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A Snapshot of the Red Sox 2018 Draft

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When I was a kid I would often hang out with my cousin.  Matter of fact, I still hang out with this cousin.  When we were young we had a massive collection of action figures.  Power Rangers, Ninja Turtles, creatures from something called Spawn.  The two of us would get together and decide that we wanted to play with these toys.  He had a blue and green Fisher-Price chest that had all his action figures inside.  We would flip that chest on its green side and scatter all the toys all over the floor.  All this sounds like pretty normal childhood behavior, but what we did next was a bit strange.  Instead of creating mega battles between Wolverine and the Green Ranger we would draft the toys.  I would select a toy say….Michelangelo, he was my favorite and then he would select his favorite.  Rounds 2, 3, 10, 25 would pass and eventually all the toys were put on either my team or his.  Just as we were about to make the possible mega battle happen my mom would show up, and take me home.  We spent all the time we had to play just drafting teams.   As you can probably guess, I’m a big fan of drafts in all major sports. (By the way this is all completely true).  And speaking of drafts…last week Major League Baseball held its 2018 first year player draft.  Boston would ultimately make 20 picks through the entire draft, but I’m going to only highlight a few.

The Boston Red Sox owned 2 picks on night one of this years’ draft and 2018 is a very important year for the front office of the Sox.  Dave Dombrowski has done here in Boston what he did in Detroit.  He has shipped most of his prized prospects away to acquire veteran talent.  Whether you agree with Dave D’s trades or not is a topic for a different day. 

Last year’s draft hasn’t produced any promising prospects.  Not yet anyway, and their entire farm system is the weakest it has been for a long time.  If you follow any Detroit Tiger baseball (I can’t imagine you do) it is not hard to see that dark days could be in the Red Sox future.  Especially if they can’t lock Betts, Sale or Kimbrel up long term.   

Last Monday, the Red Sox brass gathered together in their war room to make their 2 selections.  Boston’s 1st pick wasn’t until 26 so they were going to have to wait for a little while.  After 25 players were chosen to fulfill their lifelong dream to play professional baseball, it was time for the Red Sox first pick.  Personally, I was hoping they would take Seth Beer.  Obviously the kid has a great name, but that wasn’t the reason I hoped he was the 26th pick.  The junior from Clemson University may have the most power in college baseball, his 20 home runs ranks 4th this year in all division 1.  They didn’t take Beer, instead Boston picked Triston Casas, an 18 year corner infield high school senior from Florida.  The Red Sox would have to wait almost 40 picks until they chose their next prospect.   In round number 2 the Boston Red Sox selected outfielder Nick Decker.  Decker is another high school senior, but he is from Jersey.  Typically high school bats take the longest to reach the bigs, but after doing a little research on these two prospects, I think Dave and company cranked two bombs over the fence….exit velo 100mph +. 

Triston Casas played high school baseball for American Heritage in Florida.  I’m not going to dive into the deep scouting of Casas, if you want to see his tools on the 20-80 scale check out MLB Pipeline.  What I will mention is his power.  The 6’4” 238lb third basemen (I think he’ll settle at first base) led the U-18 Baseball World Cup in home runs and RBIs.  He was named the WBSC International Baseball Player of the Year.  For an 18 year old he has a great approach at the plate.  Do you like Freddie Freeman? I’m sure you do, I think if he reaches his full potential you may see a player of Freeman’s caliber in a few years.  His lefty swing even resembles Freddie Freeway’s.  He’s big, he’s athletic (he can also throw 90+ from the hill), and he loves baseball.   On MLB tv and on other interviews he’s mentioned his dedication to becoming one of the greatest ever.  A story has made its rounds in the baseball world that during batting practice in the Marlin’s home park Casas hit a ball 500+ feet.  Granted it was with a metal bat but that is still impressive.  For all you advanced metrics people…he ranks amongst the top high school bats in exit velo.  For all you that aren’t familiar with advanced stats that means he hits the ball really hard.  Triton had committed to the U and was the first ever middle school baseball player to commit to a division 1 school.  Only time will tell if we ever see young Mr. Casas at Fenway but at least you will get the chance.  The Red Sox have already agreed to a deal that will bring Triston Casas into the organization.

When the Sox were on the clock with pick 64 they selected Nick Decker.  Just like Casas he is coming straight from high school.  He played outfield for Seneca High School in New Jersey.  And just like his future teammate he possesses raw power.  He may not have the hit tool as good as Casas but his physical power may even be greater.  Do yourself a favor and go search Nick Decker on twitter and you will see a video of Decker’s sweet lefty swing absolutely demolishing a home run.  If the dinger isn’t impressive enough he pimp job after should do it.  The last big time early round prospect from NJ was Mike Trout.  In no way am I saying he has Trout’s potential. I repeat Nick Decker will not become Mike Trout! But Decker also has some speed.  He is fairly quick for his 6’1” 200lb frame.  Exit velocity was a constant for the Sox scouting team as Decker also registered some of the highest exit velo form this crop of high school hitters.  Decker has yet to sign with the Red Sox…keep your fingers crossed he does.

Other notable draftees were Durbin Feltman, Nicholas Northcut and Devlin Granberg.

Durbin Feltman is a right handed relief pitcher that has many things going for him.  His name is big league ready, he throws almost 100mph with movement, he has a wipe out slider, and he is the all time save leader at TCU.  He also possesses a little of that psycho Papelbon in him.  Who wouldn’t love a Papelbon 2.0?  Last but not least you could see him in at Fenway this season.  And I’m not talking about the futures at Fenway event.   

Nicholas Northcut is a 6’1” high school senior.  He is considered one of the better two way talents in this year’s draft.  That means he is a good hitter and pitcher.  Scouts believe the righty has the tools to be a solid third basemen or an organizational arm.  His biggest red flag is his commitment to Vanderbilt.  Vandy is one of the best baseball programs in college baseball, but if the Sox can lure him away from his commitment they will have landed a very talented player in round 11.

Devlin Granberg is known as one of the best senior batters in college.  The 6th round outfielder from Dallas Baptist has hit at every college level.  In his entire college career the right handed batter hit .427/.508/.680 with 25 homers in 163 games.  He has size, listed at 6’2” 224lbs. Two things the Sox had their eyes on when it comes to Granberg is his speed for his size and his….say it with me…”EXIT VELO!!”  None of these 3 players have been signed yet.

Clearly the Sox scouts were looking for guys who can either hit or throw the baseball very very hard.  I wish I could say get excited for this year’s draft class, but truthfully it is way too early.  But in the near future hopefully you’ll be able to watch these new Red Sox blast some bombs.

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