By: Burke Granger
A year ago, the Red Sox landed Golden Spikes Award winner Andrew Benintendi with the 7th overall pick. In his first full season, Benintendi hit .312/.378/.532 between Hi A and AA in route to a call up to Boston where he was a key contributor on the Red Sox postseason run. While Benintendi met, and often exceeded expectations across the board, he may not even be the best prospect in Red Sox system. Signed from Cuba in 2015, infielder Yoan Moncada earned Baseball America’s Minor League Player of the Year. Benintendi and Moncada headline a system that Boston bolstered with a strong 2016 draft.
First Five Selections
Round 1, Pick 12: Jason Groome – LHP – Barnegat HS (N.J.) Regarded as the top talent in the draft by MLB Pipeline, Groome slid to the 12th pick due to signability and makeup concerns. The Red Sox signed Groome at the July 15th deadline for an above slot bonus of $3,650,000, a franchise record for draftees. At 6’6″ and 220 pounds, Groome stands out for more than just his physical stature. Groome possesses a mid-90’s fastball and power curveball along with changeup that was seldom needed as an amateur. Groome didn’t pitch much as a professional after the late signing, but should open up 2017 in full season ball.
Round 2, Pick 51: C.J. Chatham – SS – Florida Atlantic. While 2015 was a banner year for college shortstops with five of them selected in the first round, 2016 was less than spectacular, as Chatham was the first such player to come off the board at pick 51. Chatham was the Conference USA Player of the Year after hitting .357/.422/.554 with 8 home runs. Signed for $1.1MM, Chatham hit .242/.299/.417 in his 35 game professional debut. Reports are split on whether the 6’4″ 185 pound Chatham will be able to stick at shortstop, but his arm strength garners consistent acclaim as being a plus tool.
Round 3, Pick 88: Shaun Anderson – RHP – Florida. Anderson has the stuff that would have put him in the weekend rotation of 95% college programs in the country. Florida’s rotation was made up of A.J. Puk with whom the Athletics’s selected 6th overall, second rounder Logan Shore (also Oakland), and Alex Faedo, a potential top 5 overall selection in 2017. Even Dane Dunning, the Nationals first rounder (29th overall) couldn’t crack the rotation. Therefore, Anderson was relegated to bullpen duty and served as the Gator closer where he saved 13 games and led the staff with a 0.97 ERA. Anderson commanded a 93-95 mph fastball when I saw him last spring, a biting cutter, and hard late breaking slider. His changeup flashed as a solid, if inconsistent offering. Anderson’s pro debut did not go well. In 2 appearances in the New York Penn League, he allowed 9 runs and 12 hits in just 2.2 innings of work.
Round 4, Pick 118: Bobby Dalbec – 3B – Arizona. An enigmatic talent, Dalbec led the Cape Cod League in home runs (12) and in strikeouts (56) despite playing just 33 games. After an inconsistent spring in which he hit .260/.370/.429 with 7 home runs and 85 strikeouts in 231 at-bats, Dalbec stared more on the mound for the eventual National Champion Wildcats. As a pitcher, Dalbec went 11-5 with a 2.65 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 95 innings. After signing for $650,000, Dalbec took pro ball by storm slugging .674 in 34 games with 7 home runs with a much improved strikeout rate. Athletic for his size (6’4″ 225), Dalbec has good lateral movement and decent hands to suggest that he could stick at third base. Working at 92-94 off the mound, he certainly has enough arm for the position.
Round 5, Pick 148: Mike Shawaryn – RHP – Maryland. After a sophomore season where he dominated (13-2, 1.71 ERA, 10.71 K/9), Shawaryn entered 2016 as a potential first round pick. Early in 2016, Shawaryn’s fastball velocity dipped from the mid-90s to the high 80s and he was moved from the Friday role, where he pitched since his freshman season, to the Sunday slot. Shawaryn rebounded and pitched well in the conference tournament, striking out 16 in a complete game win against Indiana. For me, this is tremendous value for 5th round.
Top Unsigned Pick: Nick Quintana – SS – Arbor View H.S. (Nev.). The Red Sox were able to sign each of their picks in the first ten rounds, but eleventh rounder Quintana followed through on his commitment to Arizona.