Could the Red Sox select Oklahoma State University right-hander Justin Campbell with their first-round pick in the upcoming draft? Baseball America’s Tom Lipari recently suggested as much.
Lipari, representing the Red Sox in Baseball America’s latest staff draft, selected Campbell with the 24th overall pick, noting that the righty is mature and could be a quick mover through any system.
Campbell is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 27 prospect in this year’s draft class, ranking eight among eligible pitchers. The California native was originally selected by the Astros in the 18th round of the 2019 amateur draft out of Simi Valley High School, but opted to go to college as opposed to going pro as a teenager.
Now 21 years old, Campbell just put the finishing touches on a junior season with the Cowboys in which he posted a 3.82 ERA and 1.07 WHIP to go along with 141 strikeouts to 25 walks over 17 appearances (16 starts) spanning 101 1/3 innings of work. He was named to the All-Big 12 First Team for his efforts.
Listed at an intimidating 6-foot-7 and 219 pounds, Campbell throws from a three-quarters arm slot and works with four different offerings in a 90-93 mph fastball that can reach 94-95 mph, a 75-78 mph curveball “with tight 1-to-7 break,” an 80-82 mph slider, and an upper-70s changeup, per his Baseball America scouting report.
The Red Sox last used a first-rounder on a college pitcher in 2017, when they took righty Tanner Houck out of the University of Missouri. Boston also owned the 24th overall pick in that draft five years ago.
This time around, the 24th overall selection comes with a recommended slot value of roughly $2.975 million. It does not appear as though Campbell participated in last month’s draft combine in San Diego, so whichever team drafts him would not be required to offer of at least 75% of the slot value of their assigned pick.
Campbell, who does not turn 22 until February, has eligibility remaining and could therefore return to Oklahoma State for the 2023 season if his draft bonus demands are not met by whichever club takes him.
On that note, the 2022 MLB Draft will get underway in Los Angeles on Sunday. The Red Sox will pick at No. 24, No. 41, and No. 79 on Day 1, which will begin at 7 p.m. eastern time.
(Picture of Justin Campbell: David Buono/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)