2017 Boston Red Sox Top 10 Prospects

Chat it up: Red Sox Top 10 Prospects Chat with Alex Speier

Knowledge is Power: Red Sox Top 10 Insider

Want More? Complete Top 10 Prospects Rankings

Listen Up: Top 10 Podcast

Go 30 deep: Order the 2017 Prospect Handbook!

1. Andrew Benintendi, of
2. Yoan Moncada, 2b/3b
3. Rafael Devers, 3b
4. Michael Kopech, rhp
5. Jason Groome, lhp
6. Sam Travis, 1b
7. Mauricio Dubon, ss
8. Luis Alexander Basabe, of
9. Bobby Dalbec, 3b
10. Roniel Raudes, rhp

After a pair of last-place finishes in 2014 and 2015, the Red Sox regained their footing by winning the American League East in a season that represented a fascinating passing of the baton.

David Ortiz was brilliant in his final season at age 40, matching the middle-of-the-order production that typified his 14-season tenure in Boston. But after he played his final game, with the Red Sox getting dispatched by the Indians in an AL Division Series sweep, Ortiz expressed satisfaction that he was leaving the organization in good hands for years to come thanks to a spectacular emerging positional core.

As a 23-year-old, Mookie Betts’ game crystallized, taking him from that of a potential star to an actual one, his five-tool performance exceeded perhaps only by Mike Trout in 2016. Betts, 23-year-old shortstop Xander Bogaerts, and 26-year-old center fielder Jackie Bradley were all elected as All-Star Game starters, offering an impression of considerable up-the-middle strength in future seasons. Late in the year, they were joined by outfielder Andrew Benintendi, who looked like a future batting title contender in his late-season cameo.

Benintendi, in turn, heralds another wave of high-end prospects to come. While Yoan Moncada could not match Benintendi in making the seamless jump from Double-A to the big leagues, the 21-year-old Cuban nonetheless showed jaw-dropping tools while standing out from his competition in two minor league stops.

With Ortiz, the Red Sox scored 101 more runs than any other team in the AL. Without him there is likely to be some regression, but the emergence of so many dynamic young players in 2016 suggests that the Red Sox lineup has a good chance of anchoring postseason ambitions for years to come. In fact, it was in part that long-term outlook the Red Sox used to sell David Price on the idea of coming to Boston in December 2015, when the team signed the lefthander to a seven-year, $217 million deal.

In his first year with Boston, Price assumed the workload and peripheral numbers of an ace, but a modest decrease in velocity in a year where the ball flew out of the park at historic levels left his performance short of expectations. Righthander Rick Porcello helped compensate by overcoming a flop of a first year in Boston in 2015 to emerge as a Cy Young Award candidate in 2016.

How those two perform, and whether promising but inconsistent lefthanders Eduardo Rodriguez and Drew Pomeranz move forward in their own careers, will determine whether the return to the postseason represented a signal of sustained contention or a continuation of a boom-to-bust-and-back cycle. Regardless, the Red Sox system has become sufficiently deep to provide president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski both a homegrown core to fuel visions of perennial contention and the assets to trade for top talent when addressing other roster needs.

1. Andrew Benintendi, of | bba_video_icon_red

Born: July 6, 1994. B-T: L-L. Ht.: 5-10. Wt.: 170. Drafted: Arkansas, 2015 (1st round). Signed by: Chris Mears.

Batting: 70.
Power: 60.
Speed: 55.
Defense: 60.
Arm: 50.
Based on 20-80 scouting scale—where 50 represents major league average—and future projection rather than present tools.

Background: Benintendi was one of the top high school hitters in Ohio history and also drafted by the Reds in the 31st round but opted to head to Arkansas. After a modest freshman season with the Razorbacks, Benintendi passed on playing in summer leagues, instead focusing on improving his strength and conditioning. The result was a spectacular 2015 season that saw him lead the country with 20 home runs on the way winning BA College Player of the Year and vaulted him to top-of-the-first-round status. The Red Sox selected him seventh overall. Benintendi confirmed the expectation that he could take fast track to the big leagues by flying through high Class A Salem and Double-A Portland—he batted .312/.378/.532 in 97 games—en route to a callup to Boston at the beginning of August. He missed three weeks with a knee injury but returned in September. He homered in his first postseason plate appearance and put together the best at-bats of any Red Sox hitter in their American League Division Series loss to the Indians.

