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The likelihood of the Red Sox trading their top prospects

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Look at each of the top ten prospects on a case-by-case basis

2014 MLB Draft Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

As is the case with most offseasons, the majority of the focus by the Red Sox fanbase this winter has been on the free agents available. There was of course the Giancarlo Stanton speculation, but other than that it’s mostly been about J.D. Martinez, Carlos Santana, Eric Hosmer and players of that ilk. That always makes sense, simply because we know they’re available and have a rough idea of what it will cost the team. The trade market is harder to speculate about because there are always so many players available who we don’t really know are available. Even for the ones we are pretty sure are up for grabs, we simply don’t know the cost. Still, with Dave Dombrowski at the helm of the Red Sox, there is always a chance at a trade being the way the Red Sox upgrade their roster. With that in mind, let’s take a look at each of the top ten prospects (according to Sox Prospects) and try to figure out how likely it is that they will be included in a deal this winter. We’ll rank the likelihood for each on a scale of 1-10, and of course this is totally arbitrary. The best kind of rankings!

1. Jason Groome, LHP

Although we are still waiting for the true breakout of Jason Groome, the former first round pick has shown some flashes in his pro career amid the injuries and under performance. Some off the field family circumstances likely held him back a bit in 2017, but he still possesses the highest ceiling of any Red Sox prospect by a pretty fair margin. Given how barren the farm system is now and how unlikely it is that someone like Andrew Benintendi or Rafael Devers is dealt, Groome would certainly have to be included in any major deal the Red Sox make this winter. However, the Red Sox could really use a high-upside pitcher coming up through their system, and Groome is easily their best chance at that. I’d be surprised if they made the kind of blockbuster that would require Groome being dealt.

Likelihood: 3

2. Michael Chavis, 3B/1B

Although Groome is still easily the best prospect in the system, Chavis is coming up behind him faster than most anyone expected. After a breakout 2017 that saw him jump to Double-A and not look close to overmatched there, he is suddenly the best bet at a power bat in Boston’s system. Despite that and the team’s need for a power bat, Chavis being traded wouldn’t be a massive surprise to me. There’s a chance some team out there values him closely to Groome. Furthermore, Chavis is sort of without a position at this point and the Red Sox have more young bats to bank on than pitchers. Keeping Chavis certainly wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world and if he can hit they’ll find a role for him, but if they do want to make a big trade Chavis is likely the guy to go.

Likelihood: 6

3. Bryan Mata, RHP

Mata is not on the same level as Groome, not even close, but he is still a very talented pitcher at a very young age. He exploded onto the scene in Greenville last year and suddenly turned into one of the most exciting prospects in the entire system. As I said above, the Red Sox would be well served to hold on to as many of their young pitchers as possible given how many young hitters they have. When you combine that with the fact that Dombrowski reportedly held on tightly to Mata last year, I’d be surprised if he was in a deal this winter.

Likelihood: 2

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

4. Tanner Houck, RHP

Last year’s first round pick has some risk and there is an argument for looking to trade him while it’s still unclear whether he’ll be a starter or reliever. If you truly believe he’ll end up in the bullpen, it’s probably a good idea to trade him now. Of course, if the Red Sox held that opinion that strongly, they probably wouldn’t have drafted him in the first place. I could see him as a future trade piece but it’d probably make more sense to see a little more of what they have before they make any sort of decision like that on a player like Houck.

Likelihood: 2

5. Sam Travis, 1B

I’ll be honest right off the bat: I am lower on Travis than most. I don’t really see much more than a second-division starter, and I’m not really sure that’s very likely either. This isn’t about what I’d do, though. The Red Sox have long been believers in Travis’ bat and I don’t think that has changed based on 2017. With the possibility still open that Boston will need a first baseman of the future, Travis is probably here to stay for now.

Likelihood: 3

6. Josh Ockimey, 1B

Among the two first base prospects ranked back-to-back on this list, I am a much bigger believer in Ockimey. That’s not to say that I believe he’s a future star, but I think his bat will play much better in the majors. Again, though, this is about the Red Sox. Since I am of the belief that they are believers in Travis and the fact that Chavis’ future may very well be at first base, Ockimey is a natural trade candidate. He’s certainly not good enough to be a centerpiece in a blockbuster, but he’s intriguing enough to have plenty of value.

Likelihood: 7

7. Cole Brannen, OF

Brannen was Boston’s second pick in last summer’s draft. He is an intriguing, athletic outfielder who came out of high school. Though he wasn’t overly impressive in his first taste of professional ball, he showed some strong plate discipline and exciting skills. In terms of trade likelihood, there are two ways of looking at this. On the one hand, the last thing the Red Sox are really in need of is an athletic, young outfielder. On the other hand, he hasn’t really done enough to build up value. At the end of the day, he’s more along the lines of Houck as someone who could be a trade candidate, but likely further down the line.

Likelihood: 3

8. Mike Shawaryn, RHP

Shawaryn is one of my favorite pitchers in the system (relative to ranking), which is reason number one why I believe he will be traded this winter. The strikeout stuff is really intriguing, but there are some command issues to be concerned about. Although I’ve made the case that the Red Sox should hold on to their pitching, Shawaryn is likely the guy to deal as he has a lower ceiling than some of the other names mentioned and is coming off a year in which he boosted his value.

Likelihood: 5

9. Alex Scherff, RHP

Scherff was drafted by the Red Sox this past summer as a high-bonus, later-round pick. He didn’t pitch at all as a pro in 2017, so he is largely an unknown. Based on scouting reports, though, there is huge upside here even if the floor is quite low. He is a fascinating prospect, and not one the team will likely look to move before he even throws a pitch for their organization.

Likelihood: 1

10. Jalen Beeks, LHP

As with Ockimey and Shawaryn, I am a big fan of Beeks but also foresee a solid case for trading him. Really, it largely comes down to how likely it is that Boston thinks he’ll stick as a major-league starter. Due to his size, there is still some concern that he’ll be a reliever in the long-term. For whatever it may be worth (not much, probably), I think he’ll stick as a starter. Either way, between role concerns and the logjam of back-end starting pitching depth currently on the roster, there’s a decent enough chance that Beeks could be trade bait this winter even after they just protected him from the Rule 5 draft.

Likelihood: 4