Latest MLB Pipeline mock draft links Red Sox to University of Florida outfielder Sterlin Thompson

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)

Latest Baseball America mock draft has Red Sox selecting University of Florida ace Hunter Barco with top pick

Note: Barco underwent Tommy John surgery in early May.

In the first installment of their 2022 MLB Staff Draft, Baseball America has the Red Sox selecting University of Florida ace left-hander Hunter Barco with its first-round pick at No. 24 overall.

Baseball America writer Tom Lipari was the one who made the selection, and he noted that Barco is a “solid, pitchability lefty with a history of success in the SEC” who would be a “safe pick and quick mover through any system.”

Barco, 21, was originally selected by the Mets in the 24th round of the 2019 amateur draft out of The Bolles School — the same high school New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones attended.

The Jacksonville native did not sign with New York, however, and instead opted to honor his commitment to Florida. After his freshman season was cut short because of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Barco earned All-SEC Newcomer honors in 2021.

Through nine starts with the Gators this season, Barco has posted a 2.50 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, and .187 batting average against to go along with 69 strikeouts to 11 walks over 50 1/3 innings of work. He was forced to leave his last outing against Vanderbilt on April 15 after just two innings due to illness and is now questionable for his next start against Tennessee on Friday.

Barco, who does not turn 22 until December, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 23 draft-eligible prospect in this year’s class, ranking 14th among collegiate players and seventh among pitchers. MLB Pipeline, meanwhile, has Barco coming in at No. 53, which ranks 20th among hurlers who could be drafted in July.

Listed at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, Barco operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a low-90s fastball that tops out at 95 mph, a sweeping slider in the low-80s that can give off the appearance of a curveball, and a changeup that typically clocks in at the low-80s.

Per his Baseball America scouting report, “Barco throws from a low slot that adds deception and helps his stuff play up.” MLB Pipeline, on the other hand, notes that Barco “has done an excellent job of consistently finding the strike zone in college, though there’s improvement that can be made in terms of command within the zone with that funky delivery tough to repeat at times.”

While you have to go back to 2017 to find the last time the Red Sox used a first-round pick on a pitcher (Tanner Houck), the club certainly has not shied away from taking players out of Gainesville in recent years. Jud Fabian (who did not sign), Nathan Hickey, and Wil Dalton stick out there.

Barco could become the latest former Gator to join Boston’s organizational ranks, though plenty could — and likely will — change between now and Day 1 of the 2022 draft in Los Angeles on July 17.

(Picture of Hunter Barco: AP Photo/Gary McCullough)