With the 24th overall pick in the 2022 MLB first-year player draft, the Red Sox have selected Orange Lutheran High School (Calif.) shortstop Mikey Romero.
Romero, 18, is regarded by Baseball America as the 54th-ranked prospect in this year’s draft class. The California native is currently committed to play college baseball at Louisiana State University.
In 30 games with the Lancers this spring, the left-handed hitting Romero batted .372/.419/.659 with five doubles, five triples, four home runs, 26 RBIs, 24 runs scored, one stolen base, eight walks, and seven strikeouts over 105 trips to the plate.
Per his Baseball America scouting report, Romero “has a pretty, natural left-handed swing and an advanced feel for hitting. He identifies pitches well and frequently gets the barrel to the ball to make consistent contact, including against high-end velocity and quality breaking stuff. Though Romero makes lots of contact, it’s often soft contact. He has a slender build and lacks the strength to do damage even when he squares balls up. He needs to make substantial strength gains to reach his potential as an above-average hitter with below-average power, with opinions sharply divided on whether he will be able to.”
Defensively, the 6-foot-1, 175-pound infielder is “an instinctive defender” at shortstop, though there are some questions surrounding his future at the position. According to Baseball America, Romero possesses “sure hands and a quick transfer, but his range is limited by his fringe-average speed and his fringy arm strength makes it difficult for him to make throws moving to his right. He is likely to move to second base or play a utility role.”
Romero, who does not turn 19 until January, attended the same high school as Yankees ace Gerrit Cole and Brewers top prospect Garrett Mitchell. Under chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and amateur scouting director Paul Toboni, the Red Sox have made a habit of taking California-born prepsters in the first round of the draft.
Flash back to 2020, Boston selected Archbishop Mitty High School (San Jose, Calif.) second baseman Nick Yorke with the 17th overall pick. Last year, Eastlake High School (Chula Vista, Calif.) shortstop Marcelo Mayer was taken with the fourth overall selection.
Yorke wound up signing an under-slot deal with the Sox at $2.7 million, while Mayer signed at the recommended slot value of $6.664 million. This year, the slot value attached to the 24th overall pick in the draft comes in at roughly $2.975 million.
The Red Sox will have until August 1 to reach an agreement with Romero, as well as the rest of their draft picks. They will make two more selections (No. 41 and No. 79) before Day 1 of the MLB Draft concludes.
(Picture of Mikey Romero via his Instagram)