The Red Sox have steadily added to the system since the end of the 2019 season. Between the trade of Mookie Betts, key offseason acquisitions, and the incoming draft class, the Sox system has had significant movement over the last calendar year.
The latest “10 Names You Need To Know” installment highlights the four most recently drafted players and others in the system with updates. High profile prospects such as Jarren Duran, Jeter Downs, Bryan Mata, and Tanner Houck are currently at the alternate training site. This list shines light on other noteworthy players from those in big league camp and newer names to the organization.
The 2020 Draft Class
Nick Yorke, 2B (’20 Pre-Season: NR)
2019 Highest Level: 2020 1st Round Draft Selection, 17th Overall
The Red Sox shocked the baseball world by selecting Yorke 17th overall in June. Draft pundits nearly fell off their chairs with the level of surprise in the moment his name was called. As the dust has settled and the professional contract has been signed, Yorke clearly stood out to the Sox brass. Yorke is a prospect that the organization has built a relationship with over the years and they feel has a hit tool that will carry his profile.
In part, the Red Sox love the player and didn’t want to risk having him selected before they picked again at 89. In part too, Yorke’s selection helped them strategically target an over slot 3rd round selection in Blaze Jordan. Yorke may wind up as 2B or even LF defensively, so the bat will ultimately dictate his future impact. They are optimistic that Yorke has the makeup and baseball acumen to hit his ceiling as a key offensive contributor.
A week ago we signed 2020 first round draft pick, @nickyorke2!
Welcome to Red Sox Nation, Nick! pic.twitter.com/P3Ts434p8b
— Red Sox (@RedSox) July 14, 2020
Blaze Jordan, 3B (’20 Pre-Season: NR)
2019 Highest Level: 2020 3rd Round Draft Selection, 89th Overall
Big raw power and Blaze Jordan have been uttered in the same sentence for years. The stories about him hitting 500 ft home runs as a 13-year-old are straight out of baseball lore. Jordan posted elite exit velocities while being one of the youngest in the draft class. He’s physically mature so there are some questions about how his body will project in the key years of his prospect development. Jordan has plenty of arm for 3B and was announced there on draft night. Time will tell if Jordan’s hit tool and physical development will enable him to access his top shelf power. Jordan presents some risk, but the reward is a potential middle of the order slugger who may scare Green Monster patrons with the likes of Wily Mo Peña.
— Blaze Jordan (@Blaze_j24) July 16, 2020
Jeremy Wu-Yelland, LHP (’20 Pre-Season: NR)
2019 Highest Level: 2020 4th Round Draft Selection, 118th Overall
Wu-Yelland, along with Shane Drohan (below), form the back pair of college left handed pitchers from the Red Sox draft class. I like what the Red Sox did with both Wu-Yelland and Drohan in terms of modest draft value returning potentially strong upside. Wu-Yelland is billed primarily as a relief prospect, but also has a starter’s 6’2″ frame and three pitch mix. There’s high effort in the delivery but also deception and athleticism. He can bring the heat up to 97 MPH, and shows promise with a slider and gets good velocity separation with the changeup. I am optimistic on Wu-Yelland’s chances of sticking in the rotation. He had less mileage on his arm as primarily a reliever in college, and think it’s a smart play to grab a quality arm of this nature.
Shane Drohan, LHP (’20 Pre-Season: NR)
2019 Highest Level: 2020 5th Round Draft Selection, 148th Overall
My excitement for Wu-Yelland only grows when I dig into what the Red Sox got in Shane Drohan. Drohan is a premium athlete as a lefty pitcher, formerly also a touted high school quarterback prospect. He’s mechanically efficient and there’s elements in there from a polished MLB arm such as Mike Minor. There’s a good foundation of both the fastball and curveball, with control and command still raw overall. He has the stuff currently to have been a much higher pick, but his relative inexperience highlights how much potential he has to grow into with added professional innings and instruction. The Red Sox in recent years have found relative bargains in this point of the draft (think Chris Murphy from the 2019 draft class). Drohan could have an even higher ceiling than the names called before him in the draft.
