The Athletic’s latest mock draft has Red Sox taking Clemson University third baseman Max Wagner with top pick

In his first mock draft of the year, Keith Law of The Athletic has the Red Sox selecting Clemson University third baseman Max Wagner with their top pick at No. 24 overall.

Wagner is not regarded by publications such as Baseball America or MLB Pipeline as one of the top prospects in the 2022 draft class, but Law has identified the 20-year-old infielder as one of the draft’s up-and-comers.

“Wagner is one of the fastest risers in the draft this year after a stretch in April where he hit 12 homers in 14 games, putting him second in Division I right now behind Texas’ Alex Melendez,” Law wrote on Thursday. “His pull-heavy approach would play very well in Fenway or Minute Maid [Park], although I’m not sure he’s going to stay on the dirt.”

Coming into play on Thursday, the right-handed hitter has slashed a stout .377/.506/.863 with 15 doubles, one triple, 24 home runs, 69 RBIs, 61 runs scored, one stolen base, 42 walks, and 43 strikeouts through his first 53 games (236 plate appearances) with the Tigers this season.

Defensively, Wagner has seen all his playing time in college come at third base. As noted by Law, though, the draft-eligible sophomore from Green Bay could be best suited for the outfield given his 6-foot, 215-pound frame.

That Wagner, who turns 21 in August, has posted a ridiculous 1.370 OPS this year is impressive when you consider the fact that he struggled to the tune of a .651 OPS in 35 games as a freshman. The improvement, per Law, comes from a swing change.

“Wagner changed his swing after an underwhelming freshman year for Clemson,” he wrote in his scouting report, “and now the draft-eligible sophomore is destroying fastballs with plus-plus power to his pull side, and shows solid command of the strike zone, although his defense at third isn’t great and he might end up in an outfield corner.”

The Red Sox last used as first-round pick on a college infielder in 2012, when they took Deven Marrero out of Arizona State University. Fast forward 10 years, and the assigned slot value for the 24th overall selection in the 2022 draft — which begins in Los Angeles on July 17 — comes in at roughly $2.975 million.

Will Boston use its first-round pick this year on a more experienced player such as Wagner? Or will they use it on a more highly-touted high schooler like Dylan Lesko? The next two months could determine the answers to these questions.

(Picture of Max Wagner: Bart Boatwright/The Clemson Insider)


Red Sox pitching prospect Andrew Politi, a potential sleeper for 2021, receives invite to major-league spring training

Along with Durbin Feltman, fellow right-handed pitching prospect Andrew Politi was one of 22 Red Sox minor-leaguers to receive an invite to major-league spring training on Friday.

The 24-year-old was originally selected by Boston in the 15th round of the 2018 amateur draft out of Seton Hall University. He signed with the team for only $25,000 that June, and according to The Athletic’s Keith Law, he could be a major sleeper this year.

“Politi was Boston’s 15th-round pick in 2018, a senior signed out of Seton Hall,” Law, who ranked Politi as the No. 15 prospect in the Sox’ farm system, wrote on Thursday, “but his stuff picked up over the last two years and he’s now showing mid-90s velocity with a curveball and cutter — even as he moved from a relief role to the rotation. He needs better control and command, and he’s on the smaller side for a starter, but there’s some starter upside here.

“Politi could make a jump this year, at least into their top 10 if not the global list,” Law added.

Last time he saw any organized minor-league action, the New Jersey native posted a 3.55 ERA and 3.17 xFIP over 33 appearances (five starts) and 78 2/3 innings of work for High-A Salem in 2019.

Politi emerged as a regular starter for Salem towards the tail end of the 2019 campaign in late August, and he dazzled by yielding just three runs (two earned) on three hits, five walks, and 17 strikeouts over his final three starts (13 1/3 innings pitched) of the season.

While he was not included in the Sox’ 60-man player pool nor invited to the Sox’ alternate training site any point in 2020, the 6-foot, 191 lb. hurler did participate in the club’s fall instructional league.

There in Fort Myers, according to’s director of scouting Ian Cundall, Politi put his diverse pitch mix on display for scouts to see.

“Though he worked his way into the Salem rotation at the end of 2019, scouts see right-hander Andrew Politi as a reliever all the way,” Cundall wrote back in November. “His delivery has a lot of effort, and his command was inconsistent at Instructs. His fastball sat 93-95 mph and he mixed in an average slider. He also showed a changeup and curveball, and seemed to be working on a cutter as well. “

What Cundall gathered about Politi seems to differ from what Law gathered, but one thing is clear: Politi has potential. Whether that be as a starter or reliever has yet to be determined, but that notion became clear on Friday when he received an invite to big-league camp.

Like Feltman, Politi is also eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in his career this December, so it goes without saying that 2021 will be an important year for him.

Projected to begin the upcoming minor-league season with Double-A Portland, Politi, who turns 25 in June, is currently regarded by as the organization’s 40th-ranked prospect.

(Picture of Andrew Politi: Kelly O’Connor/