Boston Red Sox 2019 Midseason Top 50 Prospects

Gilberto Jimenez, Lowell Spinners. Photo credit @PatrickCavey, Breaking Down the Future on Facebook

This column is a dual effort from Scott Greene (@Scotty_Ballgame) and Ben Wilson (@TBDubbs11), first and foremost two prospect enthusiasts but diehard Red Sox fans at heart. There’s no way this Red Sox minor league organization can be the worst in all of baseball, right? Some other sites actually have this farm system ranked 30th. We don’t believe it’s at the very bottom, but it’s a long way from being ranked in the Top 5-10 just a few years ago. It is a bottom third organization right now, but Red Sox Nation and dynasty league gurus, fret not. There is help on the way. If you actually look deep into this system, there is some very good talent – especially at the Short Season (Lowell Spinners) and Rookie league (Gulf Coast League and Dominican Summer League) levels.

As for elite, stand out “future stars,” the Red Sox have only been represented at the annual All-Star Sunday Futures Game by one player each of the last 3 seasons:
2019 – Jarren Duran
2018 – Bryan Mata
2017 – Rafael Devers
In 2016 they were represented by two players – Yoan Moncada (was Futures Game MVP) and Andrew Benintendi.

Just remember, “prospects are cool; parades are cooler.” That’s the Casey Stern mantra that we live by. Greene wrote all about that phrase in a column with that name last November, and he made sure to state that right off the bat in this year’s preseason Red Sox Top 50 prospects. Last year’s 2018 World Series Championship (Boston’s 4th in 15 years) doesn’t happen without trading prospects and graduating several others from the farm system over the last few seasons. Now it’s just time to restock and it’s going to take some time.

We haven’t included several players who may still be prospect-eligible but have seen a good amount of service time in the big leagues. We thought it would be a good chance to include some other deeper prospects. Those graduates from this list are:
Darwinzon Hernandez (Preseason #5)
Mike Shawaryn (Preseason #9)
Travis Lakins (Preseason #15)
Josh Taylor (Preseason #36)

Dropped off the list since the preseason Top 50:
Roniel Raudes (Preseason #33)
Matthew Kent (Preseason #34)
Tanner Nishioka (Preseason #35)
Jake Thompson (Preseason #39)
Tyler Esplin (Preseason #40)
Garrett Benge (Preseason #42)
Matthew Gorst (Preseason #44)
Tyler Dearden (Preseason #45)
Cole Brannen (Preseason #46)
Alexander Montero (Preseason #48)
Miguel Suero (Preseason #50)
Jordan Weems (Preseason #51a)
Trey Ball (Preseason #51b)



Prospects1500 Tiers:

Tier 1: Players with high expectations of both making the majors and playing at an All-Star level for a number of years
Tier 2: Players with an above average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 3: Players with an average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 4: Players who have the potential of making the majors, or have high likelihood of making the majors but providing minimal impact (e.g. middle reliever, low-ceiling UT guys)
Tier 5: Players who are worth keeping an eye on, but likely to never make a team’s 40-man roster


Tier 1:

None


Tier 2:
1. Triston Casas, 3B (Preseason #3)
Age: 19
2019 Highest Level: A Greenville
After the 2018 first round selection suffered an unfortunate hand injury just two games into his professional career last season, the top prospect for the Red Sox has bounced back in a huge way in 2019. Casas brings an intriguing hit-power combination that will ultimately profile as a middle of the order first baseman. With top of the scale raw power, and a sub 25% K rate in Greenville, the future is bright for Casas atop the Red Sox rankings.


2. Bobby Dalbec, 3B (Preseason #2)
Age: 24
2019 Highest Level: AAA Pawtucket
Speaking of a big power bat, Dalbec also profiles as a significant run producer at the major league level. At AA Portland, Dalbec is enjoying his highest BB rate (15.6%) since rookie ball, and has put up a substantial wRC+ of 143. Dalbec, a former pitcher, certainly has the arm to stick at 3B, but he’s blocked there for the foreseeable future by (much improved defender) Rafael Devers. Dalbec was likely a frequently-sought after name at the trade deadline, but Dombrowski ultimately held the young slugger this time around. Got the call to Triple-A on August 3.


