No matter what I say about this farm system and current crop of Red Sox prospects, the Red Sox are World Series Champions! Sorry, had to get that out of my system. With Dave Dombrowski at the helm, we knew our farm system was going to slowly dwindle in talent with each passing signature Dombrowski trade. Luckily, basically every trade he’s made has worked out for the big club. Does it hurt to lose these top prospects? Sure does. But when it nets you players like Chris Sale and Dirty Craig Kimbrel along with a World Series title, you’ll take that every damn day of the week.
That’s not to say that Dombrowski and company haven’t done a good job drafting and acquiring talent on the international market. And before him, Ben Cherington was a master of farm system development, acquiring the likes of Yoan Moncada, Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts, and Andrew Benintendi through the amateur draft and international free agent pool. While there might not be many household prospect names below, there’s a ton of intriguing hitting prospects in the low minors that make this a farm system on the rise.
Overall System Grade: C (But trending up)
Minor League Affiliates
Triple-A: Pawtucket – International League
Double-A: Portland – Eastern League
Single-A (Advanced): Salem – Carolina League
Single-A (Full): Greenville – South Atlantic League
Short-season Single-A: Lowell – New York-Penn League
Rookie: One team in the Gulf Coast League and two teams in the Dominican Summer League
Also, make sure to check out the Fantrax Dynasty Podcast on the Fantrax Podcast Network, with Nathan Dokken, Van Lee, and Ron Rigney.
New Top 25 Boston Red Sox Prospects
1. Michael Chavis, 3B/1B, Bats: R, DOB: 8/11/95, ETA 2019
2018 Stats (A-/AA/AAA): .298/.381/.538/.919, 14 2B, 9 HR, 3 SB, 9.8 BB%, 26.8 K%, 171 AB
If this was three or four years ago, Chavis would be a few spots further down on this list. Nothing against him, but this system has graduated or traded most of its top prospects. With that being said, Chavis is a dangerous bat and a high upside third baseman. He routinely generates hard contact with a slight uppercut swing that creates loft. There is, and likely always will be, some swing and miss tendencies, but nothing that should cause his batting average to crater. At third, Chavis’ range and footwork are okay, and he can make up for mistakes with a strong throwing arm. He played some first base late in the season as well once Bobby Dalbec got promoted to Double-A. Chavis should return to Triple-A Pawtucket to start 2019 and likely debut with Boston later in the summer.
2. Triston Casas, 3B/1B, Bats: L, DOB: 1/15/00, ETA 2022
2018 Stats (RK): 0/4, BB, 2 K
It’s not very often that your team drafts the exact guy you wanted them to take. On draft night, I was sitting in my living room watching Tristan Casas remain on the board as the Red Sox pick drew closer and closer, and then bam. Casas instantly shoots up into the top-3 Red Sox prospects thanks to his plus-plus raw power. At 6’4 and 240 pounds, Casas looks like a middle of the order masher and definitely has the power to match. His swing is geared for power with a slight uppercut path through the zone and plus bat speed that makes up for a longer swing. That swing generates plenty of loft and hard contact in the air.
This isn’t a one-trick pony show either. Casas has an advanced feel for hitting and makes consistent contact with good plate coverage and discipline. He might not be overly quick on the bases, but Cases is agile with above-average range with a strong throwing arm. Regardless of whether he ends up at the hot corner or first base, Casas projects as an average to above-average defender. He gets the nod at No. 2 over Bobby Dalbec due a better overall hit tool.
3. Bobby Dalbec, 3B, Bats: R, DOB: 6/29/95, ETA 2020
2018 Stats (A+/AA): .257/.361/.558/.919, 35 2B, 32 HR, 3 SB, 12.2 BB%, 32.4 K%, 455 AB
What a season for Bobby Dal-bombs, punisher of baseballs. The Dal-bino finished with an even 70 extra-base hits, with 32 of those clearing the fence, including a mammoth 451-foot blast within a few days of arriving in Double-A Portland. When he’s timing pitches with good back leg load, weight transfer, and hip rotation (like he is below), good things usually follow.
