Coming off an American League Championship Series appearance, and featuring one of baseball’s most improved minor league systems, the Boston Red Sox head into 2022 with a high level of optimism throughout all levels of the organization.
The big league club received outstanding contributions from their top prospects on their quest for a World Series appearance, most notably from Garrett Whitlock and Tanner Houck in many of the season’s most high leverage pitching spots. They’re both squarely in the center of their plans moving forward, which has been a long time coming on the pitching development side. Bobby Dalbec grew as a hitter through the season, and his second half OPS of .955 with 15 HR in the final 61 games lengthened the lineup and made him a constant threat to do damage in key spots.
But it wasn’t only the prospects that directly impacted the big league club, it was also the ones that were traded in order to fortify the playoff push. For instance, Aldo Ramirez, the midseason 15th ranked prospect, netted Kyle Schwarber from the Washington Nationals who brought important left handed power and on-base ability to the top of the Red Sox lineup. For a continual contender, this shows the important progress in fortifying depth that the whole organization has undergone in the last few years.
And now, the next wave of Red Sox, highlighted by their two most recent draft and international signing classes, have dynamic talents that could develop into a future homegrown core. Even since our midseason Top 50 list, this Red Sox list is a much stronger group from top to bottom.
The recent January 15 international signing class features numerous exciting talents, and the two highest profile signings, shortstops Freili Encarnacion and Fraymi de Leon, should be among others featured in our next Top 50 update as they set out in their professional debuts. For now, this is Scott Greene (@Scotty_Ballgame) and Ben Wilson’s (@TBDubbs11) annual preseason collaboration of Boston’s top 50 prospects.
Red Sox MiLB affiliates:
Worcester Red Sox (@WooSox) – AAA
Portland Sea Dogs (@PortlandSeaDogs) – AA
Greenville Drive (@GreenvilleDrive) – High-A
Salem Red Sox (@salemredsox) – Low-A
Florida Complex League Red Sox – Rookie
Dominican Summer League Red Sox – Rookie
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 a high likelihood of making the majors but providing minimal impact (e.g. middle reliever, low-ceiling UT guys)
Tier 5: Players of interest, worth keeping an eye on, who have an outside chance of making their team’s 40-man roster
*= signifies member of 40-man roster
1. Triston Casas, 1B, 22, AAA
The lefty slugger grabs hold of the top spot in the Red Sox Top 50 on the heels of a prolific hitting year which saw him span AA and AAA, the Olympics, and the Arizona Fall League. Team USA skipper, and longtime former MLB manager Mike Scioscia, identified Casas as the US team’s highest upside—and biggest bat— on the silver medal team. It’s easy to see why: Casas combines good swing decision-making with contact ability and top shelf power. Though rare to see a first baseman rank inside the Top 20 overall dynasty prospects, it speaks to Casas’ immense four-category potential that will play especially well in OBP formats. The remainder of the winter transactions should tip the front office’s hand on when they envision Casas debuting, and there’s little left to prove at the minor league level before he becomes a bashing behemoth in the middle of the Red Sox order.
Triston Casas @PortlandSeaDogs. First AB of the night, smokes a long shot to CF, off the wall here at DDP for an RBI double, scoring Pedro Castellanos (who walked). That crack of the bat, wow. #RedSox #DirtyWater @Prospects1500 pic.twitter.com/s6QWyqHQLh
— Scott Greene (@Scotty_Ballgame) September 14, 2021
2. Marcelo Mayer, SS, 19, Rookie (FCL)
Mayer, the 4th overall selection in the 2021 MLB Draft, represents one of the better balances of hit, power, and approach from the most recent draft class. Mayer showed mostly what we’d expect in these areas during his 26 game sample at the complex level for the Red Sox, and should fall within most top 2 selections in this first year player draft (FYPD) for dynasty leagues. If Mayer had more speed potential for fantasy (not to overplay the 7/8 SB in his professional debut) and was not multiple years away from the MLB, he’d be the hands down number one on the list. When Casas graduates, he’ll have to battle it out with fellow middle infielder, Nick Yorke, for the next couple of years at least.
