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Red Sox Top Prospect Voting: Cameron Cannon looks to settle in

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After a struggle in his first taste of pro ball, Cameron Cannon look to prove he’s better than that.

Cameron Cannon
Kelly O’Connor; https://sittingstill.smugmug.com/

As I’ve mentioned for a few editions in a row, and will likely continue to mention moving forward for the rest of this list, we are in a portion of the Red Sox farm system that is tightly grouped. That won’t the case for everyone — we all have different opinions — but generally speaking, the aggregate opinions here are fairly grouped together. There have been a few blowout votes in a row despite that, but things tightened up a little bit in this one. It was still a somewhat decisive vote, however, with Cameron Cannon coming in at number 14 on our list (15 without Jeter Downs, who was added after the vote) after getting 39 percent of the vote.

Cannon was a fairly well thought of high schooler from Arizona who was drafted by his hometown Diamondbacks in the 21st round, but he ultimately decided to stay home at college instead. He went on to play shortstop for the the University of Arizona, where he had a very solid career. His best season at the plate came at the right time in his junior year, making him a potential day one pick in the draft. The Red Sox, meanwhile, found themselves in a strange position with this draft, having finished 2018 more than $40 million over the luxury tax threshold and thus dropping ten picks in the draft. That pushed their first selection down to the 43rd overall pick. It was there that they took Cannon.

This was a little bit of a reach for Cannon, to be fair, at least by a couple of the top public evaluators. Baseball America had Cannon ranked as the number 94 prospect while FanGraphs had him at 48. Still, the Red Sox were happy to take a solid hitting infield coming off a year in which he slashed .397/.478/.651 as a Wildcat.

Given that and the fact that he was in his age-21 season, he was pushed to Lowell for most of that first summer as a pro. Unfortunately, things didn’t exactly go according to plan in this first exposure to professional baseball. Cannon played in 45 games (with the first three coming in the GCL) and got 190 plate appearances. In them, he hit just .200/.284/.324. As we say many times and will say many times moving forward, it can be easy to underestimate the adjustment to amateur baseball to pro ball and we shouldn’t judge first summer struggles too harshly. That said, it has opened him up to needing to prove something in 2020.

As far as the scouting goes, there is a little bit of disagreement about Cannon. The agreement comes with his hit tool, which is his best quality at the plate. This isn’t an elite hit tool, but it’s good with a chance to settle in as above average at the highest level. The issue comes with his power. Right now, scouts don’t really see much and that showed in his performance at Lowell. However, some (including FanGraphs in the draft ranking linked above) have said there is a chance for a swing adjustment focused on his lower half that could open up more power. There’s always a risk such a change costs too much to the hit tool to be worth it, but it could be a key for Cannon reaching another level. It’s something to watch for this year, at the very least. Defensively, he was a shortstop in college but figures to transition to second base as a pro and could be a solid utility option all around the infield if his bat doesn’t turn into that of an everyday player.

In 2020, Cannon is likely going to get a shot to perform in Greenville. Like I said above, this is a big year for him to show some flashes of his potential. Although he wasn’t a first round pick technically speaking, he was Boston’s first selection last year and carries some of that pressure moving forward, fairly or unfairly.

Here’s our list so far:

1A. Jeter Downs

1B. Triston Casas

2. Bobby Dalbec

3. Bryan Mata

4. Noah Song

5. Gilberto Jimenez

6. Jay Groome

7. Jarren Duran

8. Thad Ward

9. Tanner Houck

10. Matthew Lugo

11. C.J. Chatham

12. Connor Wong

13. Nick Decker

14. Cameron Cannon

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...