The farm system for the Boston Red Sox has experienced an overhaul over the last couple of seasons, with last year in particular being a milestone in the organization’s quest to build a better pipeline of young talent coming up through the minors. Between newly added talent from the draft and international signings and breakouts from players who had already been in the system, the farm is both deeper and more talented on the top end than it has been in years. We’ll get to all of that a bunch, I’m sure, throughout this voting process. But for the top spot, it has stayed the same as it was last year at this time with Triston Casas holding down the number one slot in the system. It was surprisingly not close, with the first base prospect grabbing 64 percent of the vote.
Casas has been an impact player basically since the moment he entered the organization, being selected with the team’s first round pick in the 2018 draft. A high school slugger with some hit tool questions at that time, Casas didn’t really get to show off his skillset too much in that first year due to injury, but he got right to work in 2019, his first full season. Despite having been in high school just a year prior, the 6’5” infielder was put in full-season ball right off the bat in that first real pro experience. As one can imagine, there were some growing pains at times in that season, but overall it was a strong year in which he hit .254/.349/.472 in 493 plate appearances. (Casas also got a couple of games at the end of that season in High-A in addition to some playoff games with Salem.)
Obviously, Casas then wasn’t really a part of the equation in 2020 with minor-league ball being shut down, making an appearance at the Alternate Site and providing more reason for optimism there, but nothing in terms of game action. That brings us to last season, which reinforced his standing in the organization in what was a very busy year for the young slugger.
In terms of his time in affiliated ball, Casas spent almost the entire season in Portland facing Double-A competition before a late-season call-up to Triple-A Worcester. Over 329 plate appearances with the Sea Dogs he hit .284/.395/.484, with a lot of that production coming late in his time in Maine thanks to a late-season surge. He’d also hit .242/.381/.485 in a small 42-plate appearance sample in Triple-A.
In addition to those performances, though, Casas was also going back and forth between affiliated ball and playing for Team USA, participating in both the Olympic qualifiers and the Games themself. The organization’s top prospect gained some unique experience playing on a roster with a mix of other top prospects and major-league veterans who were without a team. And on top of being able to immerse himself in that environment, which is plenty valuable in its own right, he was also one of the top players on the team during their run in Tokyo.
As mentioned, Casas is a first base prospect, which does put a good amount of pressure on his bat to almost max out if he’s going to live up to some of his lofty rankings. The good news from a scouting perspective is that he looks like he can certainly do that. The hit tool questions from his high school days still exist to some extent in the sense that he can still be fooled by some offspeed pitches. That said, he struck out just 19 percent of the time in Double-A and carried the same rate in that small sample at Triple-A. That rate presumably would, of course, increase upon a promotion to the majors, but given the strides he’s made to this point in his professional career it’s reasonable to think he could get to a point where he’s consistently carrying average strikeout rates, give or take a couple percentage points in either direction.
That doesn’t sound like big praise, but it is when you consider everything else he can do with the bat. For anyone’s first time seeing Casas, it’s his size (listed at 6’4”, 252 pounds) that stands out, and he has the power to match. This past season in affiliated ball he hit 14 homers in 371 plate appearances and carried a .205 Isolated Power (SLG - AVG). When he connects, it will go a long way. That said, to me what really sets him apart at the plate is his ability to control the zone and work walks, carrying a 15 percent walk rate this past season. If he can pair an average hit tool with this plus power and well above-average plate discipline, there’s no reason Casas can’t be a middle-of-the-order hitter for a long time.
As far as the defense goes, although he was nominally drafted as a third baseman and got some sporadic time there early in his career, that was never really the plan. First base defense certainly is not as valuable as other positions on the diamond, though personally I do think it’s something the royal we as a baseball community underrates. At the cold corner, Casas has all of the skills and attributes to be an average-to-above-average player at the position.
My guess would be this is the last time we’ll see Casas on this prospect list because he is on track to make his major-league debut next season. With Bobby Dalbec’s second-half breakout last season there’s no reason to rush him up to start the season, but starting the season in Triple-A should put him on track for a midseason promotion at the latest.
Here is our list so far:
- Triston Casas, 1B
Now, you can head down into the comments and vote for the number two prospect. 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. We encourage discussion, of course, but please don’t comment under specific players’ names. Instead, scroll to the bottom to start a new comment thread in order to keep the players at the top of the comment section. Until next time...