Awesome meeting you today, @Marcelo_Mayer10! Thank you for taking a pic with me. I appreciate it! #DirtyWater pic.twitter.com/fvEJp2TqiE
— Bailey Srebnik (@xwOBAiley) September 17, 2021
3. Nick Yorke, 2B, 19, High-A
From head scratcher draft pick in 2020, to can’t miss prospect in 2021, Yorke took the minors by storm with a nearly historic hitting run that puts him among the rarified statistical company of today’s greats. Yorke absolutely belongs in Tier 1 following this mammoth showing, forecasting him as an extra base hit machine at the highest level. With double digit walk rates, sub 20% K rates, a gorgeous .325/.412/.516 slash line, and a touch of speed, Yorke has the makings of a substantial contributor at the top of the lineup that is a consistently relentless, tough out for opposing pitchers.
Nick Yorke gets #1 in Greenville! 449ft!
— Boston Strong (@BostonStrong_34) August 26, 2021
4. Jarren Duran*, OF, 24, MLB
Duran’s 2021 was a tale of two seasons: yet again one of the high minors most dynamic power/speed threats, and then he was seemingly lost in the 33 G taste of MLB action. While we saw him working through drastic mechanical adjustments on the biggest stage, we also saw the flashes of how Duran can impact a game with his overwhelming speed and athleticism when he made Fenway rock on this near inside the park home run (ruled officially a triple and error). Duran’s identity as a hitter is somewhat still unclear, but his potent speed (96th percentile sprint speed) should help carry his offense wherever the contact/power ultimately balances.
— Red Sox Stats (@redsoxstats) June 20, 2021
5. Blaze Jordan, 3B/1B, 19, Low-A
Welcome to the top 5, Blaze Jordan! Jordan demolished Rookie level FCL and showed a better-than-expected hit tool in his pro debut. Pairing this with his top shelf power, Jordan suddenly becomes mighty interesting in increasing the chance he hits his lofty ceiling. Jordan should take time to settle into each level as we saw at Low-A, but patience will be key to persist through the ebb and flow of development. Like fellow Mississippi slugger Austin Riley of the Atlanta Braves, you will reap the rewards of believing in the talent through the peaks and valleys of a power hitting prospect.
6. Brayan Bello*, RHP, 22, AA
The top pitching prospect in the system, Bello’s changeup and slider development has set him apart and vaulted him to the next level. The three pitch repertoire makes him a difficult match for both lefties and righties. The high 90’s fastball, the late fading changeup, and vertical slider helps him change eye level and velocity. He’s nearly ready to impact the Red Sox bullpen in some capacity, and long term certainly has the makings of a high strikeout starting pitcher.
Red Sox prospect Brayan Bello at the Futures Game pic.twitter.com/8B5nA6aGZc
— Christopher Smith (@SmittyOnMLB) July 11, 2021
7. Jeter Downs*, SS/2B, 23, AAA
While the Triple-A slashline wasn’t pretty for Downs, it serves as a reminder of his continual aggressive assignments that have challenged him. Downs showed in Triple-A and the Arizona Fall League that he’s capable of driving a fastball out of the park to all fields. Advanced pitching and spin seem to give him some trouble, which could require another full year in the minors for the 23-year-old Colombian. There’s still an opportunity for Downs to develop into a starting middle infielder with power, speed, and on-base ability, though the hit tool and the adjustments on spin will ultimately dictate his degree of impact.
8. Jay Groome*, LHP, 23, AA
Groome enjoyed a breakout season, which saw the 12th overall pick of the 2016 draft put together a healthy 97.1 IP between High-A and Double-A. Groome reached at least 5 IP in 11 of his final 13 starts. Along the way, Groome showed stretches of real dominance, limiting contact and piling up strikeouts. In his first two Double-A starts, Groome stymied opponents over 11 IP, with 2 hits allowed, 1 walk and 19 strikeouts. Still just 23 years old, Groome had an outstanding campaign that righted the ship of his promising career as a future starter.
9. Gilberto Jimenez, OF, 21, Low-A
Jimenez has maintained the slash and dash approach, which still lets his speed impact the game, but calls into question about his role beyond a bench outfielder.
