Early in the 2023 season, Roman Anthony became a case study in how prospect evaluations have changed.
On the surface, the 19-year-old outfielder’s performance in his first full pro season seemed solid but hardly revelatory. He showed an excellent eye in walking as many times (38) as he struck out for Low-A Salem, but he hit just .228/.376/.316 with one home run in 42 games.
Yet both the Red Sox and evaluators from other organizations suggested Anthony’s performance had been spectacular for his age, that his exit velocities and swing decisions were years ahead of other teenagers.
Boston was sufficiently confident in that data to promote Anthony to High-A Greenville on June 13.
With the move to a launching pad, Anthony’s results caught up with his underlying traits. In 54 games with the Drive, Anthony hit .294/.412/.569 with 12 homers and 29 extra-base hits.
That performance for the 6-foot-2, 200-pound lefthanded hitter—which also included solid defense in center field—was compelling enough for the Red Sox to push him to Double-A Portland.
Not only did Anthony become the youngest player since Xander Bogaerts to play in Portland, but he more than held his own with a 1.020 OPS in 10 games. On the season he hit .272/.403/.466 with 14 home runs in 106 games.
“He’s challenged himself to get better,” Red Sox farm director Brian Abraham said. “His bat speed has increased throughout the season. His below-the-surface-level numbers have improved throughout the year.
“His ability to control the zone, his ability to walk, his ability to impact the baseball and hit it pull-side in the air—all those things have improved.”
Anthony will still have to address some swing-and-miss vulnerabilities on breaking balls—he struck out 31% of the time at Greenville—and improve against lefthanders.
Still, the rapid ascent of the 2022 second-rounder suggests a future above-average regular with a chance to be a star.
— Shortstop Marcelo Mayer, who didn’t play after Aug. 2 because of a left shoulder impingement, resumed swinging in mid September.
— First-round pick Kyle Teel finished the season at Double-A Portland, becoming the first Red Sox first-rounder to reach Double-A in his draft year since reliever Craig Hansen in 2005.