In the latest version of their 2022 mock draft, Prospects Live has the Red Sox selecting University of Tennessee outfielder Drew Gilbert with their first-round pick at No. 24 overall.
Gilbert, 21, was originally selected by his hometown Twins in the 35th round of the 2019 amateur draft out of Stillwater Area High School, which is less than 30 miles east of Target Field. But the Minnesota native opted not to go pro at that time and instead took his talents to Knoxville, Tenn.
A former two-way player coming out of high school, Gilbert has since transitioned to become a full-time outfielder with the Volunteers. 30 games into his junior season, the left-handed hitter is batting a stout .370/.492/.663 with 12 doubles, three triples, three home runs, 36 RBIs, 30 runs scored, three stolen bases, 22 walks, and 15 strikeouts over 122 plate appearances.
Per his Prospects Live scouting report, “Gilbert gets extremely high marks for his competitive fire and is regarded as one of the more intense players in college baseball. He plays an above average centerfield with an average arm and plus run times. In total, we’re talking about a guy with a smattering of solid average tools, fantastic makeup, and bat speed that could translate into game power as he continues to get a feel for what he’s capable of.”
Coming into the 2022 season, Gilbert was ranked by Baseball America as the No. 149 draft-eligible prospect and by MLB Pipeline as the No. 82 draft-eligible prospect.
Listed at 5-foot-9 and 185 pounds, Gilbert has served as the Vols’ primary centerfielder this year. Given his past experience as a pitcher, it is not surprising to see that Gilbert has been recognized for his arm strength as well as his ability to play all over the outfield.
On the basepaths, MLB Pipeline notes that Gilbert “has solid to plus speed and will steal and take extra bases. While he’s not a true burner, his quickness and instincts allow him to run down balls from gap to gap in center field.”
Gilbert, who turns 22 in September, has the chance to move quickly through whichever organization he joins this summer. As a reminder, Day 1 of the 2022 MLB Draft will take place in Los Angeles on July 17.
The Red Sox, for what it’s worth, have not used a first-round draft pick on an outfielder since 2015, when they took Andrew Benintendi out of another SEC school in the University of Arkansas.
(GIF of Drew Gilbert via University of Tennessee Athletics on GIPHY)