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Meet the new guys: The 2019 Boston Red Sox draft

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The Major League Baseball draft is vastly different from those of the other major sports leagues. In the NFL and the NBA and to a slightly lesser extent the NHL, draft picks are expected to join their new teams and start performing more or less immediately.

Not so with MLB.

Due to the sport's massive minor league infrastructure, baseball draftees aren't immediately thrust into the spotlight with the big club. In fact, it's a rarity for a player to have any real impact in the first couple of years after they've been selected. While the other drafts feature names and faces that we're likely to see quickly, we probably won't see our team's baseball selections at the big-league level for at least a little while.

Obviously, this makes draft grading an even more ludicrous prospect in baseball than it is in other sports. Predicting the future is already impossible - predicting the future of an 18-year-old high school pitcher with great stuff and questionable maturity is even more so.

Still, it's fun to look at the choices our team makes - even if we won't get the payoff until sometime further down the road.

So what does Boston’s 2019 draft class look like? There’s no first round pick thanks to luxury tax penalties (although it’s a small price to pay for winning the World Series), so their first selection landed in the second round.

The Sox have added 40 new players to their system. Among them are 27 collegiate players and 13 high schoolers. There are 21 pitchers, 10 of whom are right-handers with just five southpaws. There are 19 position players: seven outfielders, two catchers, five middle infielders and five first basemen.

Obviously, we don’t have space to discuss all 40, but let’s check out the top 10.

(Please note that, as always, we will refrain from assigning any sort of grade to this draft. The notion of grading a draft from which the players are literally years away from contributing to the team that chose them is utter nonsense. We’re not claiming a win or a loss here. This is just a look at who the team has selected, nothing more.)

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Round 2: No. 43 — Cameron Cannon, 22, middle infielder (Arizona)

The Red Sox took Cannon with the team’s first selection. He’s a shortstop who’s probably going to wind up moving to second base sooner rather than later, but his bat-to-ball ability can’t be denied – he flirted with .400 all season and makes elite contact. Not a ton of power yet, but that may change when the development guys get their hands on him. On the older side, so he won’t have a lot of time to improve, but he has the potential makings of a useful piece.

Round 2: No. 69 — Matthew Lugo, 18, shortstop (Carlos Beltran Academy in Puerto Rico)

With their actual second-round pick, Boston went the more traditional route and snapped up a toolsy high school player. Lugo just turned 18 and is still pretty raw, though he certainly flashed enough to get the scouts interested. His bat is of particular interest, with a smooth line-drive action; it’s the kind of swing that has led to more power once a player fills out. He’s another probably-not-a-shortstop; he’s got an arm, so third base might be in his future.

Round 3: No. 107 — Ryan Zeferjahn, 21, pitcher (Kansas)

The delightfully-named Zeferjahn (seriously, I hope he makes the bigs just to hear Dennis Eckersley try to say his name) was drafted more because of his stuff than his results; he struggled quite a bit with his command this season. He’s got a decent mid-90s fastball, but he needs to get a hold of his secondary stuff – issues with his slider and change led to a bunch of walks and a suboptimal ERA.

Round 4: No. 137 — Noah Song, 22, pitcher (Navy)

It has been a while since the Naval Academy featured an honest-to-goodness baseball prospect, but here we are. The data loves him – he gets the fastball up to 96 and has impressive spin on his breaking pitches. However, he’s got a delivery that raises some questions about his future durability. And the biggest question is whether he’ll even be able to pitch – as of now, he’s still got to serve his two-year commitment to the Navy after he graduates.

Round 5: No. 167 — Jaxx Groshans, 20, catcher (Kansas)

Another Jayhawk in the fifth round. Groshans doesn’t seem like a slam dunk – he didn’t have a particularly impressive statistical season with the bat and he is by all accounts just OK in terms of his work behind the plate. It feels like an organizational depth pick, though one never knows what the scouts may have seen.

Round 6: No. 197 — Chris Murphy, 21, pitcher (San Diego)

Murphy’s another pitcher with good-looking stuff who, for whatever reason, underperformed in college. He’s got a mid-90s fastball and a better-than-average curveball; his repertoire certainly looks like it will play up, but he’s got to prove that he can harness the skills that he has.

Round 7: No. 227 — Brock Bell, 21, pitcher (State College of Florida Manatee - Sarasota)

Bell is a juco player, a two-way guy who looks to be transitioning to the mound full time. His bat wasn’t much at that level, but he showed himself to be more than capable of handling a bullpen role. It’ll be interesting to see how focusing on one job elevates his skill level.

Round 8: No. 257 — Will Dalton, 21, outfielder (Florida)

A college outfielder. Not the sexiest pick out there, but Dalton was an all-conference player in one of the country’s toughest. He’s a corner guy, so the fact that he displayed diminished power hurt him, but he seems like a swing change candidate.

Round 9: No. 287 — Cody Scroggins, 22, pitcher (Arkansas)

Another great name, Scroggins is a senior relief pitcher, the sort of high-floor, low-ceiling guy whose maturity can help him ascend the ranks a little faster. The best-case scenario (assuming he fixes his command issues) is probably generic bullpen guy in the bigs, but that’s not nothing.

Round 10: No. 317 — Stephen Scott, 21, outfielder (Vanderbilt)

The first 10 rounds definitely illustrated a strategy – the Red Sox were clearly looking for signable college guys. Scott’s a perfect example; he’s not on any list of top prospects, but he performed well enough at Vandy. Decent bat and great intangibles, but will that be enough?

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