10. Wilkelman Gonzalez, RHP, 19, Low-A
Quite possibly the biggest gainer in our rankings. Gonzalez, #33 in last summer’s midseason Top 50, has a lot of the prospect industry excited. Following a solid stateside debut in the Florida Complex (Rookie) League, the organization bumped him up to Low-A and he didn’t disappoint. The 19-year-old started 4 games for Salem, tossed 17.2 IP and only gave up 3 ER. Snag him now in dynasty drafts before he becomes a household name this coming season.
Wilkelman Gonzalez ⚾️ https://t.co/vF5MU56Mrp pic.twitter.com/j7WoQIFKav
— Seaġhán Labhrás Ó Fidhne (@OFidhne) August 27, 2021
11. Alex Binelas, 3B/1B, 21, Low-A (Milwaukee)
Binelas was a shrewd acquisition as the primary prospect in the surprising pre-lockout Hunter Renfroe deal. The lefty power hitter obliterated Low-A in his debut, swatting 9 home runs and producing a 1.014 OPS.
12. Bryan Mata*, RHP, 22, DNP (AA in 2019)
Mata’s 2021 was spent recovering from Tommy John surgery, but the layoff from game action shouldn’t have us forget the high potential he features.
13. Josh Winckowski*, RHP, 23, AAA
A weak contact over bat-missing specialist, Winckowski registered exactly 100 IP at Double-A, which earned him a two start cameo in Triple-A and then onto the AFL. As the now clear top player in the Benintendi return, Winckowski should be in the mix to earn the first call if an MLB multi-inning role is needed in 2022.
14. Connor Seabold*, RHP, 25, MLB
Seabold battled injuries through the year, but still put together 13 strong starts at Triple-A and one start in the big leagues. The secondaries, especially the changeup, will need to lead his arsenal if the fastball remains in the average 90.5 MPH range as in his MLB debut.
15. Brainer Bonaci, SS, 19, Low-A
The middle infielder enjoyed a successful stateside debut at the Rookie FCL level, where he made good contact, showed he could lift the ball, and get on-base via the walk. With further strengthening, Bonaci’s fly balls may start soaring over the fence with greater regularity.
16. Tyler McDonough, 2B/OF, 22, Low-A
The Red Sox 3rd round pick had a steady debut which showed table setting skills from both sides of the plate and strong defense in multiple spots up the middle. McDonough’s all-around game suggests a high probability of a future big leaguer as a super utility or starting contributor.
17. Brandon Walter, LHP, 25, High-A
Walter has one of the largest up arrows on the pitching side of things, as he’s slinging mid 90’s heat with a hellacious slider and changeup from a lower arm slot. Walter’s 132 K in 89.1 IP, against only 67 H and 20 BB, is extremely impressive. Though Walter could certainly remain a very good starting candidate with his arsenal, he’s also a dark horse contributor in Boston this year in shorter bursts.
Here’s an updated look at Brandon Walter’s arsenal.
He brought home #RedSox Minor League Pitcher of the Year honors (.@MLBPipeline) after his stuff took a serious jump forward in 2021.
Slider is NASTY. 😯#DirtyWater | #MLB pic.twitter.com/7k7QlrToAl
— Tyler Milliken (@tylermilliken_) January 23, 2022
18. Miguel Bleis, OF, 17, Rookie (DSL)
Bleis carries pedigree from the previous international signing class, and his Dominican Summer League debut showed the reasons why: the outfielder made plenty of contact with some power output, ran aggressively on the bases, and performed in centerfield. He should blossom into a corner outfielder with considerable power potential who may keep some speed as well. Now is the time to get Bleis in dynasty leagues while his trade tag is still reasonable because he could ascend in a hurry.
19. Chris Murphy, LHP, 23, AA
Murphy’s concerning platoon splits against right handed hitters (21 HR, and .914 OPS) and utter dominance of left handed hitters (0 HR, and .401 OPS) leaves his ultimate role in question, though the four pitch mix helps him rack up strikeouts and is a good foundation for a future multi-inning role.
20. Noah Song, RHP, 24, DNP 2021 (Short Season in 2019)
When we last saw Song on the field for the Olympic qualifiers, Song showed electric talent worthy of a top 5 ranking in the system. The military commitment and nebulous involvement in baseball activities during that time leaves much room for speculation, but a possible return to the field in 2022 would be a huge boon for Song and the Red Sox.
