While the 2020 season was undeniably a miserable one for Red Sox fans to watch unfold, with horrendous pitching taking that roster down basically as soon as the season began, the light at the end of that tunnel came the following summer with the draft. Picking number four, the Red Sox had a chance to take a system-changing kind of player, and things went about as well as anyone could have hoped for when Marcelo Mayer, who many believed was the top prospect in the entire class, fell to them. Unfortunately, he has not been able to play as much as we had hoped so far in his first full season of play, and now he’s going to be out for a bit longer. As first reported by Chris Hatfield of SoxProspects, Mayer is being placed on the minor-league injured list and is back in Boston to get some testing done on his wrist.
The Red Sox were always planning on taking it easy with Mayer this year, who is just one year removed from high school. Even if he were completely healthy, they were planning on giving him some time off here and there as a sort of workload management to ease him into professional ball. But the time off has been more than they were going to give in that plan because he’s had some soreness in his wrist. Alex Speier importantly notes that the pain isn’t necessarily getting worse, but there is some concern that it is also not improving, hence the tests. We should note that the minor-league injured list is only a seven-day stint, so this isn’t necessarily something that will keep him out super long.
When Mayer has been able to play this season, we’ve seen the flashes of why people were so excited about him coming out of high school and why, even with his lack of experience, he is either the best or second best prospect in the system by every ranking. So far this season he is hitting .333/.386/.507. He’s striking out a bit more than you’d like to see with a nearly 28 percent rate, but again, he’s one year removed from high school. It’s understandable. The issue is he’s only played in 17 games. In fact, he’s only played in four games this entire month of May, and even then he has four doubles in those games.
So for now, we wait to see what the diagnosis is. It’s never a good thing for a top prospect to start his career playing time this inconsistent, to say nothing about dealing with a potential injury. That said, it’s still not a moment to panic about this injury either. If the pain was worsening I’d be more concerned, but as things stand now and given what we know, I’m thinking this is more of a precaution than any major concern. But of course, we’ll be keeping an eye on this situation to see how it develops.