2017 Boston Red Sox Midseason Top 10 Prospects
|Red Sox Midseason Top 10|
|1. Rafael Devers, 3B|
|2. Jason Groome, LHP|
|3. Michael Chavis, 3B|
|4. Sam Travis, 1B|
|5. Bryan Mata, RHP|
|6. Tanner Houck, RHP|
|7. Cole Brannen, OF|
|8. Josh Ockimey, 1B|
|9. Mike Shawaryn, RHP|
|10. Alex Scherff, RHP|
Much of that success has come from the farm system, either through homegrown players like Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley and Xander Bogaerts leading the major league club or using prospects in trades to bring in impact talent such as Chris Sale and Craig Kimbrel.
Run prevention has been a strength for the Red Sox, who have allowed the fourth fewest runs per game in baseball. Catcher and third base have been offensive holes for the Red Sox, but the organization has attempted to rectify its third base situation by calling up its No. 1 prospect, 20-year-old Rafael Devers.
Still, as long as Dave Dombrowski is the decision-maker in charge, don’t count out the Red Sox dipping into the farm system for another trade to bolster the major league roster. However, the minor league system, typically among the best in baseball, is no longer a strength.
1. Rafael Devers, 3B Boston Age: 20
Called up to the big leagues at age 20, Devers is one of the most dangerous young hitters in the game. He has a sweet lefthanded swing, quick hands and excellent barrel accuracy, with a chance to get on base at a high clip and hit 30-plus homers in his prime. He’s also better than often advertised at third base, with quick reactions off the bat.
2. Jason Groome, LHP Low Class A Greenville Age: 18
The Red Sox drafted Groome 12th overall last year, but his first season has been a disappointment. He went on the disabled list with a lat injury after his first start, and during his time in the low Class A South Atlantic League, he’s allowed 20 runs in 16.1 innings over five starts with 11 walks.
3. Michael Chavis, 3B Double-A Portland Age: 21
After repeating low Class A last year with fair, at best, results, Chavis went on a power surge to start the season. After hitting eight home runs in 81 games in 2016, Chavis hit 17 in 59 games in high Class A Salem. He’s continued to show his power in Double-A, though his overall production has cooled considerably since he got there a month ago.
4. Sam Travis, 1B Triple-A Pawtucket Age: 23
Travis showed polished hitting ability and strike-zone awareness up through Double-A, though his lack of prototypical power for a first baseman has been exposed more since he reached Triple-A.
5. Bryan Mata, RHP Low Class A Greenville Age: 18
A hidden gem the Red Sox scooped up for $25,000 out of Venezuela before the 2016 season, Mata has progressed quickly, going from the Dominican Summer League last year and skipping over the short-season leagues to Greenville. Nothing in his arsenal is overpowering, but he’s a savvy pitcher who throws strikes with stuff that could fit into the back end of a rotation.
6. Tanner Houck, RHP Short-season Lowell Age: 21
Houck didn’t take the steps forward many scouts were hoping to see as a junior at Missouri this year, but the Red Sox took him with the 24th overall pick in June. His heavy, low-to-mid 90s fastball is a weapon, though some scouts see a future bullpen arm.
7. Cole Brannen, OF Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Age: 18
A second-round pick (No. 63 overall) in the 2017 draft, Brannen has a short lefthanded swing, a patient hitting approach and gap power. He projects as a center fielder with his speed and strong arm.
8. Josh Ockimey, 1B High Class A Salem Age: 21
Ockimey has a patient hitting approach—he walked 17 percent of the time last year and 16 percent this year—to go with plus raw power. He tracks pitches well but still swings at misses at a high rate, something that will be tested more once he gets to Double-A.
9. Mike Shawaryn, RHP High Class A Salem Age: 22
A fifth-round pick in 2016, Shawaryn has thrown strikes and missed plenty of bats since signing, with a career 152-37 K-BB mark in 113.2 innings. He doesn’t have a wipeout pitch, but the deception in his delivery and overall feel for pitching helps his mostly average stuff play up and keep hitters off balance.
10. Alex Scherff, RHP Not Yet Assigned Age: 19
The Red Sox drafted Scherff in the fifth round this year and signed him for well above slot at $700,000. He pitches off a strong fastball/changeup combination, though his lack of a reliable breaking ball is a risk factor.
• INF Tzu-Wei Lin did little to distinguish himself throughout his minor league career, including an unsightly .223/.287/.293 line in 108 games with Double-A Portland last year. But he returned to the level this season, performed well and has been a surprising contributor to the major league club this season.
• LHP Darwinzon Hernandez ranked as the team’s No. 30 prospect before this season, and while control remains a problem, he has a power fastball and the ability to miss bats with 11.1 K/9 in low Class A Greenville.
• 3B Bobby Dalbec looked like a possible steal in the fourth round last year after he went to short-season Lowell and hit .386/.427/.674 in 34 games. This year, when he’s not been sidelined by a hamate injury, he’s had huge swing-and-miss issues, showing why some scouts preferred him on the mound. Dalbec’s missing power can in part be explained by his hamate issue, but his 37.9 percent strikeout rate is cause for concern.
• It’s been a roller-coaster season for LHP Travis Lakins. After a rough 2016 season, he returned this season to high Class A Salem and pitched well, but since getting to Double-A in mid-May, the 23-year-old hasn’t been able to throw enough strikes or miss many bats.
• It might be time for a move to the bullpen for LHP Trey Ball, the No. 7 overall pick in the 2013 draft. He is 4-9, 5.52 with a .319 opponent average at Double-A Portland, and is simply not showing the quality of stuff needed to get through a lineup multiple times.
• Groome pitched 1.1 innings in his first start on April 10, then went on the disabled list with a lat injury and didn’t return to game action until June 19. He hasn’t gone past five innings in a start yet.
• Hamstring issues have limited shortstop C.J. Chatham, Boston’s second-round pick in 2016, to just seven games this year.
• Dalbec missed two months with a hamate injury.
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• OF Andrew Benintendi, the No. 1 prospect in baseball entering the season, has been a steady, roughly league-average player in his first full MLB season. Expect him to build on that with more experience in the coming years.