Scouting Report: Multiple evaluators believe that Benintendi has a chance to be a perennial all-star who competes for batting titles. “He’s a once-in-a-decade hitter,” one said. Benintendi combines excellent hand-eye coordination with the pitch recognition to avoid strike zone expansion. His precisely-tuned swing, with his strong forearms and core along with a rare knack for putting the bat on the ball, allow him to drive the ball with surprising authority given his diminutive stature. Another evaluator thought Benintendi’s upside was that of a 20-25 home run player with 50 doubles. More conservative views of his abilities still suggest an everyday player with a plus hit tool, which would make him an ideal No. 2 hitter with modest extra-base abilities but whose lack of weakness will minimize slumps. Though he hit just .179 in 28 at-bats against big league lefthanders, his willingness to use the whole field mitigates long-term platoon concerns. Defensively, Benintendi has the ability to play center field at an above-average level, though with Jackie Bradley in center and Mookie Betts in right in Boston, he appears destined for left where his plus range will be barely taxed playing in front of the Green Monster. Benintendi isn’t a burner on the bases, but his baserunning impact exceeds his pure speed, which grades as above-average. In short, evaluators see a player who does everything well while displaying phenomenal makeup that could make him a cornerstone for years to come.

The Future: Benintendi seems almost certain to open 2017 in the same role he occupied at the end of 2016: a near-everyday outfielder in the big leagues. Depending on how his game evolves—whether to feature more power or take more walks—it would come as little surprise to see him occupying one of the top three spots in the Red Sox lineup for years to come.

Salem (HiA) .341 .413 .563 135 30 46 13 7 1 32 15 9 8
Portland (AA) .295 .357 .515 237 40 70 18 5 8 44 24 30 8
Boston (MLB) .295 .359 .476 105 16 31 11 1 2 14 10 25 1

2. Yoan Moncada, 2b/3b | bba_video_icon_red

Born: May 27, 1995. B-T: B-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 205. Signed: Cuba, 2015. Signed by: Eddie Romero.

Background: Moncada showed plenty of promise during a transition year in 2015 following his entry into the organization for a record-setting $31.5 million bonus. Still, the way in which his tools coalesced in 2016 at high Class A Salem and then Double-A Portland earned him BA’s Minor League Player of the Year award. Though his big league cameo represented an anticlimactic final note to the year, his progress and aptitude indicate he could be a player of rare impact.

Scouting Report: Moncada possesses the size and strength of a linebacker. Though he typically features a flat bat path that creates screaming line drives, he showed an increasing willingness to loft the ball in 2016. While batting lefthanded, he evokes comparisons with Robinson Cano. On the bases, he possesses elite speed though with still-developing situational awareness. Moncada doesn’t impact the ball as frequently while batting righthanded. Still, his hitting aptitude and strike-zone recognition make him an on-base and extra-base threat. Moncada is an average defender at second base.

The Future: Moncada’s late-season move to third base, where he still needs to improve his fundamental play, is a harbinger of his Red Sox future. He is ready for Triple-A Pawtucket.

Salem (Hi A) .307 .427 .496 228 57 70 25 3 4 34 45 60 36
Portland (AA) .277 .379 .531 177 37 49 6 3 11 28 27 64 9
Boston (MLB) .211 .250 .263 19 3 4 1 0 0 1 1 12 0

3. Rafael Devers, 3b | bba_video_icon_red

Born: Oct. 24, 1996. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 195. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2013. Signed by: Manny Nanita/Eddie Romero.

Background: The Red Sox felt that Devers was the best international amateur bat available in 2013, viewing him as a future middle-of-the-order slugger. He hasn’t disappointed them yet. Devers started slowly at high Class A Salem in 2016, carrying a .195 average into June, but he was one of the best hitters in the Carolina League over the final three months.

Scouting Report: Devers shows an unusual ability to drive the ball to all fields with loft and backspin that creates the possibility for all-fields power. He’s aggressive in a way that likely will cap his on-base percentage but with bat-to-ball skills that suggest solid batting averages and that, to date, have limited his strikeout totals. As a 19-year-old in 2016, his most significant progress came at third base, where evaluators saw a player with above-average to plus range and throwing arm. His wide hips suggest that his weight management and conditioning will always be a focus, but to this point, he’s maintained athleticism not only to stay at third but also to surprise as a solid baserunner. That reflects well on his makeup and willingness to work.

The Future: At this point, Devers looks like the top power-hitting prospect in the system, a future five- or six-hole hitter with plus power and above-average defense. He appears destined for Double-A Portland for most if not all of 2017.

Salem (Hi A) .282 .335 .443 503 64 142 32 8 11 72 40 94 18

4. Michael Kopech, rhp | bba_video_icon_red

Born: April 30, 1996. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 205. Drafted: HS—Mount Pleasant, Texas, 2014 (1st round). Signed by: Tim Collinsworth.

Background: The Red Sox viewed Kopech as a power arm when they drafted him out of high school, but no one foresaw his emergence as perhaps the hardest-throwing starting pitcher in the minors in 2016. Though his innings have been limited by a pair of off-field incidents—a 50-game suspension for testing positive for a banned stimulant in 2015 and a broken right hand from a spring-training fight with a teammate in 2016—he’s demonstrated an ability to overpower opponents.

