The Red Sox have selected North Carolina right-hander Max Carlson with their 12th-round pick in the 2023 MLB Draft at No. 358 overall.
Carlson was regarded by Baseball America as the No. 385 prospect in this year’s draft class. The 21-year-old junior posted a 5.45 ERA and 1.39 WHIP with 76 strikeouts to 32 walks in 17 appearances (14 starts) spanning 76 innings of work for the Tar Heels this past season. Opposing hitters batted .256 against him.
Listed at 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, Carlson “pitches in the 90-93 mph range and touches 95, and uses a low-80s changeup as his primary secondary and swing-and-miss pitch,” per his Baseball America scouting report. “He generated a 40% miss rate with the changeup this spring, which was far and away his most effective bat-missing offering. He’ll also mix in a low-80s slider, but he used the pitch at just a 7% rate.”
The younger brother of Mariners minor-league righty Sam Carlson, Max was a well-regarded pitching prospect coming out of high school but was not drafted in 2020. The Minnesota native instead took his talents to Chapel Hill and had the best year of his collegiate career as a sophomore, pitching to a 3.71 ERA over 18 starts (77 2/3 innings) in 2022.
Though his production took a dip this spring, the Red Sox still elected to take a chance on Carlson, who turns 22 in September. He is the first pitcher taken by Boston on Day 3 and the seventh arm drafted by the club overall.
As is the case with most prospects who are drafted between rounds 11-20, the Red Sox can sign Carlson for up to $150,000 without it counting toward their bonus pool. Carlson does still have eligibility remaining, so he could return to North Carolina for his senior season if he so chooses.