The Chaim Bloom era has brought about significant changes in rosters throughout the organization. At the MLB level, homegrown stars Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Andrew Benintendi, and Christian Vazquez all are in other organizations either via trade or departure in free agency. Other stalwarts such as Nathan Eovaldi and J.D. Martinez have also found new homes this winter. The roster is shaping up to be very different this year and moving forward.
All the while, Bloom has methodically stockpiled prospects in the farm system. The 2022 Red Sox received key reinforcements from the high minors. Triston Casas and Brayan Bello were the highest profile names to develop from within the organization, and both figure to be part of the present and future core. They also had meaningful contributions on the pitching staff from players such as Kutter Crawford, Josh Winckowski, Zack Kelly and Kaleb Ort.
The Red Sox find themselves in a new and uncertain place in 2023. The most significant financial commitment this offseason has been to Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida. Yoshida brings an exciting offensive skillset who should hit atop the Red Sox lineup. While the 29-year-old, a professional in Japan since 2016, is unranked in this list, he would figure into the top 3-5 (Tier 2) in the system. The Red Sox also have pending January 15 international signings that will become official following the publish date of this article, which should be reflected in future articles and lists.
Red Sox MiLB affiliates:
Worcester Red Sox (@WooSox) – Triple-A
Portland Sea Dogs (@PortlandSeaDogs) – Double-A
Greenville Drive (@GreenvilleDrive) – High-A
Salem Red Sox (@salemredsox) – Single-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
Levels listed for each player are the highest levels player reached in 2022
1. Marcelo Mayer, SS, 20, High-A
Mayer had a standout season between Single-A and High-A. Mayer showed his all-around strength in every phase of the game. He hits for contact and power with a selective approach. Mayer’s picturesque swing has impact potential written all over him. Mayer even managed a strong .903 OPS against left-handed pitching, making it hard to question much in his profile. He may settle into a run rate more in line with High-A (1 SB attempt in 116 PA), but still presents a high single digits SB profile.
There’s going to be an insane amount of eyes on Marcelo Mayer moving forward.
If everything goes right in his development, I expect we see him in late 2024.
There’s a ton riding on him.pic.twitter.com/ueydOKvy4B
— Tyler Milliken ⚾️ (@tylermilliken_) December 18, 2022
2. Triston Casas*, 1B, 22, MLB
Casas had a strong 27 game MLB debut in 2022. He displayed hallmark power and a disciplined approach at the plate. Casas quickly becoming one of the big league lineup’s toughest outs, working his way into the 2 spot by season’s end. Defensively, he was excellent too as a sure-handed asset in the infield. The hopes of Red Sox fans will be that he emerges as a linchpin of the next core, and every sign indicates he is on that path in 2023 and beyond.
3. Ceddanne Rafaela*, OF/SS, 22, Double-A
No Red Sox prospect raised their future projection as much as Rafaela did in 2022. Rafaela was a wrecking ball at High-A, where he hit .330/.368/.594 with 30 XBH and 14/16 SB. Rafaela is also a special talent on defense, rating among the top centerfielders in professional baseball. Add in that he can pick it as a shortstop, Rafaela has a major league future in the middle of the field. If Rafaela can use his exceptional contact skills and narrow his chase rate, he can reach his offensive ceiling to match his lofty defensive impact.
4. Nick Yorke, 2B, 20, High-A
Health undoubtedly impacted Yorke’s 2022 season. But plenty of excitement remains for the offensive minded infielder. As we saw in the Arizona Fall League, a healthy Yorke can impact the ball. Though there’s pressure on the bat with limited defensive impact, Yorke is a bounceback candidate in 2023 as he emerges in the high minors.
Stellar #RedSox #PCmailday. Big centerpiece of my trade with @byrontx (via @CentertonCards). 2020 Bowman Draft Nick Yorke 1st Round boxtopper red 2/5. #collect #thehobby pic.twitter.com/d4BYV8mn2y
— Scott Greene (@Scotty_Ballgame) February 4, 2021
5. Bryan Mata*, RHP, 23, Triple-A
The top ceiling arm in the system following Brayan Bello’s graduation, Mata pitched at 4 levels in 2022. He threw 83 IP, allowing only 60 H, 46 BB and racked up 105 K through 18 starts. Mata is already on the 40-man roster and this should be the year he can break through and contribute high leverage innings on the MLB staff.