Scouting Report: “He’s Noah Syndergaard Jr. The best arm I saw all year,” said one
evaluator. Kopech’s fastball typically sat at 95-99 mph and frequently touched triple digits and his 90-92 mph power slider grades average now but projects as plus. Though his changeup is currently below average, Kopech should be able to improve it to near-average. His velocity creates questions of injury risk and limits his command, but he’s learned to control his delivery to sustain both power and control. Despite his off-field incidents, most speak highly of Kopech’s makeup and ferocious mound demeanor.

The Future: Kopech, who should start at Double-A Portland in 2017, has front-of-the-rotation potential. A possibility also exists that he could fast-track to a big league bullpen role.

Lowell (SS) 0 0 0.00 1 1 0 4.1 4 0 4 4 .250
Salem (Hi A) 4 1 2.25 11 11 0 52 25 1 29 82 .147

5. Jason Groome, lhp | bba_video_icon_red

Born: August 23, 1998. B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-6. Wt.: 220. Drafted: HS—Barnegat, N.J., 2016 (1st round). Signed by: Ray Fagnant.

Background: The Red Sox considered Groome the best high school pitching prospect in the 2016 draft. His imposing frame and repeatable delivery, along with an easy low- to mid-90s fastball and nasty breaking ball, screamed future big league impact. Though Groome seemed like a possible No. 1 overall pick, questions related to both his signability and off-field concerns left him on the board for the Red Sox at No. 12 overall. He signed for $3.65 million at the July 15 deadline.

Scouting Report: Groome shows unusual polish for a prep pitcher, his delivery generating easy power in a fashion that reminds some of Jon Lester or Andy Pettitte. Without ratcheting up his effort level, he comfortably dials his fastball from 91-95 mph with a hammer curveball that seems likely to overwhelm lower-levels competition. He didn’t need his changeup as an amateur but shows feel for the offering. Feedback about his makeup in his seven-inning pro debut was also universally positive.

The Future: Groome should open 2017 at low Class A Greenville, and the quality of his stuff suggests he could cruise through the lower levels if he remains healthy and keeps his delivery in order. He shows all the elements of a potential front-of-the-rotation starter.

2016 Club (Class) W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Lowell (LoA) 0 0 3.38 1 1 0 0 3 0 0 4 2 .000
Fort Myers (R) 0 0 2.25 2 2 0 0 4 3 0 0 8 .200

6. Sam Travis, 1b | bba_video_icon_red

Born: August 27, 1993. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 205. Drafted: Indiana, 2014 (2nd round). Signed by: Blair Henry.

Background: Travis landed on the map as Kyle Schwarber’s middle-of-the-order partner in crime at Indiana, but he appeared close to coming into his own both during a strong 2015 and at the start of 2016, when he garnered attention in spring training for the steady thunderous contact he made. A solid if unspectacular start to the 2016 season, however, was derailed when Travis blew out his ACL on the bases. He required season-ending knee surgery but is expected to be at full strength in 2017.

Scouting Report: One can imagine Travis—who eschews batting gloves—emerging from the womb with bat in hand. Evaluators describe him as a hitting machine whose strength and flat bat path through the strike zone result in resounding collisions of barrel and ball. That same swing plane has, to date, established him as a middle-of-the-field hitter who mostly drives the ball into the gaps, but if he can learn to turn on pitches that are middle-in, he has a chance to develop at least average power. His actions at first base remain inconsistent and sometimes clunky, though his tenacious work ethic convinces some evaluators that he can become average at the position.

The Future: Despite the lost development time Travis suffered in 2016, his bat is close to big league ready. It wouldn’t be a shock to see him contribute at first base and DH in the post-David Ortiz era, or potentially in left field, depending on the rest of the depth chart.

Pawtucket (AAA) .272 .332 .434 173 26 47 10 0 6 29 15 40 1

7. Mauricio Dubon, ss | bba_video_icon_red

Born: July 19, 1994. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 165. Drafted: HS—Sacramento, 2013 (26th round). Signed by: Demond Smith.

Background: Dubon, a native of Honduras who moved to the U.S. in high school in hopes of pursuing a baseball career, has elevated the view of his ceiling and floor in each year that he’s been in the organization. He has drawn growing attention from the scouting world as he’s done so.

Scouting Report: Dubon lacks a single plus tool, but the sum of his parts suggests a valuable player. He has long showed an unusual ability to put the bat on the ball, with low strikeouts contributing to consistently high averages. More experience along with a solidifying frame have permitted him a growing ability to drive the ball, most strikingly when he demonstrated steady doubles power in Double-A Portland in 2016 after a mid-year promotion from high Class A Salem. His fundamentally sound approach in the field permitted him to play average to plus defense at shortstop, though his versatility (which has already seen him spend time at second and third base) will be cultivated, and he played center field in the Arizona Fall League.