That raw power and his strong throwing arm are the carrying tools that will get him to the Beantown within the next year or so. But it will be the development of his hit tool and pitch selection that determines if he hits in the heart of the order or is just a bottom-of-the-order power bat. When Dalbec barrels balls up, they usually travel great distances at high exit velocities. He just needs to recognize spin better and lay off offspeed stuff below and out of the strike zone. Overall, I do envision him hitting in the .250-270 range with 30-plus homer upside.
4. Jay Groome, LHP, DOB: 8/23/98, ETA 2021
2018 Stats: DID NOT PITCH
Groome was in the running for the top pick in 2017 but fell to 12th due to signability and makeup concerns. Now he’s working his way back from Tommy John surgery and missed the entire 2018 season. The upside here is a No. 2 starter, but there’s a long way to go before that happens. The arsenal consists of a plus fastball/curve combination from the left side along with a serviceable changeup. His overall command has been suspect to date, but he’s still only 20 and has time to figure that out. Groome underwent surgery in May and is likely not back until mid-season where he’ll likely head back to Single-A Greenville in the South Atlantic League.
5. Antoni Flores, SS, Bats: R, 10/14/00, ETA 2022
2018 Stats (RK): .340/.435/.528/.963, 3 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 0 SB, 14.5 BB%, 12.9 K%, 53 AB
Get used to seeing this name. Flores has made a name for himself in prospect circles after a strong showing in the Dominican Summer League and even snuck in a few at-bats in the Gulf Coast League. Just barely 19, Flores displays an advanced feel for hitting and solid plate coverage. It’s a small sample size for sure, but Flores’ clean swing and plus bat speed should lead to strong batting averages moving forward. While his swing is currently geared more for gap shots, Flores figures to add more strength as he fills out and should develop into a 15 HR type of hitter in time. Don’t expect a ton of speed here, but he’s quick enough for double-digit steals and has decent range at shortstop. As of now, I’d project Flores as a .280/15/15 offensive threat.
6. Darwinzon Hernandez, LHP, DOB: 12/17/96, ETA 2020
2018 Stats (A+/AA): 107.0 IP, 3.53 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 5.6 BB/9, 11.3 K/9, .222 AVG
While his upside isn’t quite as high as Groome’s, Hernandez is still a very intriguing southpaw with mid-rotation starter upside if he can hone in his control. Hernandez made decent strides with his control in 2017, lowering his walk rate to 4.3 BB/9, only to see it rise back up to 5.6 BB/9 this season. With a running fastball in the mid-90’s, above-average to plus slider, and a usable change-up and curveball, the Red Sox are going give him time to work on his control before converting him to a bullpen arm. If that were to happen, Hernandez’s fastball and slider would be devastating in the late innings.
7. Danny Diaz, 3B, Bats: R, 1/2/01, ETA 2023
2018 Stats (RK): .238/.283/.476/.759, 7 2B, 6 HR, 0 SB, 4.4 BB%, 23.9 K%, 105 AB
Upside ranking alert. If you made me pick one hitter in this system, outside of the top tier, that I’m the most excited about, it’s Diaz. Signed as a 16-year-old out of Venezuela, Diaz possesses plus-plus raw power from the right side that has already started to show up in DSL action. As you can expect from most teenage hitters, Diaz is aggressive and doesn’t have good control of the zone yet. He was able to keep his strikeouts manageable and should be able to get that number below 20 percent as he develops as a hitter, and produce relatively high batting averages to go along with that power. Defensively, he’s raw there too, but has a strong throwing arm from the hot corner.
