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2017 Salem Red Sox Review

A look back at Boston’s High-A ballclub

Photo Courtesy of Kelly O’Connor; sittingstill.smugmug.com

As the postseason continues and we wait for the offseason to really kick off, we’ll continue to look back this week before we start to look forward. For the next few days, we’ll have our eyes on the Red Sox minor-league system, looking back at the year that was for every team in the system. To do so, we’ll look at notable players from each level and dividing them into good, bad and other. Creative, I know! To avoid repeats, players will be included on the team with whom they spent the most time. For example, Josh Ockimey will be discussed along with the rest of the Salem Red Sox despite him finishing the year in Portland. Today, we’ll focus on the High-A Salem Red Sox.

The Good

Josh Ockimey

It wasn’t a great year for Salem, but with Michael Chavis spending more time in Double-A than in High-A, Ockimey is the star of this group. The first base prospect is far from a sure thing, but he can legitimately hit. As a first base-only prospect, he’ll certainly have to if he wants to keep progressing. He ended the year in Portland and will almost certainly start next year at the same level.

Dedgar Jimenez

Jimenez won’t impress anybody with his stuff nor his physical stature, but he did nothing but put up results this year. Over 18 appearances (17 starts) and just under 100 innings, the southpaw posted an impressive 3.07 ERA with 93 strikeouts. It’s unclear if this will play at higher levels, but he’ll have a chance to prove himself with a full season at Double-A next year.

Travis Lakins

Lakins didn’t pitch as much as we would have liked and his post-promotion time in Portland wasn’t as consistent as we’d like, but he was electric to start the year in Salem. The righty pitched to a 2.61 ERA with 43 strikeouts and 13 walks in 38 innings with Salem. He’ll be in Portland to start 2018 and has a chance to vault up organizational lists if he can stay healthy and productive all year.

Photo Courtesy of Kelly O’Connor; sittingstill.smugmug.com

Trevor Kelley

Kelley wasn’t much of a prospect heading into the year, but he was mighty impressive over the first half in Salem. He earned himself an All-Star appearance with his 1.34 ERA in the first half and impressed scouts in the game itself. He’ll likely start next year in Portland, and he could be someone who could potentially make a major-league impact out of the bullpen if everything continues to go smoothly.

Chad De La Guerra

De La Guerra was another non-prospect heading into the 2017 season, and while he’s still not really a high-end prospect, he’s at least someone to keep an eye on. He can play either middle infield spot and has a solid feel for hitting, resulting in an .832 OPS with Salem before being promoted to Portland midyear. He was solid there as well, and will likely start the year back with the SeaDogs next year.

The Bad

Roniel Raudes

Raudes was one of the more intriguing arms in the system heading into last season as a guy with advanced command for his young age. That didn’t quite translate to his jump to High-A, though his 4.50 ERA may misrepresent how bad his year was. There were really bad outings, but also some really strong ones. At just 19 years old (he’ll turn 20 in January), it would make sense to give him another run in Salem to start next year with potential for a midseason promotion to Portland.

Austin Rei

Rei is a former second round pick who fell in the draft due to injury, leading some to believe he could be a steal for the Red Sox behind the plate. Instead, his defense has received mixed reviews and his bat has never really performed at the professional level. After posting just a .675 OPS in 2017, time is running out on Rei’s future.

Jeremy Rivera

Rivera was a solid prospect heading into the year, though a lot of that was due to his defense at shortstop. This past year was not a good one, as he missed most of the start of the year with a suspension then struggled upon his return.

Austin Glorius

Glorius came out of nowhere a few years ago to become an intriguing relief prospect, but 2017 was a rough one for the righty. His 64 strikeouts in 55 innings was nice to see, but he also walked 48 batters which helped lead to a 4.85 ERA on the season. He’ll need to harness that command a bit if he wants to keep climbing the ladder.

The Others

Tate Matheny

Matheny, the son of the Cardinals manager, has some intriguing qualities, though his ceiling is likely that of a bench outfielder. Still he had an up-and-down year that ended with him posting a solid if unspectacular .745 OPS. He should get a chance to play in Portland next year.

Mike Shawaryn

Shawaryn is among the most exciting starting pitching prospects in the system, and though the 2016 draft pick started the year in Greenville he spent more time in Salem to end the year. He showed off some strong stuff with 91 strikeouts in 81 innings at High-A, though his 3.75 ERA could have been better. It wouldn’t be totally shocking to see an aggressive placement in Double-A to start next year, but it seems more likely they’ll give him his start back in Salem with a chance at a quick promotion to Portland.

Marc Brakeman

Brakeman is another guy who looked like he could be a solid relief prospect. By ERA, he should be in the “bad” section, as he finished with a mark of 5.45. His 46 strikeouts and 23 walks in 39 innings are a little more encouraging, though, so there could be something to build from. Next year is a big one for his perception.