With the 279th overall pick in the 2022 MLB first-year player draft, the Red Sox selected Randleman High School (N.C.) catcher Brooks Brannon.
Brannon, 18, is regarded by Baseball America as the No. 155 prospect in this year’s draft class. The right-handed hitting backstop is currently committed to play college baseball at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
As a highly-touted senior at Randleman, Brannon batted a ridiculous .609/.644/1.330 with 17 doubles, three triples, 20 home runs, 91 RBIs, 44 runs scored, two stolen bases, 16 walks, and 15 strikeouts over 34 games (135 plate appearances) for the Tigers.
Listed at 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, Brannon “is close to physically maxed out,” according to his Baseball America scouting report. He “has plus raw power in the tank and swings like someone who knows he does — constantly looking to do damage. He wasn’t on the summer showcase circuit and so scouts don’t have much track record with him facing high-end velocity, and he has also expanded the zone and swung and missed at times with noncompetitive swings against below-average secondaries.”
Defensively, Brannon “shows above-average arm strength and clocked pop times around 1.95 seconds last fall, but he needs to improve his actions behind the plate as both a receiver and pitch blocker. There are tools here for Brannon to be an impactful player, but he needs to iron out some of the details of his game to fully capitalize on them.”
Considering that Brannon — who does not turn 19 until next May — is committed to a well-regarded school like North Carolina, it may take the Red Sox some effort to sway him away from Chapel Hill.
The recommended slot value for the 279th pick in the 2022 draft comes in at $158,100, so Boston could be looking to sign Brannon to an over-slot deal of some sorts.
“We were surprised to see him get that far,” Red Sox director of amateur scouting Paul Toboni said of Brannon on Monday, via MLB.com’s Julia Kreuz. “We think so highly of the baseball player and the person, we were beyond thrilled to see him staring at us at that point of the draft.”
(Picture of Brooks Brannon: Randleman High School head coach Jake Smith)