Since 2005, the Red Sox have had some noticeable draft strategy trends, some of which have been tweaked since the new bonus pool restrictions were put in place in 2012.
If these trends keep up in this year’s draft -- set for Thursday, Friday and Saturday -- look for Boston to select a diversified mix of high-ceiling, higher risk talent and high-floor college prospects with its first four or five picks. After that, history tells us they will pick some low-bonus, high-makeup college players in the sixth through 10th rounds. The front office might then pick some high-ceiling prep players, some of whom might have signability concerns, in rounds 11-15. The remainder of the draft will likely comprise of players needed to fill out the minor league affiliate rosters and a few lottery ticket prospects.
A few other trends to watch for are veterans of the USA Baseball National teams (college and high school), players who excelled in the Cape Cod League, multi-sport athletes, college relievers with “low mileage” arms, local products in the later rounds, and former draftees who didn’t sign the first time around.
Major League Baseball’s first-year player draft is set to get underway Thursday night at 7 p.m. ET. The draft will take place over the course of three days again this year, with Thursday night’s phase covering the first, supplemental, second, and competitive balance rounds. Day 2 will start at 1 p.m. on Friday, covering rounds 3-10, and Day 3 will kick off at 1 p.m. on Saturday, covering rounds 11-40.
For the Red Sox, this will be the fifth draft led by director of amateur scouting Amiel Sawdaye. Sawdaye’s 2011 and 2010 daft classes look quite impressive at this point, featuring multiple potential impact players in Jackie Bradley Jr., Matt Barnes, Garin Cecchini, Anthony Ranaudo, Henry Owens, Bryce Brentz, Blake Swihart, Brandon Workman, Sean Coyle and Mookie Betts.
On the other hand, the 2012 and 2013 draft classes -- the first draft classes capped by the signing bonus pool system under the new CBA -- have not produced as much prospect talent as prior drafts. Admittedly, it's way too early to draw any conclusions, but the early results for those drafts have been mixed at best.
This year, Boston’s signing bonus allotment will be capped at $6,373,300, which is a shade lower than last year's cap, given that last year's bonus pool was bolstered by the slot value for the No. 7 overall pick. Sawdaye will have options to add some more high-end talent this draft, as the Red Sox have four selections in the first 103 picks, including the 26th, 33rd, and 67th overall picks.