There's plenty to be optimistic about in Boston nowadays. The Red Sox are in first place and coming off a three-game sweep of the Yankees. They own the fourth overall pick in the upcoming MLB Draft, and the farm system is looking the more promising than it has in years.
All eyes have been on Jarren Duran as the Triple-A Worcester star could soon find a spot on the major-league roster. The exciting center fielder has been a human highlight-reel at the plate with a team-leading 13 homers, including a walk-off on June 20.
With a good chunk of the minor league season in the books, it's a good time to check in on Duran and the rest of the Red Sox's top prospects. Here's how they've fared so far this year.
Triston Casas, 1B, Double-A Portland
The Duran hype is real, but Casas remains Boston's No. 1 prospect. The 2018 first-round draft pick is in the midst of a solid first season with the Sea Dogs. Through 34 games, Casas is hitting .266/.354/.414 with four homers and 22 RBI. We can expect those power numbers to improve as the 6-foot-5, 250-pound slugger has the potential to be a feared middle-of-the-lineup bat at the big-league level.
Jeter Downs, SS/2B, Triple-A Worcester
Downs' numbers aren't where he'd like them to be so far this season with the WooSox. The 22-year-old middle infielder is slashing .239/.317/.387 with six home runs, 15 RBI and 10 stolen bases in 37 games. He did have a two-homer game earlier this month, followed by a clutch go-ahead blast on June 18.
Downs was part of the blockbuster deal that sent Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Red Sox also acquired catching prospect Connor Wong, who notched his first major-league hit on Sunday, and of course outfielder Alex Verdugo.
Jarren Duran, CF, Triple-A Worcester
We could see Duran called up to the big-league club sooner rather than later. The 24-year-old outfielder has been sensational for Worcester, hitting .276/.366/.579 with 13 homers and 26 RBI in 36 games. It remains to be seen whether the speedster's newfound power is here to stay, or if it's simply a flash in the pan. Prior to 2021, he never hit more than five homers in a minor league campaign.
Gilberto Jimenez, CF, Low-A Salem
Jimenez, ranked as Boston's No. 4 prospect by SoxProspects.com, has struggled at the plate this year with the Salem Red Sox. The switch-hitting center fielder is hitting .296 but with only one home run and a .699 OPS through 40 games. Two years ago with the Lowell Spinners, he hit .359 with a .863 OPS.
Tanner Houck, RHP, Triple-A Worcester
Houck is still working off the rust after returning from a flexor strain. In three games with the WooSox, the right-hander has allowed five runs and 11 hits in 9 2/3 innings pitched (4.66 ERA). As soon as he's ready, we should see Houck return to Boston's active roster.
Connor Seabold, RHP, Triple-A Worcester
Seabold hasn't pitched in 2021 due to right elbow inflammation. Acquired from the Phillies along with Nick Pivetta in last year's Brandon Workman/Heath Hembree trade, Seabold went 4-2 with a 2.56 ERA in 12 appearances as part of Philadelphia's farm system in 2019.
It's unclear when we could see Seabold return to the mound, but the righty threw 25 pitches in a bullpen session earlier this month.
Nick Yorke, 2B, Low-A Salem
Yorke has been red-hot in June after a rough May. The 17th overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft is hitting .348 with a .953 OPS this month. Overall, he's batting .265 with one home run and 15 RBI during his first season in Boston's farm system.
Jay Groome, LHP, High-A Greenville
Groome hasn't fared well with the Greenville Drive this year. The 12th overall pick in the 2016 draft is 0-5 with a 5.71 ERA in 10 starts. He has been better in recent appearances, however, including an eight-strikeout performance last week. The southpaw underwent Tommy John surgery in 2018.
Brayan Bello, RHP, Double-A Portland
After a rough 2019 with Greenville, Bello appears to have figured something out two years later. The 22-year-old right-hander went 5-0 with a 2.27 ERA before being promoted to Portland, where he has posted a 3.27 ERA in three appearances including a 10-strikeout performance last week that caught Alex Cora's attention.
Aldo Ramirez, RHP, Low-A Salem
Ramirez was cruising along this season with a 2.03 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in eight starts before being shut down with an arm injury on Monday. He was placed on the seven-day injured list with right elbow tendinitis and could be sidelined for longer depending on the severity of the injury.