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BA Grade: 60. Risk: High Tool Grades: Hit: 55. Power: 60. Run: 40. Fielding: 60. Arm: 50. Track Record: After reclassifying to enter the draft a year earlier than his peers, Casas emerged as one of the top high school position prospects in the 2018 draft by displaying standout all-fields power both with aluminum and, while playing in international competition for Team USA, wood bats. In 2019, he cemented his status as a standout player for his age and experience level, primarily at low Class A Greenville. He ranked in the top three of all 2018 high school draftees in OPS and homers while also joining Xander Bogaerts as the only Red Sox teenager in the last 50 years to hit at least 20 homers in one year at any level. Scouting Report: Casas is gigantic, with size and strength in his lefthanded swing to generate easy power from left-center field to right. However, he sometimes fights his frame. In an effort to limit strikeouts, he opened the year employing a spread-out stance with a pronounced crouch, but the effort backfired and instead created extra movement in his swing that resulted in a high April strikeout rate. But Casas showed aptitude and adaptability, employing a more natural, upright stance starting in May and with it showed not only standout power but also a versatile approach that suggested a solid overall hitting foundation that could help to control his strikeout rate. The lefthanded masher also chokes up with two strikes, and his willingness to use the whole field helps control his swings and misses. Casas played third base in high school (and a little bit in the minors), and his range at first base projects as above-average to plus, and his wingspan will be an asset. His arm is solid to above-average at first. He’s a below-average runner, but his ceiling isn’t predicated on speed. Team officials rave about his makeup, describing Casas as unusually mature in his routines, work ethic, and preparation. He is a student of the game. Scouts see similarities to Freddie Freeman in his all-around game. The Future: : Casas is likely to open 2020 in high Class A Salem, and while it wouldn’t be a shock to see him struggle at some point, it likewise wouldn’t be surprising to see him remain on an aggressive development track for a high schooler. He projects as a player who could see the big leagues by early 2022 or even late 2021, with the potential to serve as enough of a middle-of-the-order force to establish himself as the clear consensus pick as the organization’s top prospect.
BA Grade: 55. Risk: Medium Tool Grades: Hit: 45. Power: 70. Run: 40. Fielding: 60. Arm: 70. Track Record: Dalbec shows elite power, with his 59 homers over the last two seasons ranking as the sixth-most in the minors. Though high strikeout rates created caution about his floor, he has sustained the ability to slug and get on base while moving up the ladder, and he’s also managed to cut his strikeout rate without compromising power. Scouting Report: Dalbec is incredibly strong, allowing him to drive the ball out to all fields, sometimes even on mis-hits. His plate discipline is a strength that gives him solid on-base numbers regardless of his average. Still, his frame both creates holes in his swing and magnifies mechanical inefficiencies. Most of his struggles occur due to issues in the direction and timing of the weight transfer in his lower half, staying back for too long and then spinning off the ball while rushing forward. But when locked in, his homers come in bunches. Despite below-average speed on the bases and his size, Dalbec shows quickness, anticipation, and range in the field, with the hands and footwork to play solid defense at third. While he’s still acclimating to first base and reads of the ball off the bat on the right side of the infield, he made considerable strides at the position with increased exposure to it in 2019. The Future: : With Rafael Devers anchoring third base for years to come, Dalbec—who is expected to open 2020 back in Triple-A—could find his way to the big leagues at first base or perhaps in left field if the Red Sox need righthanded thump.
BA Grade: 55. Risk: High Tool Grades: Fastball: 70. Curveball: 40. Slider: 60. Changeup: 55. Control: 45. Track Record: Signed for $25,000 in 2016, Mata quickly emerged as one of the organization’s best starting pitching prospects. After he endured significant control struggles in 2018—attributed in no small part to continued physical growth and an effort to harness a two-seamer he started to incorporate—he nearly slashed his walk rate in half in 2019 while generating a high groundball rate. Though Mata struggled at times following a promotion as one of the youngest pitchers in to Double-A, he took a major step forward in 2019. Scouting Report: Mata has overhauled his arsenal considerably as a pro. He once relied on a four-seamer, curve and change, but the Red Sox determined that his arm slot was better suited to a two-seamer as a primary offering. He can also employ a four-seamer at the top of the zone while selectively mixing in his curve and change (a pitch with good action but inconsistent command). Mata’s fastball sits in the mid-90s and topped out at 98 mph as a starter while hitting triple digits out of the bullpen in the Arizona Fall League, while his slider typically comes in at 88-90 mph. While Mata’s pitches don’t generate tons of swings and misses, he throws hard enough to force early swing decisions. The Future: : Mata likely will open 2020 back in Double-A and is the team’s most promising upper-level rotation prospect in recent years. He has No. 3 starter potential.
