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Red Sox Top Prospect Voting: Brainer Bonaci looks to make the leap

He’s gotten a bit of helium of late, and he could really experience it next year,

Brainer Bonaci
Kelly O’Connor;

In our latest addition in which Durbin Feltman won our vote, breaking a short streak of two consecutive lower-level position players. It turns out that was a very short break, because we are back there. It makes sense that players with upside who are further away would start to be picked now as we are this deep in the system. It’s easier to dream on players in the 20s than going out on that limb in the top ten or even twenty. This time around it was 2019 DSL standout Brainer Bonaci, who comes in as our number 25 prospect with 35 percent of the vote.

Given that Bonaci is a young player who is more projection than actual output, we obviously don’t have as much history to go on here. The young shortstop was signed by the Red Sox a week later most of the than the top-of-the-class international signings in 2018 because he had to wait for his 16th birthday, but got a solid $290,000 signing bonus out of Venezuela. It’s not an eye-popping bonus, but it’s enough to know the Red Sox had some expectations for him.

He would end up making his professional debut this past summer where he spent the entire short-season in the Dominican Summer League. In his age-17 season, he fared fairly well against DSL pitching. Bonaci played in 61 games and got 258 plate appearances, hitting a very solid .282/.360/.401 with three homers and 14 doubles, the latter of which would be 32 in 600 plate appearances. It’s always tough to get a good read on numbers from the DSL with such a stark difference in talent in the league and with fewer scouts getting looks, but it is worth mentioning that he showed good plate discipline with a walk rate just over eight percent and a strikeout rate below 14 percent.

In terms of those scouting reports, people are a little split when it comes to Bonaci, which is to be expected for a non-premium prospect who has only gotten experience in the DSL. Defensively, he spent most of the time last summer as a shortstop and there is reason to think he can stick there. He has the athleticism to play up the middle and him growing out of the position is not a big concern. He also has a huge arm which could allow him to move to third if need be and can be a major weapon in the hole if he does indeed stick at shortstop. Offensively, Bonaci is a hit tool player first and foremost who hits line drives from both sides of the plate and has the discipline to go with it that could make him a potential top of the lineup hitter. The big question is his power. I alluded to his size a bit earlier, and he is listed at just 5’10”, 140 pounds. There’s some surprising pop in that frame, but unless he fills out significantly it’s probably more in the 10-15 homer variety with an ability to hit a bunch of doubles on top of it. According to both FanGraphs and MLB Pipeline he was a popular ask from other teams at last year’s trade deadline.

In terms of the way his stock has seemed to rise from the start of last summer to right now, I’m getting some real Gilberto Jimenez vibes here. I do want to pull back on that a bit because he wasn’t quite as impressive in the DSL nor does he get the same kind of make up reviews. Bonaci doesn’t have a negative reputation in that respect at all, but people couldn’t stop raving about Jimenez’s last spring. Bonaci is also likely to be pushed a little less if there is baseball in 2020, likely looking for a spot on the GCL roster rather than a push to Lowell. Either way, he has a chance to make a huge, huge leap for next year’s list.

Here’s our list so far:

1. Jeter Downs

2. Triston Casas

3. Bobby Dalbec

4. Bryan Mata

5. Noah Song

6. Gilberto Jimenez

7. Jay Groome

8. Jarren Duran

9. Thad Ward

10. Tanner Houck

11. Matthew Lugo

12. C.J. Chatham

13. Connor Wong

14. Nick Decker

15. Cameron Cannon

16. Marcus Wilson

17. Aldo Ramirez

18. Brayan Bello

19. Ryan Zeferjahn

20. Chris Murphy

21. Chih-Jung Liu

22. Bryan Gonzalez

23. Antoni Flores

24. Durbin Feltman

25. Brainer Bonaci

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...