3. Jarren Duran, OF (Preseason #13)
Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: AA Portland
This year’s Red Sox lone representative at the Futures Game in Cleveland, Duran obliterated High A to the eye-popping tune of .387/.456/.543 across 50 contests. In a nearly identical sample of 51 G since his promotion to AA Portland, Duran had a period of adjustment to more advanced pitching in June (.206 AVG) but fought back to produce a .292 AVG in July. While some prospectors were a little bit down on Duran after seeing him alongside other Futures Game stars, we are fully confident on this site that Duran has the makings of a leadoff hitter who will impact the Red Sox lineup in the near future.


4. Bryan Mata, RHP (Preseason #11)
Age: 20
2019 Highest Level: AA Portland
Mata has pitched his way to the top pitcher spot in the Red Sox ranks in 2019. With a step forward in the command of his four-pitch mix this year, Mata is establishing himself as a future mid-rotation starter in a system that many of the intriguing arms are looking more like future bullpen pieces. Now at AA, he is so far posting his highest K rate (10.57 K/9) of any level, but will have to limit the HR/FB rate (13.6%) to not offset his effective heavy ground ball profile.



Tier 3:
5. Gilberto Jimenez, OF (Preseason #20)
Age: 19
2019 Highest Level: A- Lowell
2018 stats: 67 G, 284 PA, .319/.384/.420/.804, 0 HR, 22 RBI, 16 SB (CS 14), 14.1 K%, 6.7 BB%
Jimenez received an aggressive assignment to open in the NYPL as one of only five 18-year-old hitters, and he is thriving—as he boasts the third highest overall batting average in the league amongst qualifiers. The now recently turned 19 year old Jimenez is a natural RH hitter who has taken up switch hitting professionally, and his double-plus speed and contact ability make him an exciting up and comer in the system. The CF has a chance to be a very good defender who can gallop and throw with plenty of arm. There’s a table-setting offensive toolset here who Red Sox fans will keep getting excited about as he ascends the system, and is on the verge of an industry-wide breakout.


6. Tanner Houck, RHP (Preseason #6)
Age: 23
2019 Highest Level: AAA Pawtucket
Like Hernandez, Houck has recently transitioned to the ‘pen in hopes of contributing in short order for the Red Sox playoff push. As a starter, Houck’s low slot delivery didn’t miss an enormous amount of bats despite multiple above-average offerings. When Houck is dialed in, his talent on the mound is undeniable. The 6’5″ frame says starter, but the delivery says reliever. With more experience out of the bullpen, Houck could be a solid setup option or a swingman depending on the complexion of the roster. With likely no more than one rotation slot opening up in the big leagues next season, and plenty of financial flexibility opening up for bullpen acquisitions, the Red Sox would be best served to keep the starter narrative going for Houck as long as possible.


7. Noah Song, RHP (Preseason NR)
Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: A- Lowell

Noah Song, Lowell Spinners, July 25, 2019 – Photo credit @PatrickCavey, Breaking Down the Future on Facebook.

The Red Sox drafted the Golden Spikes semi finalist out of Navy in the 4th Round, signed him for $100K, which was $306K under slot. Song was able to sign under slot due to a two year military commitment as a Naval flight officer. Song’s military service is hardly unprecedented among Red Sox lore, as he would follow in the footsteps of the greatest Red Sox player of all time as a pilot in the US military. While Song doesn’t have the ceiling of Ted Williams, but the 6’5” Song does have an athletic build and high octane multi-pitch mix that he could turn out to be a high strikeout number 3 starter and become the highest impact RHP rotation arm developed in the system since Clay Buchholz. Song’s first three professional outings certainly highlight his abilities as a top draft talent: a sizzling 5 IP, with 7 K against 2 H and 1 BB. Song is said to be reporting for flight training in November, but time will tell what the military commitment will look like for the dynamic hurler.

8. Matthew Lugo, SS (Preseason NR)
Age: 18
2019 Highest Level: Rookie (GCL)
Lugo followed Cameron Cannon off the draft board in the 2nd round, this time as an overslot signing, and brings a high ceiling middle infielder to the system. The nephew of Carlos Beltran, and hailing from the Puerto Rican Baseball Academy of his famous uncle, Lugo has the profile to dream on: excellent athlete who can stick at short, pretty but powerful right handed swing, and high baseball IQ. Lugo is an ideal target for First Year Player Drafts in Dynasty once some of the prime names are off the board; and he’ll likely keep mashing in the GCL and vault his status in the system and buzz around the game. Every prospect list has a “this ranking is likely too low” guy—he’s that one here.


