In his latest 2022 mock draft for MLB Pipeline, MLB.com’s Jim Callis writes that the Red Sox will more than likely “wind up with a college outfielder” with the 24th overall pick in the first round.
While Callis links University of Tennessee teammates Jordan Beck and Drew Gilbert to the Sox, he also suggests that the club “could have interest in” University of Florida outfielder Sterlin Thompson.
Thompson, who turns 21 on Sunday, is currently regarded by MLB Pipeline as the 27th-ranked prospect in this year’s draft class. With the Gators this season, the left-handed hitting sophomore batted .354/.443/.563 with 16 doubles, two triples, 11 home runs, 51 RBIs, 59 runs scored, 10 stolen bases, 37 walks, and 47 strikeouts over 66 games and 305 plate appearances.
On the other side of the ball, Thompson logged 44 games in right field this year. The 6-foot-4, 200 pounder also appeared in 26 contests as a second baseman for the first time in his collegiate career.
Per his MLB Pipeline scouting report, Thompson “has long shown a good feel to hit from the left side of the plate with a very good approach. He can use the whole field and drive the ball to the gaps, rarely missing a fastball, though he struggles a bit more with softer stuff.”
Defensively, it noted that “most scouts feel an outfield corner is his best long-term home at the next level. Wherever he plays, it’s his left-handed bat that will carry him and potentially get him drafted in the top three rounds.”
The Red Sox have an extensive history when it comes to drafting players out of Gainesville. Last year alone, they took fellow outfielder and Ocala, Fla. native Jud Fabian in the second round and catcher Nathan Hickey in the fifth round. Fabian may not have signed with Boston, but Hickey has since emerged as arguably the top catching prospect in the organization.
The recommended slot value for the 24th overall pick in this year’s draft comes in at roughly $2.975 million. Because Thompson participated in the MLB Draft Combine earlier this month and presumably took part in the pre-draft MRI program, he would have to receive a signing bonus offer of at least 75% of the slot value of his pick.
So, if the Red Sox were to take someone like Thompson at No. 24, they could offer him no less than $2,231,175 in signing bonus money. According to Baseball America, if this requirement is not met, “players would become free agents and teams would not receive a supplemental pick during the following year.”
On that note, the 2022 MLB Draft gets underway in Los Angeles on July 17. So it begins three weeks from Sunday.
(Picture of Sterlin Thompson: Samuel Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)