Low-A Greenville: Luis Alexander Basabe, CF
Luis Alexander Basabe has potential, but he's also still just 19 and in his first year of full-season ball. So, there are going to be ups and downs in his development. A current up for Basabe is his power: he's slugging .432 despite a .220 batting average, with 13 extra-base hits in 30 games, including four homers. The downside should be pretty obvious, though: he's hitting .220, and isn't walking enough to make that okay. Not that, in Low-A, any amount of walks is going to make you feel comfortable with a .220 batting average.
Still, though, the power is good to see -- Basabe slugged .401 last summer despite a loftier batting average, so his Isolated Power has jumped from .158 to .212. Also, Basabe is two years younger than your average Sally League position player, and outslugging them by 52 points as well. It was likely, given his youth, that Basabe was going to need a full (or nearly full) season in Low-A in order to get to where he should be promoted, so a .220/.273/.432 line is disappointing, but not unexpected.
If he's still not drawing walks or hitting for any average come August, like with Michael Chavis a year ago, we can start to wonder what's going on. Realistic worse-case, though, Basabe is playing in Low-A to begin 2017, but he's still just 20, so with plenty of time to get to High-A and beyond before any gray starts to set in. Chances are good we see him turn a corner and make his way to Salem before then.
Triple-A Pawtucket: Roenis Elias, LHP
Elias has had a rocky start to the season that's temporarily eliminated him from Boston's starting depth, but he seems to have gotten back on track on Wednesday night. Elias struck out 13 batters without allowing a walk over 7-2/3 innings, holding the Norfolk Tides to just two runs. We should see him torching Triple-A lineups given he has 280 big-league innings behind him, but he hadn't done so until this point. With any luck for Boston, this is the start of Elias getting back to where he should be.
The Sox won't have many short-term trade options to upgrade their rotation in-season, and with Eduardo Rodriguez facing a setback, Clay Buchholz still not quite doing what he needs to, and Joe Kelly suddenly thrust into an important role again, someone like Elias could prove useful. Henry Owens doesn't seem up to the task of filling a hole in the Boston rotation, so if Elias can come up there and pitch well enough to give the powerful Red Sox lineup a chance every five days instead, then he's doing his job.
Double-A Portland: Luis Ysla, LHP
Ysla's outings have been a mix of good and bad, with the good obscured in his overall line. His ERA for the season is 4.26, but nine of his 13 outings have been scoreless, and another featured just one run allowed. Two appearances with six combined runs and another with two more to tack on has muddied the picture, however.
Don't take this to mean you can wipe out the inferior outings simply by saying "there are more good ones," of course. Ysla has things to work on, especially with his consistency, but he's got a 17/6 strikeout-to-walk ratio and has mostly managed to keep the ball in the park. He's a southpaw who is struggling against lefties in a way that's unlikely to be permanent. He's also relatively new to the exlusively relieving life, so you can ignore that he's 24 and in Double-A, too. What Ysla mostly needs is time and reps, and with more of this, we could very well see him start to bring that consistency he needs to his game.
High-A Salem: Mauricio Dubon, SS
Dubon's return to High-A is going even better than his debut there, as he's batting .329/.396/.400 in 35 games and 162 plate appearances. There isn't much power -- okay, any -- but that's not Dubon's game, either. He's going to hit for contact, steal some bases, and can probably play a few positions around the diamond. If he starts to add some power or can draw more walks -- or consistently proves he can hit .300 or better -- then maybe there is more to him than that. And there very well might be! He's still all of 21 and with Double-A ball not too far off in his future.
More than most, given he's not a top prospect, Dubon is going to need that Double-A exposure to help tell us who he is. He's got a lot going in his favor in High-A -- an absurdly low strikeout rate, more free passes than punch outs -- but Eastern League pitchers will be better able to test him on both of those accounts. If he can adjust, then there just might be something here like many believe there is.