The Red Sox are having a great season in the majors, having currently won three in a row to put them back to within a game of the red-hot Rays. This is much better than most were expecting from this club, and that performance in the majors has rightfully overshadowed what has also been a fairly exciting season on the farm. It hasn’t been all roses, but things are generally trending in the right direction, and that doesn’t even include whoever they will be adding with the number four overall pick this year.
WIth the major-league squad off today, I figured it was a good time to catch up on a few things from the past week or so we’ve heard from national evaluators regarding both the Red Sox system as a whole as well as potential draft outcomes next month.
FanGraphs Top 100 Update
Earlier this week, FanGraphs’ prospect team led by Eric Longenhagen and former Astros executive Kevin Goldstein updated their top prospect board, which can be found here. As a companion piece to that update, they provided small write-ups for some of the players who saw substantial jumps up the list, and two Red Sox players qualified there.
We’ll start with the number one prospect in the organization, which remains Triston Casas. The first baseman isn’t as high as we saw in the latest Baseball America top 100 update, which put him in the top 30 among all prospects in baseball, but he did jump up to number 42 on the FanGraphs list, between Alek Thomas of the Diamondbacks and Jazz Chisholm Jr. of the Marlins. Perhaps more notably, they also bumped his Future Value (here is a Future Value primer) up to a 55, which they note in the companion piece is very rare for a first base-only player. They note this is a higher rating than they gave to the prospect versions of Rhys Hoskins and Pete Alonso.
The other big mover, which should not be surprising, was Duran. Again, this is not nearly to the extent of the BA rankings, which also had him in the top 30, but FanGraphs was lower on him to start the year. He is now a 50 Future Value player for them and comes in at number 72 overall, right between Oswaldo Peraza of the Yankees and JJ Bleday of the Marlins. The companion piece notes Duran’s swing changes and how they have positively impacted his batted ball profile, and also note that while his outfield defense is still spotty at times, it is viable.
We should also note that while Jeter Downs has not improved his stock and did not get a write-up in the companion piece, he does sit between Casas and Duran at number 50 on the list. He is sitting between Jasson Dominguez of the Yankees and Joey Bart of the Giants.
Signs pointing to Jack Leiter
We are inside a month remaining until the draft, and the top few picks are still seemingly up in the air. For the Red Sox picking at number four, it still appears they could go in a number of different directions. But with that said, Jack Leiter is emerging as the favorite. The real eye-opener on that front was FanGraphs’ mock draft from Monday, in which they had Leiter going to the Red Sox. That on its own isn’t super notable, but the accompanying write-up is. It may have been the shortest write-up in the whole mock, but it packed a punch.
KG: Word is Leiter is trying to price himself down to Boston and wants to land there. Word is that Boston would love that as well. Thus, a match made in heaven.
Well then. For a little clarification on what that exactly means, Goldstein had a chat later that day and explained it like this:
Kevin Goldstein: He’s throwing out, or going to throw out big bonus demands in order to scare the three teams picking ahead of Boston.
This is certainly not the first time a player has tried this kind of thing, and it doesn’t always work. It’s certainly possible that one of the three teams picking ahead of Boston — Pittsburgh, Texas, and Detroit — call Leiter’s bluff and make him really decide whether he’d go back to school if his bonus demands aren’t met. So this process is far from over, but it seems like there is mutual interest between Leiter, who was the presumed 1-1 just about a month ago, and the Red Sox.
To add a little more fuel to that fire, MLB Pipeline updated their mock this week as well, and they also had Leiter going to the Red Sox. They did note, however, that Leiter’s performance in the Super Regional could boost his stock enough to go earlier. Leiter will also pitch in Omaha this weekend, giving him another chance to boost that stock. MLB Pipeline also mentioned Louisville catcher Henry Davis as well as the high school shortstops — most notably Marcelo Mayer and Jordan Lawlar — as possibilities for the Red Sox as well.