Back in 2021, the Red Sox had the fourth overall pick in the MLB Draft, and they were in a “wait and see what unfolds” position. They knew they needed pitching, that much was clear, but who they were going to draft was unclear as they had such an early pick.
Going into the draft, many baseball experts, expected Marcelo Mayer to go No. 1 to the Pirates, and the Red Sox were either projected to take Henry Davis, a catcher from the University of Louisville, or Jack Leite, son of two-time Cy Young Award winner Al Leiter, out of Vanderbilt University. Maybe they would even gamble on fellow Commodore Kumar Rocker.
Instead, to many baseball experts’ surprise, Pittsburgh drafted Davis themselves — a bit of a puzzling pick to baseball experts everywhere.
At No. 2, Leiter went to the Texas Rangers and at No. 3, the Detroit Tigers selected Jackson Jobe, a pitcher from Oklahoma, who was already committed to play baseball at Ole Miss, surprising fans everywhere. Putting the Red Sox in a prime position to take the best player in the draft, the question was: would they do it?
The answer was a resounding yes, as Boston wasted no time turning their pick in — taking Mayer at No. 4. For Red Sox fans, a wave of shock, exhilaration, and bewilderment all at once. Xander Bogaerts was their shortstop, and they were hoping it would stay that way for awhile, but they had also just drafted the best prep shortstop in the country.
After going 3-for-9 in spring training with a double, Mayer was delegated to the minors. He wasn’t expected to make the major league roster, but that’s not to say that he didn’t impress manager Alex Cora with how he “controls the strike zone”, per Jen McCaffrey of The Athletic.
After two full seasons in the minors, Mayer is still in Single-A, but he’s certainly not playing like he’s going to play A-ball for long. In his first 15 games with the Greenville Drive this season, he has been on absolute tear to start the year.
He has hits in all, but five of the 15 games he has played in. He may have missed a hit in five of those contests, but he has still reached base via a walk – giving him a 15-game streak where he has reached base to start the season.
Throughout the 15-game stretch, Mayer is hitting to the tune of a .273/.394/.418 slash line, with one home run and 11 RBI – leading the Drive. He also has collected 23 total bases. His .273 batting average, however, is just 27 points off of the team leader Chase Meidroth.
At 20-years-old, Boston is in no rush to bring him up to the big leagues, or even to rush his development for that matter, especially given the people who stand above him in upper levels of the minor leagues – most notably fellow shortstop and speedster David Hamilton in Triple-A Worcester.
Despite the roadblocks, Mayer continues to excel. With his red-hot start, it has to get fans, and front office types alike, thinking: how long until we see him in a Portland Sea Dogs, and if it’s soon what type of performance are we to expect from the 20-year-old shortstop?