Red Sox sign sixth-round pick Daniel McElveny for $200,000, per report

The Red Sox have signed sixth-round draft pick Daniel McElveny, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

Per Cotillo, McElveny — who is listed as a utility player — has signed with the Sox for approximately $200,000. He is currently on his way to the club’s spring training complex in Fort Myers.

McElveny, 18, was selected by Boston out of Bonita Vista High School (Calif.) with the 166th overall pick in the 2021 MLB first-year player draft last week.

The recommended slot value for the 166th overall selection in this year’s draft was $306,800, which means the Sox will save approximately $106,800 in signing McElveny to an under-slot deal.

Listed at 6-foot and 190 pounds, the right-handed hitter and thrower was committed to play college baseball at San Diego State University, but instead opted to go pro out of high school.

In his senior season with Bonita Vista, which is just down the road from where Red Sox first-round pick Marcelo Mayer played his high school ball, McElveny posted a .435/.580/.764 slash line to go along with nine doubles, two triples, five home runs, 22 RBI, 37 runs scored, 23 stolen bases, 20 walks, and 15 strikeouts over 29 game played (119 plate appearances) this past spring.

As noted by MLB.com’s Ian Browne, the Southern California native was the only one of 612 prospects taken in this summer’s draft who was designated by their respective team as a utility player.

That being the case because the Red Sox worked out McElveny, who primarily played shortstop in high school, at a plethora of different positions at Fenway Park in the weeks leading up to the draft, as the club’s director of amateur scouting Paul Toboni explained to reporters (including Browne) last Tuesday.

“We worked him out at Fenway and he hopped in at right field, he hopped in at second base, third base, shortstop, he was catching,” Toboni said of McElveny. “I don’t know how that’s going to play out in the long term, but for now, he’s going to have a lot of ways to keep his bat in the lineup and hopefully string together some really quality at-bats.”

While McElveny was not regarded as one of the top draft-eligible prospects by industry publications such as Baseball America, he was listed by Perfect Game USA as the No. 52 prep prospect in the state of California going in to the draft.

That being said, the Red Sox got one of their first looks at McElveny during a Perfect Game showcase event last summer, and they got additional eyes — including those of area scout J.J. Altobelli — on him when he and Mayer’s schools played one another on a couple of occasions this spring.

“Daniel McElveny is a cool story. I think he probably first got on our radar in June of last year at an event called PG National,” Toboni said. “We liked his feel to hit. He was kind of a grinder that we thought played the game the right way. We just followed him along the way.

“He played in a couple more events,” added Toboni. “We saw him in the spring, scouting him and only him, and we also saw him match up with Marcelo, which allowed us to see him a little bit more. We were just drawn to the competitor, the feel to hit, the feel for the stone, and the versatility he had on defense.”

Per his Perfect Game scouting report, which was written sometime in 2020, McElveny “hits from a straight stance with good balance and direction through contact” and “has loose fast hands through the ball and plenty of extension for future power,” which is something the Red Sox were clearly drawn to.

“We just saw him play so much. He’s got a really simple swing. He has really good barrel feel,” said Toboni. “Everything in both batting practice and games seems to find the barrel.”

The Red Sox managed to ink McElveny, who does not turn 19 until next April, to an under-slot deal with a little less than two weeks to go until the August 1 signing deadline.

Thus far, Boston has signed four of its 20 draft picks (Tyler McDonough, Matt Litwicki, Jacob Webb, and McElveny) to contracts, while they also signed Clemson University outfielder Kier Meredith as an undrafted free agent, according to SoxProspects.com.

In total, the Sox have approximately $11,359,600 to work with in regards to signing as many draft picks as they please, though they could bump that amount up by 5% (to $11,927,580) if they were willing to incur some tax-related penalties.

On that note, Toboni did say last week that he would expect 13-15 of the Red Sox’ draft selections to sign with the club, so there should be more announcements being made in the coming days.

(Picture of Daniel McElveny: Daniel McElveny’s Instagram)

Red Sox sign Clemson University outfielder Kier Meredith

The Red Sox have signed Clemson University outfielder Kier Meredith as an undrafted free agent, Clemson Baseball announced on Thursday.

Meredith, 21, is a redshirt sophomore who spent four years at Clemson after not signing with the Chicago Cubs despite being selected by them in the 28th round of the 2017 amateur draft out of Robert B. Glenn High School (N.C.).

