Potential Red Sox Draft Targets: University of Georgia Right-Hander Cole Wilcox

In his annual 2020 Red Sox draft preview for SoxProspects.com, Mike Andrews profiled a handful of high school and college prospects the Red Sox could select with their top pick at No. 17 overall on June 10th.

Those prospects include some names we’ve already covered on here, such as Jared Kelley, Mick Abel, Garrett Crochet, Pete Crow-Armstrong, Robert Hassell, Patrick Bailey, and Ed Howard.

One prospect that has not been discussed on here but was included in Andrews’ preview was University of Georgia right-hander Cole Wilcox.

Wilcox, a draft-eligible sophomore out of Chickamauga, Ga., is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the No. 23 prospect in this year’s draft class and ranks eighth among college pitchers.

The soon-to-be-21-year-old hurler was selected by the Washington Nationals in the 38th round of the 2018 draft, but he forwent signing with the club to instead honor his commitment to Georgia.

Listed at 6’5″ and 232 lbs., Wilcox posted a 1.57 ERA and 0.87 WHIP over four outings and 23 innings pitched for the Bulldogs this year before the college baseball season was shut down to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Per Andrews, Wilcox’s pitching arsenal includes a 97-98 MPH fastball that  hits “triple digits with sink and armside run,” a plus mid-80s slider, and a mid-80s changeup with “above-average potential” which has “some scouts labeling it a potential plus pitch.”

One thing worth noting is that since he is still just a sophomore, Wilcox will have significant leverage in this year’s draft and will likely be seeking hefty compensation from whichever club takes him since he could go back to school for his junior year.

Still, as multiple scouting reports have reflected, Wilcox certainly has the upside to be a frontline starter in the future.

Since the Red Sox will be limited to just four picks in the 2020 draft, it will be interesting to see how big of a splash chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and amateur scouting director Paul Toboni will be willing to make with approximately $3,609,700 to spend on their top pick.

Potential Red Sox Draft Targets: University of Louisville Right-Hander Bobby Miller

In his latest 2020 mock draft for The Athletic, Keith Law has the Red Sox taking University of Louisville right-hander Bobby Miller with their top pick at No. 17 overall.

Law writes the following of Miller:

Miller has been up to 98 mph as a starter with an above-average slider, showing some effort in the delivery but missing plenty of bats for the Cardinals, with mid-rotation or closer potential.

Ranked by MLB Pipeline as the No. 26 overall draft-eligible prospect and seventh among right-handed hurlers out of college, Miller posted a 2.31 ERA and .181 batting average against over four starts and 23 1/3 innings pitched for the Cardinals this season before the COVID-19 pandemic halted collegiate athletics across the country.

Listed at 6’5″ and 220 lbs., the 21-year-old junior was a 38th round selection of the Baltimore Orioles three years ago, but he opted to honor his commitment to Louisville rather than sign with the club out of high school

Per his MLB Pipeline scouting report, the Illinois native’s “fastball is notable for both its heat — he sat at 95-96 mph throughout his dominance of East Carolina and worked at 97-99 in shorter stints in the fall — and its heavy life. He also can miss bats with a slider/cutter that usually operates at 85-87 and reached 90 during the fall. He has faith in a splitter/changeup with similar velocity and employs a more traditional change in the low 80s.”

One thing to watch with Miller though, as Law mentions, is his delivery, which “limits his control and has some scouts wondering if he’s destined to be a reliever in the long run.”

In the months leading up to the 2020 draft, which is now just under two weeks away, the Red Sox have been linked to a handful of college pitchers, but according to MLB.com’s Jim Callis, Boston seems more likely to take a prep prospect like Mick Abel, Jared Kelley, Nick Bitsko, Ed Howard, or Pete-Crow Armstrong if one of them is still on the board at No. 17.

With chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and amateur scouting director Paul Toboni leading the charge, the Sox will be limited to just four picks in this year’s five-round draft, the shortest in MLB’s history, and will have a grand total of $5,129,200 in slot money to spend on whichever four prospects they select from June 10 through the 11th.

Potential Red Sox Draft Targets: University of Oklahoma Right-Hander Cade Cavalli

In his latest mock draft for FanGraphs, Eric Longenhagen has the Red Sox taking Independence High School (TN) outfielder Robert Hassell with their top pick at No. 17 overall.

