sox will take a college player. Kris Honel was their last high school player selected in the first round, back in 2001, and 13 of their last 14 first rounders have been college players.
2) They will probably take a pitcher. The Sox spent their last two first rounders on position players and have a lack of high end pitching talent in their minor league system. If they do take a position player, it will probably be an infielder given the outfield heavy drafting recently ( primarily Jared Mitchell, Jordan Danks and Trayce Thompson).
3) They will not take a player represented by Scott Boras or a guy that's considered "a tough sign." The Sox have notoriously avoided Boras clients as much as possible and have generally selected guys that they can sign at or near slot money. This eliminates players like Anthony Ranaudo (pictured) and Matt Harvey that would normally make sense otherwise.
I want to emphasize that I have not seen these guys play extensively. Any commentary is based on information gathered from sources like MLB.com and brief scouting videos.
Players are listed in alphabetical order.
Loux has been dominant at Texas A&M this year, but his pro potential is a bit more cloudy.
He does have a decent fastball that's in the 91-94 range and a solid changeup.
However, his breaking stuff is a work in progress. with a decent but not over-powering fastball, he'll have to sharpen his curve and/or slider to make a major league rotation.
If nothing else, his strong change up gives him a chance to get outs out of the bullpen, especially since he'd probably add a few ticks to the fastball in that role.
However, the hope for whomever drafts him is that he'll polish his other pitches enough to be a number three starter.
McGuire has been projected in the top-10, but most mock drafts seem to have him sliding a bit.
Deck is comfortably projected in the first round because of his huge frame, a fastball that sits in the low 90's and solid control. He's also been highly productive at Georgia Tech.
However, there is some debate about his ceiling. By most accounts, his fastball has little movement and his off-speed pitches (a slider and changeup) are considered relatively average.
That said, Mcguire is considered a fairly safe pick to be a middle of the rotation starter that can eat innings. He also has a shot to be the first player from this draft to reach the majors.
Wimmers is yet another pitcher that projects as a middle of the rotation starter but will still go relatively early in the draft.
On the plus side, he has dominated the Big Ten and features two potential plus pitches: a sharp curve and a fading changeup. He could also make the makes fairly quickly with a little polish to his already solid repertoire.
On the downside, his fastball is generally around 90 MPH. That's obviously a concern even though it has solid movement in, on right-handed hitters.
Also, some worry that he could struggle against better hitters since the Big Ten isn't considered to be an elite baseball conference.
Wimmers doesn't have the eye-popping stuff scouts generally like early in the draft, but a pitcher with three average or better offerings can still be a big asset with good control and command.
Though he hasn't been quite as productive as the previous three pitchers, Workman appears to have a bit more upside on the next level.
The main reason for that is his fastball. He consistently works between 92 and 94 with solid movement on both a 4-seamer and 2-seamer.
His curve is also considered a potentially plus pitch with a sharp break.
That said, he will need to develop another pitch to be effective as a starter. He does throw a change that could use a bit more work and is supposedly working on a cutter.
He could end up being a dangerous 2-pitch reliever, but with a bit more refinement of his other pitches he could have top of the rotation upside.
Some of you are probably thinking, "the Citadel, really?"
Asher has drawn interest because of his mid-90's fastball and hard slider.
However, he is still a work in progress. His control has been an issue in the past (though better this year) and he barely uses his changeup.
I don't think anyone really knows what you're getting with Woijciechowski.
Obviously his fastball/slider combo gives him a chance to be a difference maker in the majors, but he's also a lot less polished than the rest of their options in the mid-first.