Red Sox

A pick-by-pick look at the Red Sox’ selections on Day 2 of MLB draft

Jake Thompson went 14-0 over 17 starts this season. Andy Cripe/The Corvallis Gazette

On the second day of the 2017 MLB draft, the Red Sox on Tuesday took a broad array of players, including a power high school pitcher who some thought might go in the first two rounds, one of the top performers among Division I college pitchers, a slugging college senior who majored in neuroscience, and the son of a front-office member.

One day after the Red Sox took college righthander Tanner Houck and high school outfielder Cole Brannen, the headliner of the next group selected by the Red Sox was prototypical Texas power pitcher Alex Scherff. The Sox chose him in the fifth round.


The 19-year-old combines a mid-90s fastball with a changeup that looks like a swing-and-miss offering, a combination that gives him a chance to emerge as a big league starter if he can remain healthy and develop a breaking ball.

The Red Sox expect to sign all of the players they took in the top 10 rounds, including Scherff.

That Scherff will sign is a particularly noteworthy development. He was viewed as a first- or second-round talent who fell to the fifth round in no small part due to signability concerns given that he had a potentially significant amount of leverage as a draft-eligible sophomore had he fulfilled his scholarship commitment to Texas A&M. Although he’ll sign, pending a physical and other standard protocols for draftees, for considerably more than the recommended slot figure of $296,500, the Red Sox’ ability to fit him within their overall draft bonus pool budget represents something of a coup.


Scherff has the highest ceiling of anyone the Red Sox selected on Day 2, though the broad array of profiles makes this crop an interesting one to dissect both individually and on the whole.

So here we examine each of the eight picks:

Brett Netzer, 2B, UNC-Charlotte

Round: 3. Age: 21. Height/weight: 6-0/192.

Briefly: Netzer, who bats lefthanded, hit .342/.425/.509 with 5 homers, 44 RBIs, 25 extra-base hits, and 5 steals as a junior for the 49ers while showing good strike-zone command. (He walked 29 times and struck out 27 times in 58 games.) He is a bat-first prospect with gap power who hit .283/.360/.424 in the Cape League last summer, a performance that elevated his prospect status considerably, as noted in this Charlotte Observer profile.


Jake Thompson, RHP, Oregon State

Round: 4. Age: 22. Height/weight: 6-2/201.

Briefly: It would be hard to imagine a more impressive line from a pitcher at a Division I school in a powerhouse conference than the one posted by Thompson in 2017. He went 14-0 with a 1.52 ERA while striking out 8.6 per nine innings and walking 2.7 per nine. That performance by the 6-2 righthander represented a breakout after two years of modest performances, first as a swingman as a freshman and then in his first year in the OSU rotation in 2016.

Baseball America describes him as a pitcher whose fastball sits at 93-94 miles per hour as a starter while topping out at 98. Although he struggled with his control earlier in his career, a simplified delivery helped him stay in the strike zone with both that pitch and a slider that elicited swings and misses. As a slightly older player, Baseball America described Thompson as a pitcher who might be willing to cut a below-slot deal in order to sign in the early rounds. Steve Mims of the Register-Guard offers an interesting profile of Thompson’s later-career emergence at OSU.


Alex Scherff, RHP, Colleyville (Texas) Heritage High School

Round: 5. Age: 19. Height/weight: 6-2/205.

Briefly: Scherff was viewed as one of the preeminent power arms in the draft, a pitcher who could dial his fastball into the mid-90s and complement it with an unusually solid changeup as well as an inconsistent breaking ball. He was a star of last summer’s high school showcase circuit, as noted in Baseball America, and was recognized as Gatorade’s Texas Baseball Player of the Year after going 8-0 with a 0.44 ERA and 89 strikeouts in 48 innings through the end of May. At one point in the season, he threw a perfect game and a no-hitter in back-to-back starts.


Scherff is older than the typical high school arm — a fact that works against the notion of further future projection and that gives him added negotiating leverage as a draft-eligible sophomore with a commitment to Texas A&M. His control is also still developing. Nonetheless, if the Red Sox can see Scherff make the right sort of strides, he could represent considerable value.

Zach Schellenger, RHP, Seton Hall

Round: 6. Age: 21. Height/weight: 6-5/210.

Briefly: Schellenger represents the first player taken by the Red Sox this year who spent his entire college career as a reliever. Biceps tendinitis limited Schellenger to just 13 innings as a junior, with a 2.08 ERA and 23 strikeouts, and according to Baseball America, his velocity dialed back from the mid-90s to the low-90s.


Still, he continued to show a propensity for posting huge strikeout totals, something he likewise accomplished the previous summer while pitching for Harwich in the Cape League, for whom he punched out 14.2 per nine innings. Here’s a look at Schellenger.

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Tyler Esplin, OF, IMG Academy

Round: 7. Height/weight: 6-3/230.

Briefly: Esplin, a lefthanded hitter, is listed at 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds. Unlike most high schoolers, he has the sort of frame that doesn’t require a great deal of imagination regarding projectability — he already shows plenty of size and strength.

Though announced by the Red Sox as an outfielder, Esplin also pitched at the IMG Academy, with a fastball that reached the low-90s. Baseball America had him as its 96th-rated prospect in Florida this year. Esplin has a commitment to play at UNC-Charlotte.


