Potential Red Sox Draft Targets: University of Georgia Right-Hander Cole Wilcox

In his annual 2020 Red Sox draft preview for SoxProspects.com, Mike Andrews profiled a handful of high school and college prospects the Red Sox could select with their top pick at No. 17 overall on June 10th.

Those prospects include some names we’ve already covered on here, such as Jared Kelley, Mick Abel, Garrett Crochet, Pete Crow-Armstrong, Robert Hassell, Patrick Bailey, and Ed Howard.

One prospect that has not been discussed on here but was included in Andrews’ preview was University of Georgia right-hander Cole Wilcox.

Wilcox, a draft-eligible sophomore out of Chickamauga, Ga., is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the No. 23 prospect in this year’s draft class and ranks eighth among college pitchers.

The soon-to-be-21-year-old hurler was selected by the Washington Nationals in the 38th round of the 2018 draft, but he forwent signing with the club to instead honor his commitment to Georgia.

Listed at 6’5″ and 232 lbs., Wilcox posted a 1.57 ERA and 0.87 WHIP over four outings and 23 innings pitched for the Bulldogs this year before the college baseball season was shut down to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Per Andrews, Wilcox’s pitching arsenal includes a 97-98 MPH fastball that  hits “triple digits with sink and armside run,” a plus mid-80s slider, and a mid-80s changeup with “above-average potential” which has “some scouts labeling it a potential plus pitch.”

One thing worth noting is that since he is still just a sophomore, Wilcox will have significant leverage in this year’s draft and will likely be seeking hefty compensation from whichever club takes him since he could go back to school for his junior year.

Still, as multiple scouting reports have reflected, Wilcox certainly has the upside to be a frontline starter in the future.

Since the Red Sox will be limited to just four picks in the 2020 draft, it will be interesting to see how big of a splash chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and amateur scouting director Paul Toboni will be willing to make with approximately $3,609,700 to spend on their top pick.

Potential Red Sox Draft Targets: University of Oklahoma Right-Hander Cade Cavalli

In his latest mock draft for FanGraphs, Eric Longenhagen has the Red Sox taking Independence High School (TN) outfielder Robert Hassell with their top pick at No. 17 overall.

You can read more about Hassell here, but what I found most interesting in Longenhagen’s piece is what he wrote about who the Cubs might take with the 16th pick in University of Oklahoma right-hander Cade Cavalli.

16. Chicago Cubs- Cade Cavalli, RHP, Oklahoma

I think some of the teams picking in the middle of round one (Reds, Rangers, Cubs, Red Sox, D-backs) might be more motivated than usual to take a pitcher who they can plug and play in their bullpen sometime this summer…Bullpenning them for the rest of this year doesn’t preclude you from developing them as starters next spring.

It’s certainly an interesting point; the notion that a team like the Red Sox could take a college pitcher with their top pick with the goal of having said pitcher be available to pitch out of the major-league bullpen at some point this year if baseball is played in 2020.

Auburn University right-hander Tanner Burns and University of Tennessee left-hander Garrett Crochet are among the college pitchers who have been linked to the Sox in past mock drafts.

Cavalli, meanwhile, is ranked by FanGraphs as the No. 17 overall prospect in this year’s draft class and fifth among right-handed hurlers. He posted a 4.18 ERA and .281 batting average against over four starts and 23 1/2 innings of work for the Sooners in 2020 before the college baseball season was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A former 2017 29th-round selection of the Atlanta Braves out of Bixby High School (OK), the 21-year-old junior’s pitching arsenal includes a 92-96 MPH fastball that can top out at 98 MPH, a low-80s curveball, and an upper-80s slider/cutter.

Listed at 6’4″ and 226 lbs., Cavalli’s Baseball America scouting report goes as follows:

Cavalli is armed a big fastball that is routinely up into the upper-90s and he gets there with ease thanks to one of the better bodies in the draft and a clean delivery.”

Despite his frame and strong mechanics, Cavalli does have a bit of an injury history, as he was sidelined with a stress reaction during his junior season.

Still, the upside is there with Cavalli, although it would not be too surprising to see the Red Sox, under chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and amateur scouting director Paul Toboni, go with a high school prospect such as Hassell or right-hander Mick Abel rather than a guy out of college.