This past spring with the Tigers, the North Carolina native slashed .283/.387/.422 with eight doubles, four triples, three home runs, 25 RBI, 33 runs scored, six stolen bases, 12 walks, and 28 strikeouts over 47 games spanning 218 trips to the plate.

Listed at 5-foot-10 and 200 pounds, Meredith — a left-handed hitter — has experience in both left and center field, though he missed a majority of the 2018 and 2019 campaigns due to a plethora of injuries.

Per his SoxProspects.com scouting report, Meredith “has the speed and defensive profile you look for, but future potential will be determined by how much he hits. Has a knack for getting on base and solid feel at the plate. Strong makeup and work ethic. Strong leadership skills, leaves it all on the field night after night. Type of person every organization strives to have.”

While 15 total stolen bases over 86 career games with Clemson may not seem like much, Meredith is certainly well-known for his speed, as he explained to The Clemson Insider on Thursday.

“First of all speed has always been my best tool so in order for me to have success at the next level I need to utilize that as much as I can,” said Meredith. “I need to continue to develop as a better defender and continue to develop as a better hitter. If I do those three things it will help me have as much success as I’m going to have.”

A three-time ACC Academic Honor Roll member, Meredith graduated from Clemson with a degree in psychology this past May. He will report to the Red Sox’ spring training complex in Fort Myers next week.

At the moment, Meredith is the only confirmed undrafted free-agent the Red Sox have signed thus far, according to Baseball America. Undrafted free-agents can sign with clubs for up to $20,000.

Last year, Boston was one of the more active teams in the UDFA market at the conclusion of the shortened 2020 draft, as they signed a grand total of 16 prospects.

When speaking with reporters earlier this week, Red Sox director of amateur scouting Paul Toboni hinted that the club would once again be right in the thick of things when it came to potentially scooping up those prospects who were passed on during the draft.

“We are going to try to be active to the extent that we can and to the extent that we can accommodate whatever number of players there are,” Toboni said on Tuesday. “We think it’s a really good opportunity to find undervalued players on a market where maybe the value — for whatever reason — might be suppressed a little bit.”

(Picture of Kier Meredith: Dawson Powers/TigerIllustrated.com)

Red Sox acquire pitching prospect Victor Santos from Phillies to complete C.J. Chatham trade

The Red Sox have acquired right-handed pitching prospect Victor Santos from the Phillies to complete the trade that sent infielder C.J. Chatham to Philadelphia.

Boston dealt Chatham to Philadelphia in exchange for a player to be named later back on January 18 in order to clear a spot on their 40-man roster that would later allow them to acquire reliever Adam Ottavino from the Yankees.

As the six-month deadline for both sides to agree on which player the Red Sox would be acquiring was approaching, that PTBNL turns out to be a pitching prospect in the form of Santos.

Santos, who turned 21 on July 12, was originally signed by the Phillies out of the Dominican Republic for $150,000 back in November 2016.

Since that time, the 6-foot-2, 220 pound hurler has risen through the ranks and opened the 2021 minor-league season with High-A Jersey Shore, where he posted a 1.33 ERA and 1.08 WHIP over nine appearances (one start) spanning 20 1/3 innings pitched before earning a promotion to Double-A Reading on June 24.

In four starts with the Fightin Phils, Santos put up a 3.05 ERA, a 3.90 FIP and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 15:4 over 20 2/3 total innings of work.

Santos’ last outing as a member of the Phillies organization actually came against Double-A Portland this past Wednesday, as the young righty yielded four runs on six hits, one walk, and three strikeouts in five innings against the Sea Dogs in Reading, Pa. on July 14.

Back in early March, FanGraphs’ Eric Longengagen wrote that Santos has “a good changeup” and “slings in average stuff, some of which plays up because of his funky, long arm action. His realistic ceiling is that of a fifth or sixth starter.”

As noted by MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith, Santos has displayed exceptional control over the course of his professional career considering the fact that “he has averaged 8.2 strikeouts and 1.3 walks per nine innings in 254 ⅔ innings in the minors.”

According to his transactions page on MLB.com, Santos has been assigned to Portland, so it’s likely he will join the Sea Dogs’ starting rotation and could, in theory, make his organizational debut at some point next week. We will have to wait and see on that.

(Picture of C.J. Chatham: Miles Kennedy/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Red Sox to call up top outfield prospect Jarren Duran for upcoming series against Yankees, per report

The Red Sox are planning on calling up top outfield prospect Jarren Duran for their upcoming series against the Yankees in the Bronx, according to the Worcester Telegram’s Joe McDonald.

