High-A Salem: Yoan Moncada, 2B
It took Yoan Moncada some time to get going at Low-A Greenville in his 2015 debut. There were reasonable reasons for that delay, though: Moncada hadn't played baseball in some time thanks to his leaving Cuba, the need to establish residency, and the wait to sign with an MLB team. When he finally got the bump from extended spring training to actual minor-league games against actual minor-league competition, there was a bit of an adjustment period combined with shaking off the accumulated rust.
Moncada's bat was more than up to the challenge of Low-A pitchers by year's end, though, as he ended his season with a .278/.380/.438 line courtesy a .310/.415/.500 run with seven homers and 25 extra-base hits over his last 56 games. He's picked up where he left off after his promotion to High-A Salem, as Moncada is batting .308/.471/.462 through his first four games at the level.
The top Red Sox prospect won't turn 21 until May is coming to a close, but Moncada could very well be in Double-A Portland before the summer begins. It all depends on how much he hits High-A pitching, though, and if his defense can manage to come along more than it did a year ago. There is real work to be done with his glove, and the Sox aren't going to move him to whatever his ultimate position will be until he can solve his current one. He could keep moving up the ladder despite that issue, though, but it's one that needs to be solved before he's relied upon in the bigs.
Triple-A Pawtucket: Brian Johnson, LHP
Brian Johnson was something of a forgotten prospect by the end of 2015. Despite a season in which he limited Triple-A opponents to a 2.53 ERA in his first exposure to the level, an elbow injury cut his campaign short, and the last real image we have of his season was his walking four batters in just 4-1/3 innings in his big-league debut.
Let's not forget just how good he was before his elbow was a problem, though. Johnson still has a ceiling as a mid-rotation arm -- even if it's hard to see him necessarily reaching that ceiling -- and should at least be a back-end option for the Sox. He also has the potential to be an effective, strike-throwing lefty reliever should a need arise, and since his game is control and command with a starter's repertoire, he should be able to face both lefties and righties in that hypothetical role.
One thing to watch with Johnson in 2016 is his slider, as he ditched his cutter this spring in order to focus more on the breaking ball, which he threw in college before the Sox drafted him in 2012. Johnson already had a fastball, curveball, and a change-up, so if the slider works for him, it could bump his stock up a bit more than it was. The health of his elbow remains the primary question of his season, though -- without that, it doesn't matter what he's throwing or how well.
Double-A Portland: Teddy Stankiewicz, RHP
This is a significant season for the 22-year-old Teddy Stankiewicz. He's shown an ability to limit walks and homers, but the right-hander struck out just under five batters per nine at High-A Salem -- that is not going to work in the higher levels. If he can find a return to his earlier rates, which were much more league-average instead of worrisome, there could still be a big-league starter here. The Eastern League will be a productive test for him, as it will help the Sox figure out if there is some starting depth bridging the gap between the trio of lefties in Triple-A and the next wave that's a few years off and still in the low minors.
Stank's first start at Double-A went well enough, with the 6-foot-4 Sea Dog striking out five batters with just one walk over six innings. He'll need many more starts like that before he gets a chance to see Triple-A or earns his way into a discussion of the top pitching prospects in the system. The potential is there, and now is the time to start proving it can be more than just that.
Low-A Greenville: Luis Alejandro Basabe, IF
If you're not familiar with the Basabe brothers, well, you're going to have to change that or else deal with a confusing 2016. Luis Alejandro Basabe and Luis Alexander Basabe are 19-year-old twins who both play for Boston's Low-A affiliate in Greenville. Alejandro Basabe is an infielder and kind of a deep cut as far as prospects go, while Alexander Basabe has the potential to be a top-100 kind of prospect by next spring. Alexander Basabe will get his chance to shine in this space, but for today, it's Luis Alejandro Basabe's time.
This isn't quite a Xander and Jair Bogaerts situation, as Luis Alejandro Basabe isn't the player his twin brother projects to be, but also could stick longer in the pros than Jair did -- Jair, if you remember, has become an agent after a brief stint in the Red Sox and Cubs system. So, we'll keep an eye on him: for now, he's off to a good start.
Basabe is batting .375/.500/.750 over the first three games of the season, courtesy a pair of walks and a homer. He mostly showed patience but no power in his short-season 2015, and his scouting report says his hit tool and power are both below-average at present, so seeing just how much he's able to hit or change those reports is the story of his season.