You can read more about Hassell here, but what I found most interesting in Longenhagen’s piece is what he wrote about who the Cubs might take with the 16th pick in University of Oklahoma right-hander Cade Cavalli.

16. Chicago Cubs- Cade Cavalli, RHP, Oklahoma

I think some of the teams picking in the middle of round one (Reds, Rangers, Cubs, Red Sox, D-backs) might be more motivated than usual to take a pitcher who they can plug and play in their bullpen sometime this summer…Bullpenning them for the rest of this year doesn’t preclude you from developing them as starters next spring.

It’s certainly an interesting point; the notion that a team like the Red Sox could take a college pitcher with their top pick with the goal of having said pitcher be available to pitch out of the major-league bullpen at some point this year if baseball is played in 2020.

Auburn University right-hander Tanner Burns and University of Tennessee left-hander Garrett Crochet are among the college pitchers who have been linked to the Sox in past mock drafts.

Cavalli, meanwhile, is ranked by FanGraphs as the No. 17 overall prospect in this year’s draft class and fifth among right-handed hurlers. He posted a 4.18 ERA and .281 batting average against over four starts and 23 1/2 innings of work for the Sooners in 2020 before the college baseball season was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A former 2017 29th-round selection of the Atlanta Braves out of Bixby High School (OK), the 21-year-old junior’s pitching arsenal includes a 92-96 MPH fastball that can top out at 98 MPH, a low-80s curveball, and an upper-80s slider/cutter.

Listed at 6’4″ and 226 lbs., Cavalli’s Baseball America scouting report goes as follows:

Cavalli is armed a big fastball that is routinely up into the upper-90s and he gets there with ease thanks to one of the better bodies in the draft and a clean delivery.”

Despite his frame and strong mechanics, Cavalli does have a bit of an injury history, as he was sidelined with a stress reaction during his junior season.

Still, the upside is there with Cavalli, although it would not be too surprising to see the Red Sox, under chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and amateur scouting director Paul Toboni, go with a high school prospect such as Hassell or right-hander Mick Abel rather than a guy out of college.

The 2020 MLB Draft is exactly two weeks away and will be just five rounds long, making it the shortest in the sport’s history to this point.

 

 

Potential Red Sox Draft Targets: Austin Hendrick

In his latest mock draft for the Baseball Prospect Journal, Dan Zielinski III has the Red Sox taking West Allegheny High School outfielder Austin Hendrick with their top pick at No. 17 overall.

Hendrick, who turns 19 four days after the 2020 draft is completed, is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the No. 2 prep outfielder in this year’s class behind only Zac Veen.

The Pennsylvania native’s Baseball America’s scouting report goes as follows:

Is there a high school hitter in the 2020 class with a better hit and power combination than Hendrick? We don’t think so. The Pennsylvania product is likely a corner outfielder, but he has light tower raw power and some of the quickest bat speed scouts have seen in years.

Playing for Team USA in last summer’s U-18 Baseball World Cup in South Korea, the Mississippi State signee didn’t get the chance to display that power, but he did get on base quite a bit by drawing five walks and getting plunked twice over the span of eight games.

Among all the high school prospects who will make up this year’s draft class, the left-handed hitting Hendrick has the best raw power tool of the lot, according to FanGraphs. That likely makes him a very appealing target for clubs whose first-round pick fall within the top 20.

The Red Sox, under chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and amateur scouting director Paul Toboni, own the 17th overall pick in the 2020 first-year player draft, as previously mentioned.

With that, Boston will have up to $3,609,700 in signing bonus money to spend on their first of just four selections in this year’s draft, which will go down as the shortest in the sport’s history.

Because of how limited they will be in the 2020 draft, it would not be surprising to see the Red Sox try and make a splash with their top pick. And what better way to do that than by taking one of the best high school outfielders in this year’s class? If he is still on the board, that is.

Other outfielders who have been linked to the Red Sox in first-round mock drafts include UCLA’s Garrett Mitchell, Arkansas’ Heston Kjerstad, Independence High School’s Robert Hassell, and Harvard-Westlake’s Pete Crow Armstrong.