Duran, who has been playing with Triple-A Worcester this season, was not in the WooSox’ lineup for the first game of their doubleheader against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders at Polar Park on Wednesday, nor will he be in their lineup for the nightcap.

Instead, as noted by McDonald, Duran is on his way to New York to join the Red Sox as they prepare to kick off the second half of their season with a four-game series against the Yankees that begins on Thursday night.

Duran, 24, is regarded by Baseball America as the No. 5 prospect in Boston’s farm system, ranking tops among outfielders in the organization. The Red Sox selected the California native out of Long Beach State in the seventh round of the 2018 amateur draft.

Coming into play Wednesday, the 6-foot-2, 202 pound left-handed hitter was hitting .270/.365/.561 to go along with eight doubles, one triple, 15 home runs, 32 RBI, 37 runs scored, 12 stolen bases, 24 walks, and 52 strikeouts over 46 games (219 plate appearances) for the WooSox.

Earlier in the spring, the speedy Duran helped United States baseball qualify for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, but he was left off of Team USA’s Olympic roster due to the USOC being wary of the fact that the Red Sox would want to call him up at some point over the summer.

Because Duran — who turns 25 in September — is not currently on the Red Sox’ 40-man roster, the club will need to make a corresponding roster move on Thursday in order to add him to the major-league squad.

While it is unclear at the moment what that move will look like, one thing is for certain: Duran will be making his big-league debut under the bright lights of Yankee Stadium.

As noted by The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, who confirmed McDonald’s report, Duran joins Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts as prior top Red Sox outfield prospects to make their major-league debut in the Bronx.

(Picture of Jarren Duran: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ 11th-round pick Niko Kavadas identified by Baseball America as underrated draft selection

Of the 15 college players the Red Sox selected in the 2021 MLB first-year player draft this week, 10 attended schools that are in Power Five conferences (the ACC, Big 12, Big 10, Pac-12, and SEC).

While the likes of University of Florida outfielder Jud Fabian stick out in regards to big names Boston took from the college ranks in this year’s draft, their 11th-round selection has garnered some attention as well.

To kick off the third and final day of the draft on Tuesday, Boston took University of Notre Dame first baseman Niko Kavadas with the 316th overall pick.

Kavadas, 22, was regarded by Baseball America as the 158th-ranked draft-eligible prospect coming into the week, and one BA writer in particular views the Fighting Irish slugger as perhaps the most underrated member of Boston’s 20-man draft class.

“Calling Kavadas underrated seems odd considering he was one of the best and most successful players in college this year,” Baseball America’s Ben Badler wrote on Wednesday. “But he was an 11th-round pick, so he fits the bill. Kavadas has massive power and he draws walks. That’s pretty much the extent of his plus tools, but it’s a very important skill and one that can carry a player all the way to the big-leagues.”

In his senior season for Notre Dame this spring, Kavadas — an Indiana native — produced a slash line of .302/.473/.767 with eight doubles, 22 home runs, 64 RBI, 42 runs scored, two stolen bases, 50 walks, and 55 strikeouts over 47 games (220 plate appearances).

While Kavadas is known for what he can do at the plate, there is some concern regarding the left-handed hitter’s defensive range as well as his speed on the base paths.

Per his Baseball America scouting report from earlier this year, Kavadas “is a well below-average runner with limited range who will be limited to first base or DH at the next level. He has the raw power to profile there and he can send the ball out of the park in any direction, and he did a nice job getting into hitter’s counts and then hammering fastballs this spring.

“He did struggle more against breaking and offspeed stuff and was also less successful than scouts would have liked to see against 93-plus mph velocity, which are valid concerns for his pure hit tool at the next level.”

On top of that, Kavadas turns 23 in October, so he is a bit older than the prototypical college prospect. That being said — or as BA noted, “there’s real power for a team that thinks he’ll be able to regularly get to it at the next level with a wood bat.”

Red Sox amateur scouting director Paul Toboni seems to buy into this philosophy as well, as he told reporters (including The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier) on Tuesday that Kavadas’ power tool is at “the top of the scale” already.

“If he were in the major-leagues right now, my guess is that the power would line up with the best of them,” Toboni said. “He’s an interesting player and a great kid.”