The 2020 MLB Draft is exactly two weeks away and will be just five rounds long, making it the shortest in the sport’s history to this point.

 

 

Potential Red Sox Draft Targets: Austin Hendrick

In his latest mock draft for the Baseball Prospect Journal, Dan Zielinski III has the Red Sox taking West Allegheny High School outfielder Austin Hendrick with their top pick at No. 17 overall.

Hendrick, who turns 19 four days after the 2020 draft is completed, is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the No. 2 prep outfielder in this year’s class behind only Zac Veen.

The Pennsylvania native’s Baseball America’s scouting report goes as follows:

Is there a high school hitter in the 2020 class with a better hit and power combination than Hendrick? We don’t think so. The Pennsylvania product is likely a corner outfielder, but he has light tower raw power and some of the quickest bat speed scouts have seen in years.

Playing for Team USA in last summer’s U-18 Baseball World Cup in South Korea, the Mississippi State signee didn’t get the chance to display that power, but he did get on base quite a bit by drawing five walks and getting plunked twice over the span of eight games.

Among all the high school prospects who will make up this year’s draft class, the left-handed hitting Hendrick has the best raw power tool of the lot, according to FanGraphs. That likely makes him a very appealing target for clubs whose first-round pick fall within the top 20.

The Red Sox, under chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and amateur scouting director Paul Toboni, own the 17th overall pick in the 2020 first-year player draft, as previously mentioned.

With that, Boston will have up to $3,609,700 in signing bonus money to spend on their first of just four selections in this year’s draft, which will go down as the shortest in the sport’s history.

Because of how limited they will be in the 2020 draft, it would not be surprising to see the Red Sox try and make a splash with their top pick. And what better way to do that than by taking one of the best high school outfielders in this year’s class? If he is still on the board, that is.

Other outfielders who have been linked to the Red Sox in first-round mock drafts include UCLA’s Garrett Mitchell, Arkansas’ Heston Kjerstad, Independence High School’s Robert Hassell, and Harvard-Westlake’s Pete Crow Armstrong.

The 2020 MLB Draft, which will consist of five rounds, is just over two weeks away. Stay tuned for more coverage.

Potential Red Sox Draft Targets: Garrett Mitchell and Jared Kelley

In his latest 2020 mock draft for MLB Pipeline, Jonathan Mayo has the Red Sox taking University of California, Los Angeles outfielder Garrett Mitchell with their top pick at No. 17 overall.

Mayo writes the following of Mitchell:

Mitchell continues to be among the toughest players to place in a projection because his raw tools are undeniable, but his performance (especially power-wise) has been spotty and teams need to find a comfort level with taking a player with Type 1 Diabetes in the first round.

A 21-year-old junior outfielder out of Orange, Calif., Mitchell slashed .355/.425/.484 with six doubles, one triple, five stolen bases, and nine RBI over 15 games for the Bruins in 2020 before the college baseball season was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Listed at 6’3″ and 205 lbs., the former 2017 14th round selection of the Oakland A’s is unlike any other draft-eligible prospect this year in that he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as a third-grader.

That has not hindered Mitchell’s production on the field though, as he is MLB Pipeline’s sixth-ranked draft-eligible prospect ahead of the 2020 first-year player draft, which is just under three weeks away.

Per his Baseball America scouting report, Mitchell, who hits from the left side of the plate, “possesses the best package of tools in the 2020 class, with plus-plus running ability, plus arm strength, defense and raw power that some scouts are now citing as 70-grade juice. Mitchell has endlessly tweaked his swing throughout his amatuer career, but seemed to find his groove as a sophomore last season.”

It’s also worth mentioning that in his analysis for who the Red Sox might select with their top pick, Mayo mentions that the club “could go the high school pitching route with someone like Jared Kelley here.”

Who is Jared Kelley? Well, according to MLB Pipeline, he is the 12th-ranked overall prospect and second-ranked high school pitching prospect ahead of this year’s draft. The top prep pitching prospect being right-hander Mick Abel.

The 18-year-old right-hander out of Refugio High School in Texas is already committed to play college baseball for The University of Texas in Austin, but will likely forego that commitment if he is taken off the board early in the first round.

