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Baseball America’s top ten Red Sox prospects

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Prospect lists are already here!

Bobby Dalbec
Kelly O’Connor;

In the middle of Boston’s World Series run, Baseball American started their annual top ten lists for organizations around the league, and they started with the American League East. The Red Sox, in case you weren’t aware, play in the American League East! So, the most prominent prospect site’s list, which is put together by Alex Speier every year, was released at an inopportune time. I was not in the headspace to think about prospects at that point, so I let it go by for a bit, but it’s time we look at it. Prospect season is basically the entire offseason at this point, and it starts here. As always, I will not go too deeply into the scouting reports they provide, particularly for a paid site like BA. If you’re interested in what Speier and company have to say, you can follow this link. I will, however, provide the list and some of my thoughts.

  1. Bobby Dalbec, 3B
  2. Michael Chavis, 3B/1B
  3. Darwinzon Hernandez, LHP
  4. Jay Groome, LHP
  5. Triston Casas, 3B/1B
  6. Bryan Mata, RHP
  7. Tanner Houck, RHP
  8. Mike Shawaryn, RHP
  9. Antoni Flores, SS
  10. C.J. Chatham, SS
  • To start, just generally, this seems like a more exciting top ten than we’ve had in a few years. Granted, it’s still not a top-flight group and it’s in the bottom-third of the league, but the mix of talent is intriguing. There’s high upside, there’s relatively high floors that are close to the majors, there’s a nice mix of age as well as of pitching and hitting. Again, there is still plenty of work to do on the farm, but things could be worse. Of course, I may still be riding the high of the World Series win.
  • Dalbec being in the top spot was legitimately shocking to me. It’s not so much a knock on Dalbec — though I think I may be a bit lower on him than many, particularly if this ranking is any indication — but I didn’t think I’d see a single list in which Chavis was not number one. I would expect Chavis to be the lone top 100 guy from this system on just about every list around the internet when those start dropping. This ranking means Speier either believes Dalbec is also a top 100 guy or that Chavis is not. I would disagree with both of those sentiments.
  • Generally, I think Chavis has gotten to the point where he might be a bit underrated. I don’t think he’s a future superstar, but he proved last year that his bat was for real, and he improved his contact rate to the point that it will play in the majors. That’s not something Dalbec has done just yet. The latter certainly has the higher ceiling, but I’m much more sure that Chavis will make some impact at the highest level, and it should happen next season.
  • On the other hand, I’m a big fan of seeing Hernandez at number three. I’m trying not to be too publicly excited about Hernandez because I haven’t had a chance to see him in person yet, but everything I’ve heard has me feeling pretty good. I think he has a better chance at starting than a lot of people do (again, don’t hold me to that until I actually see him though), but even if he doesn’t all indications are that he has the stuff to succeed in relief. That he’s been dominating the Arizona Fall League only helps fuel that excitement.
  • I’m glad I don’t have to do these kind of rankings, because I have no idea what I’d do with Groome. He probably still has the highest ceiling in the system, but he’s also probably not going to really pitch again until 2020. He may get a few starts in 2019, but I expect them to be later in the year and I’m not sure how much we’ll be able to learn from them. On the other hand, even in 2020 he’ll still be in his age-21 season. For context, Hernandez just finished his age-21 season.
  • The Mata vs. Houck debate is a really interesting one, and it has been since the start of last season. Both guys were a little disappointing in 2018, but both showed encouraging signs. For Mata, the scouts were a little higher on him than the numbers would indicate, though his sudden loss of command is not something that can be ignored. Houck, meanwhile, switched back to his college style of pitching with a two-seam fastball and after making that change he looked much better. I suspect Mata being ahead on this list is because he probably has a better chance at starting, but I like Houck slightly better as a guy who could make an impact starting or relieving. I don’t think it’s a meaningful difference in favor of whoever you have in front either way, though.
  • Flores is the name to watch this year if you’re looking for a prospect with a chance to explode onto the national scene. Granted, I wouldn’t be expecting it in 2019, but the tools are there. The shortstop was part of the 2017 July 2 class and was a quick promotion to the GCL in his first pro season. Unfortunately, injuries cut his season short but the 18-year-old will be at full strength next year. Flores is a strong bat with a good chance to stick at shortstop and play the position well, and if his development goes well he could be at least a top three guy in this system by this point next year.