Red Sox land No. 14 pick in 2023 MLB Draft Lottery

The Red Sox will pick 14th in the first round of next year’s amateur draft, as was revealed during the first-ever MLB Draft Lottery at the Winter Meetings in San Diego on Wednesday evening.

After finishing with the 14th-worst record in baseball (78-74) this season, the Sox would have been in line to receive the 14th overall pick in the 2023 draft under the old collective bargaining agreement. Earlier this spring, however, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association ratified a new collective bargaining agreement.

As part of that new collective bargaining agreement, a draft lottery was instituted to combat tanking and determine the first six picks in each year’s draft moving forward. Because they failed to reach the postseason this year, the Red Sox — and the 17 other non-playoff teams — qualified to be part of the lottery process.

Since they finished with the 14th-worst record, the Sox had the 14th-best odds (0.8 percent) to obtain the top pick next summer. They also had a 0.9 percent chance to land the second pick, a 1.0 percent chance to land the third pick, a 1.2 percent chance to land the fourth pick, a 1.4 percent chance to land the fifth pick, and a 1.7 percent chance to land the sixth pick, according to Tankathon.com.

The results of the lottery were announced at 8:30 p.m. eastern time on MLB Network. The Nationals, Athletics, and Pirates all had an equal chance (16.5 percent) of landing the No. 1 pick after finishing with the three worst records this season. Pittsburgh ultimately won the lottery and came away with the top overall selection as a result. Here is the order of the first round in its entirety:

1. Pirates
2. Nationals
3. Tigers
4. Rangers
5. Twins
6. A’s
7. Reds
8. Royals
9. Rockies
10. Marlins
11. Angels
12. D-backs
13. Cubs
14. Red Sox
15. White Sox
16. Giants
17. Orioles
18. Brewers
19. Rays
20. Blue Jays
21. Cardinals
22. Mariners
23. Guardians
24. Braves
25. Padres
26. Yankees
27. Phillies
28. Astros

The Pirates will be picking first for the second time in three years next July. The Red Sox, on the other hand, will be picking 14th for just the third time in franchise history.

In 1984, Boston took catcher John Marzano out of Temple University. Two years later, it took outfielder Greg McCurty out of Brockton High School. McCurty did not sign and instead played college baseball at the University of Michigan.

(Picture of Mikey Romero: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Mikey Romero, Roman Anthony enter Baseball America’s top 10 Red Sox prospects rankings

Two members of the Red Sox’ 2022 draft class have entered the organization’s top 10 prospects rankings, at least according to one prominent publication.

On Wednesday, Baseball America released the top 10 prospects in Boston’s farm system heading into the 2023 season. While the list is headlined by Marcelo Mayer, 2022 first-rounder Mikey Romero and 2022 second-rounder Roman Anthony both made the cut.

Romero, taken by the Sox with the 24th overall pick out of Orange Lutheran High School (Orange, Calif.) over the summer, is now regarded by Baseball America as the organization’s No. 5 prospect. The 18-year-old infielder forwent his commitment to Louisiana State University by signing with Boston for $2.3 million in July.

Upon putting pen to paper at Fenway Park, Romero began his professional career in the Florida Complex League. The left-handed hitter batted .250/.372/.417 with one home run and six RBIs in 10 games with the FCL Red Sox before earning a promotion to Low-A Salem in late August.

Once there, Romero ended his first pro season on a strong note by slashing .349/.364/.581 with four doubles, three triples, 11 runs driven in, six runs scored, one stolen base, one walk, and 11 strikeouts across nine games (44 plate appearances. Between the two affiliates, the 6-foot-1, 175-pounder logged 49 innings at second base and 66 innings at shortstop.

Romero, who turns 19 in January, is projected to return to Salem for the start of the 2023 season next spring. He “has a sweet lefthanded swing with little stride or wasted motion. His barrel is a magnet for pitches all over the zone, producing gap-to-gap, line-drive contact.”

On the other side of the ball, Romero possesses “good instincts and clean actions but with limited range” at shortstop. “There’s a chance he stays at shortstop as an average defender, but more likely he becomes an average second baseman with the ability to provide fringe defense on the other side of second. He’s a slightly below-average runner,” per his Baseball America scouting report.

Anthony, meanwhile, was taken 79th overall — which was the compensatory pick the Red Sox received after losing Eduardo Rodriguez in free agency last November — out of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. He is now regarded by Baseball America as Boston’s eighth-ranked prospect.

