As this is written the baseball draft is one day away. On draft eve, I will update the Red Sox possible scenarios in this draft. Last week, I listed 24 names plus a few special cases that had been mentioned as Sox possible draftees. According to several of the industry's more respectable info and mock draft sites ( especially Baseball America's Jim Callis, Keith Law of ESPN, and Scout.com), the list is down to about 16 to maybe 20 names for the Sox two first round picks at 24 and 31. Number 31 is the Phillies' pick compensation for losing Paplebon, the Sox also have a sandwich round pick at 37 as part of the Paplebon package. Although a number of names have been weeded off the previous list, there is also a new name or two on this list.
#24 possibilities (**= also mocked at 31 as well)
**Marcus Stroman, RHP Duke. Not on the list before because every expert expected he would go anywhere from 8-16. But he has been dropping for two connected reasons. Stroman is 5'8" and because of this nearly everyone is projecting him as a bullpen guy and teams are hoping for a higher ceiling from a first rounder. His comp is Tom Gordon, in size and stuff. And his stuff is what makes him a likely first round pick. Fastball up to 98 with a nasty plus slider, as well as decent change. Most electric arm in the entire draft is a frequent scouting comment, as well the belief Stroman could pitch in the pen this year in the big leagues. A few folks believe his ceiling is #3 starter, but the majority feel it is the bullpen.
Stryker Trahan C Lafayette, LA HS A high school catcher whose best asset is his bat, but scouts believe could stay behind the plate in pro ball. His rating puts him in the 20-32 area, not so sure the Sox are that interested but one high placed mock puts him at 24.
** Tanner Rahnier, So Cal HS SS He was on the our list last week, an outstanding offensive player who has skipped his last 3 years of HS ball to play in an independent. wooden bat league in California. "Plays like his shoe are on fire". In a Boston based podcast this weekend, Jim Callis said this is one of the two names he hears most connected to the Sox. However, in the last week almost every mock draft has him going to the Braves at 21. If he gets by 21, he could be the Sox pick at 24 or they could gamble on Rahnier still sitting on the board at 31, as some mocks have it.
Tyler Naquin OF Texas A&M Called by many the best pure hitter in the draft with a very strong arm, as well. Only one mock draft I have seen has him gone before 24, that again is to the Braves at 21. It may be whoever Atlanta chooses from Rahnier/Naquin may be left for Boston. The reason "the best pure hitter" is not rated higher is his power portion of his hitting is not outstanding, and scouts feel without the power to play RF, he may need to play CF. And because of a speedier teammate at A&M, he has not played any CF, and scouts are not sure he can handle center defensively. Not out of the realm he could still be there at 31 as well.
**Addison Russell SS Florida HS Again a strong hitter who is projected to go 20-30, although rumored to be among Oakland's options at 11. Yankees also interested at 30, but the later info has NYY strongly leaning to a HS pitcher.
** Zach Eflin RHP Florida HS Fastball up to 96, has dropped from a sure top 15 pick due to triceps tendinitis this spring. Several mocks have him going to Giants at 20, otherwise he should be there at 24. Keith Law of ESPN is adamant that the Sox will not take a HS pitcher at 24, and probably not at 31, either, waiting until 37.
Stephen Piscotty 3B Stanford A right handed John Olerud is what Piscotty is called by scouts. His name is being projected all over the board from the mid teens down to near the end of the first round. If the Sox a looking for a college bat, Naquin or this guy could be it
DJ Davis, OF Mississippi HS None of the mocks I checked had Davis as this pick although several mentioned him as in the mix. This is the second name Callis mentioned in the podcast as most heard as connected to Boston. He has off the charts blazing speed and athleticism.
Matt Smoral LHP Ohio HS Some earlier mocks had him as the pick at 24. Very little mention lately mostly because he is expected to be gone, maybe as high as 13 to the White Sox. The other school of thought is the Sox avoid him due to broken foot suffered this spring.
Victor Roache OF Georgia Southern He is a third candidate for college hitter at 24. He hit 30 home runs in his soph season, but a broken wrist short circuited his junior season. If healthy, he is a corner OF with big time power.
Besides the ten above two more names to mention. HS 3B Joey Gallo, best power in the draft this Nevada HS kid's name is again all over the mocks. I suspect the Red Sox prefer other hitters ahead of Gallo. Lastly Gavin Cecchini, the kid brother of Sox minor leaguer Garin would be the Sox pick if he ever got to 24. Strong hitter and SS from Louisiana HS, the lowest I have seen go in mocks is 22 to Toronto, and the Cards pick 23rd and they also have interest. He also could go as high as 10 to the Rockies or 12 to the Mets. If he is at 24 I bet the Sox pop him.
Walker Weichel RHP Florida HS-In the last preview I mistakenly said he was from Washington state. However his Olympia HS is in Florida. There is a grouping of HS pitchers around this ranking, if the Sox take a college bat at 24, I think this increases the chance of a HS pitcher here.
Nick Travieso RHP Florida HS and Hunter Virant LHP Camirillo, CA HS same story with this pair as with Weichel, similar rankings and reports, again Keith Law of ESPN does not see the Sox taking a HS pitcher with this pick. We will see.
Corey Seager 3B North Carolina HS Brother of Mariners Kyle Seager is considered a strong lefty power hitter, plays SS in HS. He is possibly a tough sign or he would be ranked much higher, and may be taken as high as mid first round. If he is there at 31, I think he is the Sox pick, especially if they take a pitcher like Stroman at 24.
Brian Johnson LHP UFlorida The college lefty projects to a back of rotation starter with solid but not electric stuff. He could still be around at 37. A high school bat at 24 would increase Johnson's chances to be picked here.
Also the asterisked names above are in play at 31.
37 Just a few names.
Travis Jankowski OF Stony Brook My favorite to be picked here. Scouts feel he would be an outstanding leadoff hitter. Has had an outstanding America East career with the bat, not a power hitter, more of a doubles hitter.
Nolan Fontana SS UFlorida Latest USA Today/ESPN coaches poll has Florida at #1 in college baseball, and Fontana is a steady SS for that club. Could get to the majors rather quickly as a steady but not spectacular SS.
Barrett Barnes OF Texas Tech A name not on our last list, he is a right handed power bat who could play LF or CF. He has above average speed, but below average arm. Noted to have a quick bat with good plate approach, but some holes in the swing to be rectified in the pros. If Sox do not get a college bat in first two picks they could look here ( or at Jankowski) at 37.
I will update this post up to and during the draft tomorrow night. For now my guess for the Sox at 24-31-37 is Stroman, Seager, and Jankowski.