The Red Sox have selected University of Florida outfielder Jud Fabian with their second-round pick in the 2021 MLB first-year player draft at No. 40 overall.
Fabian, 20 was regarded by Baseball America as the No. 27 prospect heading into the draft, ranking sixth among college position players.
There was a point in time not too long ago — before the college baseball season started — where it looked as though Fabian, a native of Florida, could be a potential top-five pick this summer, but an up-and-down sophomore season with the Gators resulted in his stock dropping a bit.
Over 59 games (269 plate appearances) with Florida this spring, the right-handed hitting, left-handed throwing outfielder slashed .249/.364/.560 with 10 doubles, 20 home runs, 46 RBI, 51 runs scored, six stolen bases, 40 walks, and 79 strikeouts.
Listed at 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds, Fabian enrolled at Florida a year early in 2019 after skipping his senior season at Trinity Catholic High School (Ocala, Fla.), making him one of the younger college prospects in the draft.
Per his Baseball America scouting report, Fabian — who does not turn 21 until late September — “teams [had] plenty of concerns about his pure feel for hitting and his high strikeout rates” this spring.
“He entered the year with question marks about his swing and miss against spin but has whiffed more than 30% against each pitch type,” Fabian’s scouting report reads. “Fabian has attempted to make some tweaks mechanically to cut down on his strikeouts, removing a leg kick in two-strike counts which did help him lower his strikeout rate, but it’s still higher than the 25% mark teams generally prefer with first-round bats. Fabian does have solid bat speed and plus raw power that has translated mostly to the pull side, but he’s hit a few impressive homers over the right-field fence as well.
“Fabian should have no issues handling center field and playing it at a high level defensively at the next level. He’s an above-average runner but what makes him a special defender are his defensive instincts, first step, reads off the bat, athleticism and arm strength. He’s at least a plus defender in the outfield and some scouts have gone as far as putting double-plus grades on his glove, making him one of the best defensive center fielders in the 2021 draft class.”
Because of his age and the fact that he has two years of eligibility left, Fabian has plenty of leverage when it comes to negotiating his signing price.
According to FanGraphs’ Eric Longenhagen and Kevin Goldstein, some within the industry feel as though the young slugger “might go back to school if he doesn’t go in the first round.”
Longenhagen and Goldstein also noted earlier this month that Fabian partook in a private workout conducted by the Red Sox that included the likes of Henry Davis and Brady House.
With all that being said, the recommended slot value for the 40th overall selection in this year’s draft is approximately $1,856,700, while the Red Sox — whose drafting efforts are led by chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and amateur scouting director Paul Toboni, among others — have approximately $11,359,600 in total bonus pool space to work with when it comes to signing their picks.
While it’s unclear at the moment if Fabian will sign with Boston or return to campus in Gainesville, one thing is for certain: the Red Sox will be on the clock again when it is time for pick No. 75 to be made.
(Picture of Jud Fabian: Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)