9. Nick Decker, OF (Preseason #12)
Age: 19
2019 Highest Level: A- Lowell
Decker is coming into his own in 2019 profiling as a MLB regular in the outfield posting a respectable .818 OPS in short season ball. Decker swings a good power bat with plenty of loft (51.4% FB) while putting up respectable K numbers (23.7%). With the BB rate at 13.2%, it takes a little bit of pressure off of the hit tool. Decker has a strong and compact build, and enough arm to profile in any outfield position which helps his chances developmentally moving forward.


10. Antoni Flores, SS (Preseason #8)
Age: 18
2019 Highest Level: A- Lowell
Flores came into the year as a potential helium prospect industry-wide. Another one of the five 18-year-old hitters in the NYPL, Flores has not yet seen the same success offensively as his centerfield counterpart in Jimenez. Flores makes good contact and the impact potential is apparent, but he has been in the bottom third of the lineup since day one in Lowell. There are questions about his speed, physical projection, and ultimate defensive home—so the hit and power development will ultimately carry him. Flores is still very young and has the chance to grow into a solid starting infielder, but some of the preseason hype has waned just a touch here in the first half of 2019.


11. Jay Groome, LHP (Preseason #4)
Age: 20
2019 Highest Level: DNP
Groome is on the verge of returning from TJ Surgery and there is hope he can pitch at the end of this season. Groome’s selection at 12th overall in 2016 seems like an eternity ago, as the former number one in the system has had a winding road through his development. Though he is still only 20-years-old, there’s a maxed out physical profile for the 6’6” lefty, and he’s Rule 5 eligible at the end of next season. The next 18 months will be critical for Groome and his future in the organization, as hope remains for the talented pitcher with substantial stuff to develop into a future innings eater starter who can rack up strikeouts.

12. Durbin Feltman, RHP (Preseason #7)
Age: 21
2019 Highest Level: AA Portland
With the Sox opening the year in closer-by-committee purgatory, Feltman came into the season as an option to net saves in the majors this year. However, the organization has slowed his trajectory somewhat. They are reportedly having Feltman focus on his secondaries and pitching the fastball up in the zone instead of simply cutting him loose, so the refinement should help him get high leverage outs, and saves, at the major level—just most likely in 2020 instead.


13. Cameron Cannon, SS (Preseason NR)
Age: 21
2019 Highest Level: A- Lowell
Cannon was the Red Sox first selection in the 2019 amateur draft (2nd round) out of the University of Arizona, the same college program as Dalbec. The appeal with Cannon is the high floor profile: there is a good probability of a major league role in the future for Cannon. The swing reminds me a little of Jonathan India of the Reds, and the power should develop nicely from the hitter who led college baseball in doubles. Cannon could help all over the infield, most likely at second base long term.


14. C.J. Chatham, SS (Preseason #17)
Age: 24
2019 Highest Level: AA Portland
Chatham is having a strong minor league season as a stalwart in the top third of the lineup for the Sea Dogs. He’s far and away the hits leader on the Sea Dogs, and provides excellent defense at both the SS and 2B positions. Chatham is a tall, loose middle infielder, but the power and speed limit his ceiling. Nearly 25 years old, Chatham could really excel as a utility defender type at the big league level, likely breaking in as a platoon bat that feasts on LHP (.352/.378/.527 in 2019).


15. Danny Diaz, 3B (Preseason #10)
Age: 18
2019 Highest Level: Rookie (GCL)
Looks like Diaz has been demoted back to the Dominican Summer League as of August 8. Immense talent is there but he’s been struggling in the Gulf Coast League, slashing .210/.257/.343 in 105 at bats. Patience is the key here. Diaz is still only 18-years-old.


Tier 4:
16. Brandon Howlett, 3B (Preseason #14)
Age: 19
2019 Highest Level: A Greenville
2019 stats: 94 G, 6 HR, 30 RBI, 47 BB, 124 SO, 1 SB, 5 CS, .236/.343/.366/.709

17. Thad Ward, RHP (Preseason #43)
Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: A+ Salem
2019 stats: 6-4, 2.20 ERA, 21 GS, 110.2 IP, 134 K, 1.17 WHIP

18. Brayan Bello, RHP (Preseason #27)
Age: 20
2019 Highest Level: A Greenville
2019 stats: 5-7, 6.15 ERA, 20 GS, 90.2 IP, 94 K, 1.62 WHIP

19. Ryan Zeferjahn, RHP (Preseason NR) – 3rd round pick, 2019
Age: 21
2019 Highest Level: A- Lowell
2019 stats: 0-2, 9.35 ERA, 7 GS, 8.2 IP, 13 K, 2.42 WHIP