Kelley’s MLB Pipeline scouting report says his pitching arsenal includes a 93-96 MPH fastball that can reach up to 98 MPH, an advanced changeup with “fade and sink,” and a hard slurveball.

Listed at 6’3″ and 215 lbs., Kelley “pounds the strike zone and has the look of a frontline starter who could reach the big leagues before he turns 21. His strong, physically mature frame and the ease of his delivery should allow him to log plenty of innings.”

Mayo has him going to the Mets with the 19th overall pick.

As a reminder, the Red Sox, under chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and director of amateur scouting Paul Toboni, will have approximately $3,609,700 to spend on their top pick this year.

Potential Red Sox Draft Targets: Pete Crow-Armstrong and Ed Howard

In his latest 2020 mock draft for MLB.com, Jim Callis has the Red Sox taking high-school right-hander Mick Abel with their top pick at No. 17 overall.

You can read more about Abel, an 18-year-old out of Oregon, here, but what I found most interesting about Callis’ write-up on the righty was how he also linked two more draft-eligible prospects to the Red Sox in Pete Crow-Armstrong and Ed Howard.

“The Red Sox don’t appear to be going conservative despite losing their second-round choice for sign stealing,” Callis wrote. “Because they’re also in on Crow-Armstrong and Howard.”

Starting with Crow-Armstrong, the 18-year-old outfielder, listed at 6’1″ and 180 lbs., out of Harvard-Westlake High School in Los Angeles is ranked as MLB Pipeline’s No. 20 draft-eligible prospect.

Harvard-Westlake is regarded as one of the best baseball schools in the country, producing major-league talents such as Lucas Giolito, Jack Flaherty, and Max Fried in recent years.

Per his Prospects Live scouting report, Crow-Armstrong “is more quick than fast, but has elite instincts in center field with an above average arm and projects as an elite defensive value. He has shown more swing and miss than expected, but has a simple clean swing and his diamond kinetics is full of truly electric bat speed metrics that portend to more future power.”

Crow-Armstrong, who bats from the left side of the plate, was a member of Team USA in the U-18 Baseball World Cup last summer in South Korea, where he slashed .364/.405/.606 with four stolen bases and nune runs scored over nine games played.

Callis has the young outfielder going to the Diamondbacks with the 18th overall pick in his aforementioned mock draft.

It’s also worth mentioning that Crow-Armstrong is committed to play at Vanderbilit.

As for Howard, MLB Pipeline’s 15th-ranked draft-eligible prospect is regarded by Callis as “the best true shortstop in the draft.”

The 18-year-old out of Lynwood, Ill. hits from the right side of the plate, and according to Baseball America, “throws well from most angles and has the short-area quickness and range that scouts like to see from a shortstop.”

Listed at 6’2″ and 185 lbs., Howard “has a high floor for a prepster as a reliable performer with the chance for solid tools across the board,” per Callis.

Howard is a University of Oklahoma commit.

The 2020 MLB Draft is less than four weeks away and will be limited to just five rounds.

Due to their sign stealing in 2018, the Red Sox will be limited to just four draft picks in what will be chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom’s first draft at the helm in Boston.

The assigned slot value for the 17th overall pick in this year’s draft is approximately $3,609,700, so that’s how much bonus money the Sox will have to work with to sign whoever they select with the pick.

According to my calculations, up to 10 prospects, including Crow-Armstrong and Howard, have been projected to land with the Red Sox in the first round of this year’s amateur draft.

At this point, if the Sox do not take one of Crow-Armstrong, Howard, Abel, Chris McMahon, Robert Hassell, Nick Bitsko, Patrick Bailey, Tanner Burns, Garrett Crochet, or Heston Kjerstad with the 17th overall pick, I will be somewhat surprised. But, what do i know?

For more draft-related content, check out the following links below:

Who Could Red Sox Target in First Round of This Year’s MLB Draft?

Latest 2020 Mock Draft Has Red Sox Taking Pure-Hitting High School Prospect With Top Pick

Latest 2020 Mock Draft Has Red Sox Taking University of Miami Right-Hander Chris McMahon With Top Pick