Red Sox

Checking in on Red Sox prospects after trade deadline

Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox' farm system has been shaken up since last week's MLB trade deadline.

Two prospects -- Enmanuel Valdez and Wilyer Abreu -- were acquired in the trade that sent veteran catcher Christian Vazquez to the Houston Astros. Pitching prospect Jay Groome, the Red Sox' first-round draft pick in 2017, was shipped to the San Diego Padres for first baseman Eric Hosmer.

Tomase: It's fair to start wondering about Cora's future in Boston

The 2022 MLB Draft also added new names to the mix last month with high school shortstop Mikey Romero and Florida outfielder Roman Anthony selected by Boston in the first and second rounds, respectively. Neither player has been assigned to a minor league affiliate.

Meanwhile, the big-league club has leaned on several call-ups from Triple-A Worcester. Pitching prospects Brayan Bello, Josh Winckowski and Kutter Crawford have taken the mound as fill-ins for Boston's injured starters. Former top outfield prospect Jarren Duran has become a regular in the Red Sox' short-handed lineup and infielder Jeter Downs has gotten some MLB experience.

Boston's recent play hasn't inspired much optimism, but the farm system should give fans hope for a bright future. Here's an update on the statuses of some of the most intriguing Sox prospects.

Marcelo Mayer earns well-deserved promotion

Prospect Ranking: No. 1

MLB ETA: 2024

MLB player comp: Corey Seager

It's time for the next test for 2021 No. 4 overall pick Marcelo Mayer. The left-handed hitting shortstop has been promoted to High-A Greenville after an exceptional stint with Low-A Salem.

 

Mayer is slashing .286/.406/.504 with nine homers and 40 RBI through 66 games in his first full pro season. Between his presence at the plate and his smoothness in the field, the 19-year-old has shown why he was hyped as the best all-around player in the 2021 draft class.

Triston Casas close to MLB debut?

Prospect Ranking: No. 2

MLB ETA: 2022

MLB player comp: Freddie Freeman

All signs point to Triston Casas making his MLB debut sometime this season. The slugging first baseman has raked since returning from injury in mid-July and could give Red Sox fans something worth watching if the season continues to go south.

Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom acknowledged the possibility of Casas joining the Red Sox sometime in 2022. If he stays hot and Boston is in need of a spark, it'll be hard to deny him his much-anticipated promotion.

Nick Yorke's struggles continue

Prospect Ranking: No. 4

MLB ETA: Late 2024/Early 2025

MLB player comp: Kevin Youkilis

The Youkilis comparison comes from Red Sox amateur scouting director Paul Toboni, who likened Yorke to the "Greek God of Walks" after Boston selected him with a first-round pick in 2020. Yorke earned that comparison with his advanced plate discipline, which he's shown throughout his professional baseball career thus far.

That said, Yorke hasn't been able to duplicate his sensational 2021 campaign at the plate. So far in 2021, he's hitting just .227 with seven homers and 30 RBI in 57 games. The promotion to High-A Greenville has been tough sledding for last season's Red Sox Minor League Player of the Year.

Blaze Jordan joining Marcelo Mayer in Greenville

Prospect Ranking: No. 6

MLB ETA: 2025

MLB player comp: Mark Trumbo

Jordan will join Mayer on the Greenville Drive and hope to pick up right where he left off in Salem. The 19-year-old slugger posted a .287/.357/.446 slash line with eight homers and 57 RBI in 95 games with the Low-A affiliate. High-A will be a tough test for Jordan as he looks to avoid a slump at the plate akin to Yorke's.

Bryan Mata looking sharp for Sea Dogs

Prospect Ranking: No. 7

MLB ETA: 2023

MLB player comp: Raisel Iglesias

Mata, the top-ranked pitching prospect in Boston's system, has looked the part since returning from Tommy John surgery. He's posted a 2-3 record with a 3.02 ERA in 11 games (10 starts) this season between Low-A Salem, High- A Greenville and Double-A Portland. The 23-year-old boasts some of the best stuff you'll see from a minor-league pitcher and could make an impact with the big-league club as soon as next season.

Growing pains for Alex Binelas

Prospect Ranking: No. 20

MLB ETA: 2024

MLB player comp: Travis Shaw

The Travis Shaw comparison might appear underwhelming on the surface, but it's actually a compliment to Binelas' raw power. Remember, Shaw had two consecutive seasons with 30+ homers.

 

Acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers in the offseason deal for Jackie Bradley Jr., Binelas brings tremendous left-handed pop to the plate but struggles in the contact department. He also is a below-average defender who could move to the outfield or first base at some point down the line.

Binelas raked with High-A Greenville but has been unable to carry that success over to Double-A Portland, where he's hit .146 with eight homers in 31 games.

Ceddanne Rafaela rising up the ranks

Prospect Ranking: No. 25

MLB ETA: 2024

MLB player comp: Mookie Betts

Look, we aren't saying Rafaela is the next Mookie Betts, we're just saying he reminds us of what Betts brought to the table as a Red Sox prospect.

Rafaela is undersized at only 5-foot-8, 150 pounds, but that hasn't stopped him from slugging his way to a stellar 2022 season. In 88 games between High-A Greenville and Double-A Portland, he's slashed .307/.351/.557 with 17 homers, 61 RBI and 23 stolen bases. He also has made a name for himself with web gems like this:

Enmanuel Valdez makes strong first impression

Prospect Ranking: No. 28

MLB ETA: 2023

MLB player comp: Jose Ramirez

Valdez immediately made his mark on the Red Sox farm system with a homer in his Triple-A Worcester debut. He has two homers in his first five games with the WooSox.

Valdez was on fire at the plate with the Astros' Double-A and Triple-A affiliates before being sent to Boston in the Vazquez trade. While the 23-year-old has played several positions, he's rated below-average defensively, so finding a consistent spot for him on the major league roster could be difficult.

Wilyer Abreu getting acclimated in Portland

Prospect Ranking: No. 29

MLB ETA: 2024

MLB player comp: David Peralta

Abreu came to Boston along with Valdez in the Christian Vazquez trade. The 23-year-old joined Double-A Portland and is 3-for-22 through five games with the Sea Dogs. Prior to the Vazquez deal, he hit .249 with 15 homers, 54 RBI and 24 doubles with the Astros' Double-A affiliate. Abreu projects as a power-hitting corner outfielder with a high strikeout rate.