The Red Sox are going to be without a few of their best prospects in the organization for the next couple of weeks, though it won’t be due to injury or anything like that. Instead, a few minor-league players in the system will head off to represent their countries in qualifying games for the Olypmics, which are still set to be held this summer. For Team USA, Jarren Duran and Triston Casas will be part of the roster. You can see the roster in its entirety here.
It should be noted that this is a 28-man roster for the training camp — the games start May 31 and run for a week, but the players will be away from their affiliates starting this week — and that the roster will be cut down to 26 players for the games. Presumably whoever gets cut will remain with the team, though, so don’t expect Duran or Casas to come back within the next couple of weeks even if they don’t make it out of camp. They are not the only Red Sox representatives on Team USA, either, as minor league outfield and baserunning coordinators Darren Fenster is part of the coaching staff. He’ll be coaching third base.
In addition to them, the Red Sox will lose a couple more minor leaguers to represent other countries. Per Chris Hatfield over at Sox Prospects, Jeter Downs (who, along with Casas and Duran makes up the top three of the organizational prospect rankings) will represent Team Colombia while left-handed pitcher Enmanuel De Jesus will pitch for Venezuela.
There’s been some concern I’ve seen about these guys leaving the organization for a few weeks, but I have a hard time seeing this as a negative, particularly for the guys on Team USA. They are going to be getting reps, and there really isn’t any more injury risk here than there would be in normal minor-league games. And for Duran and Casas, they are going to be on a roster with a lot of familiar veterans. That includes players like Todd Frazier, Matt Kemp, Matt Wieters, Homer Bailey, Jon Jay, and more. Being around those veterans is no small thing, and especially for a guy like Duran who will be up at some point this summer, getting to spend some time with guys who have been there and have played at a high level can only be a positive.