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Zach Sterry, 1B, Oakland University

Round: 8. Age: 23. Height/weight: 5-11/226.

Briefly: Sterry represents the Red Sox’ first college senior selection — a pool that teams often prioritize with select picks in the first 10 rounds in order to save money that they can use elsewhere in the draft. Yet as the Red Sox have demonstrated with righthander Ben Taylor, a senior taken in the seventh round of the 2015 draft who’s already reached the big leagues, there are still prospects to be found in that demographic.

Sterry played in 177 games, starting 170, in his four years with the Golden Grizzlies. He finished his career with a slash line of .306/.386/.495 to go along with 24 home runs, 117 RBIs, and 73 extra-base hits. Despite missing 11 games with a broken hand as a senior, Sterry still mashed 13 homers in 48 games while batting .346/.441/.643. He also stole seven bases on eight attempts.


Tanner Nishioka, 2B, Pomona-Pitzer College

Round: 9. Age: 22. Height/weight: 5-11/185.

Briefly: Nishioka, the second college senior taken by the Sox, hit .441/.542/.888 with 18 homers in his final college campaign, leading all of Division III in both homers and slugging percentage and earning All-American honors. In addition to playing baseball, Nishioka, who studied neuroscience and earned a 3.62 GPA, also punted for Pomona’s football team as a freshman, as noted in this Matt Feldman article.

Jordan Wren, OF, Georgia Southern

Round: 10. Age: 22. Height/weight: 6-1/196.

Briefly: Wren, who bats and throws lefthanded, hit .268/.383/.459 with six homers this year. Wren is the son of Red Sox senior vice president of baseball operations Frank Wren. The Sox also took him in the 36th round of the 2016 draft.


Other tidbits from the draft

■ In the third round, righthander Matt Tabor of the Milton Academy became the first New Englander taken in this year’s draft when the Diamondbacks took him with the 82nd overall pick. Karl Capen recently profiled Tabor for the Globe.

■ The Sox will select 26th in each remaining round, just after the LA Dodgers at 25th and before the Cleveland Indians at 27th. Day 3 on Wednesday will feature rounds 11-40.

■ On the first day of the draft, the Sox selected Missouri righty Tanner Houck 24th overall and high school outfielder Cole Brannen at 63rd overall.


Here is a full list of the Day 1 picks.

Here are the third-round picks:

76. Minnesota Twins, Blayne Enlow, RHP, St Amant HS

77. Cincinnati Reds, Jacob Heatherly, LHP, Cullman HS

78. San Diego Padres, Mason House, CF, Whitehouse HS

79. Tampa Bay Rays, Taylor Walls, SS, Florida State

80. Atlanta Braves, Freddy Tarnok, RHP, Riverview HS

81. Oakland Athletics, Nick Allen, SS, Francis Parker HS

82. Arizona Diamondbacks, Matt Tabor, RHP, Milton Academy

83. Philadelphia Phillies, Connor Seabold, RHP, Cal State Fullerton

84. Milwaukee Brewers, KJ Harrison, C, Oregon State

85. Los Angeles Angels, Jacob Pearson, CF, West Monroe HS

86. Colorado Rockies, Will Gaddis, RHP, Furman University

87. Chicago White Sox, Luis Gonzalez, CF, New Mexico


88. Pittsburgh Pirates, Dylan Busby, 3B, Florida State

89. Miami Marlins, Riley Mahan, 2B, Kentucky

90. Kansas City Royals, Daniel Tillo, LHP, Iowa Western CC

91. Houston Astros, Tyler Ivey, RHP, Grayson County College

92. New York Yankees, Trevor Stephan, RHP, Arkansas

93. Seattle Mariners, Wyatt Mills, RHP, Gonzaga

94. St. Louis Cardinals, Scott Hurst, CF, Cal State Fullerton

95. Detroit Tigers, Joey Morgan, C, Washington

96. San Francisco Giants, Seth Corry, LHP, Lone Peak HS

97. New York Mets, Quinn Brodey, RF, Stanford

98. Baltimore Orioles, Mike Baumann, RHP, Jacksonville University

99. Toronto Blue Jays, Riley Adams, C, University of San Diego

100. Los Angeles Dodgers, Connor Wong, C, Houston

101. Boston Red Sox, Brett Netzer, 2B, UNC Charlotte


102. Cleveland Indians, Johnathan Rodriguez, OF, Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy

103. Washington Nationals, Nick Raquet, LHP, College of William & Mary

104. Texas Rangers, Matthew Whatley, C, Oral Roberts

105. Chicago Cubs, Keegan Thompson, RHP, Auburn

And the draft order for rounds 4-40:

Minnesota Twins

Cincinnati Reds

San Diego Padres

Tampa Bay Rays

Atlanta Braves

Oakland Athletics

Arizona Diamondbacks

Philadelphia Phillies

Milwaukee Brewers

Los Angeles Angels

Colorado Rockies

Chicago White Sox

Pittsburgh Pirates

Miami Marlins

Kansas City Royals

Houston Astros

New York Yankees

Seattle Mariners

St. Louis Cardinals

Detroit Tigers

San Francisco Giants

New York Mets

Baltimore Orioles

Toronto Blue Jays

Los Angeles Dodgers

Boston Red Sox


Cleveland Indians

Washington Nationals

Texas Rangers

Chicago Cubs

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