When the Red Sox failed to sign University of Florida outfielder Jud Fabian in the wake of last summer’s amateur draft, they were rewarded with the 41st overall pick in this year’s draft.
The 41st pick will be made shortly after the Dodgers kick off the second round and Day 2 of the 2022 MLB Draft in Los Angeles on July 18. The selection has a recommended slot value of $1,905,500, which accounts for approximately 23.6% of Boston’s $8,078,300 bonus pool.
With that, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. could go a number of different directions when it comes to the Sox’ second-round pick. They could target a college outfielder as they did last year or perhaps even a high schooler.
In his latest mock draft for Prospects Live, Joe Doyle has the Red Sox taking Pro5 Baseball Academy outfielder Ryan Clifford with their second-round selection at No. 41 overall.
Clifford, who turns 19 next month, is currently regarded by MLB Pipeline as the No. 68 prospect in this year’s draft class. Baseball America lists the North Carolina native as its 77th-ranked draft-eligible prospect.
Listed at 6-foot-3 and 206 pounds, Clifford is committed to play college baseball at Vanderbilt University. The left-handed hitting, left-handed throwing outfielder has long been in the spotlight while playing for USA Baseball at several different levels.
Per his MLB Pipeline scouting report, Clifford “is equipped to hit for average and power” on account of his “picturesque” left-handed swing. “He has an advanced approach at the plate, focusing on driving balls from gap to gap while rarely chasing pitches out of the strike zone. With his bat speed and the strength in his 6-foot-3 frame, he could provide 25-30 homers per year once he starts driving the ball in the air more regularly. ”
Baseball America, on the other hand, notes that Clifford “developed a strong reputation as a hitter by playing up throughout his travel ball career and developing a solid track record with power potential in a strong, 6-foot-3, 206-pound frame. He’ll need to hit, as he has an offensive-forward corner profile and limited supplemental tools.”
On the other side of the ball, Clifford can best be described as a below-average runner with fringy speed who is “committed to working on his quickness and defense.” In addition to the outfield, the 18-year-old has experience at first base and could either settle there or in a corner outfield position in the long-run.
Because of these traits, Clifford has drawn comparisons to Diamondbacks first baseman Seth Beer, who was originally selected by the Astros in the first round of the 2018 amateur draft. The Red Sox had a chance to draft Beer, but instead took another first baseman in Triston Casas two picks prior.
(Picture of Ryan Clifford via his Instagram)