Travis Shaw

From Clemens to Betts, the best players taken by Red Sox in every round of MLB Draft

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NBC Sports Boston Illustration

From Clemens to Betts, the best players taken by Red Sox in every round of MLB Draft

Professional sports drafts can be crapshoots, but nowhere is that more true than baseball.

The Red Sox have selected thousands of players over the years, and while some blue-chip prospects have turned into bona fide studs, others have flamed out before ever reaching the bigs. Even if they do develop into everyday major leaguers, it typically takes several years of development in the minors before players are ready for the grind of Major League Baseball.

And while those prospects develop, sometimes they get shipped out of town in deals for more established players ready to contribute to pennant runs. That's why some of the best players the Sox have drafted over the years have built their careers in cities other than Boston.

But the Sox have added plenty of talent through the draft: MVPs like Mookie Betts, Mo Vaughn, Dustin Pedroia, Fred Lynn and Nomar Garciaparra; aces like Roger Clemens and Jon Lester; Hall of Famers like Jim Rice, Jeff Bagwell and Wade Boggs; and World Series champions like Andrew Benintendi, Anthony Rizzo and Jonathan Papelbon.

John Tomase went back through the years and picked out the best players taken by the Red Sox in each round of the MLB Draft.

Click here for his round-by-round breakdown.>>>>

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Drellich: A lesson for Dombrowski to learn with Thornburg, Smith trades

Drellich: A lesson for Dombrowski to learn with Thornburg, Smith trades

PHILADELPHIA — The lesson for Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski is simple: stop paying high prices for set-up men. Stop pursuing them at peak value or near to it.

You probably can’t prevent Tyler Thornburg from happening. You definitely can prevent Travis Shaw from happening.

Thornburg won’t throw a pitch for the 2017 Sox, heading for season-ending surgery Friday. Carson Smith has thrown 48 pitches for the team, all last year, when he went for Tommy John surgery. He might be back soon, he might not.

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Put the medical process aside. Season-ending surgeries alone don’t make Dombrowski’s trades bad. What made them poor is the principle that drove them in the first place. Process, rather than outcome.

Bullpens are volatile. Guys like Heath Hembree and Matt Barnes and Joe Kelly and Robby Scott emerge. 

Ironically, a guy who built notoriously bad ‘pens in his years with the Tigers finally has a good one now, and hasn’t needed Thornburg or Smith. That’s a credit to Dombrowski — and also a reminder why the trades were not the best use of resources.

He went after overpriced products.

Smith’s expected return will be vital for a taxed group of relievers, yes. And Dombrowski’s deal for Craig Kimbrel is a huge part of the ‘pen’s success. But Kimbrel is a different category of pitcher. 

Medical problems for Sox pitchers have repeatedly been noticeable this year. But thoracic outlet syndrome, Thornburg’s diagnosis, is difficult to detect and was reached in a process of elimination.

“It’s just one of those things that happen. When you make trades at times, it’s buyer beware,” Dombrowski said Thursday. “There’s no way you would know this. You just hope that you get a healthy player back for next year and it ends up taking place. I’ve had guys throughout my career that I’ve traded that unfortunately have gotten hurt in other places. And I don’t believe in anyway, when I say that, that Milwaukee knew that this was taking place. They gave us all the information. There’s no question that they were very upfront in that regard. It’s just a very unfortunate situation and you just want to get the player healthy and move on from there.”

Dombrowski said Thornburg received chiropractic treatment last year, but that “there was never any indication that there was any major problems in that regard.”

Maybe not with Thornburg’s health. But with the trade? 

There was room for Shaw, one of the principal pieces dealt to the Brewers, on this team. A change of scenery may be part of the reason Shaw is thriving. But the Sox undervalued him while overvaluing what they sought. He was just one part of a trade that could really sting in years to come.

Entering Thursday, Shaw had a .299 average, .353 on-base percentage and .534 slugging percentage to go with 11 home runs. Those numbers make Brewers GM David Stearns look like a new-age genius and Dombrowski like a man left behind.

“First is you have a relatively young player who’s demonstrated above-average power production throughout his career, not only in home-run production, but extra-base production,” Stearns said on the CSNNE Baseball Show podcast in May. “We saw some positional versatility and the ability to play both third base and first base. We were really impressed with his ability to pick up third base a little bit later in his career. That’s not easy for someone to do, and demonstrated a degree of athleticism that maybe isn’t evident on a lot of corner players throughout the league, and he was a guy we felt like if given an opportunity, if given regular playing time, he might have a chance to flourish.”

On Thursday afternoon, Dombrowski was asked if Shaw’s success caused him to go back and look at his evaluation.

“I really wouldn’t talk about another organization’s player at this point,” Dombrowski responded. “It’s really not a proper thing for me to do.”

But that’s not the question that was asked. The question was about the evaluation that was made, about his own team’s process.

The proper thing to do is consider that he had it wrong.

Sox send infield prospect to Brewers to complete Shaw/Thornburg trade

Sox send infield prospect to Brewers to complete Shaw/Thornburg trade

The Red Sox completed the Travis Shaw/Tyler Thornburg trade Monday by sending prospect Yeison Coca to the Brewers.

Coca is an 18-year-old shortstop who made his professional debut last season for the Dominican Summer League Red Sox 2. He hit .308 with one homer, 21 runs batted in, and 12 stolen bases.

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While the Red Sox giving up Coca might not seem like much, he was ranked the No. 25 prospect by Baseball America before the 2017 season. Alex Speier of the Boston Globe had him as the No. 2 middle-infield prospect in the organization.

The completion of December's trade comes at a time when Shaw is hitting .292 with 10 homers and an impressive .869 OPS. Meanwhile, Thornburg continues to miss time with a right shoulder impingement and the Red Sox have an unclear situation at third base.