Top Red Sox Draft pick from every season

July 14th, 2021

The Red Sox have had an interesting history of first selections in the Draft, beginning in 1965, when they took Billy Conigliaro, who had a more famous older brother you might have heard of.

Other top selections include Hall of Famer Jim Rice, seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens, Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester, Nomar Garciaparra, Trot Nixon and Bruce Hurst.

There were also plenty of misses. Anyone remember Tom Fischer or Dan Gabriele? Here is a look at the top selection the Red Sox have made in every Draft.

2021: Marcelo Mayer, SS, Eastlake (Calif.) HS (No. 4)

Mayer set himself apart with an impressive performance on the summer showcase circuit, where he clearly established himself as one of the top all-around talents available in the 2021 Draft. Mayer has a lean build, checking in at 6-foot-3 and 188 pounds. He has a smooth stroke at the plate, possessing an advanced approach that includes solid plate discipline and elite bat-to-ball skills. He also has plenty of raw power that should continue to develop in the coming years.

2020: Nick Yorke, 2B, Archbishop Mitty (Calif.) HS (No. 17)

The Red Sox selected Yorke well ahead of every prognosticator because they loved his bat. Yorke impressed everyone in the organization with the way he handled himself at big league camp as an 18-year-old. Yorke is playing for Low-A Salem in his first pro season.

2019: Cameron Cannon, SS, Arizona (No. 43)

After not having a first-round selection in ’19, the Sox snagged the switch-hitting shortstop in the second round. He is ranked No. 26 by MLB Pipeline among Boston prospects. His current developmental need is to have a more advanced approach at the plate and to refine his defense.

2018: Triston Casas, 1B/3B, American Heritage (Fla.) HS (No. 26)

There is nothing but excitement when it comes to this left-handed hitter and what he might bring when he arrives at Fenway Park. The No. 1 Red Sox prospect, Casas molds himself after Joey Votto, and that is the type of swing that could really play in Boston. Casas could be ready by next season.

2017: Tanner Houck, RHP, Missouri (No. 24)

Houck created a buzz at the end of last season when he got his first callup to the Majors and went 3-0 with a 0.53 ERA in three starts. The righty was recently shut down with a flexor injury, but he's now back in action. He is Boston’s top depth option in case of an injury to the Major League staff.

2016: Jay Groome, LHP, Barnegat (N.J.) HS (No. 12)

Considering all his upside, it was no surprise the Red Sox snagged this powerful lefty when he was still available at No. 12. However, Groome hasn’t developed as the club hoped, in large part due to injuries.

2015: Andrew Benintendi, OF, Arkansas (No. 7)

The Red Sox certainly got what they wanted out of Benintendi early on, as he was second in the AL Rookie of the Year vote in ’17 and was a core member of the World Series championship squad in ’18. Benintendi was dealt to the Royals for Franchy Cordero and four Minor Leaguers prior to the ’21 season.

2014: Michael Chavis, INF, Sprayberry (Ga.) HS (No. 26)

When the Sox drafted Chavis, then-general manager Ben Cherington mentioned how he had parking-lot power. So far, that hasn’t led to enough sustained success at the Major League level. Chavis has spent most of his time at Triple-A so far this season.

2013: Trey Ball, LHP, New Castle Chrysler (Ind.) HS (No. 7)

Not much to say about this pick, other than it didn’t come close to working out. Ball hasn’t pitched in pro baseball since 2018.

2012: Deven Marrero, INF, Arizona State (No. 24)

The Red Sox had such great luck with the Arizona State pipeline with Pedroia that they figured they would give it a shot again. However, it didn’t work out nearly as well with Marrero, who was traded less than six years after he was drafted after making little impact in Boston’s organization.

2011: Matt Barnes, RHP, UConn (No. 19)

Drafted as a starter, Barnes became a force for the Red Sox -- first as a setup man and then as a closer. Ten years after getting drafted, Barnes is having a breakout season.

2010: Kolbrin Vitek, 3B, Ball State (No. 20)

You win some and you lose some, and this one was a loss. The right-handed hitter simply couldn’t make an impact, and he hasn’t played pro ball since ’13.

2009: Rey Fuentes, CF, Fernando Callejo (Puerto Rico) HS (No. 28)

The biggest contribution Fuentes made with the Red Sox was being part of the trade to the Padres for Adrián González. Fuentes played 100 games in the Majors, but none after 2017.

2008: Casey Kelly, RHP, Sarasota (Fla.) HS (No. 30)

A two-way star in high school, Kelly eventually decided to be a pitcher. Kelly was also part of the trade to San Diego for A-Gon. He pitched 26 games in the Majors over four seasons.

2007: Nick Hagadone, LHP, Washington (No. 55)

The Red Sox made good use of Hagadone when they used him as a chip to acquire Victor Martinez from the Indians. While V-Mart was excellent in his season and a half with Boston, Hagadone made 143 relief appearances for the Indians over five seasons.

