Who experts have Red Sox picking week ahead of draft

Red Sox

Most draft experts have the Red Sox selecting a star from the team that won the College World Series.

Christian Moore starred for Tennessee this season, helping the Volunteers win the College World Series. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

The Red Sox will get to add to their ever-improving farm system soon.

The 2024 MLB Draft is set to begin on Sunday, July 14, with the first round taking place that day. The other rounds of the draft will occur over the following two days.

Boston holds the 12th pick in this year’s draft after selecting 14th last year, when it added Virginia catcher Kyle Teel.

Who will the Red Sox add with their first-round pick this year? Here’s who draft experts have Boston selecting entering draft week:

ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel: Tennessee 2B Christian Moore

Moore, a right-handed hitting middle infielder, emerged as one of the top hitters in the 2024 MLB Draft after a strong junior season to help Tennessee win the College World Series. He slashed .375/.451/.797 with 34 homers and 74 RBIs in 72 games this past season. He also had a pair of triples and five stolen bases.

Some draft evaluators view Moore as the top of second-tier of hitting prospects in this year’s class, with most projecting him to be a fringe top-10 or top 15 pick.

“There’s been a lot of heat for Moore coming off the board with this pick during his rise throughout the end of the regular season into the college postseason,” McDaniel wrote. “Boston seems to be in a similar spot to Detroit, hoping to grab one of the top 10 talents who happen to fall out of the top 10 picks, with a bias toward hitters with some power. Moore and [Wake Forest 1B Nick] Kurtz both fit that focus on hitters with power.

“I think Boston is the floor for [Jackson Prep SS/OF Konnor] Griffin or [Harvard Westlake SS Bryce] Rainer should they fall. Trey Yesavage, Malcolm Moore and Tommy White are in consideration, but more outside looking in. Keep an eye on College of Charleston 1B Cole Mathis at Boston’s second pick.”

Moore came up in the clutch during the College World Series as well. He hit for the cycle in the opener and hit a leadoff homer in Tennessee’s clinching win.

The Athletic’s Keith Law: East Carolina RHP Trey Yesavage

Law is one of the few draft analysts who has the Red Sox selecting a pitcher with the 12th selection, but also recognized there’s a strong chance they draft a hitter.

“Beyond Yesavage, I’ve heard them with several college hitters, including Tennessee’s Christian Moore and LSU’s Tommy White,” Law wrote.

Yesavage has gone anywhere between the eighth pick and the midteens in most mock drafts, so it seems like it’ll be a tossup that he’ll available for the Red Sox at 12. There are only a few pitchers projected to go in top 10, which would likely make it tougher for Boston to nab Yesavage.

But if the Red Sox end up drafting Yesavage, they’ll get a righty that’s been among the best in college over the last two seasons. He went 11-1 with a 2.03 ERA, 145 strikeouts, 0.868 WHIP, and four home runs allowed in 93 1/3 innings pitched over 15 starts last season.

Yesavage, who has an ideal starting pitcher’s frame at 6-foot-4, has a four-pitch repertoire that includes a fastball, curveball, slider, and splitter. His fastball typically travels between 93-95 mph while his mid-80s slider that has “more depth than lateral movement” is his top pitch, according to MLB.com’s scouting report of Yesavage.

With this being Craig Breslow’s first draft in charge of the Red Sox, it’ll be interesting to see what his approach is. Chaim Bloom didn’t prioritize pitching toward the top of the draft, only selecting a pitcher in the first three rounds once over the four drafts he ran.

The Red Sox could certainly use some pitching help in their pipeline. While their prospect rankings have been on the rise, they’ve notably been without a top-end blue-chip pitching prospect in recent years outside of Brayan Bello.

MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo: Tennessee 2B Christian Moore

MLB.com’s Jim Callis: Tennessee 2B Christian Moore

Both of MLB.com’s draft analysts also have the Red Sox selecting Moore, with each thinking he’s got a strong chance to be the pick at 12 unless one of the top pitchers or shortstops fall.