Listed at 6-foot-1 and 235 pounds, it’s safe to say Kavadas is an intimidating presence when he steps in the batter’s box.

By taking Kavadas in the 11th round of this year’s draft, the Red Sox can sign the slugging corner infielder for up to $125,000 without tapping into their bonus pool total.

If they do exceed the $125,000 limit in order to sign Kavadas (which seems to be a legitimate possibility based off speculation within the industry), or any other Day 3 pick, that would require them to dip into their bonus pool.

As things currently stand, Boston has $11,359,600 in total bonus pool space to work with, though that cap could increase to approximately $11,927,580 if the club was willing to incur some tax-related penalties by surpassing the limit by up to 5%.

The Red Sox, like all major-league teams, will have until 5 p.m. eastern time on Sunday, August 1 to sign as many of their draft picks as possible, though Toboni did say he only expects 13-15 of the club’s draftees to actually sign.

(Picture of Niko Kavadas: Michael Caterina/South Bend Tribune via AP)

Red Sox Draft: Who did Boston take from Rounds 11-20 on Day 3?

The third and final day of the 2021 MLB first-year player draft has come to a close following the conclusion of Round 20.

With 10 more selections to make on Tuesday, the Red Sox wound up taking three college position players, three college pitchers, one junior college position player, one junior college pitcher, and two high school position players.

Here is a rundown of each of the 10 prospects Boston selected, starting with their 11th-round pick.

Niko Kavadas, 1B, Notre Dame

The Red Sox selected University of Notre Dame first baseman Kavadas with their 11th-round pick at No. 316 overall.

Kavadas, 22, was regarded by Baseball America as the No. 158 prospect coming into the draft. Listed at 6-foot-1 and 235 pounds, the left-handed hitting and right-handed throwing senior has experience at both corner infield positions.

Over 47 games (220 plate appearances) with the Irish this past spring, Kavadas hit .302/.473/.767 with eight doubles, 22 home runs, 64 RBI, 42 runs scored, two stolen bases, 50 walks, and 55 strikeouts.

To summarize the Indiana native’s Baseball America scouting report, Kavadas has limited defensive range and is a below-average runner, but his power potential certainly appealing despite his age (turns 23 in October) and peripherals.

The recommended slot value for the 316th overall pick, as well as the remainder of the picks, in this year’s draft is approximately $125,000.

Christopher Troye, RHP, UC Santa Barbara

The Red Sox selected University of California, Santa Barbara right-hander Christopher Troye with their 12th-round pick at No. 346 overall.

Troye, 22, was not ranked by Baseball America — or any other major publication for that matter — heading into the draft.

At 6-foot-5 and 225 pounds, Troye, a senior, split time between the starting rotation and bullpen in his four seasons with UCSB.

Most recently, the California native posted a 4.50 ERA and 1.83 WHIP in addition to a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 29:25 over 15 appearances (four starts) spanning 18 innings of work for the Gauchos this spring. He also spent part of his summer on Cape Cod with the Cotuit Kettleers.

Zach Ehrhard, SS, Wharton (FL) HS

The Red Sox selected Wharton High School (Tampa, Fla.) shortstop Zach Ehrhard with their 13th-round pick at No. 376 overall.

The first prep prospect taken by Boston on Day 3, Ehrhard is an 18-year-old high school shortstop who is currently committed to play college baseball at Oklahoma State University.

Listed at 5-foot-11 and 175 pounds, the right-handed hitting Florida native slashed .438/.562/.700 with 12 doubles, three home runs, 21 RBI, 29 runs scored, 26 stolen bases, 23 walks, and 10 strikeouts over 26 games (106 plate appearances) during his senior season at Wharton, per his MaxPreps page.

According to Perfect Game, Ehrhard was the No. 500 prep prospect coming into this year’s draft, ranking 177th among all high school shortstops and 29th among high school shortstops in his home state of Florida.

Jacob Webb, RHP, Miami (OH) University

The Red Sox selected Miami (Ohio) University right-hander Jacob Webb with their 14th-round pick at No. 406 overall.

Webb, 22, is listed at 6-foot-5 and 246 pounds, and is the fourth of six seniors Boston took in this year’s draft.

The Ohio native began his collegiate career at Sinclair Community College in Dayton before transferring to Miami for his junior season in 2020.

This past spring, Webb posted a 2.08 ERA and 1.00 WHIP to go along with 59 strikeouts and 14 walks over 18 relief appearances spanning 39 innings of work for the RedHawks. He also spent part of his summer pitching for the Willmar Stingers of the Northwoods League.

