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Boston Red Sox

After researching the Red Sox system, it’s better than I thought going into the exercise. 

It’s a little top-heavy and pitching-heavy, but some impact positional players could help the Red Sox soon.  Marcelo Mayer and Triston Casas are two of the best prospects in baseball.  Casas should be up for good now, and while Mayer has only played in High-A, he’s only a couple of years away.  Ceddanne Rafaela and Miguel Bleis had encouraging seasons, and it looks like their upside is full-time regulars.  David Hamilton stole 70 bases, but I worry he’s similar to the other, more famous Hamilton. 

The pitching is light, however.  Bryan Mata appears healthy, but I see him more as a reliever.  Brayan Bello pitched well in his debut in Boston but is not eligible for the list.  Otherwise, there’s not much pitching depth in the system.

Prospect Quick Shot

  • Top Prospect: Marcelo Mayer
  • Biggest Mover: Ceddanne Rafaela
  • Emerging Prospect: Brainer Bonaci

1. Marcelo Mayer (SS)

  • Highest Level:  High-A ETA: 2024-25 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 15 SS
  • Tools Summary: Solid all-around skills with a ceiling of a Corey Seager-type player.

Marcelo Mayer had a terrific sophomore season in professional ball.  He split his time between Low and High-A and slashed .280/.399/.489 with 13 home runs and 17 stolen bases while playing the entire year at 19.  He struck out 25% of the time but showed a solid approach.  Defensively, he flashed gold glove quality defense and is still running well.  The upside is a Corey Seager-type player who should hit and provide 25-100 production with a handful of stolen bases.

2. Triston Casas (1B)

  • Highest Level:  Majors ETA: 2022 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 10 1B
  • Tools Summary: Solid production at first base with 25-100 type of production

Triston Casas’s 2022 season started slowly as he missed time with an ankle injury.  Once he got going, he worked his way to Boston when he received a September callup.  I love the profile and believe he has a chance to be a Top 10 first baseman with a game resembling Anthony Rizzo.  Long gone are the concerns about him making contact, as his approach and contact skills are excellent.  His power will be more mid-20s home run with a chance to hit a bit more as he doesn’t sell out for pull-side power.

3. Ceddanne Rafaela (OF)

  • Highest Level:  Double-A ETA: 2023 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 40 OF
  • Tools Summary: One of the 2022 pop-up players with speed and emerging power.  He has an aggressive approach, which could tamp down his ceiling.

Signed in 2017 for a paltry $10K, Ceddanne Rafaela has started to make noise for consideration in the Top 100 prospects in baseball.  The original carrying tool of his plus speed is now complemented with solid power. At 5-foot-8, he’s deceptively strong, and while it’s hard to project 20+ home run production at the highest level, he hit 21 home runs last season. He has an aggressive approach that could hold him back from reaching his ceiling, but he has reduced his strikeout rate, so I still see a full-time regular at the highest level.

4. Miguel Bleis (OF)

  • Highest Level:  Complex ETA: 2026+ Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 45 OF with extreme risk, but if it all comes together, there could also be upside.

Tools Summary: He’s athletic with a fantastic bat speed and is currently a plus runner.

Miguel Bleis signed an impressive $1.5 million signing bonus in January of 2021 and, at the ripe age of 18, made his stateside debut in the Florida Complex League.  Not only was he one of the youngest players in the league, but he was also statistically one of the best.  In 40 games, he slashed .301/.353/.542 with five home runs and 18 stolen bases.  His season ended in mid-August with an ankle injury not considered serious.

He’s athletic with growing strength and is currently a plus runner.  Although, as he fills out, the speed will likely decrease.  He needs to work on his approach as he’s overly aggressive and will chase pitches out of the zone.  He’s the definition of a high-risk, high-reward prospect that Dynasty League managers should consider investing in.

5. Nick Yorke (2B)

  • Highest Level:  High-A ETA: 2024 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 15 2B
  • Tools Summary: He’s a contact-oriented hitter with a little bit of power and speed.

After an impressive 2021 season where he hit everything in sight, Nick Yorke’s BABIP reversed last season, and consequently, he managed only to hit .231 in 80 games in High-A.  His strikeout and walk rates were similar to 2021, but I see him as a hit-first player as his swing is more geared to contact.  I think he’ll slug more than .365, but his .500+ SLG in 2021 might be an anomaly. He missed time during the season with wrist issues, so perhaps that contributed to his lack of power.  In the end, I see a 10 HR/15 SB, .280/.350/.425 player.  At second base, that’s a solid contributor to a fantasy team.

6. Mikey Romero (SS)

  • Highest Level:  Low-A ETA: 2025-26 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 15 SS with extreme risk
  • Tools Summary: He had an excellent debut but has a slight build and needs to get stronger.  The swing is built for contact.

Mikey Romero was the Red Sox’s first-round pick last July.  He got off to a fast start to his professional career when he hit .304 in 87 plate appearances across the Complex League and Low-A.  He also slugged .506, but his current swing path and physicality point more to a slap hitter than a power hitter.  That could change as he gets stronger.  The swing is short to the ball, so I would suggest he would make good contact.  Time will tell how aggressive his approach is.  He’s young with a chance to hit and, if he gets stronger, a chance to be a full-time regular.

7. Blaze Jordan (OF)

  • Highest Level:  High-A ETA: 2024-25 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 40 OF
  • Tools Summary: While there’s still a long way to go, Jordan has made meaningful strides in his approach and ability to make contact.  With his raw power, a full-time corner outfielder could be in the making.