8. Nick Decker, OF, Bats: L, DOB: 10/2/99, ETA 2022
2018 Stats (RK): 1/4, 2B, R, BB, K
Boston’s second round pick in 2018, Decker is more advanced than your normal prep bat and should move fairly quickly. For a prep bat that is. Don’t expect him in 2020 or anything, but Decker has an advanced feel for hitting to go along with above-average raw power. His swing is quick from the left side with good plate coverage and he can barrel up balls with regularity. Played center in high school, but lack of range will force him to a corner outfield spot where his offensive profile will fit fine.
9. C.J. Chatham, SS, Bats: R, DOB: 12/22/94, ETA 2020
2018 Stats (A/A+): .314/.350/.389/.739, 20 2B, 3 HR, 11 SB, 5.1 BB%, 18.2 K%, 437 AB
Take what I said about Diaz above and flip that around 180 degrees for Chatham. The upside here isn’t big, but Chatham’s contact skills and feel for hitting make him a safe prospect with a reasonable floor. Chatham limits his strikeouts well and can use the whole field but can get a tad long with his swing at times and doesn’t create much loft. Still, he’s strong enough to develop double-digit pop to go along with stolen base totals in the teens. Chatham has displayed decent footwork and above-average range at shortstop and has a strong enough throwing arm to move to third if he’s forced off of shortstop.
10. Bryan Mata, RHP, DOB: 5/3/99, ETA 2022
2018 Stats (A+): 72.0 IP, 3.50 ERA, 1.61 WHIP, 7.3 BB/9, 7.6 K/9, .229 AVG
The “mid-rotation starter upside if he can hone in his control” line I used with Hernandez gets put on steroids here with Mata. The arsenal is intriguing, but the command downright stinks right now. Mata features a low to mid-90’s heater with arm side run and offsets that with a fading changeup that has flashed plus and a serviceable, yet inconsistent curveball. If he can develop that curveball some and figure out how to locate his pitches, there’s mid-rotation starter upside for the 19-year-old Venezuelan righty.
11. Mike Shawaryn, RHP, DOB: 9/17/94, ETA 2019
2018 Stats (AA/AAA): 149.1 IP, 3.44 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 2.3 BB/9, 8.0 K/9, .233 AVG
Shawaryn is the epitome of a mid-rotation starter. Using a 3/4 arm slot, Shawaryn’s arm action creates solid run and sink on his low-90’s fastball. As you can see below, there’s some effort to his delivery, but he was able to repeat his delivery well in the two starts of his I saw this season for Double-A Portland. Shawaryn’s best offspeed pitch is a plus slider with good shape and he’s flashed an above-average changeup with some fade, though he hasn’t been overly consistent with the pitch. After receiving a late-season promotion to Triple-A Pawtucket this season, Shawaryn will almost certainly start back there next spring with a mid-season debut in Boston likely. He’s been working out of the pen in the Arizona Fall League and could be used in a similar role in Boston next season.
12. Tanner Houck, RHP, DOB: 6/29/96, ETA 2020
2018 Stats (A+): 119.0 IP, 4.24 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 4.5 BB/9, 8.4 K/9, .245 AVG
Another Red Sox pitching prospect with a solid arsenal and spotty command. Sound familiar? Houck runs his fastball into the mid-90’s with life and also can turn it over into a hard sinker with biting action. He mixes in a plus slider with big break and a less effective stiff changeup that needs work. If the change-up and command don’t improve, Houck could switch gears and become an electric late-inning arm thanks to that fastball/slider combination.
13. Durbin Feltman, RHP, DOB: 4/18/97, ETA 2019/2020
2018 Stats (A-/A/A+): 23.1 IP, 1.93 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 1.9 BB/9, 13.9 K/9, .207 AVG
Mark my words, Durbin Feltman will be the Red Sox closer within the next few seasons, and maybe sooner if the Red Sox don’t re-sign Kimbrel. I don’t usually rank reliever this high, but the electric, upper-90’s fastball and filthy slider buttered me up and the solid command won me over. Feltman should move quickly.