20. Nick Northcut, 3B (Preseason #19)
Age: 20
2019 Highest Level: A- Lowell
2019 stats: 39 G, 1 HR, 16 RBI, 14 BB, 43 SO, 1 SB, .204/.278/.282/.560

21. Chase Shugart, RHP (Preseason #26)
Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: A Greenville
2019 stats: 5-3, 2.67 ERA, 13 GS, 70.2 IP, 61 K, 1.26 WHIP

22. Kutter Crawford, RHP (Preseason #21)
Age: 23
2019 Highest Level: AA Portland
2019 stats: 5-7, 3.65 ERA, 18 GS, 86.1 IP, 97 K, 1.49 WHIP

23. Marcus Wilson, OF (Preseason Arizona #34)
Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: AA Portland/Jackson
2019 stats: 99 G, 14 HR, 51 RBI, 44 BB, 117 SO, 10 SB, 4 CS, .279/.371/.497/.868

24. Josh Ockimey, 1B (Preseason #18)
Age: 23
2019 Highest Level: AAA Pawtucket
2019 stats: 101 G, 22 HR, 53 RBI, 67 BB, 114 SO, 0 SB, 2 CS, .208/.351/.472/.823

25. Alex Scherff, RHP (Preseason #24)
Age: 21
2019 Highest Level: A Greenville
2019 stats: 4-11, 5.26 ERA, 22 GS, 101 IP, 88 K, 1.61 WHIP

26. Denyi Reyes, RHP (Preseason #16)
Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: AA Portland
2019 stats: 6-9, 3.63 ERA, 21 GS, 124 IP, 94 K, 1.15 WHIP

27. Daniel McGrath, LHP (Preseason NR)
Age: 25
2019 Highest Level: AAA Pawtucket
2019 stats: 4-0, 1.59 ERA, 24 G, 11 GS, 90.1 IP, 88 K, 1.07 WHIP

28. Chris Murphy, LHP (Preseason NR – 6th round pick, 2019)
Age: 21
2019 Highest Level: A- Lowell
2019 stats: 0-1, 1.00 ERA, 6 GS, 18.0 IP, 23 K, 1.00 WHIP

29. Devlin Granberg, 1B (Preseason #23)
Age: 23
2019 Highest Level: A+ Salem
2019 stats: 101 G, 8 HR, 47 RBI, 46 BB, 81 SO, 6 SB, 4 CS, .287/.386/.433/.818

30. Eduard Bazardo, RHP (Preseason #31)
Age: 23
2019 Highest Level: AA Portland
2019 stats: 4-2, 2.57 ERA, 30 G, 0 GS, 4-6 SV, 63 IP, 77 K, 1.11 WHIP

31. Pedro Castellanos, 1B (Preseason #37)
Age: 21
2019 Highest Level: A+ Salem
2019 stats: 107 G, 6 HR, 62 RBI, 19 BB, 66 SO, 9 SB, 7 CS, .273/.317/.373/.690

32. Brock Bell, RHP (Preseason NR – 7th round pick, 2019)
Age: 21
2019 Highest Level: Rookie (GCL)
2019 stats: 0-0, 2.25 ERA, 5 GS, 8 IP, 6 K, 1.13 WHIP

33. Brett Netzer, 2B (Preseason #32)
Age: 23
2019 Highest Level: AA Portland
2019 stats: 105 G, 5 HR, 40 RBI, 36 BB, 104 SO, 3 SB, 4 CS, .248/.317/.347/.663

34. Brainer Bonaci, SS (Preseason NR)
Age: 17
2019 Highest Level: Rookie (DSL)
2019 stats: 51 G, 3 HR, 34 RBI, 20 BB, 32 SO, 18 SB, 9 CS, .289/.365/.418/.782

35. Ryan Fitzgerald, SS (Preseason NR)
Age: 25
2019 Highest Level: A+ Salem
2019 stats: 106 G, 21 2B, 6 3B, 1 HR, 57 RBI, 46 BB, 85 SO, 9 SB, 10 CS, .282/.360/.376/.736


Tier 5:
36. Aldo Ramirez, RHP (Preseason #51+)
Age: 18
2019 Highest Level: A- Lowell
2019 stats: 1-2. 3.95 ERA, 10 GS, 41 IP, 44 K, 1.32 WHIP

37. Jaxx Groshans, C (Preseason NR – 5th round pick, 2019)
Age: 21
2019 Highest Level: A- Lowell
2019 stats: 26 G, 2 HR, 14 RBI, 10 BB, 22 SO, 1 SB, 1 CS, .228/.298/.359/.657

Jaxx Groshans – Photo credit @PatrickCavey, Breaking Down the Future on Facebook.