Bryan Mata punches out Hunter Stovall, backwards K style. Mata hitting 98-99 on the gun in the first. Also had a nasty 80 mph offspeed offering that fooled Stovall early in the at bat. @PortlandSeaDogs #RedSox #DirtyWater @Prospects1500 pic.twitter.com/06pSwkJHnd
— Scott Greene (@Scotty_Ballgame) July 26, 2022
6. Miguel Bleis, OF, 18, Rookie (FCL)
As far as highest ceiling prospects go, Bleis is at/near the top of the system and has the present toolset to be a star. While he should excel in Single-A, it’s worth seeing the transition to the full season level before he breaks into the Tier 1 group. Bleis possesses a rare power and speed profile with defensive ability in centerfielder. Many scouts thought Bleis was the best hitter in the FCL. With success at Single-A, Bleis could emerge quickly as one of the game’s most hyped prospects by mid 2023.
7. Brandon Walter*, LHP, 26, Triple-A
2021 likely would have seen Walter’s MLB debut had it not been for injury. The 6’2″ 200 lb. lefty was Boston’s 2021 Minor League Pitcher of the Year and had a very good 2022 going between AA/AAA before being shut down and not pitching after June 8th with a neck issue/back strain. His career MiLB WHIP is under 1.00 and he sports a 12.3 K/9. Look for him to contribute in some fashion at the MLB level this coming season.
8. Roman Anthony, OF, 18, Single-A
The 79th overall selection in the 2022 draft netted the highest bonus in the draft class. With outfield being an area of need in the system, Anthony immediately jumps to the top group of outfield prospects. Anthony carries substantial raw power, speed on the bases and in the field, and defensive prowess in all three OF spots. For a power hitter from the high school ranks, Anthony had a very good 20 game debut season in the FCL and Single-A Salem. He had a 9 BB to 8 K performance in 83 PA, which is a sign of optimism for a power hitter in his early development.
9. Mikey Romero, SS, 18, Single-A
The Red Sox 2022 first round pick (24th overall) brings an excellent contact to all fields ability. He made it to Single-A at just 18 years old, showing he can hold his own with the bat even as the power should come with further development. With his sure hands in the field, Romero adds both ceiling and floor to the already robust middle infield depth in the system.
10. Enmanuel Valdez*, 2B, 24, Triple-A
The authors of this column are not big fans of the Christian Vazquez trade deadline move last year, but the return of Valdez and Wilyer Abreu is a quietly nice package from the Astros. Abreu is ranked down in Tier 4, but Valdez slots here in Tier 3 and had a productive 2022 at the plate. The infield prospect tallied 28 HR and 107 RBI between Double-A Corpus Christi (HOU), Portland and Worcester. There was some social media speculation that he could take over at SS in Boston in 2023, but that’s not going to happen. He’s played more 2B and 3B in the minors, so look for him to fill a nice utility role for the Sox.
Happy Birthday to our infielder Enmanuel Valdez! 🥳🎈🎊 pic.twitter.com/1DHVSsfFAs
— Worcester Red Sox (@WooSox) December 28, 2022
11. Eddinson Paulino, IF/OF, 20, Single-A
Paulino impressed this year as one of the top hitters in all of Single-A. He led the level in doubles and triples, finished second in hits and runs, and was also top 10 in HR, RBI, and BB. Paulino was also a top 15 stolen base thread who converted a high percentage of attempts (84%). He also secured a walk rate over 10% with a K rate under 20%. While he was somewhat neutralized by left handed pitching (.203/.286/.284), this did not take away from the high level of output overall. Paulino had over 30 G each defensively at 2B, 3B, and SS, while chipping in 13 G in the outfield.