14. Jarren Duran, 2B/OF, Bats: L, DOB: 9/5/96, ETA 2020
2018 Stats (A-/A): .357/.394/.516/.910, 14 2B, 11 3B, 3 HR, 24 SB, 5.3 BB%, 15.9 K%, 283 AB
Every time I look at it, this 2018 Red Sox draft class looks better and better. Duran was taken in the seventh round back in June and thoroughly impressed in his first professional season. Speed is Duran’s most noteworthy tool and is 65-grade at the very least. Along with it comes a clean swing with plus bat speed and above-average contact skills. He doesn’t walk a ton, but displays solid plate coverage and limits his strikeouts. There’s a lot to like here with Duran.
15. Josh Ockimey, 1B, Bats: L, DOB: 10/18/95, ETA 2019/2020
2018 Stats (AA/AAA): .245/.356/.455/.811, 21 2B, 20 HR, 1 SB, 14.6 BB%, 31.0 K%, 404 AB
The key to Josh Ockimey’s success largely hinges on me not ever being in attendance for his games. Seriously. Just a few days apart in July, Ockimey went a combined 0/9 with eight strikeouts in games I was in at. Maybe I’m just bad luck for him, who knows. On one of the nights, I called his performance “hot garbage,” which created a little back and forth between his brother Mike and I. But don’t worry, we’re cool. Right, Mike?
@EricCross04 Hot Garbage huh ?
— Mike Ockimey (@Ockimey_24) July 19, 2018
Ockimey has plus raw power, but needs to incorporate his lower half more if he wants to continue hitting for power as his career progresses toward Boston. As you can see below, there’s very minimal load or weight transfer. Mostly just his upper half. If he can use that strong lower half more, 25-plus home runs annually is a very realistic expectation. He’ll also need to trim down the strikeouts if he wants to keep his batting average respectable. Stronger target in OBP formats due to his usually strong walk rate.
16. Nick Northcut, 3B, Bats: R, DOB: 6/13/99, ETA 2021
2018 Stats (RK/A-): .223/.303/.319/.622, 10 2B, 2 HR, 0 SB, 8.5 BB%, 29.3 K%, 166 AB
The Red Sox grabbed Northcut in the 11th round and wooed him away from his Vanderbilt commitment with some extra cash. That looks like a great move by Boston as Northcut projects to be an above-average offensive third baseman with plus raw power and a decent feel for hitting already. He can get a tad aggressive, but if he can tone that down, Northcut should add solid batting averages to that 30-plus HR pop. Defensively, he’s adequate at the hot corner with a strong throwing arm.
17. Gilberto Jimenez, OF, Bats: S, DOB: 7/8/00, ETA 2023
2018 Stats (RK): .319/.384/.420/.804, 10 2B, 8 3B, 0 HR, 16 SB, 6.7 BB%, 14.1 K%, 257 AB
It’s still very early, but the tools here cannot be ignored. Forget power, Jimenez has none of that. But what he does have is elite speed, solid bat to ball skills, and a good feel for the strike zone. Jimenez doesn’t strike out often and could find himself atop a lineup one day if he can continue to put balls in play and utilize his speed.
18. Brandon Howlett, 3B, Bats: R, DOB: 9/12/99, ETA 2022
2018 Stats (RK/A-): .289/.402/.513/.915, 16 2B, 6 HR, 1 SB, 15.2 BB%, 22.3 K%, 152 AB
This is a name you could easily see 10-12 spots higher next spring. Howlett’s plus raw power is already peeking its head out during games and he’s displayed strong plate discipline so far as a pro. If the hit tool can come close to the power, you’re looking at a starting Major League third baseman with above-average offensive upside. Keep an eye on him.
19. Denyi Reyes, RHP, DOB: 11/2/96, ETA 2020
2018 Stats (A/A+): 155.2 IP, 1.97 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 1.1 BB/9, 8.4 K/9, .210 AVG
Happy Birthday Denyi. Reyes is coming off a phenomenal season in the South Atlantic and Carolina Leagues and has yet to post an ERA north of 3.00 in his professional career. While the stats are great, don’t jump to conclusions here. Reyes has been successful so far on the strength of his plus command but doesn’t have an arsenal that really excites you. The fastball sits in the low 90’s with some sink and all three of his secondary pitches are average, with his changeup flashing some extra upside. Still, that control is a great thing to have in your back pocket and should continue to carry Reyes up the Red Sox organizational ladder.
