In his latest 2022 mock draft for MLB Pipeline, MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo has the Red Sox selecting Buford High School (Ga.) right-hander Dylan Lesko with their top pick at No. 24 overall.
Lesko, 18, is regarded by MLB Pipeline as the No. 9 draft-eligible prospect, which ranks first among pitchers in this year’s class. Despite the hype, the Georgia native recently underwent Tommy John surgery in late April, which is why Mayo has him falling to the late first round.
Prior to going under the knife, Lesko was coming off a dominant 2021 campaign for Buford in which he posted a 0.35 ERA with 112 strikeouts over 60 innings en route to becoming the first junior ever to take home Gatorade national baseball player of the year honors. He also got his 2022 season off to to a promising start before suffering an elbow injury that ultimately required Tommy John on April 26.
Listed at 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, Lesko impressed scouts on the showcase circuit by working with a 92-95 mph fastball that tops out at 97 mph as well as “the best changeup in the draft” and a curveball that has “the potential to become a plus weapon,” per Mayo.
Already equipped with a repeatable delivery, Lesko — who turns 19 in September — is currently committed to play college baseball at the esteemed Vanderbilt University should he choose not to go pro this summer.
While recovering from Tommy John will keep him sidelined for the next 12-15 months, there is still a strong chance Lesko is the first pitcher taken off the board come July 17 in Los Angeles.
The Red Sox have not used a first-round pick on a high school pitcher since 2016, when they took left-hander Jay Groome out of Barnegat High School in New Jersey with the 12th overall selection in that year’s draft.
Boston signed Groome for $3.65 million six years ago. This time around, the assigned slot value for the No. 24 pick in the 2022 draft comes in at roughly $2.975 million.
(Picture of Dylan Lesko: Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images)