Last year we wrote that we were encouraged by Blaze Jordan’s contact improvement in his limited exposure to professional pitching.  After another 415 plate appearances in Low-A and an even better contact rate, “encouraging” has moved to the other “e” word – excitement.  He still has enormous raw power, but shortening his swing has reduced his power output.  I believe he’ll find a compromise between contact and power and get back to a 20+ HR potential.  There’s impact potential here.

8. Eddinson Paulino (SS/2B)

  • Highest Level:  Low-A ETA: 2025 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 25 2B
  • Tools Summary: Plus speed with average power and a promising approach at the plate.

Signed in 2019 out of the Dominican Republic, Eddinson Paulino showed exciting tools with an ability to control the strike zone in an excellent step-up season in 2022.  In 114 games in Low-A, he slashed .266/.359/.469 with 13 home runs and 27 stolen bases.  He also showed an excellent approach at the plate, striking out 19.5% of the time while walking 12% of the time.  He only turned 20 in July and is a bit undersized, but there is plenty of bat speed to project more power developing as he fills out.  The Red Sox currently have him playing all over the field (SS, 2B, 3B, and LF).  There’s nothing wrong with having defensive flexibility, but the skills point to a full-time regular.

9. Bryan Mata (RHP)

  • Highest Level:  Triple-A ETA: 2023 Fantasy Ceiling:  High Leveraged Reliever
  • Tools Summary: Max effort delivery with premium velocity.  The package might work better as a bullpen arm.

Mata was getting close to making his Major League debut when an elbow injury led to Tommy John Surgery in April of 2021.  Now back and pitching, the velocity is back as he’s hitting 100 MPH again, but the control and secondary pitches are not there.  It’s still a max-effort delivery combined with his long-term struggles of throwing consistent strikes; I think he would work best in a bullpen capacity. 

10. Matthew Lugo (SS)

  • Highest Level:  Double-A ETA: 2024-25 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 20 SS
  • Tools Summary: He started to develop power last season, and combining that with his ability to run, he’s become an intriguing fantasy option.

Matthew Lugo came into power in 2022 and consequently has moved his prospect status up a level or two.  He’s a good athlete with above-average speed that makes solid contact (19.5% K-Rate).  In 114 games in High-A, he hit 18 home runs with 20 stolen bases.  He is aggressive at the plate, which might ultimately hold him back from reaching his ceiling, but the skills point to a full-time regular and solid fantasy performer.

11. Wilkelman Gonzalez (RHP)

  • Highest Level:  High-A ETA: 2024-25 Fantasy Ceiling:  High-leverage reliever
  • Tools Summary: He has a solid arsenal with a plus fastball, but the delivery and height point to a bullpen role.

Wilkelman Gonzalez has the big fastball, a plus curveball, and a promising change-up in his arsenal.  The delivery has a lot of violence; consequently, he struggles with control.  In 21 starts in Low-A, he walked over five per nine.  Plus, he’s listed at 6 feet, which, combined with his delivery, might move him to the bullpen.  If that happens, his fastball will play up a grade with a chance to be a high-leverage reliever.

12. David Hamilton (2B)

  • Highest Level:  Double-A ETA: 2023-24 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 15 2B or Utility Player
  • Tools Summary: Top-of-the-scale runner.  On the right team, he could be a full-time regular.

David Hamilton’s carrying tool is top-of-the-scale speed. In 220 minor league games, he’s stolen 122 bases while only being caught 17 times.  While he’s not void of power, his power is more doubles-oriented than not over-the-fence power.  His approach is solid, although I wish he didn’t strike out as much as he does.  It’s an exciting fantasy profile because of the speed, but from a baseball standpoint, it might be as a part-time player, mainly if he stays with the Red Sox.  With his speed alone, he should be considered part of Dynasty League, which rosters 150 minor league players.

13. Brainer Bonaci (2B)

  • Highest Level:  Low-A ETA: 2025 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 15 2B
  • Tools Summary: Feel to hit with speed.  If he continues to get stronger, the upside is an impact Major Leaguer.

Brainer Bonaci shows a great feel to hit with excellent contact skills and a patient approach.  The power is still below-average as he lacks the strength to drive the ball.  However, he’s only 20 and, at 5-foot-10, has the frame to put on weight to get to average power eventually.  He’s also a plus runner with 20+ stolen base potential.  While you’re still trusting in the physical projection to materialize, his ability to hit combined with speed makes for an intriguing prospect.

14. Roman Anthony (OF)

  • Highest Level:  Low-A ETA: 2025+ Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 45 OF with extreme risk
  • Tools Summary: He has size and plenty of athleticism to dream on.

Roman Antony was the Red Sox supplemental second-round pick in 2022.  He’s athletic with a great-looking lefty swing, and with his size (6-foot-3), he projects to hit for power.  He just turned 18, so there is a long way to go, but the upside is a full-time regular with 20+ home run power with double-digit stolen bases.  Again…he has a long way to go. 

15. Chris Murphy (LHP)

  • Highest Level:  Triple-A ETA: 2023 Fantasy Ceiling:  Reliever
  • Tools Summary: Average arsenal and spotty command point to a bullpen role.

Chris Murphy split his time between Double and Triple-A last season.  He looked good in Double-A, posting a 2.58 ERA and striking out over 10 per nine.  His promotion to Triple-A didn’t go well.  He walked nearly as many as he struck out and only struck out less than seven per nine.  The arsenal is average-at-best as he doesn’t have the big fastball or true out-pitch you like to see in a starter.  Since he’s a lefty, he could have a long career in the bullpen if he can throw more strikes.

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