Spring Training is in full swing now but we’re still waiting to see how far behind Chris Sale is on the season (Ed – News just out, looks like he’s avoiding TJ…for now.) and if the inquiry into the Red Sox sign stealing will yield a loss of draft picks. With this in mind, let’s take a look back at ten years of first round draft picks the Red Sox made.
This list is factual and although I have to say there’s a few busts in the bunch, also 1st round draft picks often take time to develop. Just cracking an MLB 25-man (Now 26-man) roster should be considered a win for every ball player, regardless of how their career turns out.
2019: The Red Sox did not have a first rounder.
2018: Triston Casas, the Red Sox 2019 Minor Leaguer of the Year, looks like a good pick but is still young and needs a bit of work on his swing.
2017: Tanner Houck , the big right hander isn’t on the 40-man roster but has been in Spring Training this year and may end up pitching for the big club given the injuries.
2016: Jason Groome, he’s still on the mend from prior Tommy John surgery, injury has to be a little bit of a concern but hopefully he’ll come back strong and help the club in 2021.
2015: Andrew Benintendi, he’s a career .277 hitter and I’d think all Sox fans are familiar with his work at this point. As an organisation you need to hit on these guys and hope for their highest ceiling, i don’t think the Sox would take this pick back.
2014: Michael Chavis, made his MLB debut in 2019 with 347 AB, has some pop in his bat and is still developing. 5 picks down on the list and nary a bust in the bunch until we get to;
2013: Trey Ball, the illicit left handed pitching prospect that never lived up to the potential and is currently a free agent.
2012: Brian Johnson, he’s 29 and he’s pitched some big games for the Sox over the past two years. Undoubtedly is part of the rotation plan for the 2020 season, no word on his AC/DC covers though,
2012: Deven Marrero is currently unsigned and has had a few cups of coffee with the Red Sox, Diamondbacks, and Marlins.
2011: Blake Swihart, currently with the Texas Rangers organisation not Chuck Norris’s old show). Swihart came up as a catcher but now is listed as an Outfielder. Not a bust by any means but also never found his groove with the Sox.
2011: Matt Barnes, when I started making notes for this article i had him pegged as the 2020 closer, and now Ron Roenicke (tell me he doesn’t remind you of Raymond Barry from Justified) has named Brandon Workman as the closer. Don’t be shocked if Barnes is still in the mix for saves this season.
2010 yielded 3 1st rounders, it’s a dream draft for an organisation and yielded Kolbrin Vitek (out of baseball), Bryce Brentz (Atlantic league), and Anthony Ranaudo (traded to Texans for Robbie Ross and retired)
To sum up, the Red Sox have done a good job with their first rounders since 2014. No organisation has a 100% hit rate on their draft picks, which is one of the reasons I find the proposal to contract minor league clubs as drastic and unnecessary, particularly in relation to developing players. Fun Fact: Mookie Betts was drafted in the 5th round of the 2011 draft. There’s a star in the making to be found anywhere, let’s hope the Red Sox can find a few more and develop some pitchers.
Ben King is a guest writer for Bat Flips and Nerds, can be found on twitter here.