BA Grade: 55. Risk: High Tool Grades: Hit: 55. Power: 40. Run: 70. Fielding: 55. Arm: 50. Track Record: While Duran had a modest college statistical profile, then-area scout Justin Horowitz recognized a combination of impressive bat life with the ability to keep the barrel in the zone and game-changing speed that seemed wasted at second base. Now a full-time outfielder, Duran followed an outstanding 2018 pro debut with an even better performance in high Class A Salem in the first two months of 2019, flirting with .400 while showing excellent bat-to-ball skills, speed and occasional thump. While his numbers suffered after a promotion to Double-A, the quality of his at-bats improved along the way. Scouting Report: Duran has an extra gear when he senses opportunity, whether beating out routine grounders or taking an extra base. He takes advantage of that trait with a contact-heavy approach, albeit one in which he sometimes cuts off his swing. While he can make contact when expanding the strike zone, his tendency to do so results in weak contact. Still, his natural strength shows up at times with hard line drives to all fields and occasional long home runs. His bat-to-ball skills allow him to get to a variety of pitch types and locations from righties and lefties. Duran is still adjusting to center field, but his speed allows him to outrun route mistakes to represent at least an average future defender. The Future: : There’s still some debate as to whether Duran’s offensive profile is that of an everyday or fourth outfielder. Even with his speed, he must either hit for a high average or show more power to emerge as an everyday player. Still, he has the potential to be a catalyst.
BA Grade: 50. Risk: Medium Tool Grades: Fastball: 70. Slider: 55. Changeup: 45. Control: 40. Track Record: Signed for just $7,500 in 2013 after an injury sidelined him early in the 2013 international signing period, Hernandez emerged as a standout power pitcher. Significant control issues clouded his potential as a starter, but once unleashed as a bullpen weapon in the big leagues in mid-July, he showed dominant stuff. Scouting Report: Hernandez comes at hitters with an aggressive delivery, combining a low three-quarters slot with elite extension to create deception layered upon tremendous pure power. His 94-98 mph four-seam fastball features unpredictable movement based on fingers that sit on the side of the ball rather than behind it. Some compare his fastball to that of Josh Hader. Hernandez’s low-80s slider has sharp, late, two-plane bite, generating ground balls and swings and misses. He employed a changeup and curve as a starter but left those pitches on the shelf in the bullpen. The lefthander will go through multi-batter stretches where he loses the strike zone, but out of the bullpen he limited the harm of his free passes by striking out bunches of batters around them. The Future: : The Red Sox have committed to Hernandez as a bullpen option. So long as he can throw enough strikes and stay healthy, he looks like a potentially elite late-innings reliever.
BA Grade: 50. Risk: High Tool Grades: Fastball: 50. Slider: 60. Changeup: 50. Cutter: 60. Control: 50. Track Record: Largely overlooked as a college swingman, Ward impressed the Red Sox with the movement and command of a low-90s sinker and a potential swing-and-miss slider. They committed to drafting him in the fifth round in 2018, figuring he had a solid reliever floor. But while working as a starter in his first full pro season, Ward rapidly surpassed the team’s expectations with one of the best performances of any starter in the minors, posting the ninth-best ERA (2.13) and 20th-best strikeout rate (11.2 per nine innings) among those who threw at least 100 innings. Scouting Report: Ward showed unexpected velocity in 2019, working at 93-96 mph with his sinker and topping out at 97. Yet it was the development of a cutter that tunneled off his two-seamer and mid-80s slider that allowed Ward to induce weak contact in the strike zone as well as chases outside of it. He also occasionally features a changeup and curveball. The rangy righty has an easy delivery without a ton of effort, creating the basis for command and hope for health, and he also shows an understanding of his mix that could keep him on an aggressive development track. The Future: : Ward is likely to begin 2020 in Double-A, where he’ll hope to continue to build his case as a potential No. 4 starter.
BA Grade: 55. Risk: Extreme Tool Grades: Fastball: 60. Slider: 60. Cutter: 55. Changeup: 50. Control: 50. Track Record: One of the best prep pitchers in the 2016 draft, Groome has thrown just 66 pro innings due to injuries, including a torn ulnar collateral ligament that required Tommy John surgery and cost him all of 2018 and most of 2019. Still, he returned to games by the end of 2019, showed flashes of swing-and-miss stuff, and continues to feature a ceiling that arguably surpasses that of any other pitcher in the Red Sox farm system. Scouting Report: Groome received strong marks for the strength and conditioning work he did over his rehab from Tommy John. He has a prototypical starter’s build, generating power stuff with an easy delivery. In his return, Groome sat at 92-94 mph and topped out at 96. His signature offering, however, is a hammer curveball—a pitch for which he was still looking to regain his feel in his return from Tommy John. Groome’s changeup improved from fringy to average during his rehab, and his natural ability to manipulate the ball makes it easy to imagine the development of a cutter. The Future: : Groome likely will start 2020 in low Class A Greenville. If healthy, he could move quickly to high Class A Salem. At age 21, he’s young enough to believe that his top-of-the-rotation upside remains intact, even if his poor health track record raises questions about whether he’ll realize it.
