First MLB Pipeline mock draft of 2023 has Red Sox taking Florida righty Hurston Waldrep

The Red Sox have not used a first-round draft pick on a college pitcher since 2017. Could that change this summer?

In his first mock draft of the year for, Jim Callis of MLB Pipeline has the Red Sox taking Florida right-hander Hurston Waldrep with the 14th overall pick in the 2023 amateur draft.

Waldrep, 21, is currently regarded by MLB Pipeline as the No. 11 draft-eligible prospect, which ranks fourth among pitchers in this year’s class. The junior righty owns a 5.07 ERA and 1.45 WHIP with 102 strikeouts to 40 walks in 12 starts (65 2/3 innings) for the Gators so far this season. Opponents are batting .227 against him.

A native of Georgia, Waldrep began his college career at Southern Mississippi after going undrafted out of Thomasville High School in 2020. He compiled a 3.22 ERA in two seasons with the Golden Eagles before transferring to Florida last July.

Standing at 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, Waldrep operates with “a legitimate three-pitch power mix, with all three offerings having the potential to be at least above-average,” per his MLB Pipeline scouting report. He sits between 95-99 mph with his four-seam fastball, which is complemented by a whiff-inducing split-changeup and an upper-80s slider.

Mechanically, there are some concerns when it comes to Waldrep’s delivery. MLB Pipeline notes that “while Waldrep is generally around the strike zone, there is a little effort in his up-tempo delivery, causing some inconsistencies with his command and control, which led to an uptick in his walk rate this spring.”

To that end, Waldrep had an uneven start for the Gators on Saturday. Going up against Texas A&M on the road, he allowed four earned runs on two hits and five walks to go along with a season-high six walks over three innings of work in a 15-2 loss to the Aggies.

Because of those aforementioned command issues, Waldrep could project as a reliever as opposed to a starter in the long-run. Even so, Waldrep will almost certainly come off the board early on account of his potential and arsenal. Whichever team drafts him will probably do so with the idea that they can help him throw strikes more consistently.

The last time the Red Sox took a college pitcher in the first round of a draft was 2017, when righty Tanner Houck was selected out of Missouri at No. 24 overall. Since Chaim Bloom took over as Boston’s chief baseball officer in late 2019, the club has exclusively drafted high school infielders (Nick Yorke, Marcelo Mayer, and Mikey Romero) with their top pick.

The Red Sox landed the 14th overall pick in this year’s draft in the first-ever MLB Draft Lottery back in December. It did not come as much of a surprise since Boston finished with the 14th-worst record in baseball last season.

The 14th overall pick in the 2023 draft, which takes place from July 9-11, comes with a slot value of $4,663,100 (up from $4,243,800 last year). The Red Sox as a team have a bonus pool of $10,295,100.

(Picture of Hurston Waldrep: James Gilbert/Getty Images)


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

In his latest 2022 mock draft for MLB Pipeline,’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)