“The Red Sox would love it for one of the [11] players selected above to reach them, and let’s face it, that usually happens,” Mayo wrote in his mock draft of the Red Sox’ selection of Mayo. “But in this scenario, Moore appears to be the best of the next group that is very college-hitter heavy. Boston might also look at Florida State’s Cam Smith from that demographic or Yesavage from the college arm bucket.”

“Barring a surprise fall — perhaps Griffin or Rainer? — the Red Sox figure to dip into the second tier of college bats that begins with [Florida State outfielder James] Tibbs and Moore, though Yesavage is also enticing,” Callis added in his mock draft. “This is the ceiling for other members of that group, including Florida State third baseman Cam Smith, Wake Forest third baseman/outfielder Seaver King, Oklahoma State outfielder Carson Benge, Louisiana State third baseman Tommy White, North Carolina outfielder Vance Honeycutt and Kentucky outfielder Ryan Waldschmidt.”

While Moore doubled his home run total from 2024 to 2023, MLB.com’s scouting report seems to think that his strong junior season could be a sign of what’s to come for him.

“Solidly built at 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, Moore looks to do damage with an aggressive approach. His mindset, bat speed and strength give him power that plays to all fields and 25-30 homer potential, and he works deep counts in search of pitches to drive and draws a healthy amount of walks,” MLB.com’s scouting report of Moore read. “His right-handed swing can get overly long and he still chases too many pitches out of the zone, but he’s making more consistent contact in 2024.”

Additionally, MLB.com’s scouting report wrote that Moore “can show solid speed once he gets going and looks to steal and take extra bases.” So, it sounds like he would be a good fit for the 2024 Red Sox, even though there’s just about zero chance he plays in the majors this season.

CBS Sports’ Mike Axisa: Jackson Prep (Mississippi) SS/OF Konnor Griffin

As most draft analysts view Moore as a possible layup selection for the Red Sox if he falls to 12, Axisa has Boston going for the younger Griffin.

“Over the last few weeks, the Red Sox have been linked to college bats more than any draft demographic, but the college hitters still on the board in our mock simply do not offer the same upside as Griffin,” Axisa wrote. “Pound-for-pound, he might be the most electrifying and most tooled up player in the draft class. Boston jumped on Kyle Teel when he unexpectedly fell to their pick last draft and the bet here is they would jump on Griffin (or Rainer) if he’s available this year.”

Griffin is arguably the best high school player in this year’s class. He hit .559 with nine home runs and 39 RBIs as a senior. He also had 85 stolen bases in 43 games, helping him win Gatorade Player of the Year.

In MLB.com’s scouting report of Griffin, it claims the 18-year-old right-handed hitter has “five-tool potential” and “30-30 upside.” The Red Sox don’t necessarily have a need for a shortstop or outfielder in their pipeline with Marcelo Mayer, Roman Anthony, and Miguel Bleis emerging, but Griffin’s talent might be too good to pass up on.

Bleacher Report’s Joel Reuter: Tennessee 2B Christian Moore

Reuter also has the Red Sox going with Moore at No. 12.

“[Moore’s] strong frame and 55-hit, 60-power offensive profile give him a real shot at being a 30-homer threat at the next level,” Reuter wrote. “Florida State teammates James Tibbs and Cam Smith are also names that frequently come up in this range, while this could be the floor for East Carolina right-hander Trey Yesavage if he slides a bit.”

While Moore was primarily a second baseman in college, he has played other positions over his college career. He spent some time at shortstop and center for Tennessee. When he was with the Hyannis Harbor Hawks of the Cape Cod Summer League in 2022, Moore actually spent most of his time in the outfield, playing left and right field.

In its scouting report of Moore, MLB.com wrote that there are a few positions in play for him at the big league level.

“He played briefly at shortstop this year but his average arm strength means he’s probably more of a second baseman, and it’s possible that he could wind up in center field,” MLB.com’s scouting report of Moore read.

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