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Red Sox Top Prospect Voting: The curious case of Noah Song

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The impossible-to-rank prospect comes in at number four.

Noah Song
Kelly O’Connor; https://sittingstill.smugmug.com/

We are at a very interesting point on the list. The top three isn’t literally a consensus among evaluators, but if you were to ask all evaluators and scouts I think a convincing majority would have Triston Casas, Bobby Dalbec and Bryan Mata at the top of the list in some order. Opinions diverge a bit more after that, and it certainly showed in our voting this round. There were three guys very close together throughout the vote with one more not lagging too far behind himself. In the end, though, Noah Song came in at number four, grabbing 35 percent of the vote.

“Interesting” or “fascinating” are words I admittedly use a lot, and if we’re being honest they don’t carry a lot of weight. They are more crutch words that are used to describe something too complicated to sum up concisely and also mired in subjectivity so you don’t actually have to defend your point too strongly. Despite that, I’m going to use those words here and I don’t think there’s actually a whole lot of subjectivity here. Noah Song seems pretty clearly to be the most interesting and most fascinating prospect in the Red Sox system.

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? Or, not the beginning. I’m not going back to his birth. But we’ll go back to his college career, which Song spent at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. He wasn’t highly recruited out of high school — Perfect Game ranked him as the number 890 right-handed high school pitcher of his graduating class — but he started emerging as a legitimate pro prospect after stellar junior season. He told teams after that season that he would not sign if he was not selected in the top two rounds, he wasn’t, and so he headed back to Annapolis for his senior year.

He built upon his fantastic junior year with another standout season in 2019 as a senior, a year that was so good he was one of four finalists — along with Adley Rutschman (who won), J.J. Bleday and Andrew Vaughn — for the Golden Spikes Award, which goes to the best college player. The other three listed were high first round picks, but Song was a unique case, as his graduation from the Naval Academy came with a requirement that he would have to serve for two years before being allowed to pursue a professional career full-time. Many saw him as a first round talent, and there were whispers that the law stating this requirement could be overturned before the end of the calendar year, but the risk was too great for teams to pick him that early. Instead, he fell to the Red Sox in the fourth round.

So, the question of how he would spend 2020 and 2021 remained, but in the meantime he was able to spend the summer with the Spinners and he looked very good. As is often the case for pitchers in their first year in an organization, Song’s innings were limited, but he took advantage of his opportunities. The righty tossed 17 innings and pitched to a 1.06 ERA with 19 strikeouts and five walks. He also represented the U.S. at last fall’s Premier12 tournament, where once again he impressed those who saw him.

Now, the complication resurfaces as his status is still unclear. Towards the end of 2019 the White House did indeed issue an executive order that would allow athletes from military academies to apply for a waiver that would defer their required service. Song did indeed apply for the waiver, but the Department of Defense requested that his application be denied due to the fact that he graduated before the order was passed. That decision is not final, however, and we are still waiting for the final decision as of this writing. That being said, it probably seems more likely that he’ll spend his next two seasons serving for the Navy rather than playing for the Red Sox.

This is big, because Song is indeed one of the best prospects in the system. In fact, if I knew he were playing next season I would probably have him number two behind Casas, for whatever that may or may not be worth. He doesn’t really have ace upside, but he has a big fastball to go with a pair of breaking balls that project to be at least average with a decent chance to be better than that as well as a changeup that could get to average. He’s probably missing the true out-pitch type secondary to be a front-line starter, but a good number three could very much be in his future. Of course, that is very much up in the air with his development path being so unclear.

Generally, this is the point in the post where I talk about where the prospect will play in the coming season and what we can expect/should look for, but obviously I can’t do that here. It’s just a big ol’ shrug emoji. To be continued, I suppose!

Here is our list so far:

  1. Triston Casas
  2. Bobby Dalbec
  3. Bryan Mata
  4. Noah Song

Now, you can head down into the comments and vote for the number two. As a reminder, to do this you go down below and find the comment from me corresponding with the player for whom you’d like to vote. When you find said player, just click the “rec” button, and that will count your vote. To do this, you will need to be logged in as a member of the site. If you’d like to vote for a player who is not listed, just leave a comment saying “Vote for ___ here” and I’ll rec the comment to count your vote. Until next time...