Red Sox

Updating Red Sox' top prospects for 2020 in wake of Mookie Betts trade

Updating Red Sox' top prospects for 2020 in wake of Mookie Betts trade

The Boston Red Sox are getting worse in the short term by unloading Mookie Betts and David Price on the Los Angeles Dodgers.

But are they better positioned for future success?

The answer to that question rides on the three players Boston reportedly will acquire in return: outfielder Alex Verdugo, infield prospect Jeter Downs and catching prospect Connor Wong.

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The 23-year-old Verdugo already is a major-league level player: He hit .294 with an .817 OPS over 106 games for the Dodgers last season and projects as the Red Sox' starting right fielder in place of Betts.

Downs and Wong -- who take the place of Minnesota Twins pitching prospect Brusdar Graterol after Boston balked at his medical records -- should improve a barren Red Sox farm system that ranked dead last in baseball as of last August.

How much, you ask? MLB.com ranks Downs as its No. 44 overall prospect for 2020 -- which makes him Boston's top prospect and gives the Sox two prospects in MLB.com's Top 100 instead of one.

Here's an updated list of Boston's top 10 prospects, with Nos. 3 through 10 based on SoxProspects.com's rankings as of February 10, 2020:

1. Jeter Downs, 2B/SS (No. 44 overall)
2. Triston Casas, 1B/3B (No. 77 overall)
3. Bryan Mata, RHP
4. Jay Groome, LHP
5. Gilberto Jimenez, OF
6. Bobby Dalbec, 3B
7. Jarren Duran, OF
8. Tanner Houck, RHP
9. Noah Song, RHP
10. Thaddeus Ward, RHP
TBD. Connor Wong, C

Wong, 23, ranked 15th on Baseball America's list of top 30 Dodgers prospects, so he should slot just outside the top 10 in Boston's new-look farm system. He'll likely begin the 2020 season with the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs, while Downs should start in Portland as well but possibly could crack Boston's major-league roster by the end of the season.

You can check out both of their minor-league numbers here, but here's ESPN prospect expert Kiley McDaniels' take on each prospect in the wake of Sunday's revamped deal:

Downs: "Downs showed flashes of everything early in his career, but his in-game power took a step forward in 2019, when he hit 24 homers across high-A and Double-A. He's a fringy runner and defender at shortstop who probably fits best long-term at second base or third base, but he now projects to have above-average hit and power tools, so his bat will profile anywhere on an everyday basis. He could be ready for the big leagues as early as the second half of 2020."

Wong: "Wong doesn't have big raw power but has learned to lift the ball well enough to do damage, with below-average contact skills and mostly average tools across the board. He profiles as a utility-type role player who could be ready as early as 2021."

The Red Sox still don't have a top-100 pitching prospect in their farm system, which is cause for concern for a big-league club already thin on starting pitching.

But Downs' addition by itself improves Boston's crop of prospects immediately, and if all goes well, the Red Sox could have a compelling "infield of the future" in Triston Casas (first base), Downs (second base), Xander Bogaerts (shortstop) and Rafael Devers (third base).

Relive Manny Ramirez's greatest moments on Red Sox legend's 48th birthday

Relive Manny Ramirez's greatest moments on Red Sox legend's 48th birthday

One of the most entertaining players ever to don a Boston Red Sox uniform was born 48 years ago today.

That would be Manny Ramirez, who celebrates his birthday on May 30. In honor of the special occasion, Major League Baseball tweeted an awesome video that includes some of Ramirez's greatest moments:

Watch below:

That cutoff of Johnny Damon's throw never gets old.

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Ramirez joined the Red Sox in 2001 after spending the first seven seasons of his career with the Cleveland Indians. From there, he became a key contributor to two World Series titles (2004 and 2007) and furthered his legacy as one of the best right-handed hitters of all time.

He isn't done yet, either. Ramirez announced just a couple of months ago he is hoping to find a roster spot in Taiwan's Chinese Professional Baseball League. More "Manny Being Manny"? That sounds great to us.

We wish a very happy birthday to one of the greatest (and most interesting) players in Red Sox history.

Ever Wonder Series: Why did the distance of Fenway Park's Green Monster change?

Ever Wonder Series: Why did the distance of Fenway Park's Green Monster change?

Of all of Fenway Park's quirks, my favorite might be how the 315-foot sign on the Green Monster suddenly became 310.

It's possible I love this story because the sportswriter gets to be the hero.

In 1995, the Globe's Dan Shaughnessy decided to settle one of the most persistent rumors of his career. He remembers hearing it as a cub reporter during the 1975 World Series, when the Reds insisted to a man that Fenway's famed left field fence couldn't possibly be 315 down the line.

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They all believed it was closer, but no one could prove it, because the Red Sox resisted periodic efforts to measure and answer the question once and for all.

That didn't stop the Globe from accessing the park's original 1912 blueprints, which showed the wall at 308 feet. They enlisted a World War II reconnaissance pilot to examine aerial photos, and he pegged it at 304. The author George Sullivan crawled up the foul line with a yardstick and settled on 309-5.

None of those numbers ever became official, though, because 315 by that point had been well-established as part of the park's lore. Fenway opened in 1912, was extensively renovated in 1934, and added bullpens in 1940, giving us the dimensions we essentially recognize today. For more than 60 years, the 315 sign at the base of the foul pole beckoned right-handed sluggers, terrified pitchers, and lived in what felt like perfect accuracy.

But Shaughnessy had other ideas. He finally decided to take matters into his own hands in March of 1995. His friends on the grounds crew looked the other way as he hopped a fence in an empty Fenway and unfurled a 100-foot Stanley SteelMaster tape measure.

It only took a matter of minutes to prove his hunch correct: 315 wasn't 315 at all.

It was 310, or 309-3, to be precise. Shaughnessy wrote about his findings in late April, and within a month, the Red Sox had quietly changed the sign to 310, which it remains to this day.

"My whole life looking at that wall, it was 315," Shaughnessy said. "Shortly after the story appeared, they changed it to 310, which surprised me. It was very un-Red Sox like in those days, and these days.

"Now when I see 310, I take some pride in that."