Minor League Predictions: A pitcher, an ace (maybe?), and a suspended infielder walk into a bar...

The Red Sox minor league system is far less interesting than the big club, and few players at the lower levels are drawing my attention this year. This isn’t even a slight on the system—there’s just been so much graduation lately that the system needs time to be replenished.

I have long been a Jalen Beeks fan. I have seen him pitch in person a couple of times and I believe he will be a legit rotation arm at some point in the future, possibly sooner rather than later. Michael Chavis had a ‘breakout’ last year and is set up nicely to make a run at a strong season this year. (EDIT: His suspension for PEDs obviously impacts his value both on the field and as a tradable asset. Hopefully his story is true and this is a one-time situation but it’s so difficult to shake a reputation like he now has. Only time will tell.) There are the higher level AAAA guys who make the trip back and forth between Pawtucket and Boston, namely Brian Johnson, Hector Velazquez, and Tzu-Wei Lin. I expect some good things from that group, but nothing spectacular. For the most part, these guys are who we though they were. Valuable depth with a small amount of upside, but almost certainly not aces, superstars, or much of anything close to that.

One guy, however, just may have it: Jay Groome. He spent the offseason working out with Chris Sale, which may or may not have led to a recent injury but I’m not doctor (or scout, or coach, or analyst) so I’ll leave that alone. Either way, his health has been a concern but for someone so young there is just too much room to grow to not be excited about Groome. He could be a legit front-line starter, or even an ace. He could also fail miserably. We just don’t know.

That’s the fun of minor league baseball, after all. We all have our favorite prospects, we all root for the lifers who may finally get their shot, and ultimately, it’s a humbling experience where we see people with skills far superior to our own who are still not even in MLB and may never get there. You just never really know what’s going to happen, who’s going to explode onto the scene, or who will fade away.

My prediction is that by the end of the MiLB season Jay Groome will finally be healthy and pitching regularly again, giving us fans someone to follow closely on the mound to go along with Chavis at the plate (EDIT: yup, see above.). Outside of that, I will be lucky enough to attend at least two Portland Sea Dogs games this season when they visit Erie, PA. Other than that, let’s hope some of these young arms develop and the homers start flying for Sam Travis!

Let's go Sawks, Sea Dawgs, Drive, baby Sawks and the rest of the system!