2021-22 International Reviews: Boston Red Sox

Image credit: Boston Red Sox

While shortstop Marcelo Mayer and third baseman Blaze Jordan are the top prospects in Low-A Salem, nearly half of the players there are Red Sox international signings. The best homegrown international players in the system are pitchers, though at the lowest levels the Red Sox have outfielders like Miguel Bleis, Jhostynxon Garcia and Juan Chacon, with more promising hitters coming in their latest class.

Top Of The Class

The player with the chance for the most impact in Boston’s class is Freili Encarnacion, a Dominican shortstop signed for $1.1 million. Encarnacion has the upside to be an impact hitter, with the combination of hitting ability and power that point toward what should be a strong pro debut this year in the Dominican Summer League. While a lot of strongly-built players at 17 who can crush the ball in batting practice don’t necessarily translate that juice against live pitching, Encarnacion has shown the ability to tap into his plus raw power in games. He has a sound swing and a mature, all-fields approach, with the ability to drive the ball out of the park to right-center field or pull his hands inside the ball to drive the ball with impact to left field. A fringe-average runner, Encarnacion is at shortstop now but his range will probably slide him over to third base, where he has the hands and strong arm to play.

The Red Sox gave $1.2 million to sign Fraymi de Leon, a talented defender at shortstop out of the Dominican Republic. De Leon was around 5-foot-9, 130 pounds when most teams were scouting him, but he has grown to around 5-foot-11, 165 pounds now. He shines in the field, where he’s smooth with soft hands, nimble footwork, good instincts and anticipation off the bat. He has a good internal clock and a plus arm to make plays from deep in the hole. The added strength has helped de Leon’s speed improve to become a solid-average runner as well. De Leon has the upside to develop into a plus defender, though there’s more to iron out at the plate. He’s a line-drive hitter from both sides of the plate with doubles power, likely projecting toward the bottom of the order.

Names To Know

Johanfran Garcia, C, Venezuela: The Red Sox signed outfielder Jhostynxon Garcia in 2019 and he hit .281/.424/.481 in 41 games in the Dominican Summer League last year. In January this year, they signed his younger brother, Johanfran, an offensive-minded catcher who stood out for his potential hit and power upside. He should have enough to stick behind the plate with adequate hands and an average arm, but his bat stands out the most.

Jancel Santana, SS, Dominican Republic: Santana has graceful, easy actions on both sides of the ball. He has long, gliding strides and soft hands at shortstop, where he has a knack for making the difficult play look easy, along with a solid-average arm. A switch-hitter, Santana’s tools should tick up as he gets stronger, so while there isn’t much present power, he has good hand-eye coordination to put the ball in play from a loose, easy swing geared to use the whole field.

Natanael Yuten, OF, Dominican Republic: A lefthanded outfielder, Yuten has a skinny, athletic frame at 6-foot-1, 160 pounds that lacks strength now, but he already drives the ball surprisingly well for his size with over-the-fence power in BP. He has a loose, whippy stroke with strong hands and good contact skills in games, with a hit-first offensive profile now but a chance to hit for power once he packs on more weight. He’s a fringe-average runner who could stick in center field if his speed improves as he puts on more weight, though more likely he fits in a corner.

Sleeper Watch

Venezuelan shortstop Marvin Alcantara has started to add weight to his slender frame, standing out as a hit collector in games from the right side of the plate. He’s a solid all-around player who could play at different spots around the infield, with his bat his calling card.

Dominican righthander Denis Reguillo was mostly in the mid-to-upper 80s as an amateur, but he has been adding weight to his slender frame since then and has the projection to be throwing in the low-to-mid 90s. Adding more power behind his fastball would make him more intriguing, as he already has good feel for pitching and throws strikes from a good delivery with loose arm action.


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