Every month in 2023, I’ll be taking a look throughout the Red Sox minor-league organization, identifying risers, fallers, promotions, and storylines at each level. For this month, I wanted to highlight three players at each level, as well as an early season potential riser. In Part One last week, we looked at Worcester and Portland, and today we’re moving along to Greenville and Salem. (Note: Shane Drohan, featured in last week’s piece... still a stud). While there are many great prospect lists, I’ll be listing the ranking off of the illustrious and highly recommended Sox Prospects crew, shown in parentheses next to each player.
Greenville Drive (High-A):
3 To Watch in 2023:
Marcelo Mayer (Sox Prospects Rank: #1)
If you were interested enough to click into this page, you likely don’t need the backstory on Marcelo Mayer. The fourth overall pick in 2021, a left-handed hitting high school shortstop from California, Mayer checked all the boxes in his first full-season last year and now sits at #1 on any respectable Red Sox prospect list. Over 89 games at Low-A and High-A, Mayer hit for average (.286 and .265, respectively), had a good eye at the plate (16.6% and 14.7% BB-rates), smacked 13 combined home runs, and stole 17 bases, all while playing plus defense at shortstop. He is a future cornerstone player who could debut as early as 2024 if he forces his way up, or if Chaim Bloom runs out of healthy players to play the position.
2023: After a 2-for-20 start, the 20-year-old Mayer is hitting .371 (13/35) over his past nine games with two steals. He spoke with mlb.com recently about his injuries in 2022, and how he is taking them as a learning experience going forward.
Stats: 14 G, 66 PA, .273/.394/.418, 1 HR, 11 RBI, 7 R, 2 SB, 11 B, 16 K
Eddinson Paulino (#10)
Paulino is listed at 5’10”, 155 lbs, but plays bigger than that. At Low-A Salem, his 13 home runs, 35 doubles, and 10 triples in his first year of full-season ball impressed prospect pundits and shot him into the top-11 prospects at both Sox Prospects and Baseball America. Along with the extra-base hits, Paulino showed great plate discipline with a 11.9% BB-rate and a 19.5% K-rate. He should be able to play league-average defense at either second or third base, but is also getting experience at shortstop and outfield at times, and his speed (27 SBs last year) should help his all-around profile.
2023: Getting his first shot at high-A, Paulino has slumped to open the season with just a .156 average and a 21 wRC+ in 14 games. Fortunately, the K-rate is low and his BABIP is an unlucky .173. Far too early to draw any conclusions for the 20-year-old.
Stats: 14 G, 68 PA, .156/.206/.250, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 6 R, 3 SB, 4 BB, 11 K
Blaze Jordan (#18)
The suavest name in the system, Blaze (not to be confused with Bleis) was drafted at just 17-years-old in the third round of the 2020 draft and signed away from Mississippi St. with a strong $1.75M bonus.
2023: Jordan has shown off his power in recent days, both with a 4-for-5 game with a home run over the weekend, as well as with this towering blast to center on Tuesday evening.
Blaze Jordan moon shot. His second of the year!— Greenville Drive (@GreenvilleDrive) April 25, 2023
Drive 4, Renegades 0 pic.twitter.com/7RyVjyUEsr
He has struck out 17 times in 59 at-bats, however, and he’ll likely need to cut his K-rate down before getting the call up to Portland later this year.
Stats: 15 G, 64 PA, .271/.328/.458, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 6 R, 0 SB, 4 BB, 17 K
Chase Meidroth (#30)
Meidroth was a late bloomer in college at San Diego, finally getting playing time in 2022 and taking advantage to hit .329 with 10 home runs, before an excellent campaign in the Cape Cod League which lead to a fourth round selection from the Red Sox. His hand-eye coordination and high contact rate were lauded in scouting reports and he did not disappoint in 19 games in Salem, slashing .309/.424/.559 with a 14.1%/10.6% BB/K rate with four home runs and four stolen bases. He profiles best at second base, due to a below average throwing arm but can move around the infield as needed.
2023: We’re still talking about small samples but the BB:K has gotten laughable in High-A Greenville. Meidroth is walking 30.5% of the time and striking out 22% in his first 12 games. He’s slashing .300/.525/.400, which isn’t a line you see very often. Meidroth turns 22 in July, and we could see him move to Portland before that date.