Payton Green, SS, Green Hope (NC) HS

The Red Sox selected Green Hope High School (N.C.) shortstop Payton Green with their 15th-round pick at No. 436 overall.

Green, 18, was regarded by Baseball America as the No. 113 prospect heading into the draft. Listed at 6-foot-3 and 180 pounds, the right-handed hitting infielder is committed to play college baseball at North Carolina State.

According to Baseball America’s Carlos Collazo, Green “seems very unlikely to sign” with the Red Sox on account of where he was taken in the draft as well as his strong commitment to play college ball for the Wolfpack.

Per his BA scouting report, “Green has solid actions and should be able to play either second or third base if he outgrows the position. The teams that like Green are buying into his improved swing this spring and believe he has the skill to turn into a solid-average or better hitter, while those that are more skeptical saw a lot of swing and miss last summer on the showcase circuit, with a bat path that was too steep at times.”

B.J. Vela, 2B, Reedley JC (CA)

The Red Sox selected Reedley College (Reedley, Calif.) second baseman B.J. Vela with their 16th-round pick at No. 466 overall.

Vela, 21, is listed at 5-foot-9 and 175 pounds, and he played his high school baseball at Pleasant Valley High School in Chico.

Per Reedley College’s website, the right-handed hitting freshman posted a .481/.560/.821 slash line to go along with 11 doubles, two triples, seven home runs, 35 RBI, 47 runs scored, nine stolen bases, 15 walks, and four strikeouts over 27 games played for the Tigers this spring.

While there is not too much information available pertaining to Vela’s peripherals or anything of the sort, he did attend the same junior college as Buffalo Bills star quarterback Josh Allen, so there’s that.

Luis Guerrero, RHP, Chipola College (FL)

The Red Sox selected Chipola College (Marianna, Fla.) right-hander Luis Guerrero with their 17th-round pick at No. 496 overall.

Guerrero, who turns 21 next month, is listed at 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds, and he played his high school baseball at Juan Pablo Duarte Bani School in the Dominican Republic.

This past spring with the Indians, Guerrero produced a 3.72 ERA while striking out 96 over 14 appearances — five of which were starts — over 58 innings of work, per his school’s website.

In addition to his college work, the young righty also pitched in the MLB Draft League this year, where he posted an 8.59 ERA to go along with 21 strikeouts to 17 walks over five outings (four starts) and 14 2/3 innings with the Frederick Keys.

On top of that, Guerrero spent part of last summer with the Brockton Rox of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League.

Per a Prep Baseball Report spotlight from May, Guerrero’s pitch arsenal consists of a 93-96 mph fastball, a 78-81 mph curveball, a mid-80s slider, and a low-80s splitter that sits between 82-84 mph.

Phillip Sikes, OF, TCU

The Red Sox selected Texas Christian University outfielder Phillip Sikes with their 18th-round pick at No. 526 overall.

Sikes, 22, was regarded by baseball America as the No. 463 prospect coming into the draft.

A former 33rd round selection of the Diamondbacks out of Pima Community College in 2019, the 6-foot-2, 190 pound right-handed hitter — who began his collegiate career at the University of New Mexico — opted to transfer to TCU prior to the start of the 2020 season.

This spring with the Horned Frogs, Sikes, a native of Texas, slashed .329/.427/.620 with 19 doubles, five triples, 11 home runs, 63 RBI, 56 runs scored, 12 stolen bases, 26 walks, and 45 strikeouts over 58 games and 255 plate appearances.

According to his Baseball America scouting report, the senior outfielder “has a solid, well-rounded tool set,” as he is “a plus runner who has demonstrated that he can catch up to a good fastball, although he can be enticed to chase a tantalizing slider.

“Sikes has a short, direct swing that is geared more for hitting for average than power, but he has enough strength to drive balls to the right field power alley as well. Sikes is a well-rounded outfielder who can play center field in a pinch and is average in the corners. His arm is fringe-average but accurate.”

Tyler Uberstine, RHP, Northwestern

The Red Sox selected Northwestern University right-hander Tyler Uberstine with their 19th-round pick at No. 556 overall.

Uberstine, who turned 22 last month, also participated in the MLB Draft League this summer after wrapping up his senior season in Evanston.

