Boston Red Sox Midseason Prospect Report
Boston Red Sox Midseason Prospect Report
By Jimmy Toscano
It seems like every other season there are calls to "blow up" the Red Sox. "Trade the stars and get back some prospects!" That's fine, but the Sox need to have some young talent of their own coming up the ranks that they can develop and put out there on the field. So let's take a look at the top prospects in the organization and how they're doing this season.
Yoan Moncada, 2B, Greenville Drive
The Red Sox big -- big -- offseason amateur signing was Yoan Moncada; they outbid a number of teams and forked over $63 million to sign Moncada from Cuba ($31.5 million went to him and the other half was a tax). Will it be worth it? Time will tell, but Moncada ranks very high on every scout's list. He's listed as the Sox' top prospect, and is currently No. 11 on Baseball America's Midseason Top 50 Prospects. So what's Moncada up to? Currently playing for the Greenville Drive, he's had a bit of a slow start to his pro career: He's batting .263 with 2 home runs, 17 RBI and 15 steals. But Moncada has come on lately, raising his average more than 40 points from .222 on July 2. And on Sunday, he went 3-for-5 with a home run and two RBI. The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder turned 20 years old in May, and there are high expectations for him.
Rafael Devers, 3B, Greenville Drive
Could we be seeing the future of the Red Sox infield in Greenville right now? Yoan Moncada is at second base, and Rafael Devers is at third. Moncada just turned 20 years old, while Devers won't turn 19 until after the season. And for all the hype surrounding Moncada, it's Devers turning in a better season. The left-handed hitter is at .294 with 7 home runs, 19 doubles and 42 RBI. He's having such a good year that he made the Futures Game in Cincinnati. Devers comes in at No. 15 in the Baseball America Midseason Top 50 Prospects list, and is climbing. The Sox may not be interested in trading players like Mookie Betts or Xander Bogaerts, but Devers will be a target if a major deal starts brewing.
Manuel Margot, OF, Portland Sea Dogs
Like Rafael Devers, Manuel Margot was invited to the Futures Game after the season he's had in Salem and, after a promotion, Portland. Combined, Margot is batting .281 with 4 homers, 30 RBI and 25 steals. Over his first 19 games in Double-A Portland, Margot is batting .278 with a home run and 13 RBI. He's ranked 24th on Baseball America Midseason Top 50 Prospects list. Margot is known mostly for his speed and his fielding, but he doesn't strike out much and has a good enough bat to excite scouts.
Brian Johnson, LHP, Pawtucket Red Sox
Red Sox fans are about to get a real look at Johnson, as he's been called up in wake of Clay Buchholz's injury. It looked like Johnson was going to get a shot regardless, as the team's fifth spot in the rotation was up for grabs. Johnson didn't have the hype that fellow PawSox lefty Henry Owens had, but he has proven to be more reliable this season. Johnson, now 24, was 8-6 with a 2.73 ERA and 1.10 WHIP with the PawSox. He had 81 strikeouts and 26 walks in 85 2/3 innings. This is Johnson's shot to stick in the rotation, as neither Joe Kelly nor Justin Masterson have done anything to keep their spots. Johnson comes in at No. 38 on Baseball America's Midseason Top 50 Prospects list.
Henry Owens, LHP, Pawtucket Red Sox
Owens' stock has taken a little bit of a hit this year. He's been considered the best pitcher in the Sox farm system, but hasn't pitched up to that label in 2015. After dominating Class AA Portland last year (20 starts, 121 IP, 14-4, 2.60 ERA, 126 strikeouts, 47 walks), Owens' numbers have suffered on the PawSox this season. In 18 starts (104 1/3 IP), he's 2-7 with a 3.36 ERA, 85 strikeouts, 52 walks. The control issues stand out a bit, as Owens' strikeout-to-walk ratio is nowhere near what it was last year (170/59), but his 1.15 WHIP is consistent with his last couple seasons. Owens comes in at No. 47 on the Baseball America Midseason Top 50 Prospects list.
Trey Ball, LHP, Salem Red Sox
Ball, 21 years old, has trended in the right direction this season. After a year with the Greenville Drive in which he finished 5-10 with a 4.68 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, and .280 opponent batting average, Ball has improved in 2015 with the Salem Red Sox of the Class-A advanced Carolina League. He's 6-7 with a 3.68 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and .238 opponent batting average. Ball doesn't seem like much of a strikeout pitcher, as he's struck out two or less in 7 of his last 10 starts. But he went three straight starts (15 2/3 innings) in June without allowing a run on a combined six hits with 14 strikeouts.
Garin Cecchini, 3B, Pawtucket Red Sox
It hasn't been a good season at all for Garin Cecchini. First, the Red Sox signed a high-priced free agent (Pablo Sandoval) at his position, blocking his main path to Boston. Secondly, his offensive production has plummeted: He's currently hitting .213 with 6 home runs and 16 RBI, and his .282 on-base percentage is almost 100 points below his career minor-league average. Cecchini, who has also played outfield in the past, has added first base to his resume this season, but he's hitting about as poorly as the Red Sox' incumbent at the position, Mike Napoli. In this, his age-24 season, it's certainly not the time to take a big step back.
Michael Chavis, 3B, Greenville Drive
The Sox took the 19-year-old Chavis in the first round of the 2014 draft, and though he was a shortstop to start, he's moved to third base with the Drive. He's got a good arm and impressive bat speed, which is important as he's not the biggest guy on the field at 5-foot-10, 190 pounds. Chavis isn't having a great year offensively, batting just .213, but he does have 8 home runs and 31 RBI. He is striking out at a higher rate this year than in the Gulf Coast league, but that's to be expected against better pitching.
Michael Kopech, RHP, Greenville Drive
Like Michael Chavis, the Sox took Michael Kopech in the first round; he was selected several picks after Chavis. The 19-year-old right-hander can touch 97 with his fastball, according to MLB.com, and with that type of power he could climb up the ranks fast. Kopech is 4-5 with a 2.63 ERA and 1.23 WHIP in 15 starts for the Drive. He's struck out 70 batters in 65 innings. This is a pitching prospect we're going to hear a lot about over the next couple seasons.
Deven Marrero, SS, Pawtucket Red Sox
Deven Marrero is currently on the big-league club with Dustin Pedroia on the DL, but will likely head back to the PawSox when Pedroia is activated later this week. Marrero has played 67 games for Pawtucket this season, hitting .245 with 4 home runs and 21 RBI. With Xander Bogaerts at shortstop, Marrero could be a prime trade chip. He's a great fielder, but needs to shore things up at the plate to really drive some value.