21. Thad Ward, RHP, 25, AA
Ward was left off of the 40-man roster in his recovery from Tommy John surgery, which ultimately could help Ward as he’s able to work with the Red Sox medical staff during the lockout. Ward will be taking part in the winter warmup camp in his hometown of Fort Myers at the time of this article’s release, which should give us an indication of when the starter-hopeful could return to game action later this year.
22. Kutter Crawford*, RHP, 25, MLB
23. Eddinson Paulino, 3B/2B, 19, Rookie (DSL)
24. David Hamilton, SS/2B, 24, AA (Milwaukee)
25. Ronaldo Hernandez*, C, 24, AAA
26. Connor Wong*, C, 25, MLB
27. Matthew Lugo, SS, 20, Low-A
28. Niko Kavadas, 1B/3B, 23, Low-A
29. Ceddanne Rafaela, IF/OF, 21, Low-A
30. Jhostynxon Garcia, OF, 19, Rookie (DSL)
31. Eduard Bazardo*, RHP, 25, MLB
32. Jeisson Rosario*, OF, 22, AA
33. Hudson Potts*, IF, 23, AA
Jhostynxon Garcia hit his fourth triple of the year in today’s 4-3 DSL Red Sox Blue loss. The 18-year-old outfielder has slashed .313/.452/.522 with three home runs this season over 148 PA. His name is pronounced “jo-STINKS-on”.
— SoxProspects.com (@SoxProspects) September 17, 2021
Hamilton joined Binelas in the trade from Milwaukee, and the middle infielder will contend for top speed tool in the system and he also has a touch of pop with strong contact ability…..We still think Hernandez (and Nick Sogard) was a steal from Tampa Bay for Chris Mazza and Jeffrey Springs. Look for the catcher the get some MLB time this season…..Kavadas will remind Red Sox fans somewhat of a left handed Mike Napoli, as the first baseman’s insane power doubles nearly every other tool grade…..Former Padres catcher Doug Gwodsz may have been called Eyechart, but Boston has their own Scrabble masterpiece in Jhostynxon Garcia, who impressed in his Dominican debut with a .905 OPS and 156 wRC+ in 45 games…..Rosario and Potts are both on the 40-man roster, are decent organizational depth, but both need strong 2022 campaigns if they hope to climb the ladder to Triple-A and Boston.
34. Nathan Hickey, C, 22, Low-A
35. Victor Santos, RHP, 21, AA
36. Chih-Jung Liu, RHP, 22, Low-A
37. Jacob Wallace, RHP, 23, High-A
38. Nick Decker, OF, 22, Low-A
39. Brandon Howlett, 3B, 22, High-A
40. Eduardo Lopez, OF, 19, Low-A
41. Christian Koss, IF, 23, High-A
42. Freddy Valdez, OF, 20, Rookie (FCL)
43. Cameron Cannon, SS/3B, 24, AA
44. Pedro Castellanos, 1B/OF, 24, AA
45. Jeremy Wu-Yelland, LHP, 22, High-A
46. Shane Drohan, LHP, 23, Low-A
47. Bradley Blalock, RHP, 21, Low-A
48. Enderso Lira, C, 18, Rookie (DSL)
49. Durbin Feltman, RHP, 24, AAA
50. Tyler Dearden, OF, 23, High-A
Victor Santos has continued to open eyes since being dealt to the #RedSox. He was the PTBNL in the CJ Chatham deal.