With the Wildcats this spring, the 6-foot-1, 200 pound righty pitched to the tune of a 5.90 ERA and 1.84 WHIP while striking out 38 and walking 20 over nine starts spanning 39 2/3 innings of work.

With the Williamsport Crosscutters of the Draft League, Uberstine yielded a total of four runs on 10 hits, nine strikeouts, and zero walks over four appearances and nine innings pitched. That’s good for an ERA of 4.00.

A native of California, Uberstine attended Chaminade College Preparatory School in Los Angeles, the same school that has produced major-league talent such as Kevin Pillar and Dan Runzler, both of whom spent time in the Red Sox organization in some capacity over the course of their respective careers.

Josh Hood, SS, Pennsylvania

The Red Sox selected University of Pennsylvania shortstop Josh Hood with their 20th-round (and final) pick at No. 586 overall.

Hood, who turns 21 next week, came into the draft regarded by Baseball America as its 453rd-ranked prospect.

Listed at 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds, the right-handed hitting infielder did not play collegiately this spring on account of there being no Ivy League season. He did however play for both the Holly Springs Salamanders of the Coastal Plain League and Harwich Mariners of the Cape Cod Baseball League.

With Harwich specifically, Hood has slashed .194/.257/.258 over nine games (35 plate appearances) for the Mariners so far this summer.

Per Baseball America, the New Jersey native is transferring to North Carolina State next season and could take over as the Wolfpack’s starting shortstop, meaning he could improve his draft stock for 2022 if he opted to remain in school.

Between Days 1, 2, and 3 of the 2021 MLB first-year player draft, the Red Sox — whose drafting efforts are led by chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and amateur scouting director Paul Toboni, among others — selected four high school position players, one high school pitcher, one junior college position player, one junior college pitcher, eight college position players, and five college pitchers.

It’s no guarantee that all 20 of these players will sign (Toboni said he expects 13-15 draftees to do so), but Boston will have approximately $11,359,600 in total bonus pool space, though they could surpass that limit by 5% ($11,927,580) if they are willing to incur some tax-related penalties, as noted by SoxProspects.com’s Mike Andrews.

That being said, the deadline to sign drafted players arrives at 5 p.m. eastern time on August 1, leaving clubs slightly less than three weeks to work out deals with their draftees.

Additionally, clubs can sign an unlimited number of undrafted free-agents for no more than $20,000, as was the case last year. The same August 1 deadline applies for that as well.

(Picture of Chaim Bloom: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox land highly-regarded shortstop Marcelo Mayer with No. 4 pick in 2021 MLB Draft

The Red Sox have selected Eastlake High School (Calif.) shortstop Marcelo Mayer with their top pick in the 2021 MLB first-year player draft at No. 4 overall.

Mayer, 18, was regarded by Baseball America as the No. 2 prospect headed into the draft, trailing only fellow prep infielder Jordan Lawlar for the top spot.

Listed at 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds, Mayer is committed to play college baseball at the University of Southern California.

The California native hits from the left side of the plate, throws with his right hand, and was viewed as a potential fit for the Pirates, who wound up selecting Louisville catcher Henry Davis with the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft earlier Sunday night.

Mayer, who does not turn 19 until December, played his high school baseball in Chula Vista, Calif.

In his senior season for the Eastlake Titans, the young infielder slashed an impressive .392/.555/.886 to go along with six doubles, 14 home runs, 45 RBI, 46 runs scored, and 18 stolen bases over 34 games played this spring, per MaxPreps.

According to his Baseball America scouting report, Mayer “is arguably the top defensive shortstop” in this year’s draft class which is loaded at that position.

“He glides around the infield with silky smooth actions and has the hands, footwork and arm strength to stick at shortstop long-term,” his scouting report reads. “He slows the game down and has no problem throwing from multiple angles with an accurate arm. Though he is a below-average runner, he moves fluidly around the dirt and should be at least an above-average defender. 

“He’s a plus hitter with excellent barrel control and extension in his swing and drives balls hard in the air from gap-to-gap. He can turn on good fastballs and drive them off the right-field fence or let pitches on the outer half travel deep and line them hard up the middle or the opposite way. He has fringe-average power now, but could tap into above-average power in the future as he fills out his projectable frame. He controls the strike zone and has a calm, steady presence in the batter’s box.”

By selecting Mayer with the fourth overall pick in this year’s draft, the Red Sox have made their earliest selection since 1967, when they took right-hander Mike Garman at No. 3.