The 2020 MLB Draft, which will consist of five rounds, is just over two weeks away. Stay tuned for more coverage.

Potential Red Sox Draft Targets: Garrett Mitchell and Jared Kelley

In his latest 2020 mock draft for MLB Pipeline, Jonathan Mayo has the Red Sox taking University of California, Los Angeles outfielder Garrett Mitchell with their top pick at No. 17 overall.

Mayo writes the following of Mitchell:

Mitchell continues to be among the toughest players to place in a projection because his raw tools are undeniable, but his performance (especially power-wise) has been spotty and teams need to find a comfort level with taking a player with Type 1 Diabetes in the first round.

A 21-year-old junior outfielder out of Orange, Calif., Mitchell slashed .355/.425/.484 with six doubles, one triple, five stolen bases, and nine RBI over 15 games for the Bruins in 2020 before the college baseball season was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Listed at 6’3″ and 205 lbs., the former 2017 14th round selection of the Oakland A’s is unlike any other draft-eligible prospect this year in that he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as a third-grader.

That has not hindered Mitchell’s production on the field though, as he is MLB Pipeline’s sixth-ranked draft-eligible prospect ahead of the 2020 first-year player draft, which is just under three weeks away.

Per his Baseball America scouting report, Mitchell, who hits from the left side of the plate, “possesses the best package of tools in the 2020 class, with plus-plus running ability, plus arm strength, defense and raw power that some scouts are now citing as 70-grade juice. Mitchell has endlessly tweaked his swing throughout his amatuer career, but seemed to find his groove as a sophomore last season.”

It’s also worth mentioning that in his analysis for who the Red Sox might select with their top pick, Mayo mentions that the club “could go the high school pitching route with someone like Jared Kelley here.”

Who is Jared Kelley? Well, according to MLB Pipeline, he is the 12th-ranked overall prospect and second-ranked high school pitching prospect ahead of this year’s draft. The top prep pitching prospect being right-hander Mick Abel.

The 18-year-old right-hander out of Refugio High School in Texas is already committed to play college baseball for The University of Texas in Austin, but will likely forego that commitment if he is taken off the board early in the first round.

Kelley’s MLB Pipeline scouting report says his pitching arsenal includes a 93-96 MPH fastball that can reach up to 98 MPH, an advanced changeup with “fade and sink,” and a hard slurveball.

Listed at 6’3″ and 215 lbs., Kelley “pounds the strike zone and has the look of a frontline starter who could reach the big leagues before he turns 21. His strong, physically mature frame and the ease of his delivery should allow him to log plenty of innings.”

Mayo has him going to the Mets with the 19th overall pick.

As a reminder, the Red Sox, under chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and director of amateur scouting Paul Toboni, will have approximately $3,609,700 to spend on their top pick this year.

2020 MLB Draft to Be Held Remotely Over Two-Day Period Beginning June 10th

The 2020 Major League Baseball first-year player draft will be held remotely and it will begin on June 10th at 7 PM eastern time.

The first 37 picks of the first round will be made on that Wednesday night, while rounds 2-5, which will be comprised of 123 picks, will be held the following day beginning at 5 PM eastern time.

From there, clubs can begin contacting passed-over players at 9 AM eastern time on June 14th. An unlimited number of these undrafted players can be signed by clubs for up to $20,000.

The deadline to sign players, both drafted and undrafted I would assume, is Saturday, August 1st.

Also worth noting, via The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal:

Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, “As of now, teams are not allowed to have draft rooms and will do all drafting via video conference.” That mandate could change though, and “like the NFL Draft, the head of baseball operations for every team — either president or general manager — will be sent a video it and will be on camera with no audio during the MLB Draft.”

This all according to a memo obtained by ESPN.

The Red Sox, under chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and director of amateur scouting Paul Toboni, will have approximately $3,609,700 to spend on their top pick this year at No. 17 overall.

Due to their stealing of signs in 2018, Boston will be without a second-round pick in 2020, so in what will be the shortest draft in the sport’s history, the Red Sox will be limited to just four selections.

And by the looks of it, it would seem that we might be able to get a glimpse into Bloom’s world via video conference next month, so that could be interesting.