The 2012 Baseball Amateur Draft is a week from Monday on June 4th. Overall, this year's crop is considered a weak year by baseball scouts and other insiders. This is to a large degree due to this year's new strict slotting of draftee's bonuses. This change was heavily rumored to be on the horizon a year ago, consequently many high schoolers who may have gone onto college or junior college signed while the money was there, as did the college juniors diminishing this year's pool.
The new slotting system allows each team a set amount of money to sign their picks. The first overall pick in the draft is slotted at 7.2 M, and all of the following picks through the first ten rounds are calculated as a percentage of the first pick. The teams with extra picks get to spend extra money as each pick is worth a certain amount. Red Sox are 10th in money to spend at about 6.8M, interestingly the Rays are 4th from the bottom, and Yankees are also in the bottom 10. Teams do not need to stick at the slot for any given pick, but must come in at or under the allotted total draft budget. Failure to do so will result in penalties up to losing a future first round draft pick. For example if a team's first round pick is slotted at 1.5M, they could pay the player 4M ( or any other amount), but they must not spend this excess on later picks. This has lead to two schools of thought on this draft. First some teams will try to draft someone early who will sign for underslot, and save the cash to nab tougher signees who slide. Or in the example above, teams will spend big early and not sign some later picks at all or for short money.
The Red Sox have two first round picks, 24 and 31. #24 is their own and they have the Phillies #31 for the Paplebon signing. The Sox also have #37 as part of the Paplebon compensation. The Sox also pick at 87 and 118 in the 2nd and 3rd rounds.
With ten days to go there seems to be no consensus in the mock draft media world on who the Sox may covet. While perusing Baseball America, ESPN, Sox Prospects, and other amateur baseball blogs, two dozen names or so are thrown out as Red Sox possibilities. Additionally, with the draft not coming into focus beyond the first 6 picks or so, many if not most names suggested as Sox draft picks are also shown as being taken before the Sox' #24 in other mock drafts.
Here is a list of players mentioned as Sox first round picks at 24 or 31, with very brief info:
Matt Smoral, LHP Ohio HS, was considered a sure op 15 until a broken foot slowed his HS senior year
Tanner Rahier SS, SoCal HS, good offensive player, may need to move to 2B or 3B
Chris Stratton, RHP Mississippi State, 93MPH fastball, good command, '12's Barnes/Ranaudo ??
Stephen Piscotty 1B/3B Stanford, doubles not home run hitter, RH John Olerud
Ty Hensley, RHP Santa Fe NM HS up to 96 fastball with plus plus curve.
David Dahl OF Alabama HS power/speed combo
Lewis Brinson OF Coral Springs, FL HS
DJ Davis OF Mississippi HS, super-fast, fastest, most athletic player in draft
Joey Gallo, 3B Nevada HS best HS pure power prospect in draft
Cory Seager, 3B, North Carolina HS, good lefty power, at shortstop now, brother of M's Kyle Seager.
Brian Johnson, LHP U Florida , described as solid, safe pick without large upside.
Jamie Jarmon, OF Delware HS
Chris Beck P Colorado HS
Victor Roache, OF Georgia Southern, considered best corner OF hitting prospect in draft, broken wrist derailed his Jr. season after a monster Soph season
Lance McCullers, Jr. RHP Florida HS, projects as a MLB reliever as was his dad.
Tyler Naquin OF Texas A&M best pure hitter in the draft, plus a very strong arm.
Walker Wechel, LHP Washington state HS
Lewis Brown, OF high schooler with plus power/plus speed, compared to Cameron Maybin
Carson Kelly 3B/SP Oregon, C. Kelly torn between mound and infield. Sound familiar?
Clate Schmidt, SP HS
Nolan Fontana, SS U Florida, considered a solid MLB SS, no impact skill
Zach Elfin. RHP Florida HS fastba ll hits 96,triceps tendinitis this year dropped him from top 15
Addison Russell, SS Florida HS, also rumored as a Yankee pick, Boras client w/ Auburn commitment
Pat Light RHP MOnmouth 6'6" 94-96 fastball projects as potential closer
Four other names not linked specifically to Boston but ones to watch:
Gavin Cecchini- younger brother of 2010 Sox high draftee Garin Cecchini he is projected to be drafted from 12-20 usually. But if the Louisiana HS SS drops to 24, I bet the Sox would pounce on him.
Travis Jankowski, OF from Stony Brook. An America East guy, he is projected to go right before the Sox 24 pick or to Tampa at 25 in several mock drafts. Good defender, speedy with some gap power.
Lucas Giolito-- A California HS pitcher was considered to be in the running for the overall #1 pick when his senior year started. In March, he sprained the pitching elbow ligament, and has not pitched since. In addition, his father is a Hollywood TV/movie producer, so the theory is Giolito is less likely to be bought out of his commitment to UCLA. Baseball America is now projecting between the injury and UCLA he will not go in the first round, maybe not even be drafted. However, one or two persons have speculated the the Red Sox may use pick 31 or 37, or lower if he is still there to take a shot at him.
Luke Bard RHP Georgia Tech, the younger brother of Daniel, the Sox took him three years ago out of HS, but he passed and went to college. He throws a little less of a fastball than Daniel, but projects to reliever in the bigs,as he has done often at Tech. Baseball America rates him s the #93 prospect, and the Sox pick at 87. Could there be a match?
As the next ten days go on, I will update with any other rumors concerning the Sox draft intentions.