In his latest mock draft for the Baseball Prospect Journal, Dan Zielinski III has the Red Sox selecting American Heritage High School left-hander Brandon Barriera with the 24th overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft.
If American Heritage sounds familiar to you, it should. It’s the same Plantation, Fla. high school top Red Sox prospect Triston Casas attended before Boston made him a first-round draft choice in 2018.
Barriera, meanwhile, is currently committed to play his college baseball at the esteemed Vanderbilt University — the same school Casas’ younger brother, Gavin, attends — upon graduating from American Heritage this spring.
In eight starts for the Patriots this season, Barriera posted a 2.27 ERA and 1.03 WHIP with 68 strikeouts to 11 walks over 37 innings pitched.
As of now, the 18-year-old southpaw is regarded by Baseball America as the No. 13 draft-eligible prospect in this year’s class, which ranks third among pitchers and seventh among high schoolers.
Listed at 6-foot-1 and 170 pounds, Barriera “has electric arm speed and the stuff to match,” per his Baseball America scouting report.
“He’s been up to the 95-96 mph range at peak and sat in the 92-93 mph range in short outings last summer,” it reads. “He throws a slider in the low to mid 80s as well and the pitch gets plus grades, with hard lateral movement and two-plane bite at its best. While he threw a changeup less frequently than his fastball/slider combination, scouts with history on him believe it’s a real weapon that he throws with fastball arm speed and could become an above-average offering. Barriera draws praise for his fiery and competitive demeanor on the mound.”
According to MLB Pipeline, which has Barriera as its 15th-ranked prospect, “the only concern around the Vanderbilt recruit is about his size and whether he will hold up as a starter, but his stuff and feel for the strike zone have had scouts running to south Florida all spring and puts him firmly in first-round conversations talent-wise.”
Barriera, who does not turn 19 until next March, would be the first prep pitcher taken by Boston in the first round of a draft since Jay Groome was selected with the 12th overall pick out of Barnegat (N.J.) High School in 2016.
That being said, the 2022 draft does not get underway in Los Angeles until July 17, so there is still plenty of time for things to change. With that, it is worth mentioning that the recommended slot value for the Sox’ top pick this year comes in at roughly $2.975 million.
(Picture of Brandon Barriera: Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images)