Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Beer in the Red Sox Clubhouse?

No, this is not a post about the Red Sox collapse in 2011. This is a post about the MLB draft that takes place on June 4th. The Red Sox have the 26th pick in the draft and Keith Law has them taking Brice Turang who is a shortstop out of a high school in California.

Turang appears to have some value in that he is ranked as the 24th best player in the draft. Law's scouting report reads like this:

Turang is a tricky one. He's a plus defender, perhaps a 70, at shortstop, a position of general scarcity that is especially so in this draft class, and he has power. But he hasn't hit that well and doesn't have enough bat speed to point to a future average hit tool or even fringe-average, so although he has the right swing angle to drive the ball, it isn't clear that he'll get to that power enough. If I told you your mid- to late-first-round draft pick would be Adam Everett (12.6 WAR career, taken 12th overall in 1998), would you be happy with that? You should be, based on what a pick after the top 20 typically returns, but it's likely that teams taking Turang will expect more. He's committed to LSU.
Then there is a guy named Seth Beer. Beer is a college outfielder for the Clemson Tigers. If you don't follow college baseball or even college athletics, the Clemson Tigers are the rivals of the University of South Carolina. As many of you know I am an alum of the University of South Carolina which is also where Jackie Bradley Jr. played his college ball. It might also be why I tend to be a little more forgiving of JBJ when it comes to his offensive woes.

I have seen Beer up close unfortunately and he can flat out hit. He has terrorized the Gamecock pitching staff the last three years as well as many other college staffs. He is an advanced hitter with patience and power to all fields. He could really do some damage in Fenway. The catch? Well, that's just it. The catch is he isn't really known for catching the ball. Beer makes Manny Ramirez look like JBJ in the field.

Seth Beer is listed as the 30th best player on Keith Law's draft board but Keith does not have him going in the first round. Teams appear to be shying away from taking a guy in the first round who is destined to be a DH. Is that a wise strategy though? The DH isn't going away and in fact I am willing to bet the National League will adopt the DH within the next 10 years. Is Beer worth the 26th overall pick to the Red Sox? Here is Keith Law's scouting report on him:

 Beer had a historic freshman year for the Tigers, hitting .369/.535/.700, drawing 62 walks and becoming the first freshman to win the Dick Howser trophy. He hasn't been able to repeat that line, drawing walks at a similar rate but hitting for less contact and average the past two seasons, and because he is, at best, a below-average defender in left -- and some scouts will tell you he isn't even that -- any question about his hit tool is a serious dent in his armor. He isn't a good athlete, and he probably won't have any defensive value at any position, but this on-base/power combination is still valuable, and an American League club drafting late in the first round or shortly after should take advantage of what sounds like the undervaluing of a dang good offensive player.

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