Latest MLB Pipeline mock draft has Red Sox selecting high school shortstop Jett Williams with top pick

In the first installment of their 2022 mock draft, MLB Pipeline has the Red Sox selecting Rockwall-Heath High School shortstop Jett Williams with its first-round pick at No. 24 overall.

The reasoning behind the selection from MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo is simple: “The Red Sox have taken a high school infielder the last three years they had a first-round pick, so we know they don’t shy away from that demographic.”

Mayo, of course, is referring to the fact that Boston has used its last three first-rounders on a trio of prep infielders in Marcelo Mayer (2021), Nick Yorke (2020), and Triston Casas (2018).

Williams, on the other hand, is currently regarded by MLB Pipeline as the No. 25 draft-eligible prospect in this year’s class, which ranks 16th among position players.

The 18-year-old hits from the right side of the plate, is in the midst of his senior season at Rockwall-Heath, and is committed to play college baseball at Mississippi State University. Last year, he batted .347/.514/.723 with five doubles, nine triples, five home runs, 37 RBIs, 40 runs scored, 29 walks, three strikeouts, and 15 stolen bases for the Hawks.

Listed at 5-foot-8 and 178 pounds, Williams may be undersized for his position. But according to his MLB Pipeline scouting report, the native Texan is “a favorite gut-feel guy for a lot of scouts” because of his “quick hands, feel for the barrel, and quality right-handed stroke.”

On the basepaths and on the field, Williams possesses “plus speed and knows how to use his quickness.” Defensively, he dealt with a shoulder injury last summer that affected him on the showcase circuit, though “some evaluators believe he has solid arm strength when healthy.”

With that, MLB Pipeline notes that Williams has “the hands and actions” that are required of a shortstop. And while some believe he has what it takes to stick at shortstop, there are others who think he is best suited for second base or center field.

Williams, who turns 19 in November, is the second draft-eligible high school infielder the Red Sox have been linked to in recent weeks. Baseball America had Boston taking fellow shortstop Cole Young with its top pick in a mock draft that was published earlier this month.

As a reminder, the 2022 MLB Draft will kick off in Los Angeles on July 17, which is a little more than 11 weeks away.

(Picture of Jett Williams via his Instagram)

Latest Baseball America mock draft has Red Sox selecting prep infielder Cole Young with top pick

In their latest 2022 mock draft, Baseball America has the Red Sox selecting North Allegheny Senior High School shortstop Cole Young with their first-round (24th overall) pick.

Young, 18, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 21 draft-eligible prospect, ranking ninth among high schoolers in this year’s class. At present, the Pennsylvania native is committed to play college baseball at Duke University.

Listed at 6-feet and 180 pounds, Young is in the midst of his senior season with North Allegheny, which only just began on Wednesday. Last year, the left-handed hitting infielder batted .437/.594/.859 with four doubles, four triples, six home runs, 23 RBIs, 33 runs scored, 19 stolen bases, 25 walks, and five strikeouts over 27 games (101 plate appearances) for the Tigers.

Per his Baseball America scouting report, Young “separated himself over the summer as the best shortstop in the 2022 prep class and perhaps the best pure hitter not named Termarr Johnson. … Young does most things on the field well, headlined by a sound offensive approach and a clean, flat bat path that he uses to spray the ball all over the field. He handles 90-plus mph velocity well and he has a solid understanding of the strike zone, tracking the ball well and keeping his barrel in the hitting zone for a long time.”

Defensively, Young “has a chance to stick at shortstop, where he’s a capable and fluid defender, if not an explosive one. He plays low to the ground, has a solid first step—and above-average speed underway—with above-average arm strength and good instincts.”

As for why he has the Red Sox taking Young off the board with the 24th overall selection, Baseball America’s Carlos Collazo writes that Young “would represent solid value” for Boston since he is a pure hitter who possesses sound tools all the way around.

MLB Pipeline, on the other hand, has Young ranked as their No. 14 draft-eligible prospect. They note that Young “is the kind of player who needs to be seen more than once to be truly appreciated, as his feel for the game is greater than any jump off the page tools.”

Since he plays the infield and hits from the left side of the plate, Young — who turns 19 in July — has drawn comparisons to former Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew and current Mariners second baseman Adam Frazier.

The Red Sox, in recent years, have not shied away from taking high school infielders early in the draft. Since Chaim Bloom took over as chief baseball officer in October 2019, Boston has selected Marcelo Mayer (2021, fourth overall) and Nick Yorke (2020, 17th overall) with their last two first-round picks.

(Picture of Cole Young: Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images)