Pitching may be priority for Sox in Draft

Pitching may be priority for Sox in Draft

BOSTON -- The 2016 Draft will take place today through Saturday, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB Network and MLB.com today at 6 p.m. ET. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 begins at 7 p.m., with the top 77 picks being streamed on MLB.com and broadcast on MLB Network. MLB.com's exclusive coverage of Day 2 begins with a live Draft show at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, with exclusive coverage of Day 3 beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

MLB.com's coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 200 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of over 1,500 Draft-eligible players. Every selection will be tweeted live from @MLBDraftTracker, and you can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.

Here's how the Draft is shaping up for the Red Sox, whose first selection is the 12th overall pick.

In about 50 words
Considering the success the Sox are having this season and the strong foundation they should have on the roster in the coming years, this could be the last time they pick this high in the Draft for a while. Director of amateur scouting Mike Rikard and his staff have done exhaustive work to be prepared for all possible options at No. 12.

The scoop
Boston's farm system is loaded with promising position players, but the same isn't true when it comes to pitching. Though Rikard said the club will go with the "best player available" philosophy, there's no question the Red Sox need some high-caliber arms in the system.

First-round buzz
MLB.com Draft guru Jim Callis thinks the Red Sox could wind up with high school right-hander Ian Anderson out of Clifton Park, N.Y., with their first pick. The 6-foot-4 righty was a big part of a Team USA 18-and-under squad that won the World Cup in Japan in 2015. Jonathan Mayo, another Draft expert for MLB.com, projects Boston taking catcher Zack Collins out of the University of Miami. Collins is known for his advanced hitting approach.

Top 2016 MLB Draft Prospects

Money matters
Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each team has an allotted bonus pool equal to the sum of the values of that club's selections in the first 10 rounds of the Draft. The more picks a team has, and the earlier it picks, the larger the pool. The signing bonuses for a team's selections in the first 10 rounds, plus any bonus greater than $100,000 for a player taken after the 10th round, will apply toward the bonus-pool total.

Any team going up to five percent over its allotted pool will be taxed at a 75 percent rate on the overage. A team that overspends by 5-10 percent gets a 75 percent tax plus the loss of a first-round pick. A team that goes 10-15 percent over its pool amount will be hit with a 100 percent penalty on the overage and the loss of a first- and second-round pick. Any overage of 15 percent or more gets a 100 percent tax plus the loss of first-round picks in the next two Drafts.

The Red Sox have been assigned a pool of $6,997,400, which ranks 22nd in the Majors. The value assigned to Boston's first-round pick is $3,192,800.

Shopping list
Considering the Red Sox lack quality starting pitching depth in the upper Minors, they could be tempted to try to find a college pitcher who could make it through the farm system in short order.

Hitters who combine patience and power are always of interest to Boston.

Trend watch
The Red Sox have taken a position player with their first pick in three of the past four years. The guess here is that they'll do everything they can to take a pitcher first this year.

Recent Draft history

Top Prospects: Benintendi, BOS

Rising fast
Andrew Benintendi has swiftly turned into one of the most polished hitters in the farm system, and he was recently promoted to Double-A Portland. The diminutive outfielder is ranked third among Boston's outfielders by MLB Pipeline. Perhaps Benintendi will pull a Kyle Scwharber and make it to the Major Leagues the year after he was drafted.

Red Sox's Top 30 Prospects

Cinderella story
Travis Shaw still remembers the sting of being taken in the ninth round in 2011 when he thought he would go sooner. But the third baseman thinks the added motivation he gained from that day -- and perhaps being overlooked during his time in the Minor Leagues -- has helped lead to his current success. Shaw beat out Pablo Sandoval to become the Red Sox's starting third baseman this season.

In The Show
The Red Sox have an array of young homegrown talent making contributions at the Major League level. The list includes Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Xander Bogaerts, Christian Vazquez, Blake Swihart and Matt Barnes. Bogaerts and Vazquez were signed as international free agents, but the other four players were products of the Draft. And don't forget about veterans Dustin Pedroia and Clay Buchholz, who were also drafted and developed by Boston.

The Red Sox's recent top picks
2015: Benintendi, OF, Double-A Portland
2014: Michael Chavis, 3B-DH, Class A Advanced Salem
2013: Trey Ball, LHP, Class A Advanced Salem
2012: Deven Marrero, SS, Triple-A Pawtucket
2011: Barnes, RHP, Red Sox

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.