Did Red Sox Just Land Another 2021 MLB Draft Steal In Jud Fabian?

Fabian once was considered a potential top-five pick

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The Boston Red Sox started the 2021 Major League Baseball draft with a bang Sunday night, using the No. 4 pick on Marcelo Mayer, a high school shortstop who had been projected by many industry experts to go No. 1 overall.

Amazingly, Monday’s encore didn’t disappoint, as the Red Sox used their next pick (the 40th overall selection in Round 2) on Jud Fabian, a highly regarded outfielder from the University of Florida who once projected to come off the board early in the first round.

“If you had asked me, ‘Would the Red Sox take Jud Fabian in the 2021 draft,’ you know, say, in January, I would be like, ‘Yeah, maybe at No. 4 overall,’ ” MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo said during Tuesday’s draft coverage on MLB Network. “We thought he might be the best college player (in the draft).

“A lot of swing and miss kind of hurt his stock, but there are some tremendous tools in Jud Fabian — a ton of power, he runs very well, he plays a very good defensive center field. It’s just that hitability that has some concern, if he’ll get to that power enough.”

So, basically, the Red Sox didn’t just land a steal with their first pick. They potentially committed highway robbery with their second selection, as well, making for a strong start to Boston’s second draft under chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom.

“The Red Sox have to be thrilled about getting Marcelo Mayer at (No.) 4 (in the first round). (Fabian) was a guy they were considering for (the No. 4 overall pick) at the beginning of the year,” MLB.com’s Jim Callis added. “He was in their mix of guys they thought they’d be looking at. And they get him at (No. 4) in the second round.”

Of course, a lot of picks look great in the moment, especially those players with immense raw talent whose draft stocks slipped, for one reason or another. Still, it’s hard not to be impressed by the Red Sox’s draft haul thus far. Adding Mayer and Fabian to the pipeline will go a long way toward replenishing Boston’s farm system, which has been on an upward trajectory since Bloom’s arrival.

Mayo and Callis aren’t alone in their positive assessments of Fabian, either.

ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel had Fabian as the third-best player available heading into Day 2 of the draft, while Baseball America’s Carlos Collazo called the 20-year-old “very intriguing” thanks to his excellent center-field defense, his power and his ability to make adjustments.

Ian Cundall of SoxProspects.com noted the improvements Fabian made throughout the 2021 season at Florida, perhaps an indication of what’s to come upon joining the Red Sox system.

Only time will tell whether Fabian can maximize his strengths while minimizing his weaknesses. But at No. 40 overall, he’s definitely a worthwhile project for the Red Sox to tackle.

Plus, if nothing else, Fabian had college success against Vanderbilt ace Jack Leiter, who was selected by the Texas Rangers at No. 2 overall Sunday night after being extensively linked to the Red Sox during the pre-draft process.

MLB Pipeline had Fabian as the No. 23 prospect in the 2021 draft. Baseball America ranked him No. 27.

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