Stats at AA:
7 Starts/2 Bullpen Appearances
2.49 ERA/3.68 FIP
It’s just his age-20 season.#DirtyWater pic.twitter.com/jPzHRNjzdj
— Tyler Milliken (@tylermilliken_) September 16, 2021
Hickey is a bat-first catching prospect drafted from a collegiate powerhouse who has strong potential power and on-base skills with a high probability of moving from behind the plate…..Santos was a PTBNL acquired from the Phillies, and the 6’1″ righthander with back-of-the-rotation potential showed very good control in his 10 G (8 starts) with 6 BB and 45 K in 45.1 innings at Double-A Portland…..Wallace has some of the most sizzling stuff out of the bullpen in the entire system, as the UConn graduate can reach triple digits with the fastball and rack up whiffs with a high spin slider while the ability to control them will ultimately dictate his leverage role…..Howlett struck out over a third of the time at High-A Greenville, yet his power, on-base, and high character keep us optimistic about the flashes as a potential starting 3B role…..Though it’s banking so far on a switch-hitting, up the middle outfield profile over piling up stats, Lopez and his silky swing remain relevant in deep leagues as a teenager who made it to Low-A Salem…..Cannon balled out in 74 G at High-A Greenville, with Double-A Portland much more in line with his cumulative professional output, which likely spells utility infielder as the best case for the 2019 2nd rounder…..Lira had almost twice the number of walks (32) to strikeouts (18) in the Dominican Summer League, and the Venezuelan is a taller framed catcher whose right handed bat is one to monitor as a potential riser with a strong stateside debut in 2022.
The Next 12
51. Ryan Fitzgerald, SS/2B/OF, 27, AAA
52. Miguel Ugueto, OF, 19, Rookie (FCL)
53. Johan Mieses, OF, 26, AAA
54. Eduardo Vaughan, OF, 20, Rookie (FCL)
55. Luis Perales, RHP, 18, Rookie (DSL)
56. Stephen Scott, 1B/C/OF, 24, High-A
57. Wyatt Olds, RHP, 22, Low-A
58. Frank German, RHP, 24, AA
59. Luis De La Rosa, RHP, 19, Rookie (FCL)
60. Juan Chacon, OF, 19, Rookie (DSL)
61. Bryan Gonzalez, OF, 20, Rookie (FCL)
62. Grant Gambrell, RHP, 24, High-A
What does Zack Kelly have to do to get recognized? I feel like everyone is sleeping on him too much.
You’re right. A lot of people in the prospect industry probably are sleeping on Kelly. It’s probably because he’s almost 27 and hasn’t reached the majors yet. The lost 2020 season really hurt him and he wasn’t coming off a particularly stellar 2019 in the Angels’ organization. But yes, he was very good between AA Portland and AAA Worcester this past year. He’ll start off in Triple-A and let’s see, maybe Boston needs him in the pen in 2022. I like his K/9 a lot. Why didn’t he make our Top 50+? Probably because we’re trying to keep the list as young as possible, although he does have proximity to the majors. A strong first half of 2022 and he could 1) land on our next update, and 2) land in the majors.
Surprised Kole Cottam didnt slip in here somewhere.
Tyreque Reed ?? all he does it hit…..
anyone know of a player named Steven Laboy????
Baseball player from Naples, FL?
Boston’s pitching staff could use a rookie starter like Bello or Mata ,the bullpen is very inconsistent ,could they bring up a decent bullpen guy for a try ? also Casas ,Yorke, Mayer instead of those .220 guys we have on roster now ,given the kids a chance ! Groome also could be brought up for a starter !we had a guy in 1967 who had kids and they went to the world series his name was Dick Williams ! also some of these minor leaguers will never make it ,why not package them for younger talent,or draft picks in the top 10 in drafts?why not trade players on team with expiring contracts to get top draft picks or young players with high ceilings ? seems to me drafting and trading right can get lower team salaries and better farm system with a competitive ball club on the same page at the same time !my idea is outside the box,but what Red Sox want ,so they can invest into other sports franchises !
Thanks for the thoughts and questions Paul. Depending on where the Sox are in the standings come trade deadline time, we could see some of their prospects moved, but I doubt it would be any of their top talent that Bloom’s high on. Mata just pitched for the first time in a couple years as he’s coming back from TJS. He needs a lot of time. Bello is impressing in Worcester and right now is their top pitching prospect. He could get a look this year. Groome is doing ok in AA, but definitely not ready yet. He should spend all 2022 in AA and see if maybe he gets a look at AAA in September or next season. Casas is coming. He’ll be up at some point this year, but he’s currently injured and hasn’t played in a few weeks. Don’t rush Yorke! I think a lot of this depends on what happens with Bogaerts and his contract. Stay tuned.