Baseball America has ranked Red Sox infielder Victor Acosta as one of the 20 best prospects in the Dominican and Venezuelan Summer leagues.
These lowest-level leagues are often overlooked thanks to their relatively remote nature, but they also prove the source of no small amount of talent, as evidenced by the likes of Xander Bogaerts, who made his professional debut in the DSL back in 2010. Of course, given the nature of the league, its top 20 is all about promise and potential, with Bogaerts' three-year trip from the DSL to the majors about as short a journey as you'll find.
So what promise does Victor Acosta have? Baseball America has their report behind a paywall, so we won't be too gratuitous in our quoting, but here's Ben Badler:
Acosta is extremely confident in his hands at the plate. He has strong, quick wrists that help him generate good bat speed. He has a knack for making solid contact with very good plate coverage. He stays within his approach, doesn't try to sell out for power, produces good backspin and generates surprising power from his size.
These positives are not completely apparent in Acosta's .256/.333/.415 performance--they're not exactly the ridiculous numbers put up by Hanley Ramirez, or Xander Bogaerts' solid .314/.396/.423. Still, Acosta's "surprising power" shines through with eight homers in 234 at bats, and at this point in a prospect's progression the opinion of scouts really does have to be taken well ahead of numbers anyways, and a handful of intra- and extra-organization awards doesn't hurt, either.
If there is a weakness in Boston's farm system, it can be found at the bottom levels. Part of that is thanks to the rapid progression the Red Sox have seen their younger prospects make recently. Mookie Betts popped up out of nowhere, and now he's likely to start the year in Double-A. Blake Swihart has risen quickly as well despite a slow start to his career and his role as a catcher--typically a position which sees slower development than others. Amusingly enough, if they were in Salem to start the year, this might not even be a thing.
Still, if we're looking to dodge talk about a "bridge year" in the future as the system hits gaps, players like Acosta--along with the likes of Manuel Margot and Rafael Devers (signed to bonuses 16 and 30 times that of Acosta respectively) go a long way towards protecting against weak drafts or other unforeseen events. It'll be a long time before we or the Sox know if Acosta actually provides any value, but at the very least he represents a possibility, and the Red Sox will take as many of those as they can get.