Last week, I wrote about who the Red Sox could potentially target in the first round of this year’s amateur draft.
Since that time, it was reported by The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich that the Major League Baseball Players Association rejected a draft-related proposal from MLB on Thursday.
In that proposal, the commissioner’s office suggested that the 2020 draft consist of 10 rounds and be split into two segments, with the picks from the first five rounds having the same assigned slot value as they did the year prior, and the picks from the last five rounds having about 50% of last year’s assigned slot value in addition to having a signing bonus hard cap.
Per Rosenthal and Drellich, “The players would prefer that the draft go as many rounds as possible, giving entry to more players into the sport,” but at the same time, MLB has leverage in that they could tell the players association: “Take 10 rounds, with restrictions, or else the draft will be shorter.”
As pressing as those obstacles may be for the MLBPA, the draft is still expected to be held on June 10th, and the two sides could still reach an agreement before then.
That said, another mock draft, this one consisting of three rounds, organized by the folks over at Prospects Live was live streamed over the weekend and its participants included analysts from various other prospect sites, such as Perfect Game, Rotowire, and Prospects1500 to name just a few.
Representing the Red Sox in this mock draft were Chris Hatfield and Ian Cundall of SoxProspects.com, one of the best places to go for coverage and analysis of the Red Sox farm system on the internet.
The Red Sox this year will be making their first draft selection with the 17th overall pick after finishing with the 17th-worst record in baseball last year.
College prospects such as Garrett Crochet, Patrick Bailey, and Tanner Burns have been linked to this pick recently, but Hatfield and Cundall went with a high school prospect here. His name?
OF Robert Hassell, Independence High School (Thompson’s Station, TN)
Ranked as MLB Pipeline’s No. 16 draft-eligible prospect, Hassell is regarded as the ‘best pure hitter’ in this year’s prep class.
Swinging from the left side of the plate, the 18-year-old led Team USA in hitting in last fall’s U-18 Baseball World Cup in South Korea, slashing .514/.548/.886 with two home runs and 14 RBI over 42 plate appearances.
From his Baseball America scouting report, Hassell is “one of the rare prep hitters who seems to be in control of an at-bat, regardless of the count or the pitcher on the mound facing him. There are few holes in his swing and he doesn’t miss often, hitting the ball hard whenever he makes contact with developing power.”
Hassell can also pitch, and he is currently committed to Vanderbilt University in Nashville.
Moving on to the third round now since the Red Sox will be without a second-round pick in this year’s draft, Hatfield and Cundall have Boston taking a right-hander out of the Big 10 with the 89th overall pick. His name?
RHP Jeff Criswell, University of Michigan
MLP Pipeline’s 58th-ranked draft prospect, Criswell was originally drafted by the Tigers in the 35th round of the 2017 MLB Draft.
Listed at 6’4″ and 225 pounds, the 21-year-old out of Portage, Mich. posted a 4.50 ERA and .205 batting average against over four starts and 24 innings pitched for the Wolverines before the 2020 college baseball season was shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Criswell is capable of pitching in the rotation and out of the bullpen. He even became somewhat as a weapon for Michigan as a reliever in the 2019 College World Series.
From his MLB Pipeline scouting report:
“He maintained his velocity while transitioning from reliever to starter, showing the ability to work at 93-96 mph with heavy sink for several innings at a time. Both his slider and his fading changeup are solid secondary pitches that arrive in the low 80s.”
If the 2020 draft is only five rounds, these two prospects could represent 40% of the amateur talent the Red Sox bring in domestically this year. If it’s 10 rounds, then 20%.
What will Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. have in store for us later in the year? We’ll have to wait and see when the draft happens for real.