Unlike most years we do this, there wasn’t a clear number one prospect for this year’s list, with two players having a fair claim to the title. Triston Casas, as we know, ended up getting the nod, and did so by what was frankly a surprising margin. That made the vote for number two fairly easy, and while this one was actually closer than I expected for a bit, ultimately Marcelo Mayer was able to pull away and take the number two slot with 56 percent of the votes.
Unlike Nick Yorke, the team’s previous first round pick who was also a middle infielder coming out of high school in California, Mayer was not really a pop up prospect who sort of came out of nowhere. Instead, the latter was on the prospect map basically since the moment he stepped on a high school field, even committing to the University of Southern California after just a year in high school ball. By the time he’d finished his high school career, Mayer had been named Mr. Baseball in California and was ranked by many as the top prospect in the 2021 draft.
Now, in my estimation that last part has been a bit misconstrued since it happened. For one thing, he was not the consensus number one prospect in the draft, nor was he seen by anyone — even those who did rank him number one — as the sort of no-brainer generational talent like other top picks such as Bryce Harper or Stephen Strasburg. That said, he was recognized as an incredibly talented player at a premium position, and in the days leading up to the draft it seemed more and more likely that he’d go number one overall to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
By the time draft day rolled around, I think many of us were hoping Jack Leiter would fall to Boston with the fourth pick, with Henry Davis seeming like the most likely selection. Mayer was really the one prospect who seemed like he had no chance to end up with the Boston Red Sox. Then, Davis surprisingly went number one, and Mayer kept falling. As we know now, Mayer did indeed end up falling down to number four, and while there were some whispers of the Red Sox potentially going under slot with this pick, they jumped at the opportunity to take a premium talent like Mayer that they so rarely have a chance to nab in the draft.
As expected, the Red Sox did get a deal done with Mayer to put him in the organization and he spent the summer down on the complex in the Florida Complex League. It being his first taste of pro ball on the heels of his high school graduation, he understandably didn’t get a ton of time, we did get some taste of what he looks like on the field. Playing in 26 games, Mayer hit .275/.377/.440 on the season.
In terms of scouting, it’s a lot of projection right now considering that he’s played in only 26 games as a pro and only just turned 19 about six weeks ago. That said, there is a clear path here for Mayer to be a special player. First of all, defensively signs point towards him being able to stick at shortstop. There is always a chance that a player of his age puts on more muscle than we expect and the mobility reduces such that a move is necessary, but at this point he has the athleticism, instincts, and arm you want to see at shortstops.
Adding to that, he has the kind of approach at the plate a fan can dream about. The power isn’t quite there right now, but again given his age we are expecting more physical development as he moves up the later and his average-at-best current power could easily move to the above-average range, with Sox Prospects even mentioning a possibility of that tool being plus. That’s encouraging, because right now it’s the hit tool that stands out with his ability to spray line drives to all fields on top of an approach that is well beyond his years.
For all of those reasons, the 2022 season should be a really exciting one for fans who follow the Red Sox farm system. Despite the young age, Mayer will almost certainly be in full-season ball to start next season, playing in Salem just like Yorke did a year ago. It’s always important to keep expectations in check and remember this will be a 19-year-old who was sitting in high school classes at this time last year, but there is a chance for him to put himself among the very best prospects in baseball with a big year.
Here is our list so far:
- Triston Casas, 1B
- Marcelo Mayer, SS
Now, you can head down into the comments and vote for the number three 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...