Christopher Acosta has a lot of catching up to do.
It's not long ago that the 18-year-old RHP, signed out of the Dominican Republic for $1.5 million back in 2014, was seemingly inseparable from Anderson Espinoza. These were the two pitchers the Red Sox were willing to exceed their 2014-15 international spending limits for long before Yoan Moncada entered the picture. Only $300,000 separated the two, born just two months apart. And they were the two big pitchers to watch in the lower levels of the farm system with the capability for a meteoric rise.
Now, heading into 2016, Anderson Espinoza is one of the best young pitching prospects in baseball. A unanimous top-4 prospect in a system considered one of the strongest in baseball almost entirely due to those first four names. He crushed the rookie level DSL and GCL so utterly that the Red Sox actually felt comfortable giving him a chance to pitch in Greenville before he turned 18.
Acosta? He never got out of the DSL, pitching to a 4.28 ERA at a level where you kind of expect anyone worth their salt to look pretty great at.
Hey, that's not ideal. Also not ideal: just 22 strikeouts in 34 innings of work (where Espinoza had 21 in 15). But trying to match Acosta up against a player like Espinoza is terrifically unkind to him. It's really just his bad luck that he was signed at the same time and for a similar amount.
In a vacuum, Acosta still didn't have a great year given that ERA and, frankly, just about anything short of overwhelming statistics against such underwhelming competition. But he sort of did what he had to do. He threw some innings--not very many--and didn't seem to ruffle any feathers in a negative manner. The Red Sox won't be letting a 34-inning sample dissuade them of the young man's talent, particularly given that he did still have a K:BB ratio over four. ERA blips happen in small sample sizes. So do peripheral blips, but less so.
Make no mistake, Christopher Acosta will need to take a big step forward sometime in the near future to avoid slipping into obscurity. It's just that 2015 shouldn't be enough to convince anyone that he won't. He's one of those low-level players with potential to be a big prospect somewhere down the line. For a Red Sox system that's top-heavy and lacking depth in terms of impact talent, he's exactly the kind of guy they'd like to have a dozen of.
Granted, they'd take a dozen Espinozas (Espinozae?) first, but again, let's not be unkind.
- Yoan Moncada
- Andrew Benintendi
- Rafael Devers
- Anderson Espinoza
- Michael Kopech
- Brian Johnson
- Sam Travis
- Luis Alexander Basabe
- Deven Marrero
- Michael Chavis
- Pat Light
- Nick Longhi
- Marco Hernandez
- Teddy Stankiewicz
- Travis Lakins
- Christopher Acosta