Stats: 12 G, 59 PA, .300/.525/.400, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 12 R, 1 SB 18 BB, 13 K
Other Prospects of Note in Greenville: Wikelman Gonzalez (#14), Nathan Hickey (#19)
Salem Red Sox (Low-A):
3 To Watch in 2023:
Miguel Bleis (Sox Prospects Rank: #3)
Bleis signed at 16-years-old in January of 2021 for a hefty $1.5M bonus and later that year played 36 games in the Dominican Summer League, before a 40 game stint in the Florida Complex League in 2022 where he hit .301, stole 18 bases, and hit five home runs. However, we shouldn’t be scouting the statline with Bleis. As Baseball America’s scouting report stated this offseason, “Bleis mesmerized scouts with his tremendous talent in every facet of the game. When he barrels balls, he makes resounding contact, resulting in huge exit velocities that ranked atop the FCL, and he showed the ability to handle fastballs of any velocity. There’s electrifying all-star potential.” The key word being “potential,” but there are numerous noteworthy sources who have made Bleis comps to some of the best players in the game.
2023: We’re all hoping to see Bleis cut the strikeout rate down a bit, as he has 22 K’s in 68 at bats this year (28.9 K%) after a 26.9% rate a year ago in the Complex League. Bleis is hitting .279, with his first home run of the season coming on Tuesday.
Stats: 16 G, 68 PA, .279/.329/.382, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 13 R, 5 SB, 5 BB, 22 K
Mikey Romero (#7)
A left-handed hitting high school shortstop from California (sound familiar?), Romero has a very good hit tool and a more than passable defense at short. He added some power late in high school, which may have lead to the Red Sox pushing him into the first round in 2022, a bit of a surprise to some. While Marcelo Mayer will likely be the shortstop of the future, Romero should slot in at second base without issue. In his debut, Mayer played ten games in the Complex League before moving up to Salem late in the season. In his short nine game stint there, he hit .349 with 0 HR and 11 RBI, and 1:11 BB:K ratio.
2023: Romero has a back injury to open the season, one that Chad Jennings asked Sox farm director Brian Abraham about earlier this week: “Mikey’s still in Fort Myers. Obviously, had a little bit of a slow start in spring training with his back. Really, for us, just trying to be — cautious is not the right word, but — just focusing on his back and strengthening him all around. He did not have a spring training. He was limited. Some guys have 12 weeks to prepare for the season, so we are in the early stages of preparing him for his first full season. He’s doing baseball activity. He’s doing well. He’s working his tail off down in Fort Myers.”
Roman Anthony (#11)
A third exciting hitter in the Salem lineup, Anthony was the third pick in 2022 as an end of second round compensation pick, behind Cutter Coffey, but he is well ahead of Coffey at this time. Anthony ranked ninth on Baseball America’s offseason list. He has plus to double-plus raw power, depending which scouting report you read, and it will come down to how much swing and miss is in his game for whether he will succeed. Like Romero, he played ten games in the Complex League before moving on to Salem. In that time, he hit .189 with 5 RBI.
2023: Anthony is hitting .211 through 15 games but is walking at an excellent 18.7% rate. He is striking out 21.3% of the time, which works for now. Anthony has stolen five bases, although that’s not an area of his game that is expected to stand out at higher levels.
Stats: 15 G, 75 PA, .211/.360/.263, 0 HR, 6 RBI, 8 R, 5 SB, 14 BB, 16 K
Dalton Rogers (#42)
We finally get to a pitching prospect at the very end, but Rogers could be a very good one. He was the Red Sox third round pick a year ago, after Romero, Coffey, and Anthony, and while he spent most of his college time pitching out of the bullpen, the Red Sox believe they can develop him as a starter after seeing how he fared in that role in the Cape League last summer. Sox Prospects notes that Rogers’ “stuff grades out well analytically and was very appealing for model driven teams.” His fastball sits 92-94 and tops at 96, and has two secondaries, a changeup and slider, that he will work to develop as a three-pitch mix.
2023: Rogers has been outstanding in two of his three outings this year, striking out 18 batters in 9 2/3 innings. On Tuesday night, he went five 1-hit innings, walking two, and striking out eight. That was his second eight strikeout outing of the season.
Stats 3 G, 9 2/3 IP, 0-1, 5 BB, 18 K, 2.79 ERA, 0.93 WHIP
Other Prospects of Note in Salem: Luis Perales (#8), Elmer Rodriguez-Cruz (#16)