12. Blaze Jordan, 3B/1B, 20, High-A
The 500+ feet high school HR darling is now one of Boston’s most highly-touted offensive prospects. Jordan’s 2022 season split between Single-A Salem and High-A Greenville was a good one for the 20-year-old. Is he a third baseman long team? Maybe not, but depending on what happens with the Devers negotiations, that plays a big part in Blaze’s future position in the organization. It would be nice to see him improve on the 2022 slashline of .289/.363/.445, but he stayed healthy and played 120 games. Let’s focus on the positives and see if he can crack Double-A in 2023.
13. Niko Kavadas, 1B, 24, Double-A
It was an offensive showing for the first baseman that was nearly cartoonish in monstrosity. For this offensive-heavy profile, he has to hit an an enormous rate. That’s exactly what Kavadas did at Single-A and High-A, where he was even better at the higher level. Upon reaching Double-A and the Arizona Fall League, we saw a 40% K rate for Kavadas. There’s certainly a role for this type of high power, high on-base player, especially with the DH part of all 30 MLB teams.
#RedSox 1B prospect Niko Kavadas smashes a long HR to RF, over the foul pole. Ump got this one right. Puts Scottsdale up 4-2 here in Peoria. @MLBazFallLeague #AFL22 #DirtyWater @Prospects1500 pic.twitter.com/MQEixA76cQ
— Scott Greene (@Scotty_Ballgame) November 3, 2022
14. Chris Murphy*, LHP, 24, Triple-A
It would have been nice to see Murphy get some additional innings during the 2022 Arizona Fall League, but the organization isn’t rushing or pushing the workload of their 2019 6th round draft pick. Murphy does need more time in Triple-A as he struggled with the WooSox following a dominant 15 games started in Double-A Portland last year, posting a 2.58 ERA in 76.2 IP with 91 strikeouts. Let the 24-year-old get some more time facing AAA batters and have him waiting in the wings if Boston needs some help in the second half.
15. Matthew Lugo, 3B/2B, 21, Double-A
This season, mostly at High-A, saw the potential in Lugo that made him a 2nd round pick in 2019. Lugo’s physical development this year translated positively in his ability to impact the baseball, as evidenced by a nearly 150 point increase in SLG. At High-A Greenville, Lugo swatted 18 HR with 20 SB, along with a .288/.344/.500 triple slash. Lugo showed good contact skills and hunted strikes, which also led to a drop the strikeout rate. He has always had high expectations as Carlos Beltran’s nephew and formerly attended his baseball academy. This campaign really showed the kind of producer he can be.
16. Wikelman Gonzalez, RHP, 20, High-A
It was a brilliant start and end to Gonzalez’s season. Gonzalez came out firing in his first four April starts, mowing down the opposition at Single-A to a 0.57 ERA. He had a tough middle three months where he put up an ERA in the mid 6’s. All the while though, he missed plenty of bats with consistently high K rates. Also encouraging, he was tough at limiting damage, only allowing 2 HR on the season (both in May). It really clicked for Gonzalez in August, where he returned to a low 2’s ERA and earned a promotion to High-A. The final four appearances in Greenville were outstanding, with 17 IP, allowed 13 H (and only 3 XBH), 6 BB and 23 K.
17. Luis Perales, RHP, 19, Single-A
A hyped international signing, Perales had a strong run in the FCL and a quick look at Salem. It was an impressive showing, though his usage was heavily monitored coming off a season of injury. In 25 IP in the FCL, he allowed only 10 H, 9 BB, and 3 ER while blowing away 34 via strikeout. The 10 IP in Single-A was a fine showing for the 19 year old: 10 H and 11 BB, but still tallying 16 K. He’ll head into his age 20 season building on his innings and development as a starter.
18. Zack Kelly*, RHP, 27, MLB
Who’s excited about a 27-year-old prospect? We are if he can be a positive contributor the the MLB bullpen, and this is definitely what Kelly showed during his 13 games and 13.2 innings MLB debut in 2022. He’s projected to begin 2023 in the Worcester AAA bullpen, but look for him to be called upon at some point during the season in some high-leverage situations, especially if 36-year-old Chris Martin and 35-year-old Kenley Jansen have any injuries or needed time off.
