By MyFM's Jake Archer - Last night, the 2017 MLB Draft got underway with rounds one and two on MLB Network. The Red Sox would have one pick in each round at numbers 24 and 63 overall. In the first round, the team took a right-handed pitcher out of the University of Missouri named Tanner Houck. In the second round, the team grabbed a high school outfielder from Perry, Georgia named Cole Brannen.
Houck is an Illinois native who was originally drafted by the Red Sox division rival, the Toronto Blue Jays, in 2014 before deciding to go to school. He’s been compared to Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer, but says he likes to watch and learn from St. Louis Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright and Red Sox ace Chris Sale. He’s a guy that throws a great fastball and a pretty good slider, but not much else. He pitches from a lower arm slot and although he spent most of his time at Missouri as a starter, many see him moving to the bullpen in the big leagues.
The big righty had seven career complete games in 44 starts for the Tigers. He’s had a great track record for three years in a tough conference, which is a huge upside. His deception is elite, while his walk rates are very good as well. It’ll be interesting to see how he progresses through the minors, as he will probably start out in the rotation.
Brannen is a bit of an interesting pick for the Sox as he is an outfielder without a lot of power in his bat. Brannen is raw and determining what kind of major leaguer he might be is pretty hard to do because it’s all about potential down the road with him. He’s fast, athletic and has a strong arm so his abilities in the field and on the basepaths are not really in question. He also makes great contact at the plate, but his power is just not there yet. It’s said he doesn’t have great pitch recognition either, so his adjustment to a high level of play could be a tough one.
The Sox will continue trying to reload their farm system, as the draft will get back underway today and tomorrow. Check back for updates on any picks they make moving forward.