The Red Sox sure hope they got a future All-Star by drafting shortstop Marcelo Mayer with the No. 4 pick in the 2021 MLB Draft, and the player comps certainly indicate that could be the case.
Mayer, the top prospect on a lot of smart industry experts’ boards and projected top overall pick in plenty of mock drafts, fell to the Red Sox with the fourth pick Sunday night. Boston jumped at the opportunity to drat him, instantly giving them a potential cornerstone at arguably the most important position in the sport.
As is the case with all draft picks, immediately after he was selected, you start to wonder which current big leaguer his skill set most resembles. When it comes to Mayer, there are two names that the experts almost unanimously pointed to: Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager and Brandon Crawford of the San Francisco Giants.
“Probably some cross between Corey Seager, Brandon Crawford, but thinking back to it, probably more advanced,” Red Sox director of amateur scouting Paul Toboni told reporters Sunday night on a video conference call. “He’s got just a really advanced feel to his game, an ease to his game.
“I throw those two names out there not to set expectations for him or anything, just I say Seager because Marcelo does have a little bit of a bigger build. I say Brandon Crawford because if you watch this kid take pregame ground balls, he’s one of the cockiest defenders I’ve ever seen in my life. I say that with a positive tone behind it. He’s flipping balls with his glove, catching balls through the legs, going behind the back. It’s not like he’s showing off. It’s just his nature. It all comes pretty easy to him.”
Here are some more Mayer comps and analyses from people who get paid to know about baseball prospects:
Jonathan Mayo, MLB.com: Seager offensively, Crawford defensively
“We gave him the best grades for his hit tools and his defense in the entire draft class. The comp I like using the most for him is Corey Seager offensively and Brandon Crawford on defense. Combined, that’s a really good player for the Red Sox.”
Kiley McDaniel, ESPN.com: Seager with some Christian Yelich
“This (Seager) comp is more to point out that the 6-foot-3-plus shortstop with a lefty stick and real hit/power/fielding ability is rare enough that there aren’t a lot of compelling comps to toss out there; Christian Yelich is a little closer to Mayer purely as a hitter at the same stage, but Seager is closer on the whole package.”
Dan Mullen, ESPN.com: Seager
If Mayer grows into his tools, he has the potential to be a Corey Seager-esque performer who has the glove to stick at a premium position.
Dan O’Dowd, MLB Network (former Rockies general manager): Robinson Cano offensively, Crawford defensively
“Any left-hander that’s got a handsy swing, you could probably comp this guy to because he’s got electric hands. I really just love the way the guy moves. Baseball is about movement patterns. Everything he does he moves easily, which puts him in a position to execute skill, and there’s a very, very high level of skill.“
Harold Reynolds, MLB Network: Chipper Jones’ swing
“He reminds me of Chipper Jones, the sweet-swinging left-handed side of Chipper. … Very similar.”
Player comps are an exercise in projection more than anything else, which doesn’t mean Mayer is definitely the next Seager or even Crawford. But baseball draft prospects aren’t seen as much as say, basketball or football prospects are, so comps serve as a way to provide perspective to draft picks. It also helps in the scouting and developing world, too.
All that being said, if Mayer comes anything close to Seager or Crawford, it’s pretty much a home run of a pick. Seager is a multiple-time All-Star with a Rookie of the Year to his name and has twice finished in the top 10 in MVP voting in the four full seasons he’s played. He was the World Series MVP last fall as the Dodgers finally won it all. Crawford, meanwhile, is a three-time Gold Glove winner, who is maybe the MVP front-runner in 2021 for an upstart Giants team.
To watch Mayer become a combination of those two players is a tantalizing thought for the future of the Red Sox.