This is also the second straight year in which the Red Sox, whose drafting efforts are led by chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and amateur scouting director Paul Toboni, among others, have selected a prep infielder out of California with the club’s top pick, as Nick Yorke was taken off the board at No. 17 last year.

The recommended slot value for the fourth overall pick in the 2021 amateur draft is approximately $6.664 million, while Boston will have approximately $11,359,600 in total bonus pool space to work with when it comes to signing as many picks from Rounds 1 through 20 as they so choose.

While the Red Sox may be done drafting for now (Sunday), they will be on the clock once again on Monday for picks 40, 75, 105, 136, 166, 196, 226, 256, and 286, and then again on Tuesday for picks 316, 346, 376, 406, 436, 466, 496, 526, 556, and 586.

(Picture of Marcelo Mayer: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Could Red Sox make surprise pick at No. 4 by selecting UCLA’s Matt McLain in 2021 MLB Draft?

While it certainly looks like the Red Sox are locked in on one of Vanderbilt right-hander Jack Leiter or Louisville catcher Henry Davis when it comes to who they will take with the No. 4 pick in the first round of the 2021 MLB Draft Sunday night, some recent speculation suggests that the club could go in another direction.

According to Baseball America’s Carlos Collazo, the Sox may have their eye on University of California, Los Angeles shortstop Matt McLain depending on who is still on the board by the time they are put on the clock.

“It sounds like UCLA shortstop Matt McLain could wind up being a bit of a wild card here and Boston might be a fit depending on who’s available for them,” Collazo wrote earlier Sunday.

McLain, who turns 22 next month, is regarded by Baseball America as the No. 10 prospect coming into this week’s draft, ranking seventh among all position players and third among college bats.

Listed at 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds, the California native was originally selected by the Diamondbacks in the first round of the 2018 amateur draft (one pick before Red Sox prospect Triston Casas), but opted to honor his commitment to UCLA rather than go pro out of high school.

In his junior season with the Bruins, McLain slashed an impressive .333/.434/.579 to go along with nine home runs, 14 doubles, two triples, 36 runs driven in, 47 runs scored, nine stolen bases, 34 walks, and 34 strikeouts over 47 games (226 plate appearances).

A broken thumb forced the right-handed hitting, right-handed throwing infielder to miss nearly three weeks of time in the month of May, but he finished the year strong by hitting .379 (11-for-29) in his final seven games this spring.

Per his Baseball America scouting report, McLain — who spent the summer of 2019 on Cape Cod with the Wareham Gatemen — “is a dangerous hitter who is strong” despite his undersized frame.

“He has a short, direct swing and consistently lines balls hard from gap to gap. He has a knack for finding the barrel, separates balls from strikes and rarely chases outside the strike zone,” his scouting report reads.” He is a consensus above-average to plus hitter and projects to hit at the top of a lineup for a first-division team. The only question about McLain’s offensive game is how much power he will produce. Though he hit for power in college, his fringe-average raw power will likely translate more to doubles with a wood bat and limit him to 10-15 home runs per season. He has plus speed and consistently runs hard to beat out infield singles and leg out doubles and triples.

“McLain played shortstop the last two seasons at UCLA and is playable there, but he lacks the natural actions for the position and projects better at second base. Some teams prefer him in center field, where he played as a freshman, and others think he projects best as a multi-positional player who bounces around the diamond. He is an instinctive defender who positions himself well, gets good reads off the bat and has above-average arm strength at any position.”

Whoever the Red Sox, led by chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and amateur scouting director Paul Toboni, do take with the fourth overall pick Sunday night, one thing is for certain: they will have approximately $6.664 million in slot money to spend on that particular pick.

With that in mind, however, it remains possible that Boston could select a prospect such as McLain, who is projected by Baseball America to go to the Brewers at No. 15, with the intention of signing him to an under-slot deal, which in turn would give the club more money to spend in Rounds 2 through 20.

(Picture of Matt McLain: UCLA Athletics)

Red Sox acquire right-hander Yacksel Rios from Mariners, add him to 40-man roster

The Red Sox have acquired right-handed reliever Yacksel Rios from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for cash considerations, the team announced before Monday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Rios, who turns 28 later this month, will be added to Boston’s 40-man roster after the club designated fellow righty Ryan Weber for assignment to create an opening on its major-league roster for Michael Chavis earlier Monday afternoon.

Per MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, “it appears Rios may take Chavis’ active roster spot when he is ready to join the team.”

