Manuel Margot split his time between the High-A Carolina League and Double-A Eastern League in 2015, and Baseball America has decided he makes the cut at both levels, coming in third on their top-20 list for the Carolina League, and tenth in the Eastern League.
After taking the top spot in the GCL, New York Penn League, and South Atlantic League, it's not surprising to see the Red Sox system falling off some. Along with Sam Travis, who came in ninth in the Carolina League but did not place in the Eastern League, Margot represents something of an oasis between the wealth of talent that is expected to arrive in a few years, and those who have already seen time at the major league level. The Sox just don't have nearly the depth of young talent in the middle levels as they do above and below.
Still, Margot and Travis are far from nothing. Margot's numbers don't exactly blow you away, but he hit a solid .282/.321/.420 in High-A before getting the bump up to Double-A, where his frankly superior line of .271/.326/.419 was made all the more impressive by the fact that it came after the most difficult jump the minor leagues has to offer while four years younger than the average EL player. Not bad when you throw in fantastic speed (good for 39 stolen bases on the season) and a strong glove in center field.
Travis, on the other hand, is mostly about the bat. Any prospect already relegated to first base has a lot to overcome to earn any sort of recognition, which perhaps explains why Travis ended up towards the bottom of the Carolina League top-10 and was completely absent from the Eastern League list. This is particularly true when the package does not include elite power, as is the case with Travis. What he does bring to the table, though, is exceptional plate discipline and a good contact swing, resulting in a .307 average and .381 OBP over the course of the season. Before the advent of Travis Shaw, he was the in-house heir apparent at first. And, with it not clear just how much of Shaw's late-season surge is for real, he might well still be just that.
Also appearing on the Carolina league rankings, albeit all the way down at 19th, is Wendell Rijo, who has a penchant for getting off to impressive starts before hitting a gradual decline. In 2015, he at least managed a strong finish as well, having by far his best months in August and September. He'll have a chance to show whether that late improvement is sign of a turnaround, or just another blip come 2016.