Low-A Greenville: Luis Alexander Basabe, CF
Basabe is the prospect in the Red Sox system right now with the best chance of breaking into a top-100 list in 2017. Not to be confused with his brother and Greenville teammate, Luis Alejandro Basabe, Luis Alexander Basabe is an outfielder with a few tools worth paying attention to. Sox Prospects' scouting report suggests that, while there's a whole lot of growth left to get to this point, Basabe could have four above-average tools when all is said and done in his development.
He's all of 19 and in his first year of full-season ball, though, which means he's in for the first real test of his professional career. There won't be a reason to panic if he doesn't solve Low-A immediately -- the average Sally League position player is over 21 years old -- but with projects like this you do want to see some progress and direction if for no other reason than the little extra bit of confidence in their future it gives.
Basabe is batting just .231/.268/.385 to start the year, which is fine from a power standpoint but obviously isn't cutting it elsewhere. It's also been just 10 games, and Basabe had a .341 on-base percentage and 13 percent walk rate last summer, so we can wait on all this before making any kind of declaration about what he needs to do better.
Triple-A Pawtucket: Rusney Castillo, OF
Castillo hasn't played very much in 2016 just yet, as he was mostly on the bench in Boston until the Sox sent him down to Pawtucket so he could get his reps in rather than sit around. He's hit -- and walked -- in his four games back in Triple-A, but it's hard to tell if he's going to solve the issues that plague him by playing here.
Castillo's problems are two-fold. For one, he hasn't proven he can be both productive and healthy for a considerable length of time. He played in 120 games in 2015, and missed time with injury or just didn't play well for stretches of the year. On top of this, he has issues with big-league velocity, and while adjustments could go a long way towards fixing those as they did for Jackie Bradley Jr. last year, we don't yet know if Castillo can make those adjustments.
We also don't know if he's going to get the chance to make them, as Dave Dombrowski thought Castillo was a fourth outfielder back when he was still with the Tigers, before the Sox signed Castillo. The fact Dombrowski has mentioned that catcher Blake Swihart could see some fly balls in left field probably doesn't bode well for Castillo's future in Boston unless he goes on a serious and sustained tear while he's in Rhode Island.
Double-A Portland: Luis Ysla, LHP
Luis Ysla has bounced between starting and relief previously, but the Sox are using him exclusively as a relief option at Double-A Portland this year. While his season has just started out okay, there is real promise here for the lefty, especially if he can control his stuff. Most of the damage done against him in his career came as a starter, and while his relief work wasn't perfect, it was a step up.
He's 24, which would be more of a concern for a Double-A arm were he still trying to make it as a starter. As a reliever, though, once things click, he can move up the ladder relatively quickly. He's no sure thing, but neither was Joe Gunkel, whom the Sox dealt to the Orioles for Alejandro De Aza last summer before flipping De Aza to the Giants for Ysla. I'd probably rather have Gunkel with all things being equal, but Ysla has the potential to make me look wrong, and from a fan perspective, that wouldn't be so bad.
High-A Salem: Jalen Beeks, LHP
Beeks is one of the better under-the-radar arms in the system. He showed off serious control in 2015, his first year of full-season ball, but he gave up a few too many long balls and didn't miss enough bats to get noticed for it. His first two starts of 2016 have been a different story, with Beeks striking out 10 batters against three walks in 10-2/3 innings, all without allowing a homer and just one run scored against him on the season thus far.
Don't get too excited just yet, as we're talking about a pair of starts and 10 innings, but Beeks is an arm you want to keep an eye on. He might only end up being a reliever, but a lefty who can sit in the low-90s and occasionally ramp up beyond that as a starter is worth your attention. And who knows? If his delivery doesn't prove to be any kind of health concern going forward, he might end up developing the repertoire to start. The Sox could use more starting pitching prospects to bridge the gap between Henry Owens, Brian Johnson, and the young, low-minors arms in the system, so maybe Beeks can become one of them.
As said, though, don't get too excited. This is all just stuff you'll want to watch Beeks for in case it does start to happen.