In similar fashion to Romero, Anthony forwent his commitment to the University of Mississippi and signed with Boston for $2.5 million at Fenway Park in July. The left-handed hitting 18-year-old made his pro debut in the Florida Complex League and batted .429/.475/.486 with two doubles and seven RBIs in 10 games before joining Romero in Salem towards the end of August.

With the Salem Sox, Anthony went 7-for-37 (.189) at the plate with two doubles, five runs driven in, two runs scored, five walks, and four strikeouts over 10 games. The 6-foot-3, 200-pounder saw playing time at all three outfield positions, though eight of his 10 starts with Salem came in center.

Anthony, who does not turn 19 until next May, is also expected to return to Salem for the start of the 2023 season. According to his Baseball America scouting report, the native Floridian “shows plus to double-plus raw power and can clear fences with ease.” He also ” controls at-bats in impressive fashion, particularly for a player with his stout frame. While his raw power is obvious, there’s less consensus around Anthony’s pure hitting ability. He showed swing-and-miss tendencies during the showcase circuit in high school but made adjustments during the spring and also performed well in a brief pro debut.

Defensively, Anthony “already has size and strength but projects to get bigger. Anthony’s ability to maintain mobility in his next 15 pounds represents a key that will determine whether he stays in center field, though the safest bet would be an eventual move to right field. Still, his bat projects well in a corner, as does his arm.”

Beyond Mayer, Romero, and Anthony, Triston Casas came in at No. 2, Ceddanne Rafaela came in at No. 3, Miguel Bleis came in at No. 4, Nick Yorke came in at No. 6, Bryan Mata came in at No. 7, Brandon Walter came in at No. 9, and Eddinson Paulino came in at No. 10 on Baseball America’s list.

(Picture of Mikey Romero: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox have 0.8 percent chance to land No. 1 pick in 2023 MLB Draft

The Red Sox did not finish with the worst record in baseball this season, yet they will have a chance to pick first in next year’s amateur draft.

On Monday, Major League Baseball announced that the first-ever draft lottery will take place during next month’s Winter Meetings in San Diego. Thanks to the newly-implemented collective bargaining agreement, the first six picks of the 2023 draft will now be determined via lottery as opposed to the reverse order of the previous year’s standings.

Coming off a 78-84 2022 campaign that saw them fall short of the postseason, the Red Sox would be in line to receive the 14th overall pick in the 2023 draft under the old collective bargaining agreement. They now have the 14th-best odds to obtain the No. 1 pick next July.

Boston will be in the mix with the 17 other non-playoff teams for the top overall selection. The teams with the three worst records in 2022 — the 55-107 Nationals, the 60-102 Athletics, and 62-100 Pirates — have the best chance (16.5) to win the top pick in the lottery.

From there, the Reds (13.2 percent) have the fourth-best, the Royals (10.0 percent) have the fifth-best, the Tigers (7.5 percent) have the sixth-best, the Rangers (5.5 percent) have the seventh-best, the Rockies (3.9 percent) have the eighth-best, the Marlins (2.7 percent) have the ninth-best, the Angels (1.8 percent) have the 10th-best, the Diamondbacks (1.4 percent) have the 11th-best, the Cubs (1.1 percent) have the 12th-best, the Twins (0.9 percent) have the 13th-best, the Red Sox (0.8 percent), have the 14th-best, the White Sox (0.6 percent) have the 15th-best, the Giants (0.5 percent) have the 16th-best, the Orioles (0.4 percent) have the 17th-best, and the Brewers (0.2 percent) possess the 18th-best odds.

In addition to having a 0.8 percent chance to land the top pick, the Red Sox have a 0.9 percent chance to pick second, a 1.0 percent chance to pick third, a 1.2 percent chance to pick fourth, a 1.4 percent chance to pick fifth, and a 1.7 percent chance to pick sixth, according to Tankathon.com.

If Boston’s No. 1 selection falls out of the top six in the lottery, it would pick 14th overall. Tankathon.com relays that the Sox have a 78.9 percent chance to pick 14th, a 13.6 percent chance to pick 15th, and a 0.6 percent chance to pick 16th.

While it is extremely unlikely the Red Sox come away with the top overall pick (something that has never happened in franchise history) on December 6, they have been able to use the first round of past drafts to strengthen their improving farm system.

Under chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and vice president of player development and amateur scouting Toboni, Boston has taken infielders Mikey Romero, Marcelo Mayer, and Nick Yorke with its first pick in each of the last three drafts. All three Californians currently sit within the top 12 of Baseball America’s Red Sox prospects rankings.

