Come this July, the Red Sox will be picking within the top five in the MLB first-year player draft for the first time since 1967, when the club took high school right-hander Mike Garman with its top pick at No. 3 overall.
Coming off a 2020 season in which they finished with the fourth-worst record in baseball, it goes without saying that the Red Sox selecting fourth in the 2021 draft will be a key moment for the franchise as they move forward under chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom.
The draft still may be many a month away, but more and more mock drafts are starting to get released in recent weeks.
Last month, MLB.com’s Jim Callis had the Sox taking University of Florida outfielder Jud Fabian with their top selection. And just this week, Baseball America released their ‘2021 MLB Mock Draft Version 1.0.‘
At No. 4, BA’s Carlos Collazo has the Red Sox taking Eastlake High School (Calif.) shortstop Marcelo Mayer.
“Many clubs believe Southern California shortstop Marcelo Mayer is the best pure hitter in the prep class, and it’s rare for that profile to last long in the draft,” Collazo writes. “In recent years, the perceived best pure high school hitters have all been selected among the top 10 picks: OF Jarred Kelenic went No. 6 to the Mets in 2018, OF Riley Greene went No. 5 to the Tigers in 2019 and OF Robert Hassell went No. 8 to the Padres in 2020. Mayer has the superior defensive profile to all those hitters, which should create a lofty realistic range for him.”
Mayer, 18, is set to graduate from Eastlake High in Chula Vista this spring. He is currently committed to play college baseball at the University of Southern California.
Listed at 6-foot-3 and 180 lbs., Mayer hits from the left side of the plate while throwing with his right hand.
He didn’t get too much of an opportunity to showcase himself in 2020 on account of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but he did participate in the Perfect Game All-American Classic in Oklahoma City back in September.
There, according to the folks over at Prospects Live, Mayer “had a good night with a firm base hit up the middle and some impressive actions on the dirt.”
FanGraphs‘ scouting report for Mayer goes as follows:
Mayer is a graceful infield defender with a very projectable frame. His swing currently prioritizes contact. He has terrific vertical plate coverage and generates all-fields spray, but he’s also shown an ability to turn on and punish pitches inside with power. His frame is nearly identical to Izaac Pachecho’s, but Mayer has a better chance to stay at short and has more room to fill out, so he’s slightly ahead of Pacheco here.
Because the draft is still so far away, the Red Sox taking Mayer with their top selection is no sure thing, as eligible prospects are likely to see their stock rise and fall between now and July, especially with high school and college baseball still to be played in some capacity this spring.
Having said that, Mayer is someone the Red Sox are presumably quite familiar with already given the hype that has been surrounding him. It would be interesting to ask J.J. Altobelli, the team’s Southern California amateur area scout, about that.
And for what it’s worth, in Bloom’s first draft as chief baseball officer, Boston took another high school infielder in Nick Yorke, who also hails from California and was committed to play college ball at a Pac-12 school (Arizona).
(Top picture of Mayer: Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune)