2020-21 MLB International Reviews: Boston Red Sox
Two of the top seven prospects in Boston's farm system—Venezuelan righthander Bryan Mata and Dominican center fielder Gilberto Jimenez—are homegrown international signings. The most recent signing class for the Red Sox also leans heavily on position players in the middle of the diamond and pitching from Venezuela at the head of their group.
Top Of The Class
The Red Sox landed one of the best athletes in the class with the signing of Dominican center fielder Miguel Bleis from the Mejia Top 10 program. Bleis has a lean, lively frame (6-foot-2, 180 pounds) that's sleek and athletic with high physical upside. His tools have trended up over the past year as projected, with plus speed and a plus arm now. He has long, gliding strides with an easy gait, covering a lot of ground in center field with the physical projection for his arm to potentially develop into a 70-grade tool. Bleis has fast bat speed and his power has jumped up from a little below-average to now showing above-average raw power, driving the ball fairly easily with backspin from center field over to his pull side. With room to put another 25-30 pounds of good weight, there could be more power in the tank. Bleis isn't an advanced pure hitter, but he isn't raw either, so if he can develop into an average hitter, he has the secondary tools to be a dynamic center fielder.
Enderso Lira, who trained with Jose Bellorin, was one of the top catchers in Venezuela in the 2020 international class. He's 6-foot-2, 180 pounds, a relatively physical righthanded catcher with more room to add strength. He's an even-keeled player who comfortably projects to stick at catcher, with a chance to develop into an average to above-average defender. Lira is agile behind the plate and a quiet receiver with soft hands, quick feet and a swift exchange to a solid-average arm. Lira has a solid bat for a catcher and is adept at driving the ball to right-center field. He has an all-fields approach and his power has bumped up over the past year, with the potential for average raw power in the future.
Names To Know
Alvaro Mejias, RHP, Venezuela: In their previous signing class, the Red Sox signed Venezuelan righthander Luis Perales, whose velocity climbed to reach 95 mph at 16 after signing. Mejias is another Venezuelan righthander the Red Sox signed who experienced a velocity bump, with his fastball jumping up to reach 96 mph last year after working more in the mid 80s when teams were heavily scouting him. He's still a skinny 6-foot-2 with big hands and feet and loose, whippy arm action, all signs that point to more velocity coming once he packs on weight. He's an athletic pitcher with feel to spin a three-quarters type breaking ball that's ahead of his changeup. Mejias trained with Javier Mendoza.
Luis Ravelo, SS, Dominican Republic: John Carmona's program included Nationals 2020-21 signing Armando Cruz and Ravelo, two of the flashiest shortstops with some of the best hands in the Dominican Republic. Like Cruz, Ravelo has excellent hands and likes to show them off with ball tricks and fielding grounders between his legs, but in games he's also a smart, instinctive defender. He has good actions and the ability to make both the routine play and the challenging ones, along with a plus arm. Ravelo has transformed himself physically over the last couple of years, a combination of a growth spurt that shot him up to 6-foot-1 and dedication to his conditioning to get leaner. The switch-hitting Ravelo is still a limited runner with a glove-over-bat profile, but he showed signs of progress offensively over the scouting process, with his swing and contact skills more advanced from the left side.
Ahbram Liendo, SS, Venezuela: Liendo is small but strong at 5-foot-8, 170 pounds, a baseball rat with an outstanding arm. He's a headsy player who could move all around the field—some scouts thought about him as a catching conversion candidate—and an average runner. He's a switch-hitter with gap power who is more advanced from the right side of the plate. Liendo trained with Carlos Guillen.
Jedixson Paez, RHP, Venezuela: Paez performed well in games while pitching at showcases in Colombia. He was throwing in the low-to-mid 80s at the time, throwing a lot of strikes with advanced pitchability for his age. At 6-foot-1, 170 pounds, Paez now scrapes 91 mph, with feel to spin a curveball that's ahead of his changeup, a profile that relies more on location and changing speeds rather than overpowering anyone. He and Alvaro Mejias trained together with Javier Mendoza.
Armando Sierra is a corner outfielder from the Dominican Republic with a chance to hit and hit for power. He's a physically imposing 6-foot-3, 210 pounds with an advanced approach to hitting for his age, keeping the bat head in the hitting zone for a long time that helps him drive the ball with power to all fields. He's a limited runner whose offensive game will drive his value. Sierra trained with Vallejo.