Fred Lynn

MLB Draft: Best players taken by Red Sox in each round

MLB Draft: Best players taken by Red Sox in each round

The MLB draft starts Wednesday tonight, and unless you read a lot of Baseball America, you probably haven't heard of the odds-on No. 1 pick, Arizona State first baseman Spencer Torkelson.

We like to refer to drafts as crapshoots, but nowhere is that more true than baseball.

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The Red Sox have selected thousands of players over the years, and it's shocking how few of them have blossomed into stars. Peruse the first 20 rounds of their June drafts, and naming the best player at each spot is a surprising exercise in scarcity. The first round is not as deep as you'd think, the third round is pathetic, and the fifth is relatively star-studded.

So who are the top players in each round? Read on to find out. And to be clear, we're talking the traditional June draft, which dates to 1965. The old January draft yielded players like Carlton Fisk, Curt Schilling, and Ellis Burks, but it ceased to exist in 1986. The same goes for the various secondary drafts of yore.

Click here for the Red Sox's best draft picks in each round of the MLB Draft.

Who are the best center fielders in Red Sox history? Ranking the Top 5

Who are the best center fielders in Red Sox history? Ranking the Top 5

The Red Sox have employed all manner of center fielders throughout their history.

Whereas left field has generally been home to run producers and right to all-around threats, the men in the middle have covered a wide range of styles. There are straight speedsters like Jacoby Ellsbury, defensive dynamos like Jackie Bradley Jr., fun-loving eccentric types like Johnny Damon, underappreciated standouts like Ellis Burks, and even plodding sluggers like Tony Armas.

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Only in recent years have the Red Sox consistently prioritized defense in the role, from Coco Crisp to Ellsbury to Bradley.

But that doesn't mean they haven't featured some talented players there, including a turn-of-century Hall of Famer, the younger brother of baseball royalty, and the one who fans over 50 still lament got away.

Click here for the Top 5 center fielders in Red Sox history.

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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