2006: Jason Place, OF, Wren (S.C.) HS (No. 27)

The right-handed hitter never found a place in the Majors. He hit .230 over 459 games in the Minors.

2005: Jacoby Ellsbury, OF, Oregon State (No. 23)

Yankees fans frustrated by Ellsbury’s lack of production and durability in New York won’t want to hear this, but this was a terrific Draft pick for Boston. Ellsbury played a key role for two World Series championship teams with the Red Sox. In 2009, Ellsbury set a club record that still stands by stealing 70 bases.

2004: Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Arizona State (No. 65)

This turned into one of the top picks in team history. While many teams passed up Pedroia due to his lack of size, the Red Sox loved his hit tool and his heart. He wound up exceeding expectations by a wide margin and became the heart of his team for more than a decade.

2003: David Murphy, OF, Baylor (No. 17)

The first Draft pick of Theo Epstein’s regime in Boston went on to have a nice playing career, but he only played 23 games for the Red Sox. He was part of a package Boston sent to Texas for reliever Eric Gagne.

2002: Jon Lester, LHP, Bellarmine Prep (Wash.) HS (No. 57)

One of the best starting pitchers the Red Sox ever drafted, Lester was a horse for Boston, winning 110 of his 241 starts. He was also a key part of two World Series championship teams.

2001: Kelly Shoppach, C, Baylor (No. 48)

Shoppach carved out a decent career for himself, but most of it was for teams other than Boston. The Red Sox included him in the trade to the Indians for Coco Crisp.

2000: Phil Dumatrait, LHP, Bakersfield College (No. 22)

The Red Sox definitely miscalculated on this pick, but at least they were able to trade Dumatrait for Scott Williamson at the 2003 Trade Deadline. Williamson was a big factor for the Sox in the ’03 playoffs and pitched for the ’04 champs.

1999: Rick Asadoorian, OF/RHP, Northbridge (Mass.) HS (No. 17)

The Sox went the local route to take a high schooler with their first pick. Athletic enough to pitch and be a position player in the Minors, Asadoorian had a long Minors career, but he never made it to The Show.

1998: Adam Everett, SS, South Carolina (No. 12)

Everett had a solid 880-game career, but he never played for the Red Sox. This is because he was traded to Houston for Carl Everett prior to the 2000 season.

1997: John Curtice, LHP, Great Bridge (Va.) HS (No. 17)

Curtice pitched 62 games in the Minors, but he never got above High-A.

1996: Josh Garrett, RHP, South Spencer (Ind.) HS (No. 26)

Another first-rounder who just didn’t pan out. Garrett never got past Double-A.

1995: Andy Yount, OF, Kingswood (Texas) HS (No. 15)

Yount was a hitter and pitcher in the Minors, but he wasn't adept enough at either to make it to the Majors.

1994: Nomar Garciaparra, SS, Georgia Tech (No. 12)

A stud from nearly the instant he arrived, Garciaparra was an icon for the Red Sox in the early years of his career. He was the AL Rookie of the Year in 1997 and won two batting titles. Garciaparra finished second in the AL MVP race in ’98.

1993: Trot Nixon, OF, New Hanover (N.C.) HS (No. 7)

The intense outfielder had the perfect demeanor to play in Boston, and he thrived with the team. A fan favorite, Nixon had an .845 OPS while playing a decade for the Sox. He was part of the fabled 2004 title team.

1992: Tony Sheffield, OF, Tullahoma (Tenn.) HS (No. 56)

The left-handed hitter never figured out how to hit at the pro level, and High-A was as far as he got.

1991: Aaron Sele, RHP, Washington State (No. 23)

A lanky righty with a nasty curveball, Sele notched 148 wins, including 38 for Boston. The Sox wound up trading Sele to the Rangers for outfielder Damon Buford and catcher Jim Leyritz.

1990: Frankie Rodriguez, RHP, Eastern District (N.Y.) HS (No. 41)

A two-way player in the Minors, Rodriguez made it to the Majors as a pitcher. However, he appeared in only nine games for the Red Sox, and he was traded during the 1995 season to the Twins for Rick Aguilera.

1989: Greg Blosser, LF, Sarasota (Fla.) HS (No. 16)

Blosser would make just 45 plate appearances in his Major League career, but this turned out to be a great first round for the Red Sox, who took Mo Vaughn seven picks later.

1988: Tom Fischer, LHP, Wisconsin (No. 12)

Fisher got as high as Triple-A, but he never cracked the Major League roster.

1987: Reggie Harris, RHP, Waynesboro (Va.) HS (No. 26)

The Red Sox lost Harris to the A’s in the 1989 Rule 5 Draft. He pitched 86 games over six seasons -- all but one in relief -- notching a 4.91 ERA.

1986: Greg McMurtry, OF, Brockton (Mass.) HS (No. 14)

McMurtry never played an inning for the Red Sox in the Majors or Minors, but he did play wide receiver for the Patriots and the Bears, catching five touchdown passes in his career.