The 27-year-old hurler allowed an earned run in each of his three appearances out of Seattle’s bullpen this month before he, too, was designated for assignment on June 11 despite having a minor-league option remaining.

A former 12th-round draft pick of the Phillies back in 2011, Rios made his major-league debut for Philadelphia during the 2017 campaign.

Since then, the 6-foot-3 hurler has made a total of 69 appearances in parts of four big-league seasons between the Phillies, Pirates, and Mariners. He owns an ERA of 6.47, a FIP of of 4.82, and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 70:36 in those outings dating back to August 2017.

After being let go by Pittsburgh over the winter, Rios inked a minor-league pact with the Rays in February, though his time in Tampa Bay did not last long considering the fact he was dealt to the Mariners for cash considerations on June 4.

With that being said, Rios’ tenure in Seattle lasted all of a week.

Per Baseball Savant, Rios works with a sinker, a four-seam fastball, a slider, a split-finger fastball, and a rarely used curveball.

A native of Puerto Rico, Rios — a former catcher — hails from the same home town as Red Sox manager Alex Cora in Caguas.

(Picture of Yacksel Rios: Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

Nick Yorke, top Red Sox prospect, is having torrid month of June (.382/.462/.559) with Low-A Salem

Red Sox infield prospect Nick Yorke moved up to the leadoff spot for the first time in his professional career on Sunday, and the move yielded some pretty encouraging results.

Batting leadoff for Low-A Salem in their series finale against the Fredericksburg Nationals at Salem Memorial Ballpark, Yorke went 3-for-4 at the plate with a double, an RBI, and two stolen bases while scoring three of his team’s five runs in what would turn out to be a 5-0 victory for the Red Sox.

Matched up against Nationals right-hander Karlo Seijas to begin things on Sunday, the right-handed hitting Yorke led off the bottom of the first by reaching base on an infield single. He stole second base moments later and eventually came into score on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Jaxx Groshans.

In the third inning, Yorke took advantage of a one-out triple from Salem’s No. 9 hitter, Dean Miller, and drove the runner in from third on a hard-hit RBI double to the opposite field.

Yorke’s stay on second base did not last long, however, as he successfully stole third and was later driven in on a run-scoring single from Groshans.

Fast forward to the fifth, and Yorke again got things started with a bang, this time leading off the frame with a single to right that would allow him to score on an RBI groundout courtesy of Stephen Scott that same inning.

By going 3-for-4 (with a seventh-inning lineout) on Sunday, Yorke raised his batting average on the season to .250 (29-for-116), which is the highest it has been since May 6 (.273).

The fact that the 19-year-old turned in a three-hit performance on Sunday is just the latest example of how Boston’s No. 9 prospect (according to Baseball America) has adjusted to the professional game since making his debut with Salem earlier this spring.

After slashing .195/.264/.228 with two doubles, nine runs, nine RBI, eight walks, 21 strikeouts, and three stolen bases over 21 games in the month of May, Yorke has turned things around for the better a few weeks into June.

Following Sunday’s solid showing, the California native is now hitting a scorching .382/.462/.559 to go along with four doubles, one triple, one RBI, five walks, four strikeouts, and four stolen bases in 10 games (39 plate appearances) so far this month.

Among the top hitters in the Low-A East with at least 30 at-bats this month, Yorke ranks third in batting average, fourth in on-base percentage, sixth in slugging percentage, fourth in OPS (1.021), and seventh in stolen bases, per MiLB.com.

Yorke, who has primarily been playing second base this season, was originally selected by the Red Sox with the 17th overall pick in last year’s amateur draft out of Archbishop Mitty High School (San Jose, Calif).

While the pick at the time was perceived as a surprising one considering where different industry publications had Yorke ranked on their draft boards as well as his commitment to the University of Arizona, the Red Sox viewed the prep infielder as a promising prospect with a legitimate — if not elite — hit tool for his age.

As the youngest player currently at Salem, Yorke has certainly been through his ups and downs while getting his first taste of life as a professional baseball player.

That being said, Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. believed the 6-foot, 200 pounder could handle the assignment after the way he turned heads at the alternate training site and fall instructional league last year as well as at major-league spring training this year.

It’s still only been just over a month of minor-league baseball, but at the moment, Yorke appears to be making the necessary adjustments to back up why the Red Sox are just so high on him.

(Picture of Nick Yorke: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)