Boston Red Sox 2019 Top 30 MLB Prospects Midseason Update
So far the Red Sox have looked much more like the solid playoff teams of 2016 and 2017 rather than the unstoppable colossus of 2018. Last year’s team went on a 10-game winning streak right before the All-Star Break that eliminated any drama in the AL East. The lineup remains deep, but the pitching rotation and bullpen have yet to prove that they can hang with a deeper Yankees lineup and deeper rotation.
Expect Boston to have a busy end to July as the single trade deadline nears. The farm system is still not as deep as the East’s other contenders (New York and Tampa Bay), but it is significantly improved at the top.
1. Triston Casas, 1B/3B
Casas moves to the top spot on the Red Sox list because he is continually impressing scouts and coaches with his advanced hitting approach, giving him a chance to hit for average and power. He doesn’t have Bobby Dalbec’s defensive ability at third base, but he has a much better hit tool to go with prodigious power.
2. Bryan Mata, RHP
Mata survived in 2018 despite losing feel for the strike zone and a back injury. This year’s he’s rediscovered his control and found a couple of more ticks on his fastball (he can sit 95-97 at his best) to lead a solid four-pitch mix.
3. Bobby Dalbec, 3B
Dalbec’s ability to draw walks and hit home runs fits well with the current MLB offensive environment.
4. Jarren Duran, OF
The revelation of the 2019 season for Boston, Duran is a speedy center fielder who cut a wide swath through the Carolina League before struggling after a jump to Double-A. Duran’s bat speed and high exit velocities hint at more power to come.
5. Tanner Houck, RHP
Once Houck went back to being the pitcher he was in college, he has found modest success again. Scouts see him as a backend starter or useful reliever.
6. Darwinzon Hernandez, LHP
The Red Sox have accepted Hernandez is a reliever, moving him to the bullpen to see if he can accelerate his development to help the big league club. But he’s not shown the control yet to let his mid-to-upper’s 90 fastball and deception get ahead of hitters.
7. Jay Groome, LHP
Groome continues to work his way back from Tommy John surgery. He should be on the mound in a Gulf Coast League game to continue his rehab before long.
8. Thad Ward, RHP
A reliever at Central Florida, Ward has proven to be a revelation for the Red Sox. He’s handled a transition to starting with few issues. He can sit 91-93 mph and touched 95 while mixing in a plus slider.
9. Gilberto Jimenez, OF
Jimenez is one of the highest-upside prospects in the Red Sox organization thanks to steadily-increasing physicality to go with his speed and athleticism. He’s off to a hot start at short-season Lowell.
10. C.J. Chatham, SS
Chatham hits wherever he goes. He’s raised his career minor league average over .300 this year. It’s not a particularly impactful .300--but that combined with his reliable defense gives him a high floor.
11. Antoni Flores, SS
12. Brandon Howlett, 3B
13. Cameron Cannon, SS
14. Nick Decker, OF
15. Durbin Feltman, RHP
16. Marcus Wilson, OF
17. Mike Shawaryn, RHP
18. Matthew Lugo, SS
19. Denyi Reyes, RHP
20. Josh Taylor, LHP
21. Noah Song, RHP
22. Travis Lakins, RHP
23. Josh Ockimey, 1B
24. Kutter Crawford, RHP
25. Bobby Poyner, LHP
26. Pedro Castellanos, 1B
27. Brayan Bello, RHP
28. Alex Scherff, RHP
29. Ryan Zeferjahn, RHP
30. Zach Schellenger, RHP
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OF Jarren Duran is looking like one of the steals of the 2018 draft class. His speed and defensive potential in center field give him a high floor, but it’s his bat speed and a swing that stays on plane through the strike zone that gives him a chance to be a MLB regular.
RHP Thad Ward has shown that he has at least a solid future as a potential reliever, but his move to the starting rotation as a pro has given him a chance to show he has some starter trait as well.
It may seem crazy to say that RHP Brayan Bello is rising while he’s posted a 6.85 ERA. But he’s made steady improvement and he’s jumping from the Dominican Summer League to the Sally League. Bello has the stuff to dominate low Class A hitters, with a 92-95 mph fastball, a hard breaking ball and a much improved changeup, but his lack of command means he catches much too much of the heart of his plate with his fastball too often right now.
1B Josh Ockimey has many of the same skills as Bobby Dalbec. He hits for power and draws walks to get on base. But his power isn’t as potent as Dalbec’s, his hit tool is a little weaker and he doesn’t have Dalbec’s defensive value, which means he’s likely to end up on the wrong side of the Triple-A/MLB divide.
2B Brett Netzer has always impressed with his bat-to-ball skills, but his lack of power makes him a difficult fit in the current game, especially as he’s limited to second base (or the corner outfield spots) defensively
RHP Zach Schnellenger had an excellent 2018 season, but he’s yet to find a level he can handle in 2019. An aggressive assignment to Double-A Portland quickly went awry and he’s struggled to handle the high Class A Carolina League as well.
LHP Jay Groome is back on the mound and throwing at full strength as he works his way back from Tommy John surgery.
2B/3B Michael Chavis strikes out a lot, but he has shown some defensive versatility while producing consistent power for the Red Sox.
1B Sam Travis has barely played in the majors this year, but his 10 games did give him enough at-bats to graduate from prospect status. His lack of power in Triple-A will make it hard for him to edge out Chavis and Bobby Dalbec going forward.
SS/2B Tzu-Wei Lin’s brief cameo was enough for him to graduate as well. He’s also missed some time with a knee sprain before going back to Triple-A Pawtucket.
2B/3B Marco Hernandez has been useful in limited action as a utility infielder.