With Triston Casas raking overseas at the Tokyo Olympics, it's fair to wonder whether the Boston Red Sox' No. 1 prospect could help the big-league club down the stretch.
It's no secret the Red Sox could use a left-handed, power-hitting first baseman in the lineup. Casas, who's belted three home runs in the tournament for Team USA, certainly matches that description. But as impressive as he's been, Sox manager Alex Cora isn't ready to declare the 21-year-old ready to jump from Double-A to The Show.
“We’ve seen guys who made the jump and be successful, and we’ve seen guys who make the jump and they struggle," Cora said Wednesday on WEEI's "Ordway, Merloni & Fauria." "It all depends on who you are as a hitter and where you are in your development as far as controlling the strike zone and recognizing pitches. It’s not impossible, but it’s gone both ways.”
Casas crushed his third homer of the Olympics Wednesday vs. the Dominican Republic to help Team USA to the semifinal. The two-run shot tied him for the most homers in the tournament and put him ahead of all players in Tokyo with eight RBI.
Cora is impressed with Casas' development, but noted that the 2018 first-round draft pick's hot streak at the plate isn't coming against major-league pitching.
“We’ve seen what he’s done, and obviously it’s a different tournament,” Cora said. “Nothing against the teams they’re facing, but I think the quality of pitching is not the same as here, but he’s progressing. He’s done an amazing job since spring training all the way up until last night to keep getting better as a hitter. This guy is part of the future, like we’ve always said, but as of now, that’s not something we’re looking at — we haven’t talked about it.”
After not playing in 2020 due to the cancellation of the minor league season, Casas is hitting .271 with six homers and 30 RBI in 46 games for Double-A Portland this year. It's no surprise the Red Sox want to see more out of their top prospect before throwing him into the fire.
Since it appears Casas won't be an option, the Red Sox will rely on trade deadline acquisition Kyle Schwarber to provide production at first base when he returns from injury. The All-Star slugger has played first base for only one play at the major league level.