Jonathan Arauz, IF (’20 Pre-Season: #37)
2019 Highest Level: AA Corpus Christi (Houston Astros)
Arauz was a stash-a-prospect Rule 5 selection over the winter. This selection is looking particularly shrewd now with the larger MLB rosters and shortened 2020 season. Arauz has received ABs during Summer Camp in intrasquad scrimmages and live batting practice sessions. He may be limited to pinch running and infield defensive duties in 2020 (according to Jon Heyman he’s made the Sox’s Opening Day roster), but Arauz should be able to carve out a future 2022 role with the Red Sox in more meaningful ways. Stops in Portland and Worcester in 2021 will help him add ABs to his resume in the high minors, as he has 108 AB at the AA level on his resume. Arauz could blossom into a second division starter with a nice all around toolset to help a winning club.
Jonathan Arauz, Infielder and Rule 5 pickup from the Astros, has made the Red Sox
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 23, 2020
Chih-Jung Liu, RHP (’20 Pre-Season: #23)
2019 Highest Level: International Free Agent, October 2019 (Taiwan)
Liu had a brief but productive stint on the backfields of Fort Myers, albeit for just a few days before Spring Training was shut down due to COVID. Liu, a native of Taiwan, was reportedly acclimating well as a new Red Sox with the help of fellow Taiwanese members of the organization in utility man Tzu-Wei Lin and coach/interpreter Mickey Jiang.
It will be more time before we see the 21-year-old compete in games in the States, but the potential that he has shown on the international stage is very exciting. I am still holding out a glimmer of hope that he can be developed as a two-way player, as his switch-hitting abilities are also noteworthy. But Liu profiles as a high-octane pitcher who’s athleticism and big game experience could help him develop into an impact arm. The organization needs a win on the pitching development side, and Liu could be that jewel in the system.
The System Stalwarts
Jay Groome, LHP (’20 Pre-Season: #6)
2019 Highest Level: A- Lowell
Of the Red Sox prospects, none may be more negatively affected by missing minor league innings this year than Jay Groome. Since being drafted 12th overall in 2016, Groome has logged 66 IP as a professional. Only 4 IP have come since 2017. Groome will be a fascinating case this offseason as a Rule 5 eligible prospect. The Red Sox will get their looks in some fashion before making a decision, but Groome may be one of the most significant prospect story lines at the end of this calendar year for the club.
— Ian Steele (@ISteeleABC6) July 19, 2020
Noah Song, RHP (’20 Pre-Season: #12)
2019 Highest Level: A- Lowell
With no MiLB season, Song has the opposite effect from Jay Groome. Song has reported to flight school and is not missing any possible games in the process, a boost to his overall prospect value. On the other hand, we don’t know what Song’s return to pitching will look like after flight school. We don’t know the extent to what baseball activities, if any, would be permitted during his military service. What we do know is that Song is not falling behind his peers like in a normal season with no games going on. Song would have most likely been developing in Pawtucket with the taxi squad, so there’s still some opportunity lost. But we admire Song for his service and look forward to his return to the mound in 2021.
C.J. Chatham, IF (’20 Pre-Season: #10)
2019 Highest Level: AAA Pawtucket
Chatham came off a strong season and winter in the Premier 12 tournament. On the positive, Chatham was announced among the first wave on infielders on the 60-man player pool for 2020. It’s hard to envision a path to MLB time for Chatham this season though, as he likely falls behind a group of middle infielders that includes José Peraza, Yairo Muñoz, and Jonathan Arauz. His greatest strengths lie in his ability to hit LHP and provide strong defense at SS. The organization clearly values his abilities and he still could make a contribution in some form in the near future.
Bobby Dalbec, 1B/3B (’20 Pre-Season: #3)
2019 Highest Level: AAA Pawtucket
Dalbec, on the way back following his bout with COVID-19, suddenly becomes more interesting as the Red Sox seem comfortable with him being their MLB corner infield depth. Michael Chavis still looms in the picture, slightly complicating Dalbec’s path to playing time. Dalbec is a right handed complement to both Mitch Moreland and Rafael Devers at the corners. Devers is a top bat in the lineup, so Dalbec could get more ABs at 1B alongside veteran Moreland. Now 25, the future is now for the slugger to impact the big league team.
— NESN (@NESN) July 16, 2020
Ben is an Assistant Editor and also covers the Red Sox and Dynasty/Fantasy baseball content for Prospects1500. He also runs the #2EarlyMiLBMock, an annual prospect-only mock draft, for the Prospects1500 website. Ben is an experienced fantasy baseball player and is a deep league dynasty specialist. He has also contributed at FantraxHQ, RotoFanatic, and retired blogs Real McCoy Minors and Notes from the Sally. Follow Ben on Twitter @TBDubbs11.