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Baseball Prospectus releases Red Sox top prospects list

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The system is still lacking at the top, but there are some interesting names.

Triston Casas
Kelly O’Connor; sittingstill.smugmug.com

The offseason as really just begun, at least in terms of free agency opening up and players starting to change hands, but we are already in the beginning of prospect season. Baseball Prospectus just started with their organizational lists this week, but they happened to start this run with the American League East. As such, the Red Sox were second in line. The list was released on Wednesday, with a couple of obvious choices and rankings as well as a few surprises.

Before we get into it, I will remind you that Baseball Prospectus is behind a paywall so I won’t go too much into their write-ups. Instead I will list out their top ten and just give a few of my observations from the rankings and some of their other observations of the system. The full top ten is below.

  1. Triston Casas, 1B
  2. Noah Song, RHP
  3. Bobby Dalbec, 3B
  4. Jarren Duran, OF
  5. Thad Ward, RHP
  6. Jay Groome, LHP
  7. Bryan Mata, RHP
  8. Tanner Houck, RHP
  9. Gilberto Jimenez, OF
  10. Matthew Lugo, SS
  • We’ll start right at the top, where there is certainly no surprise. There are probably a few who may disagree with Casas being the top guy in the Red Sox farm system largely due to him being a first base-only prospect, but he is something close to a consensus as number one. Casas’ bat is extremely impressive for someone his age and he more than held his own in his full-season debut one year out of high school after a slow start. In a way, recovering from that slow start is more encouraging than just rolling through the league from the jump as he showed the ability to make necessary adjustments against professional pitching. They are a little lower on his defense than some others I’ve spoken to, but as a first baseman that is not a massive shift in overall value.
Noah Song
Kelly O’Connor; sittingstill.smugmug.com
  • Song at the number two spot fascinates me, which is not the same as saying I disagree with it. I think it is basically impossible to find a logical place for the former Naval Academy star at this point given the lack of clarity of what will happen over the next two years. For those who don’t know, Song is committed to a service requirement for the next two years. He is scheduled to attend flight school, but there is still a chance if he can get a deferment. If he is able to go right into the system, the talent is there for him to be a pretty clear number two and possibly an argument for him to be number one in the system. If he’s not, I’m not sure you can really rank him at all since he’ll be out of baseball for two years. It’s a strange and unique situation.
  • My first disagreement comes between the three and four spots, as I would swap Dalbec and Duran. I suspect I am in the minority on that one. Dalbec showed legitimate strides last year, cutting his strikeout rate down to 25 percent in Portland and 23 percent in a short stint with Pawtucket. That is the key to his success, as the power is out-of-this-world and he draws a good number of walks to boot. The swing and miss scares me, and arguably more than it should. As for Duran, I’ve long been higher on his hit tool and just general value than most. With the comparison to Dalbec, the big separator for me is a distinction in floor.
  • I’m really intrigued by Ward being the highest-ranked pitcher in the system that is guaranteed to be playing next season. I’m not sure if I would be that bold, but there is certainly a case. Ward’s numbers jumped off the page in 2018, and it wasn’t just a case of a more advanced pitcher feasting on raw hitters in the lower levels. Ward added a cutter to his repertoire that took his game to the next level and the reports were not really dismissive of the big numbers. It’s hard to totally buy into any pitcher in this system that hasn’t yet reached the upper levels considering Boston’s history developing arms, but Ward’s made strides.
  • I have no idea what to make of Groome. I could talk myself putting him in the top three and I could talk myself into not having him in the top ten at all. Ultimately I probably land closer to the latter. Although he is still only 21 (he doesn’t turn 22 until the end of next year’s minor-league season), he just hasn’t pitched enough. Over his entire professional career — he was drafted back in 2016 — he has thrown just 66 innings. The stuff is still there and if he can stay healthy the upside is undeniable, but at a certain point you have to see it.
  • Mata and Houck are two upper-level arms who many have pegged for a relief role. I think I’m a little more optimistic about Mata’s ability to stick as a starter, though there is also a clear bias here. Either way, both guys have the stuff to stick excel even in relief.
  • Jimenez and Lugo are two of the most intriguing young position players in the system. BP’s view on the former pretty much aligns with mine at this point, with them perhaps giving him a little less leeway on the hit tool given he has just started switch hitting. Lugo is someone I admittedly don’t have a whole lot of information on at this point, though they are much less optimistic about him being able to stick at shortstop than what I’ve come to understand.
  • BP also ranks the 11-20 prospects in the system, albeit with a less in-depth write-up than the top ten. The biggest surprise to me there was seeing Jaxx Groshans ranked in the number 16 spot. It was referred to as a compromise ranking, implying some probably thought of him as a borderline top ten prospect. For whatever it’s worth, Sox Prospects has him ranked number 56.

This is the first non-Sox Prospects list to be released this year, which means it’s time to start the composite rankings spreadsheet. For the average ranking calculation, anyone who is unranked is counted as being one spot beyond the final listed ranking for the given publication. For example, a prospect who is unranked by Sox Prospects will be counted as being ranked 61st.

Red Sox Top Prospects

Player Sox Prospects Baseball Prospectus Baseball America Fangraphs Average
Player Sox Prospects Baseball Prospectus Baseball America Fangraphs Average
Triston Casas 1 1 1 1 1.0
Bobby Dalbec 5 3 2 3 4.3
Bryan Mata 2 7 3 2 4.7
Jarren Duran 6 4 4 9 7.7
Noah Song 8 2 9 4 7.7
Gilberto Jimenez 4 9 8 5 8.7
Jay Groome 3 6 7 14 10.0
Thad Ward 10 5 6 10 10.3
Tanner Houck 7 8 10 8 11.0
Matthew Lugo 13 10 NA 6 13.3
C.J. Chatham 9 12 NA 19 17.0
Cameron Cannon 16 17 NA 7 17.0
Nick Decker 15 15 NA 13 18.0
Antoni Flores 18 14 NA 15 19.3
Ryan Zeferjahn 11 11 NA 26 19.7
Brayan Bello 17 NA NA 11 20.0
Chris Murphy 14 NA NA 20 22.0
Aldo Ramirez 12 20 NA 28 23.7
Brandon Howlett 22 NA NA 18 24.0
Durbin Feltman 24 13 NA 25 24.3
Marcus Wilson 20 NA NA 22 24.7
Ceddanne Rafaela 19 NA NA NA 28.3
Brainer Bonaci 40 NA NA 16 29.3
Bryan Gonzalez 41 NA NA 17 30.0
Yoan Aybar 30 19 NA 31 30.3
Jaxx Groshans 56 16 NA NA 39.0
Dedgar Jimenez NA 18 NA NA 41.3
Chih-Jung Liu* 24** 12
Darwinzon Hernandez* 5