The buzz is barely audible as the Major League Baseball draft begins Monday night. There is no “who will the Red Sox take” excitement; not like that other draft the following week when the Boston Celtics own the NBA’s No. 1 pick.

We hear the Fultz-or-Ball debate, but nothing about Peterson or Hiura.

Then there’s the fact that the Red Sox pick late in the first round – No. 24. In three of the previous four years, Boston had the seventh, seventh and 12th pick. One of those (outfielder Andrew Benintendi) went from the 2015 draft to the 2016 major league roster by Aug. 2.

But there can be gold when picking in the 20s.

In 2004, the Red Sox had the 23rd pick, and Jacoby Ellsbury helped Boston win two World Series titles.

The year before, in 2004, the Red Sox did not have a first-round pick (surrendered when they signed Keith Foulke). But, in the second round, Boston got a fiery but short infielder from Arizona State. Dustin Pedroia is still around.

Who will the Red Sox get this year? Even the Red Sox aren’t sure – not like when they had earlier selections.

“If you’re picking seven or 12, it’s much easier to target a specific group of players,” said Boston’s amateur scouting director, Mike Rikard, during a conference call over the weekend. “You’re able to go back two, three and four times to see them play.

“Many times, when you’re picking at the end of the first round, you don’t have that same luxury.”

Rickard said they target players they think might be around – or might slip due to circumstances like poor performance or injury.

In 2011, the Red Sox kept their eye on a premier college outfielder – the Most Outstanding Player of the 2010 College World Series. Jackie Bradley seemed a sure first-rounder but, in his junior season, he began with a slump and then injured his wrist, requiring surgery.

There were 39 players drafted before Boston chose Bradley.

This year, draft experts have associated Boston with a group of college pitchers. That sounds good, maybe.

Here’s a group of seven players – four pitchers, two shortstops, and one infielder/outfielder – who Boston could be keeping an eye on:

Second baseman/outfielder Keston Hiura of the University of California-Irvine leads the NCAA in batting average (.442) and has a 1.260 OPS. The only problem is his elbow is damaged and he had to DH all year. Tommy John surgery could be in his near future.

 Left-handed pitcher David Peterson of the University of Oregon was a Red Sox draft pick out of high school (28th round, 2014), and Boston is likely still interested (140 strikeouts, 15 walks in 100 innings).

 Right-handed pitcher Tanner Houck of the University of Missouri was once considered a top-10 pick, but he slumped early in the season. He has a sinker that may play well.

 Shortstop Logan Warmoth of the University of North Carolina is a good fielder with some pop (10 home runs). Also, he played well in the Cape Cod League.

Shortstop Nick Allen, from a high school in San Diego, could be an exceptional choice, except for his 5-foot-8 height. But the Red Sox have no problem with short infielders.

 Right-handed pitcher Clark Schmidt of the University of South Carolina might be a bigger gamble that Hiura. He underwent Tommy John surgery last month. Until then he was dominant, with 70 strikeouts in 60 innings.

 Left-handed pitcher Seth Romaro, formerly of the University of Houston, is a long shot. While he’s a gifted pitcher, he was suspended, then thrown off the Houston team for separate incidents. Some team will figure his fastball/slider/change-up mix is too good to pass up.

Any of the above could be on Boston’s radar, provided they are still there when the 24th pick comes along.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: ClearTheBases