There’s never enough pitching but the Red Sox certainly used the 2022 draft to give themselves a decent shot at finding some.
When the third and final day of this year’s amateur draft concluded Tuesday with the 20th round, the Red Sox wound up with 13 pitchers, using seven of their 10 final-day slots to stock up on arms.
“As we all know, the name of the game for pitchers is generating swing and miss, weak contact, and throwing strikes, and so just dumbing it down, that’s what we’re looking for,” said Paul Toboni, Red Sox director of amateur scouting, shortly after the draft concluded.
When the club’s internal analytics staff’s ability to identify desirable attributes and the scouts’ enthusiasm for players “match up, we’re in a pretty good spot,” said Toboni. “I think where a lot of these players do carry some pretty interesting spin rates and, or even just body movement profiles, which allows them to create unique angles against hitters.
“We obviously only have one opportunity a year to really come on to that talent domestically on the amateur side, and so this was our chance to do so.”
Tuesday’s draft consisted of rounds 11 through 20, and the Red Sox began by picking a pair of college pitchers, righthander Marques Johnson from Long Beach State in the 11th round and lefthander Hayden Mullins from Auburn in the 12th.
Johnson posted impressive numbers over his last two seasons as both a reliever and a starter. Over six starts and eight relief appearances this past season, he posted a 3.25 ERA over 44⅓ innings. He struck out 51, walked 21, and held opposing batters to a team-low .190 batting average.
He throws a fastball in the low to mid-90s, a slider, and a changeup. Baseball America says he “doesn’t have a lot of track record as a starter, but there’s also reason to think that Johnson could continue to develop.”
Mullins, a junior, held opponents to a .197 batting average. He struck out 43 batters over 34⅔ innings, and his 3.29 ERA in seven SEC starts was second best on his team.
The club interrupted its pitcher run with the 13th-round pick of Gavin Kilen, a Wisconsin high school shortstop that Baseball America says scouts have been heard to “rave” about. Baseball America went on to say that with a high baseball IQ, Kilen “possesses the intangibles scouts identify outside of the main components of the game.”
He has, however, made a commitment to play baseball at Louisville.
“We’ve liked him for a long time,” said Toboni. “The game is pretty slow for him. He’s got really good bat-to-ball skills, a really short swing, and, we think power might be on the come.
“I think Gavin’s going to be a little bit of a tougher sign, with a pretty strong commitment to Louisville, but we’ll obviously see how it all shakes out.”
The Red Sox used five of their last six picks to stockpile more pitchers, all with experience in junior college or four-year universities.
In the 15th round, they went with southpaw Quebecois Nathan Landry, who as a junior at the University of Missouri this year, struck out 54, walking only seven and keeping opposing hitters to a .200 batting average over his 41⅔ innings.
They next turned to righthander Garrett Ramsey, a senior reliever at Southern Mississippi who over 31 innings and 21 appearances, struck out 45, walked 11, and finished with a 2.61 ERA.
With their last three picks, they first chose Austin Ehrlicher, a lanky — 6 feet 5 inches, 185 pounds — righthander from Santa Rosa (Calif.) Junior College who in 38 combined innings as a starter and reliever this year struck out 43 and posted a 4.26 ERA.
The club finished by picking righthander Jaret Godman from the University of Oklahoma and lefthander Connor Butler from Biola University in California.
Toboni voiced satisfaction with the net haul of both the final day and the overall draft.
“We had a couple of names that we wanted to take going into today and we were fortunate enough to be able to do that, so overall, I thought today was a great day,” he said. “On the whole, we’re really happy. I think every team across the league is happy on the third day of the draft, but we do feel like we’ve made some strides in bringing in some impact talent to the organization, and so we’re really happy with how these last three days turned out.”
UConn catcher Matt Donlan, who started his college career at Stonehill, signed with the Sox as an undrafted free agent. He was the College Park Regional Most Outstanding Player and started 60 games for the Huskies.