Track Record: A raw athlete who fell through the scouting cracks in the 2017 signing period before joining the Red Sox for $10,000, Jimenez represents a moldable ball of clay whose athleticism, hand-eye coordination and incredible speed have allowed him to emerge as a standout performer while learning on the fly. After a strong Dominican Summer League debut in 2018, he excelled at short-season Lowell in 2019, leading the New York-Penn League in batting (.359) while finishing fourth in OPS (.863) and ninth in steals (14). Scouting Report: Jimenez started switch-hitting after turning pro, and while his lefthanded swing remains inelegant and sometimes choppy, he has good enough feel for the barrel. Despite a very high groundball rate, his elite speed (sub-4.0 times from home to first) allowed him to garner loads of infield hits. It’s possible that he’ll be limited to a slap-and-run profile whose production decreases as defenses improve, but Jimenez also has flashed the bat speed to drive the ball, even if his current swing is geared for contact. Jimenez struggles with pitch recognition and plate discipline, but if experience yields refinement, he has the potential for average or better across-the-board tools. His speed and arm give him a big league outfielder’s floor and his athleticism and strength making it easy to dream big. The Future: : Jimenez should open 2020 as a 19-year-old in at low Class A Greenville. He’s raw and thus unlikely to fast track, but if everything clicks, he could sit near the top of Red Sox prospect lists in coming years.
BA Grade: 55. Risk: Extreme Tool Grades: Fastball: 60. Curveball: 50. Slider: 55. Changeup: 60. Control: 55. Track Record: When Song enrolled at Navy in possession of a mid-80s fastball and little else, he was convinced that he’d pitch for four years in college and then never again. But his velocity soared and he went 11-1, 1.44 with 15.4 strikeouts per nine innings as a senior. Teams stayed away from Song, a potential first-round talent, in the draft due to questions about whether he’d be able to pursue a pro career given expectations of at least a two-year military commitment. The Red Sox decided Song’s talent was worth the risk even if the start of his career was delayed. The righthander dominated in a brief run at short-season Lowell. Scouting Report: Song dominated in a brief run at short-season Lowell. He features a four-pitch mix from a powerful starter’s build, anchored by a fastball that ranged from 94-98 mph. After working at the bottom of the zone in college, the pitch is likely to be more effective at the top of the zone in pro ball. While Song leaned chiefly on his slider as a secondary weapon at Navy, his changeup stood out as a potential plus offering in Lowell. He still needs to define the velocities and shapes to his pitches that will generate the greatest effectiveness, but there’s plenty with which to work. The Future: : As of early November, questions hovered over Song’s future as the military considered the possibility of allowing academy graduates to delay their military service to pursue pro sports careers. His maturity and pitch mix suggest a pitcher who would open his first full pro season in high Class A Salem, but because of his military background he might have to wait at least two years to enter the system.
BA Grade: 45. Risk: Medium Tool Grades: Fastball: 55. Slider: 60. Changeup: 45. Control: 45. Track Record: Houck’s development has traveled a crooked line since being taken in the first round in 2017. He tried to overhaul his pitch mix in early 2018 with initially disastrous results at high Class A Salem but found considerable success down the stretch with a balanced repertoire. In 2019, he alternated dominant performances—often against righty-heavy lineups—with struggles as a starter in Double-A and did the same out of the bullpen at Triple-A. He went back to starting in the Arizona Fall League. Scouting Report: Houck’s combination of a 92-97 mph two-seamer and four-seamer with a sweeping slider from a low three-quarters arm slot creates nightmares for righties, but he’s struggled to show similar command against lefties, who have hit .283/.383/.363. On days where he flashes a solid changeup and locates his slider to both righties and lefties, Houck looks like a potential starter, but his difficulty in repeating a crossfire delivery with a lot of moving parts has convinced many that his future is in the bullpen. The Future: : Houck likely will open 2020 back in Triple-A, offering the Red Sox a spot-starting option or bullpen depth, with a potential future as a setup man. The Red Sox have resisted giving up on him as a starter, but his proximity to the big leagues suggests a decision about his role looms.
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