Red Sox

Who the Red Sox might select in the 2021 MLB Draft, according to experts

The Red Sox hold the No. 4 overall pick in this year's draft after last year's disappointing finish.

Kumar Rocker Red Sox MLB Draft
Vanderbilt pitcher Kumar Rocker. Mark Humphrey/AP
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The Red Sox come into the 2021 MLB Draft, which begins July 11, in a solid situation as a franchise.

They’re currently playing great baseball at the big-league level, sitting just a half-game behind the surging Tampa Bay Rays for the top spot in the crowded AL East.

They have two future stars mashing the baseball in the minor leagues in Triston Casas and Jarren Duran, along with a host of other solid prospects.

And they’ll get to add the No. 4 pick in the 2021 draft to those ranks thanks to last year’s disappointing campaign.

This year’s amateur draft features a few top-tier arms that have dominated the college landscape like few in recent memory. But some analysts believe the Red Sox should be prepared to go another route in case those pitchers aren’t available when their turn comes up — or even if they are.

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Here’s what MLB expert mock drafts have the Red Sox doing with the fourth overall pick.

They could have their pick of Vanderbilt pitchers.

When the college baseball season began, the Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker hype trains were off and running so hard it seemed like they couldn’t come off the draft boards fast enough.

Now, several mock drafts suggests either Leiter or Rocker could be available when the Red Sox pick at No. 4.

Baseball America’s latest mock draft by Carlos Collazo has Boston selecting Leiter at No. 4 after both fell out of the top three. ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel, on the other hand, has the Sox taking Rocker after Leiter goes off the board to the Texas Rangers with the second pick.

Honestly, it’s hard to go wrong with either Commodores star.

The 6-foot-5, 245-pound Rocker — once seen as the consensus No. 1 pick — has put up a stellar season, going 11-2 in 14 appearances with a 2.56 ERA, 129 strikeouts, 27 walks, and just 50 hits surrendered in 80 innings.

Leiter may have been slightly more dominant, posting an 8-2 record over 13 starts with a 2.12 ERA in 76.1 innings pitched. Like Rocker, he put up video-game-like strikeout-to-walk numbers (127 strikeouts to just 34 walks) and even put up 16 straight innings of no-hit ball at one point.

Either right-hander would immediately come to the Red Sox as the organization’s top pitching prospect and could have a realistic chance of seeing innings — even if just as a fall call-up — next season.

They could take another power-hitting shortstop.

Not everyone is sold on the two pitching prospects, however, because of the injury risk pitchers carry with them these days.

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Rocker suffered from velocity dips this season, and Leiter was scratched from a start earlier this month for workload management. With hard-throwers like these two that throw especially wicked sliders, there’s always the specter of possible Tommy John surgery hanging over the minds of team executives.

That might be why MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo opted to go with a position player instead, mocking high-school infielder Brady House to the Red Sox at No. 4.

The Georgia product has the athleticism to play shortstop but has the size and build — standing 6-foot-3, 210 pounds — to potentially play a corner infielder spot as well.

His main draw is his tantalizing power, which could get him on the field in some form or fashion as long as he doesn’t become too home run-happy.

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