Red Sox pick pair of shortstops to open draft

Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports

By Matt McCarthy, 985TheSportsHub.com

The Boston Red Sox picked a pair of shortstops on the first night of the 2019 MLB Draft, with both selections coming in the second round.

The Sox took Arizona's Cameron Cannon with the 43rd overall pick, and followed up that pick by taking high schooler Matthew Lugo out of Puerto Rico at 69 overall.

Cannon, the 94th ranked prospect on Baseball America's Top 500, was a Cape Cod Baseball League All-Star in 2018 while playing for the Falmouth Commodores. He hit .263 with a .636 OPS in the typically pitching-dominated Cape League. He returned to Arizona for his junior season and batted .397 with 8 home runs and 57 runs batted in.

But there are questions about Cannon's ability to stick at shortstop. He was charged with 22 errors in 2019 and could be viewed as a second baseman or a third baseman moving forward. Some have also questioned his power.

Baseball America's scouting report:

Cannon’s approach is pull-heavy, and he has just fringe-average power. This season also hasn’t been his best defensively, as he’s committed a career-high [22 errors]. Even with those recent struggles, Cannon is known for having a good arm and overall instincts at third base. He shows enough range to move around the diamond, if necessary, as well. Although he plays mostly third base, Cannon may be best suited to play multiple positions in a superutility role in the future in order to make up for his lack of power.

It is possible the Red Sox think Cannon will sign for less than $1.7 million, which is the assigned slot value for the 43rd selection. The Red Sox entered the draft with the smallest signing bonus pool available at just under $5 million.

The Red Sox went over the highest luxury tax threshold in 2018, which moved their first round pick down 10 spots from 33 to 43.

You can find a video of Cannon here:

Meanwhile, Lugo is widely regarded as the top prospect out of Puerto Rico this year and was ranked as the 74th overall prospect on Baseball America's Top 500. He is the nephew of MLB-great Carlos Beltran.

Baseball America's scouting report:

Lugo is a raw but toolsy, 6-foot-1, 185-pound shortstop who has a chance to provide long-term defensive impact at a premium position. In addition to being a plus runner, Lugo has above-average arm strength, quick footwork and fast hands. But despite all of that talent, he still needs to improve his defensive reliability, including his positioning and routes to the ball. Lugo has offensive upside as well, with a skinny but projectable frame that scouts think will one day hold above-average raw power...However, his swing can get too long at times, and he often struggles against quality secondary offerings. Ultimately, there’s a lot to dream on with Lugo, and he has a chance for above-average tools across the board if he adds more physicality. But whichever team drafts will need to be patient as he learns the intricacies of the game and adds more polish.

Lugo, who attended the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy in Puerto Rico, is committed to play in college at Miami.

The MLB Draft continues Tuesday and Wednesday.

You can hear Matt McCarthy on 98.5 The Sports Hub's own Hardcore Baseball podcast and on various 98.5 The Sports Hub programs. Follow him on Twitter @MattMcCarthy985.