The Future: Dubon seems likely to open 2017 at Triple-A Pawtucket, where his versatility and righthanded bat will put him on the radar as a big league depth option. At the least, he seems like a player capable of a long career as a utility infielder.

Salem (HiA) .306 .387 .379 235 53 72 11 3 0 29 33 25 24
Portland (AA) .339 .371 .538 251 48 85 20 6 6 40 11 36 6

8. Luis Alexander Basabe, of

Born: August 26, 1996. B-T: B-R. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 160. Signed: Venezuela, 2012. Signed by: Luis Segovia/Eddie Romero.

Background: In many ways, Basabe—whom the Red Sox signed along with his twin brother Luis Alejandro—embodies the fascinating, unpredictable world of projecting international amateur talent. While the twins were physically quite similar when they signed, Luis Alexander grew two inches and filled out in a way that distinguished him from his sibling. Boston traded his brother to the Diamondbacks for Brad Ziegler in July.

Scouting Report: Basabe shows solid or better tools across the board, with considerable bat life when batting lefthanded. He strikes out too frequently from both sides of the plate at this stage—including a rate of 32 percent as a righthanded hitter—but when he makes contact, the impact stands out for his age and position. He adjusted his stance in the middle of 2016, becoming more upright to improve his balance and pitch recognition while limiting the degree to which he chased pitches below the zone. In center field, he features long strides that produce plus range and also displays excellent arm strength.

The Future: Basabe’s defensive value gives him a high floor of backup outfielder. If his offensive approach continues to make strides, his cluster of tools could make him an above-average regular. He heads to high Class A Salem in 2017.

Greenville (LoA) .258 .325 .447 403 61 104 24 8 12 52 40 116 25
Salem (HiA) .364 .391 .545 22 5 8 2 1 0 1 1 3 0

9. Bobby Dalbec, 3b | bba_video_icon_red

Born: June 29, 1995. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 225. Drafted: Arizona, 2016 (4th round). Signed by: Vaughn Williams.

Background: When Dalbec dominated on the mound at the 2016 College World Series, it led to plenty of questions about why the Red Sox intended to develop him as a third baseman. Once he reported to short-season Lowell, those questions faded, both because the 21-year-old made clear that he wanted to be a full-time position player and because he showed an enormous offensive ceiling, as he had in the 2015 Cape Cod League, when he slugged 12 homers in 27 games.

Scouting Report: After a junior year in which Dalbec’s approach proved inconsistent with varying stances, loads and strides that made it difficult for him to repeat his swing, he relaxed and smoothed out his mechanics in short-season Lowell with dazzling results. The pull-happy approach he showed this year in college was replaced by an up-the-middle emphasis in which Dalbec showed a vastly improved ability to make contact and to drive the ball with prodigious power to all fields. He slugged .674 in the New York-Penn League thanks to impressive bat speed and a power hitter’s extension through the ball. He certainly has the arm for third base, with the actions to suggest he can continue to develop at that position.

The Future: Dalbec’s spring will determine whether he opens 2017 at low Class A Greenville or high Class A Salem.

Lowell (LoA) .386 .427 .674 132 25 51 13 2 7 33 9 33 2

10. Roniel Raudes, rhp | bba_video_icon_red

Born: Jan. 16, 1998. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 160. Signed: Nicaragua, 2014. Signed by: Eddie Romero/Rafael Mendoza.

Background: When international scouting director Eddie Romero saw Raudes pitch in a tournament in Mexico in 2012, he couldn’t help but be mesmerized by a 14-year-old who, despite throwing 78-80 mph, conducted himself like a big leaguer by mixing three pitches and displaying dogged competitiveness. Raudes continues to display fearless strike-throwing ability that has allowed him to hold his own against older competition.

Scouting Report: Raudes is built like a bird, with long, thin limbs that limit the power of his stuff. He controls and sequences his fastball, curveball and changeup well, however. At 18, none of his pitches grades as plus, but he shows the ability to spin the ball with a quick, whippy arm in a way that has some believing his fastball velocity can tick up from its current 88-91 mph range to be more of a low-90s offering. His fastball is relatively straight right now, but Raudes creates deception with a repeatable delivery, and his ability to command the ball allows his stuff to play up. He limits hard contact against him based on his unpredictably.

The Future: Raudes will likely be one of the youngest pitchers in the high Class A Carolina League in 2017. Assuming he remains healthy, his control and pitchability suggest the floor of an up-and-down depth starter with a likely ceiling as a No. 4 barring an unexpected jump in his velocity.

Greenville (A) 11 6 3.65 24 24 0 113.1 112 8 23 104 .260

Last Year’s Red Sox Top 10 Prospects

Comments are closed.

Download our app

Read the newest magazine issue right on your phone