20. Kutter Crawford, RHP, DOB: 4/1/96, ETA 2020
2018 Stats (A/A+): 143.2 IP, 3.26 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 3.0 BB/9, 9.8 K/9, .242 AVG
I remember the first time I saw Kutter Crawford’s name, I thought to myself, “This guy better throw a cutter or his name is a lie.” Don’t worry, he does, and a solid one at that.
**Note to self, re-name one of my children “98 mph fastball with a nasty slider, fading changeup, and solid control”. I know it’s a long name, but they’ll thank me one day.
In addition to the cutter, Crawford mixes in a low-90’s fastball and both his curve and changeup project to be Major league average. Add in some decent command and you have yourself a back-end rotation arm here with Kutter. Looks more badass with a K too.
21. Roldani Baldwin, C, Bats: R, DOB: 3/16/96, ETA 2020
2018 Stats (A+): .233/.282/.371/.653, 7 2B, 7 HR, 2 SB, 4.5 BB%, 20.0 K%, 202 AB
As a below-average defensive catcher, Baldwin would lose a lot of luster if forced out from behind the plate. His offensive profile fits fine for a catcher but would be a lot less appealing at first base. Baldwin makes consistent hard contact with 15-20 HR pop, but can get too pull-happy and chase pitches out of the zone.
22. Alex Scherff, RHP, DOB: 2/5/98, ETA 2021
2018 Stats (RK/A): 70.0 IP, 4.76 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 3.1 BB/9, 6.9 K/9, .280 AVG
Scherff might barely crack my top-25 now, but has a chance to move way up these rankings this season. He features a 92-96 mph fastball with life and a plus changeup with good fade. If he can keep his control in check and develop his breaking pitches, Scherff could develop into a solid mid-rotation arm.
23. Devlin Granberg, OF, Bats: R, DOB: 9/8/95, ETA 2020
2018 Stats (A-): .300/.383/.435/.818, 18 2B, 4 HR, 8 SB, 9.8 BB%, 19.1 K%, 223 AB
Outside of his name sounding like an attorney from Law & Order, Granberg has an intriguing skill set that was on full display in the NY-Penn League. Granberg shows an advanced feel for hitting, with above-average bat to ball skills and plate discipline. His power is more of the gap variety right now, but he has the strength to develop 12-15 HR pop. He’s one worth keeping an eye on to see how he handles more advanced competition in 2019.
24. Eduardo Lopez, OF, Bats: S, DOB: 5/8/02, ETA 2025
2018 Stats: DID NOT PLAY
The Red Sox biggest international signing this period, Lopez is a toolsy outfielder with a ton of projectability, especially at the plate. He makes consistent hard contact from both sides of the plate and has shown some above-average raw power from the right side. Lopez is miles away from the Majors, but the skill set is worth monitoring.
25. Travis Lakins, RHP, DOB: 6/29/94, ETA 2019
A starter turned reliever, Lakins features a highly effective fastball/slider combination that induces a ton of weak contact and strikeouts. After reaching Triple-A late in 2018, he’s one to monitor as a potential impact arm for Boston during the 2019 season.
Up – Bobby Dalbec (3B), Antoni Flores (SS).
Down – Bryan Mata (RHP), Cole Brannen (OF).
Other Team Prospect Reports
Photo/Video Credit: Jason Pennini (Jimenez video) and Scott Greene (Headline photo).
Eric Cross is the lead MLB writer and prospect analyst here on FantraxHQ and has been with the site since March 2017. He is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). For more from Eric, check out his author page and follow him on Twitter @EricCross04.
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