(Picture of Mikey Romero: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox make promotions within amateur scouting department by elevating Paul Toboni, Devin Pearson

The Red Sox have promoted Paul Toboni from director of amateur scouting to a vice president role in charge of amateur scouting and player development, according to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

Toboni, 32, has spent the last three seasons as Boston’s amateur scouting director after being named to the position in September 2019. The native Californian oversaw the 2020, 2021, and 2022 drafts, which saw the Red Sox select (and sign) the likes of top prospects Nick Yorke, Blaze Jordan, Marcelo Mayer, Niko Kavadas, and Mikey Romero, among others.

After playing baseball and graduating from The University of California, Berkeley in 2012, Toboni went on to earn his Masters of Business Administration from The University of Notre Dame two years later. He got his start in professional baseball by interning with the Oakland Athletics during the 2013 season.

Before the start of the 2015 campaign, Toboni joined the Red Sox’ baseball operations department in a similar capacity. He then served as an area scout who was responsible for covering northern Texas and northern Louisiana from October 2015 until November 2016. From 2017-2019, he operated as the club’s assistant director of amateur scouting under Mike Rikard.

Rikard was named Boston’s vice president of scouting towards the end of the 2019 season, allowing Toboni to assume the role of amateur scouting director. Now a vice president himself, Toboni is slated to join Rikard and vice president of scouting development and integration Gus Quattlebaum in that regard.

With Toboni’s elevation, Speier also reports that assistant director of amateur scouting Devin Pearson has been promoted to director of amateur scouting.

Pearson, 28, was originally taken by the Blue Jays in the 30th round of the 2012 draft out of Carmel High School. Rather than go pro, though, he elected to go to college and — like Toboni — graduated from UC Berkeley in 2016.

The following February, Pearson began an internship within the Red Sox’ professional scouting department. He moved on to the amateur side of things that October before being elevated to assistant amateur scouting director in Sept. 2019.

The son of former Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Dennis Pearson, Devin is set to turn 29 in January. He and Toboni will presumably play a key role in overseeing Boston’s amateur scouting efforts moving forward.

(Picture of Fenway Park: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox catching prospect Brooks Brannon shows signs of promise in pro debut

The Red Sox have selected just one natural catcher in each of the last two amateur drafts. Last year, they took Nathan Hickey in the fifth round of the University of Florida. Earlier this summer, they took Brooks Brannon in the ninth round out of Randleman High School in Randleman, N.C.

At that time, Brannon was ranked by Baseball America as the No. 155 prospect in the 2022 draft class. The 18-year-old backstop was also committed to play college baseball at the University of North Carolina in nearby Chapel Hill.

It was believed that Brannon’s commitment to the Tar Heels was a strong one. But just two days after being drafted, the North Carolina native told HighSchoolOT’s Kyle Morton that he intended to go pro and sign with the Red Sox.

“Leading up to the draft, if I could have picked any team it would have been the Red Sox,” Brannon said. “They did the best as far as establishing a relationship. … Everything is very family oriented. … The fact that they have that is huge. I’m just glad to be a part of an organization that values that like they do.”

Towards the end of July, Brannon officially signed with Boston for $712,500. To put that number into context, third-rounder Dalton Rogers received a signing bonus of $447,500, so the Sox certainly went above and beyond to secure Brannon’s services.

“We were surprised to see him get that far,” amateur scouting director Paul Toboni told MLB.com’s Julia Kreuz back in July. “We think so highly of the baseball player and the person, we were beyond thrilled to see him staring at us at that point of the draft.

Fresh off belting 20 homers and driving in 91 runs as a senior at Randleman High, Brannon made his professional debut in the Florida Complex League on August 13. The right-handed hitter appeared in just five games for the FCL Red Sox, going 6-for-13 (.462) with one double, two triples, five RBIs, six runs scored, two walks, and five strikeouts.

Though he did not go deep in his brief pro cameo, Brannon was still recently identified by Baseball America’s Carlos Collazo as the best power hitter the Red Sox drafted this year.

“While the baseline stats are nice to see, [Brannon’s] underlying exit velocity data is even more encouraging,” Collazo wrote on Monday, “with the best 90th percentile exit velocity mark (105 mph) of this Boston draft class.”

On the other side of the ball, there are questions about whether Brannon can stick behind the plate long-term. The 6-foot, 210-pounder is described by Baseball America as someone who “needs to improve his actions behind the plate as both a receiver and pitch blocker.” Although his arm strength stands out, Brannon did not throw out any of the three runners who tried to steal against him in the Florida Complex League.

