With a bevy of recent trades and the call-ups of top prospects Andrew Benintendi and Rafael Devers this year, the once-mighty farm system of the Boston Red Sox has certainly been depleted from previous levels. However, the system is not entirely bereft of talent. Let’s take a look at some of the young players still seasoning in the minors who are showing the organization that they might have a bright future with the big league club given what they are accomplishing this year.
Outfielder Rusney Castillo: The ship has almost certainly sailed on the Cuban right-handed hitter from being a star. However, it wasn’t that long ago that it seemed he might never contribute again as he was removed from the 40-man roster this past offseason. Instead, the 29-year-old has turned in an All-Star season, hitting .313 with 12 home runs and 14 stolen bases in 76 games. He hardly ever walks (10), but rarely strikes out (45) either. He’s a nice, if exorbitant luxury, to have in the event of an injury in Boston.
Pitcher Jalen Beeks: The 23-year-old left-hander was a 1th-round selection of the team in 2014. He has stealthily rocketed through the system, splitting 2017 between Double-A and Triple-A, combining for a 9-5 record, 2.19 ERA and 122 strikeouts in 111.1 innings. At 5’11” and with a fastball that tops out in the low 90s, he is not the prototypical pitching prospect. However, he just seems to get results. Don’t be surprised to see him called up, in either a starting or relief role, at some point before the end of the year.
Third Baseman Michael Chavis: The former first-round pick looked like a possible bust after three sub-par years to start his professional career. However, he is still just 21 and is putting up a monster season in 2017. In 91 games between High-A and Double-A, he is hitting .310 with 27 home runs and 81 RBIs. Regarded as a strong hitter, he is showing even more power than originally thought, and has dramatically cut down on his strikeouts as he has progressed through the minors. Obviously, he has Devers blocking him at third but if he keeps up hitting the way he has been there will be a spot for him somewhere before long.
Catcher Roldani Baldwin: The right-handed hitter was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2014 and has come along slowly but seems to be putting it all together in 2017. He has hit a little at all of his stops but is really putting it together this year with Class-A Greenville at the age of 21. Appearing in 75 games, he has hit .295 with 29 doubles, 12 home runs and 54 RBIs. He doesn’t walk much (just 12 times thus far) but that may come with more experience. Originally a third baseman, he is behind the plate full time this year and is acquitting himself decently, having caught 32 percent of attempted base stealers.
Outfielder Tyler Hill: Playing in his first year of full-season ball, the 21-year-old is breaking out in a major way, hitting .267 with six home runs, 50 RBI and 32 stolen bases in 97 games. The 2014 19th-round pick is a right-handed hitter is seen as having a ways to go defensively, but his showing on offense gives reason to believe he is a player to watch.
Pitcher Darwinzon Hernandez: Although he is in his fourth year with the organization, the lefty is still just 20 and just starting to come into his own. He is still being handled with kid gloves, as evidenced by the 72 innings he has been permitted to throw in his 17 starts. However, he has made them most of them, posting a 4.38 ERA and striking out 80 batters. He still walks too many, suggesting a need to work on his command and control, but with a fastball and curve that have the potential of above average offerings, he could develop into one of the next big-time prospects for Boston.
Pitcher Bryan Mata: A totally raw prospect, nevertheless, the right-hander is pitching in Single-A at the age of 18, which is no small feat. He has more than held his own, with a 3.46 ERA and 51 strikeouts in 52 innings. With a frame that resembles a broom, the possibility he could fill out and enhance what is already an intriguing skill set should not be ignored.
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