MLB has released a much larger midseason prospect list than anyone else, going out to a full 100 that includes players selected in the 2015 draft. The Red Sox are especially well-represented, with seven players in this top-100 as well as five in the top-50.
The names are the ones you would expect at this point, at least for the most part: Yoan Moncada and Rafael Devers come in ranked 10th and 15th, respectively, while Manuel Margot, the last of what are usually considered to be Boston's best remaining prospects, sits 31st. It's worth pointing out that there are plenty of other publications who believe Margot is also a top-15 prospect, giving Boston three of them, but MLB is apparently a little lower on the center fielder. Brian Johnson is 47th, one spot ahead of fellow Triple-A lefty Henry Owens -- this is where the newbies start to come in.
First is Boston's top pick from the 2015 draft, seventh-overall selection Andrew Benintendi. The scouting report is precisely what you want to see from a fresh addition to the organization:
A former Ohio state Division III baseball and basketball player of the year, Benintendi is a fine athlete who had the best all-around tools of any college player in the 2015 Draft. While he's not physically imposing, his quick left-handed stroke and his deceptive strength give him legitimate power. He also has a patient approach at the plate which bodes well for his ability to post high batting averages and on-base percentages.
With his plus speed and keen instincts, Benintendi is a basestealing threat and a quality defender in center field. His worst tool is his arm, yet it grades as average and allows him to play any of the three outfield positions.
Benintendi is currently batting just .222 for short-season Lowell, but he's also been on base basically 40 percent of the time and is slugging .444 thanks to four homers and a triple in his 19 games. He hasn't been overmatched, striking out just 12 times in 83 plate appearances -- his contact just isn't always landing for a hit. Chances are good he'll see Low-A Greenville to begin next season, if the Sox don't give him a performance bump there before 2015 ends.
Last is Javier Guerra, who came in ranked 90th. Keith Law introduced Guerra to the midseason lists recently, placing him 48th, but Law is also known to aggressively push low-level talent he believes in. MLB seems to be using a more patient approach with the surprise teenage slugger, knowing he needs to improve his plate discipline to keep it up. You could add that he also needs to figure out how to hit lefties, because at this point, everything he's done has come against right-handers.
His defense is a positive, he's now hitting for power and is projected to hit 15 homers annually in the majors -- you know, so long as he works on lefties and his discipline, anyway -- so it's no wonder he's made his way into the top-100. He's got a long way to go, and a whole lot of projection left to fill, but it's still good to see some new names making their way to the list to replace the ones the Red Sox have already graduated.
MLB also refreshed every team's top-30 list. For Boston, it remains an impressive set of prospects even after graduating Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Blake Swihart, and Eduardo Rodriguez in the last two seasons:
|1||Yoan Moncada, 2B||16||Ty Buttrey, RHP|
|2||Rafael Devers, 3B||17||Sean Coyle, 2B/3B|
|3||Manuel Margot, CF||18||Austin Rei, C|
|4||Brian Johnson, LHP||19||Teddy Stankiewicz, RHP|
|5||Henry Owens, LHP||20||Nick Longhi, OF/1B|
|6||Andrew Benintendi, CF||21||Mauricio Dubon, 2B/SS|
|7||Javier Guerra, SS||22||Pat Light, RHP|
|8||Michael Kopech, RHP||23||Marco Hernandez, SS|
|9||Anderson Espinoza, RHP||24||Carlos Asuaje, 2B/3B|
|10||Deven Marrero, SS||25||Williams Jerez, LHP|
|11||Michael Chavis, 3B||26||Edwin Escobar, LHP|
|12||Sam Travis, 1B||27||Henry Ramos, OF|
|13||Trey Ball, LHP||28||Travis Shaw, 3B/1B|
|14||Garin Cecchini, OF/3B||29||Jonathan Aro, RHP|
|15||Wendell Rijo, 2B||30||Luis Alexander Basabe, OF|
Michael Kopech is suspended for the rest of the year thanks to illegal use of a stimulant, but that shouldn't (and doesn't seem to have) impacted his prospect status. Anderson Espinoza is a hard-throwing 17-year-old in the GCL, signed by the Red Sox during the previous international period. Sam Travis has taken to Double-A well, just over a year after he was drafted: there is maybe an answer at first base for the Sox here, if they can't figure something out on the trade market before 2017. Trey Ball and Ty Buttrey have both taken steps forward this season, and are still as young as players taken in this year's draft.
Austin Rei is the only other 2015 draftee to make the list -- he has as much potential as some players taken during the first two rounds of the draft, according to some prospect analysts. A pair of 2013 picks, Teddy Stankiewicz and Nick Longhi, have real risks, but also projection left to go. Carlos Asuaje and Mauricio Dubon could both end up as quality utility players, Williams Jerez has revived his stock by switching to the mound from the outfield, and while it was easy to forget about Edwin Escobar after his elbow injury, there is still a potential back-end starter or lefty reliever there.
Sure, 2015 has been awful in a lot of ways, but the future is looking pretty good, huh?