“Brooks’ defensive skill set was one of the parts of his game that we were drawn to most,” Toboni said over the summer. “While he’s big and physical, he’s really flexible and athletic. He can get his body into some pretty unique positions, especially for a big, strong kid. We also think he has good hands behind the plate and an obviously strong arm. In our eyes, he possesses all the physical and mental traits to take off with professional instruction.”

Brannon, who does not turn 19 until next May, is currently regarded by SoxProspects.com as the No. 30 prospect in Boston’s farm system. That ranks third among backstops in the organization behind only Hickey and Connor Wong.

Given that he has just five FCL games under his belt, Brannon is expected to return to the rookie-level affiliate next summer. That being said, it would not be all that surprising if he made it up to Low-A Salem before the end of the 2023 season.

(Picture of Brooks Brannon: Bryan Green/Flickr)

Red Sox infield prospect Chase Meidroth gets pro career off to strong start with Low-A Salem

Chase Meidroth, who the Red Sox selected in the fourth round of this summer’s draft out of the University of San Diego, ended his first professional season on a strong note with Low-A Salem.

After being scouted by J.J. Altobelli and signing with Boston for $272,500, Meidroth appeared in just three Florida Complex League games before earning a promotion to Salem on August 9. In 19 games with the Red Sox, the right-handed hitting infielder batted .309/.424/.559 to go along with five doubles, four home runs, 12 RBIs, 15 runs scored, four stolen bases, 12 walks, and nine strikeouts over 85 plate appearances.

It’s a small sample size, but among the 229 hitters who made at least 80 trips to the plate this season, Meidroth ranked third in strikeout rate (10.6%), 16th in batting average, 13th in on-base percentage, seventh in slugging percentage, seventh in OPS (.982), seventh in isolated power (.250), 11th in line-drive rate (30.5%), and eighth in wRC+ (167), per FanGraphs.

Defensively, Meidroth saw all his playing time on the field this year come at second base. With Salem, the 5-foot-10, 170-pounder logged 114 1/3 innings at the keystone and did not commit an error.

Meidroth, who turned 21 in July, was regarded by Baseball America as the 258th-ranked prospect in the 2022 draft class after spending three years at San Diego, where he was selected to the All-West Coast Conference First Team as a sophomore.

The Torrance, Calif. native also spent part of his summer on Cape Cod, where he got a chance to swing a wood bat while slashing .286/.434/.381 with one home run and seven RBIs in 22 games (84 plate appearances) with the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox.

Per his Baseball America scouting report from before the draft, Meidroth “is a small hitter who uses a line drive swing with average bat speed to make lots of contact and spray the ball into the gaps. His home run power is almost exclusively to his pull side. … He is a below-average runner who is best at second base.”

While he is not yet on Baseball America’s Top 30 list, Meidroth is currently ranked by SoxProspects.com as the No. 52 prospect in Boston’s farm system. He is projected by the site to make the jump to High-A Greenville for the start of the 2023 season.

(Picture of Chase Meidroth: Robert Simmons/RTS Photography)

Red Sox first-round pick Mikey Romero hits first professional home run in seventh Florida Complex League game

Red Sox infield prospect Mikey Romero hit the first home run of his professional career in the Florida Complex League on Friday afternoon.

Batting leadoff and starting at shortstop for the FCL Red Sox in their contest against the FCL Twins at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Romero’s milestone homer came with one out in the bottom half of the ninth inning.

Trailing 4-0 at that point, Freddy Valdez drew a one-out walk off Twins reliever Cole Bellair while Luis Ravelo followed with a groundball single to put runners at the corners for Romero.

Romero, in turn, promptly cranked a three-run home run to right field to trim the deficit to 4-3. That would go on to be Friday’s final score as the FCL Red Sox dropped to 33-19 on the season.

Following Friday’s 1-for-5 performance, the left-handed hitter is now batting .200 (5-for-25)/.310/.400 with two doubles, one homer, four RBIs, three runs scored, four walks, and two strikeouts over seven games (29 plate appearances) to begin his professional career.

The Red Sox selected Romero with the 24th overall pick in last month’s amateur draft out of Orange Lutheran High School in Orange, Calif. Originally committed to play college baseball at Louisiana State University, the 18-year-old signed with Boston on July 25 for an under-slot $2.3 million. He made his pro debut on August 9 and is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 12 prospect in the organization.

(Picture of Mikey Romero: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox officially sign top draft picks Mikey Romero and Cutter Coffey

The Red Sox have officially signed 2022 first-round and second-round draft picks Mikey Romero and Cutter Coffey, the team announced earlier Monday afternoon.