38. Enmanuel De Jesus, LHP (Preseason #47)
Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: A+ Salem
2019 stats: 6-9, 4.12 ERA, 20 GS, 107 IP, 99 K, 1.45 WHIP

39. Stephen Scott, OF (Preseason NR – 10th round pick, 2019)
Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: A- Lowell
2019 stats: 18 G, 7 2B, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 13 BB, 24 SO, 1 SB, .262/.385/.369/.754

40. Eduardo Lopez, OF (Preseason #25)
Age: 17
2019 Highest Level: Rookie (DSL)
2019 stats: 47 G, 6 2B, 5 3B, 0 HR, 16 RBI, 30 BB, 30 SO, 14 SB, 5 CS, .231/.351/.324/.675

41. Joan Martinez, RHP (Preseason #51+)
Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: A+ Salem
2019 stats: 3-4, 3.67 ERA, 25 G, 0 GS, 0-2 SVO, 41.2 IP, 55 K, 1.39 WHIP

42. Jhonathan Diaz, LHP (Preseason #22)
Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: A+ Salem
2019 stats: 7-6, 4.24 ERA, 22 GS, 102 IP, 96 K, 1.45 WHIP

43. Marino Campana, OF (Preseason #28)
Age: 21
2019 Highest Level: A+ Salem
2019 stats: 58 G, 6 HR, 26 RBI, 14 BB, 85 SO, 5 SB, 3 CS, .187/.240/.321/.561

44. Yusniel Padron-Artilles, RHP (Preseason NR)
Age: 21
2019 Highest Level: A- Lowell
2019 stats: 6-2, 2.81 ERA, 15 G, 10 GS, 73.2 IP, 87 K, 1.07 WHIP

45. Zach Schellenger, RHP (Preseason #30)
Age: 23
2019 Highest Level: AA Portland
2019 stats: 1-0, 7.25 ERA, 32 G, 0 GS, 3-3 SVO, 36 IP, 50 K, 1.94 WHIP

46. Roldani Baldwin, C (Preseason #29)
Age: 23
2019 Highest Level: Hasn’t played, was A+ Salem in 2018

47. Bryan Gonzalez, OF (Preseason #51+)
Age: 17
2019 Highest Level: Rookie (DSL)
2019 stats: 53 G, 12 2B, 2 3B, 8 HR, 34 RBI, 26 BB, 59 SO, 6 SB, 2 CS, .265/.356/.461/.817

48. Kole Cottam, C (Preseason #41)
Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: A Greenville
2019 stats: 69 G, 20 2B, 6 HR, 33 RBI, 42 BB, 68 SO, 0 SB, .263/.388/.424/.812

49. Albert Feliz, 1B/LF (Preseason NR)
Age: 17
2019 Highest Level: Rookie (DSL)
2019 stats: 55 G, 14 2B, 8 HR, 41 RBI, 20 BB, 63 SO, 3 SB, 3 CS, .258/.330/.454/.784

50. Felix Cepeda, RHP (Preseason NR)
Age: 19
2019 Highest Level: Rookie (GCL)
2019 stats: 2-3, 5.40 ERA, 8 G, 7 GS, 30 IP, 22 K, 1.43 WHIP


The Next 10:
51. Kyle Hart, LHP
(Preseason NR), Age: 26
2019 Highest Level: AAA Pawtucket

52. Kervin Suarez, 2B (Preseason #51+), Age: 20
2019 Highest Level: A+ Salem

53. Luke Bandy, OF (Preseason NR – 29th round pick, 2019), Age: 21
2019 Highest Level: A- Lowell

54. Alex Zapete, 3B (Preseason NR), Age: 17
2019 Highest Level: Rookie (DSL)

55. Jhon Nunez, C (Preseason NR), Age: 24
2019 Highest Level: AA Portland

56. Yasel Santana, RHP (Preseason #49), Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: A- Lowell

57. Ceddanne Rafaela, SS (Preseason NR), Age: 18
2019 Highest Level: Rookie (GCL)

58. Dominic D’Alessandro, 1B (Preseason NR – 22nd round pick, 2019), Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: Rookie (GCL)

59. Aaron Perry, RHP (Preseason NR), Age: 20
2019 Highest Level: Rookie (GCL)

60. Yoan Aybar, LHP (Preseason #38), Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: A Greenville




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