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Red Sox minor-league preview: Portland Sea Dogs

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Today we preview the upcoming season for the Portland Sea Dogs

MLB: Spring Training-Boston Red Sox at Toronto Blue Jays
Poor Rafael Devers can’t catch a break with these pictures.
Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

As we get closer and closer to the start of the season, I’ll be spending the next few days looking at the expected rosters for each full-season minor-league club in the Red Sox organization. Today, we’ll look at my local team in Portland, Maine. For reference, I’m using the projected rosters provided by the team at Sox Prospects.

Quick Summary

If you play fantasy baseball, you’ve likely heard of the “stars and scrubs” strategy in auctions. If you don’t play fantasy baseball, you can probably use context clues to figure out what that means. To say the Sea Dogs roster is a “stars and scrubs” group would be a little unfair, but it’s also sort of true. Except instead of “stars” it’s “star” and instead of “scrubs” it’s “mostly organizational prospects and future fringe relievers.”

The Star

The good news is, this team’s star is a capital-S Star. Rafael Devers is expected to make the leap to Double-A this year, and as someone who lives in Portland I’m stoked about it. This is often referred to as the toughest jump to make on the minor-league ladder, and it’ll certainly be a test for Devers. His bat should be able to handle the more advanced pitching though, particularly on the power side of things. What’ll be more interesting to watch is how he looks at third base, as his staying there is important for the future of the organization. If he plays well here, he could easily be promoted to Pawtucket or even Boston by August.

The Sleeper

There really weren’t many good options to choose from in this one. In the end, I wound up choosing Danny Mars. His ceiling isn’t huge, but he has the kind of skillset that can sneak up on people and lead to a major-league career. The former sixth round pick can handle all three outfield spots defensively. He’s a good athlete who uses speed and instincts to his advantage in the field and on the base paths. At the plate, there’s no semblance of power in the bat but he has good bat-to-ball skills and the potential for being a strong on-base threat if he maxes out his potential.

The Rest

  • Jordan Procyshen was one of Boston’s roster cuts on Tuesday and is a strong defensive catcher who should help Portland’s pitchers all year. He has a slim chance at being a backup catcher at the highest level.
  • Nick Longhi is the second-most exciting prospect on this roster, as he’ll try to get his power to play up to its full potential. With Portland having a few candidates to fill their outfield, he’ll probably spend a good amount of time at first base but they’ll want to get him his time in the corner outfield spots as well.
  • Cole Sturgeon spent most of last season in Portland as well and has gotten some time in major-league camp this spring. Like Mars, he’s a contact-oriented hitter, but if he can show off that contact he’ll be in Pawtucket soon enough.
  • Teddy Stankiewicz is one of my very favorite prospects in this post-Dubon farm system, though it’s almost entirely because of his name. On the mound, he doesn’t really have a putaway pitch and struggles with command at time. He’d be repeating the level if he heads back to Portland, and a relief role could be in his future if he doesn’t improve at the start of the season.
  • Jalen Beeks opened some eyes with his dominant performance against Team USA last week. Unfortunately, expecting something like that in the future would be unfair. Still, he’s got some real talent and could be a useful reliever despite currently pitching out of Portland’s rotation.
  • Trey Ball is one of the most disappointing former prospects in all of baseball. This is likely his final chance to work out as a starter and it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s trying it out with the bat at this time next year.
  • Ben Taylor is a relief prospect who has gotten some hype this spring but still has to work on getting one of his secondaries up a grade or two if he wants to stick long-term in the majors.
  • Austin Maddox will also pitch out of the bullpen and has also gotten some run in spring training. He is a lesser version of Taylor with similar problems but a slightly worse fastball off which to work.
  • Jamie Callahan is a former second round pick who didn’t work out as a starter and is now trying things out as a reliever. He has decent enough stuff to be a fringe major leaguer at some point, but that’ll only happen if he can refine his command.
  • Williams Jerez was on the 40-man roster last year, but couldn’t get over the hump out of Portland’s bullpen. He has intriguing stuff, but the former outfielder needs to be more consistent with his command to take it to the next level.
  • Yankory Pimentel is yet another reliever with some intrigue. He opened some eyes in his first full-season last year at Salem and might be the most interesting long-term arm of this group. He probably has the best stuff, but he’s still a little rough around the edges and needs to find some consistency.