1985: Dan Gabriele, RHP, Western (Mich.) HS (No. 21)

The righty made 111 starts in the Red Sox’s farm system and got as far up as Double-A.

1984: John Marzano, C, Temple (No. 14)

The late Marzano played 301 games over 10 seasons in the Majors -- six of them for the Red Sox. He was a solid backup who was respected for his defense.

1983: Roger Clemens, RHP, Texas (No. 19)

Arguably the best first-rounder in club history, Clemens won three of his seven career Cy Young Awards while pitching 13 seasons for the Red Sox. He set a Major League record with 20 strikeouts on April 29, 1986, and tied it 10 years later in his final win for Boston.

1982: Sam Horn, 1B, Morse (Calif.) HS (No. 16)

Horn was a hulking presence with such raw power that he became a cult hero. The “Fenway Fridge” ripped 14 homers in 177 plate appearances after his callup in 1987 and had a solid season for the Orioles in ’91.

1981: Steve Lyons, OF/INF, Oregon State (No. 19)

The left-handed hitter added an element of speed and defense to the Red Sox when he made it to the Majors in 1985. In ’86, he was dealt to the White Sox in June for Tom Seaver. Lyons wound up returning to the Red Sox three more times and made a niche for himself by playing all over the infield and outfield. He played 852 career games.

1980: Mike Brown, RHP, Clemson (No. 48)

The righty pitched parts of five seasons for Boston before being packaged in a late-season deal in 1986 that brought Dave Henderson and Spike Owen over from the Mariners. Henderson hit one of the biggest home runs in team history in Game 5 of the 1986 ALCS.

1979: Marc Sullivan, C, Florida (No. 52)

Sullivan, the son of former Sox part-owner and general manager Haywood, played all 137 career games for Boston. He was the backup catcher for the 1986 AL pennant winners.

1978: Edward Connors, 3B, North Bergen (N.J.) HS (No. 102)

Connors never made it above A-ball.

1977: Andrew Madden, RHP, New Hartford (N.Y.) HS (No. 13)

Wound up pitching just 27 games in pro ball, all at Class A.

1976: Bruce Hurst, LHP, Dixie (Utah) HS (No. 22)

It took a while for this pick to pan out, but once it did, Hurst became the best starting pitcher for the Red Sox in the ‘80s aside from Clemens. The peak of his career was the 1986 World Series, when he would have been MVP if not for … you know … the stuff that happened in Games 6 and 7.

1975: Otis Foster, 1B, High Point University (No. 15)

Foster belted 61 homers over a 673-game career for the Red Sox in the Minors, but he never got called up.

1974: Ed Ford, SS, South Carolina (No. 20)

He played 337 games as a pro, all in the Minors, hitting .236.

1973: Ted Cox, SS, Midwest City (Okla.) HS (No. 17)

Cox’s biggest claim to fame from his time in Boston was being part of the package the Red Sox sent to the Indians in exchange for Dennis Eckersley on March 30, 1978. Cox played 272 games in the Majors, hitting .245. The big hit for the Red Sox in this Draft was when they took Fred Lynn at No. 41.

1972: Joel Bishop, SS, McClatchy (Calif.) HS (No. 16)

Bishop played 120 games in A-ball, and he was done with professional baseball by ’73.

1971: Jim Rice, OF, Hannah (S.C.) HS (No. 15)

The eventual Hall of Famer made his presence felt in ’75, forming the Gold Dust Twins along with Lynn. Rice played his entire career for the Sox, and he was the AL MVP in ’78.

1970: Jimmy Hacker, 3B, Temple (Texas) HS (No. 16)

He didn't sign, and he was drafted by the Braves four years later.

1969: Noel Jenke, OF, Minnesota (No. 13)

Jenke was unproductive in his three years in Boston’s Minor League system, and his career ended with a stint at Pawtucket in ’71.

1968: Tom Maggard, INF, John Glenn (Calif.) HS (No. 20)

He played 396 games in the Minors, including three seasons for Pawtucket, but he never got a callup to the Red Sox.

1967: Mike Garman, RHP, Caldwell (Idaho) HS (No. 3)

The righty had a decent nine-year career, posting a 3.63 ERA. He spent parts of four seasons with the Sox.

1966: Ken Brett, LHP, El Segundo (Calif.) HS (No. 4)

The late older brother of Hall of Famer George Brett got into one game for the Impossible Dream Red Sox of 1967. Overall, he pitched in 79 games for Boston, including 24 starts. He played 14 seasons in the Majors, concluding with George and the Royals in 1980-81.

1965: Billy Conigliaro, OF, Swampscott (Mass.) HS (No. 5)

Tony C.’s younger brother had a 347-game career in the Majors and ripped 40 homers. In 1970, he played in the same starting outfield as his brother and bashed 18 homers. Billy C. played five seasons in the Majors, the last two for the Brewers and the World Series champion Athletics in '73.