Major League Baseball has a draft that is held at the end of the Winter Meetings. Every year, this draft occurs and it allows for teams to take from players that aren’t on other teams’ 40-man roster. A team must put a prospect or player on the 40-man roster to protect him from being taken. However, if a team wants to participate in the Major League portion, it requires the player to be offered back to the original team if the drafting team decides it does not want the player to be on the Major League roster anymore. The Red Sox don’t generally dip into these waters, however, they did this year. The team selected shortstop Jonathan Arauz from the Houston Astros during this draft.
Arauz has played at shortstop, third base and second base throughout his minor league career. At 21 years old, it’s an interesting choice for the Red Sox given where he is in his development. All told this past season, he split time between High-A and Double A for the Houston Astros. He played 87 games in a High-A and slashed .252/.322/.388. He hit 8 home runs with 19 doubles as well. His main skill is being a decent contact hitter, having only struck out 19.5% of the time in High-A.
Once he went to Double A, he was met with even more struggles with his already light bat. He slashed .241/.311/.389 and had three home runs. His ability to keep the strikeouts down and the walks up was still there, so that is promising for a 21 year old.
Arauz profiles as your typical light-hitting, glove first middle infielder. His MLB.com scouting report says that he is a really good defender, especially given his age. He has the arm strength to play third base. The report on Arauz goes on to say that he is usually the youngest player in each league that he has stopped in. If his bat can catch up, he can be a decent utility player or even an everyday player.
The Red Sox Side
The Red Sox have plenty of reason to do this. The team will need to keep Arauz on the major league roster in order to keep him. They cannot send him to the minors. However, rosters will be expanded to 26 players this year, leaving room for the 26th man to excel at one thing. A specialist. In this case, Jonathan Arauz could be a really good defensive replacement.
Let’s say that Dustin Pedroia does play this season. If he does, he likely won’t be the same defender he used to be. His bat still might enable him to be an above average second baseman. It could be useful to have Arauz around to pull Dustin Pedroia in late innings for favorable defense.
The Red Sox will likely be able to stash Arauz as the 26th man for the entire season, given their current roster construction. Once they do, they have a decent prospect on their hands, especially for a weak farm system. He already slots in as the 29th best prospect in their system. With some development, Arauz could be a valuable pick up as the team looks to replace production from utility infielders.
Jonathan Arauz was signed as an international free agent by the Philadelphia Phillies. He was traded to the Houston Astros as part of the deal for Ken Giles in 2016.