Shortly after the draft I wrote about the overall strategy of the Sox, but now I want to focus on specific picks and specific players that I like, dislike and feel indifferent about.
Picks I liked:
2 (80): Erik Johnson, RHP, 6-3, 240, Cal
A lot of people didn’t seem to like the Johnson pick, but I’m not one of them. His upside may not be sky high, but he’s got decent velocity, a put-away breaking ball and a chance at an average or better change. He could move quickly and become a mid to back of rotation starter. I’ll take that in the 2nd round.
7 (231): Kevan Smith, C, R/R, 6-3, 240, Pitt
I like catchers with power and that’s what Smith is. He’s relatively new to baseball so has more upside than your usual 7th round college senior. He’ll probably never be a plus defender behind the plate, but he has a chance to stick at the position. I think he has a real chance to surprise.
8 (261): Ian Gardeck, RHP, 6-2, 215, Angelina JC (TX)
Gardeck has significant upside for an 8th rounder. His current control is well below average and he’ll need to do a lot of work in this area (repeating his delivery, etc.), but his fastball/slider are both potentially knockout pitches (both 70 potential according to Baseball America). A very interesting arm.
14 (441): Mark Ginther, 3B, R/R, 6-3, 200, Oklahoma St.
Ginther is a very good athlete, a solid defender at the hot corner and he hits for above average power. His approach at the plate needs work. He doesn’t walk enough and strikes out a too often, but he has upside. I liked this pick a lot.
15 (471): David Herbek, SS, R/R, 6-1, 180, James Madison
Herbek looks like a real sleeper to me. He’s a decent athlete. He has a legitimate chance to stick in the middle infield. He makes good contact, takes walks and hits for solid power. I love that in the 15th round.
Picks I didn’t like:
4 (141): Kyle McMillen, RHP, 6-2, 200, Kent State
There’s just not enough upside here for my liking. I don’t hate the idea of drafting a reliever in the 4th round, but at least let it be a reliever with closer upside. Maybe I’m missing something with McMillen, but he looks like a potential middle reliever, and that doesn’t warrant a 4th round selection.
6 (201): Marcus Semien, SS, R/R, 6-1, 190, Cal
Scouts question the ability to hit and stick short. Offensive numbers don’t inspire any confidence. Doesn’t appear to be any upside here.
Picks I’m indifferent about:
1s (47): Keenyn Walker, OF, S/R, 6-3, 193, Central Arizona JC
He’s got the speed and the defensive potential that could see him develop into a quality player. I need to see him make consistent contact first though, as currently he looks like another high upside athlete who’s lacking in baseball skills.
3 (110): Jeff Soptic, RHP, 6-6, 210, Johnson County CC (KS)
I love the velocity, but that’s about it. Sounds like Aaron Poreda from the right side. Some may see that as a good thing because Poreda was always seen as having good potential, but I think there’s far too much development needed just in order for him to become a reliever.
5 (171): Scott Snodgress, LHP, 6-5, 210, Stanford
I want to like the Snodgress pick. He’s big, has some upside, some solid secondary pitches and a good strikeout rate in college, but he doesn’t throw particularly hard and his control is awful, and his future probably lies in the bullpen as a result.
I really like some of the players selected in the 7th-15th round range and I think there’s some legitimate upside there. Walker aside, the early round picks seem to lack upside, and far too many of them project as future relievers for my liking. Given that we knew the Sox were going to go cheap and “safe”, it’s not a terrible haul, but it’s not exactly what the Sox needed in order to restock the system.