According to The Athletic’s Chad Jennings, Romero — who was taken with the 24th overall selection — has received a $2.3 million bonus while Coffey — who was taken with the 41st overall selection — has received a $1.8475 million bonus. Boston was rewarded with the 41st pick in this year’s draft after failing to sign Jud Fabian last summer.

Romero, 18, was regarded by Baseball America as the 54th-ranked prospect in this year’s draft class. The left-handed hitting shortstop batted .372/.419/.659 with four home runs, 26 RBIs, 24 runs scored, and one stolen base in 30 games (105 plate appearances) as a senior at Orange (Calif.) Lutheran High School.

Coffey, also 18, was regarded by Baseball America as the 65th-ranked prospect in this year’s draft class. A right-handed hitting shortstop from Bakersfield, Calif., Coffey slashed .442/.581/1.021 with 12 home runs, 32 RBIs, 48 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases over 31 games (129 plate appearances) at Liberty High School.

Romero, who has two older sisters — Sierra and Sydney — who were college softball stars at Michigan and Oklahoma, was previously committed to play college baseball at Louisiana State University. He will instead forego his commitment by signing with Boston for $2.3 million, which is approximately $676,400 under-slot.

Coffey, on the other hand, was once a two-way player who was projected by evaluators to be better as a pitcher. Like Romero, Coffey was also committed to play his college baseball at a big school in the University of Texas at Austin. He, too, will forego his commitment by signing an under-slot deal with the Red Sox.

Both Romero and Coffey spent the weekend in Boston and are expected to be introduced to the media at Fenway Park prior to Monday’s game against the Guardians.

(Picture of Mikey Romero: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Red Sox appear to have signed North Carolina State commit Bryant Zayas

UPDATE: The Red Sox have officially signed Zayas, per the club’s transactions log.

The Red Sox appear to have signed undrafted free-agent shortstop Bryant Zayas to a minor-league contract. That is based on Zayas’ recent Instagram activity and this post from one of his coaches, Ricardo Sosa of Team Sosa Baseball in Hialeah, Fla.

Zayas, 18, went undrafted out of Miami Christian School earlier this week despite being ranked nationally by Perfect Game USA as the No. 214 prospect in this year’s high school class. The Miami-area native was committed to play college baseball at North Carolina State University.

As a senior at Miami Christian, the right-handed hitting Zayas batted .323/.405/.548 with five doubles, three triples, four home runs, 19 RBIs, 30 runs scored, 15 stolen bases, 13 walks, and 25 strikeouts over 31 games (111 plate appearances) for the Victors, per MaxPreps.

Listed at 6-foot and 178 pounds, Zayas possesses quality bat speed and hits solid line drives when he is on time. On the other side of the ball, the quick infielder has “excellent actions at shortstop with a good combination of high level footwork and soft hands.” According to Perfect Game USA, the defense is what stands out.

Zayas, who turns 19 in October, would become the second undrafted free-agent to sign with the Red Sox this week, joining University of Connecticut catcher Matt Donlan. Clubs can sign undrafted players for up to $125,000 without dipping into their bonus pool.

(Picture of Bryant Zayas: Bryan Green/Flickr)

Red Sox sign University of Connecticut catcher Matt Donlan

The Red Sox have agreed to terms with undrafted University of Connecticut catcher Matt Donlan, the school announced following the conclusion of Tuesday’s draft.

Donlan, 22, was not regarded as one of the top catching prospects in this year’s draft class. As a non-drafted free-agent, the Connecticut native can sign with Boston for up to $125,000.

After beginning his collegiate career at Stonehill College in Easton, Mass., Donlan transferred to UCONN, but was not eligible to play in 2021. So, in his one season with the Huskies, the right-handed hitter batted .260/.375/.489 with 14 doubles, 12 home runs, 60 RBIs, 47 runs scored, three stolen bases, 27 walks, and 55 strikeouts over 61 games spanning 265 plate appearances.

From behind the plate, Donlan — equipped with a strong arm — threw out 22 of the 42 base runners who attempted to steal off him this spring. In terms of accolades, the 6-foot-3, 213-pound backstop earned First Team All-Big East and College Park Regional Most Outstanding Player honors for his performance in both the regular and postseason.

Donlan, who turns 23 in November, will likely begin his pro career in the rookie-level Florida Complex League upon officially putting pen to paper. Other Red Sox catching prospects who are currently down in Fort Myers include Enderso Lira, Daniel McElveny, and Diego Viloria, among others.

(Picture of Matt Donlan: University of Connecticut Athletics)