In the first installment of their 2022 mock draft, MLB Pipeline has the Red Sox selecting Rockwall-Heath High School shortstop Jett Williams with its first-round pick at No. 24 overall.
The reasoning behind the selection from MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo is simple: “The Red Sox have taken a high school infielder the last three years they had a first-round pick, so we know they don’t shy away from that demographic.”
Mayo, of course, is referring to the fact that Boston has used its last three first-rounders on a trio of prep infielders in Marcelo Mayer (2021), Nick Yorke (2020), and Triston Casas (2018).
Williams, on the other hand, is currently regarded by MLB Pipeline as the No. 25 draft-eligible prospect in this year’s class, which ranks 16th among position players.
The 18-year-old hits from the right side of the plate, is in the midst of his senior season at Rockwall-Heath, and is committed to play college baseball at Mississippi State University. Last year, he batted .347/.514/.723 with five doubles, nine triples, five home runs, 37 RBIs, 40 runs scored, 29 walks, three strikeouts, and 15 stolen bases for the Hawks.
Listed at 5-foot-8 and 178 pounds, Williams may be undersized for his position. But according to his MLB Pipeline scouting report, the native Texan is “a favorite gut-feel guy for a lot of scouts” because of his “quick hands, feel for the barrel, and quality right-handed stroke.”
On the basepaths and on the field, Williams possesses “plus speed and knows how to use his quickness.” Defensively, he dealt with a shoulder injury last summer that affected him on the showcase circuit, though “some evaluators believe he has solid arm strength when healthy.”
With that, MLB Pipeline notes that Williams has “the hands and actions” that are required of a shortstop. And while some believe he has what it takes to stick at shortstop, there are others who think he is best suited for second base or center field.
Williams, who turns 19 in November, is the second draft-eligible high school infielder the Red Sox have been linked to in recent weeks. Baseball America had Boston taking fellow shortstop Cole Young with its top pick in a mock draft that was published earlier this month.
As a reminder, the 2022 MLB Draft will kick off in Los Angeles on July 17, which is a little more than 11 weeks away.
(Picture of Jett Williams via his Instagram)