19. Brainer Bonaci, IF, 20, Single-A
20. Nathan Hickey, C, 23, High-A
21. Elmer Rodriguez-Cruz, RHP, 19, Single-A
22. Brooks Brannon, C, 18, Rookie (FCL)
23. Christian Koss, IF, 24, Double-A
24. Tyler McDonough, MI/OF, 23, High-A
25. Shane Drohan, LHP, 23, Double-A
26. Ryan Fernandez, RHP, 24, Double-A
27. Ronaldo Hernandez, C, 25, Triple-A
28. David Hamilton*, 2B, 25, Double-A
29. Franklin German*, RHP, 25, MLB
30. Cutter Coffey, IF, 18, Rookie (FCL)
31. Wilyer Abreu*, OF, 23, Double-A
The slick fielding Bonaci had an identical 89 BB: 89 K to go along with 28 SB on the season, and his extra base hit power showed up in July and August. Hickey brings a steady power and on-base approach, and the high minors awaits to test his hit tool and defense behind the plate. The only high school pitcher drafted in Bloom’s tenure, the athletic pitcher Rodriguez-Cruz could be jockeying with Luis Perales for similar upside as they open up 2023 together at Single-A. The 9th round pick Brannon secured the 4th highest bonus the 2022 Red Sox draft class, and carries noteworthy power with enough athleticism to also play 1B and OF. Fernandez made huge strides and boasts bat-missing stuff to impact the late innings, but uncertainty swirls with an elbow injury and he went unprotected and unclaimed in the recent Rule 5 period. The 40-man roster trio of Hamilton, German, and Abreu carry limited MLB ceilings but each have stood out at various points in the high minors.
32. Alex Binelas, 3B, 22, Double-A
33. Tyler Uberstine, RHP, 23, High-A
34. Chase Meidroth, 2B, 21, Single-A
35. Jacob Webb, RHP, 23, Double-A
36. Taylor Broadway, RHP, 25, Double-A
37. Freili Encarnacion, SS, 17, Rookie (DSL)
38. Jhostynxon Garcia, OF, 20, Rookie (FCL)
39. Eduardo Lopez, OF, 20, Single-A
40. Juan Chacon, OF, 20, Single-A
41. Jedixson Paez, RHP, 18, Rookie (FCL)
42. Noah Dean, LHP, 21, DNP
43. Stephen Scott, C, 25, Double-A
44. Max Ferguson, 2B, 23, High-A
45. Victor Santos, RHP, 22, Triple-A
46. Ryan Miller, RHP, 26, High-A
47. Johnfrank Salazar, 3B, 19, Single-A
48. Gilberto Jimenez, OF, 22, High-A
49. Luis Ravelo, SS, 19, Single-A
50. Kole Cottam, C, 25, Triple-A
Meidroth (4th round pick) didn’t command a big draft bonus, but he had a very impressive debut and surged to a .977 OPS and a nifty 14 BB: 11 K. Broadway, the PTBNL in the Jake Diekman deal from the White Sox, only pitched 6 IP in the Red Sox system this year but made them count: 2 hits (1 HR) allowed, no BB, 10 K. Dean (5th round pick) is a tenacious lefty who is a reliever-to-starter development, and his professional debut is anticipated in 2023 after recovering from nerve relocation surgery. Scott had a great developmental year both at the plate and behind it defensively, culminating in an Arizona Fall League stint where he swatted 5 HR in 15 G and participated in the AFL Home Run Derby. While Ferguson didn’t hit above .200 between San Diego’s and Boston’s High-A levels, the versatile up-the-middle player brings speed and a discerning eye. Salazar put together a solid stateside season despite not leaving the yard, producing a .297 average and .386 OBP while playing all over the infield. Jimenez – O Brother, Where Art Thou? Still some hope for the former org Top 10 guy, but it’s a big fall from grace because he hasn’t shown much in the production department. Ravelo has enough glove at SS to warrant attention, and incremental progress with the bat will see him climb in future lists.
Any chance that Jeremy Wu-Yelland climbs up this list once he comes back ? He will be almost 24 by then and probably A+ if he doesn’t just rehab all season.
Hi Steve, sorry it’s taken me several days to respond. I just saw your question tonight. I like Wu-Yelland and do think he can be on this list. If he comes back healthy and pitches like we know he can, then look for him on the updated midseason list, or hopefully by next year’s 2024 list.