Boston Red Sox

By Matt McCarthy, 985TheSportsHub.com

It’s no secret that 2018 has been a tough year for the Red Sox farm system.

The team’s consensus number one prospect, lefty Jay Groome, is done for the year with Tommy John surgery. 2018 first round pick Triston Casas is also done for the season after injuring his thumb in his first professional game. Meanwhile, top hitting prospect Michael Chavis just returned from an 80-game PED suspension.

But in recent days, some decent news has developed down on the farm.

The Red Sox promoted a number of their remaining top prospects immediately after the trading deadline, representing the first positive updates from the minor leagues in months.

Third round pick Durbin Feltman, a right-handed reliever, has already reached High Single-A Salem less than two months after being drafted out of Texas Christian University.

Feltman was regarded by some draft-watchers as the player in the 2018 class with the best chance to reach the major leagues first.

In 11 appearances for Short-Season Lowell and Low-A Greenville, Feltman struck out 21 batters in 11 innings. He has allowed two earned runs in 13 professional innings and has already tossed two scoreless innings in Salem.

Feltman checks in at number 11 in the most recent Red Sox farm system rankings by SoxProspects.com. He features a fastball in the mid-to-upper-90’s and a slider that has been described by scouts as a plus pitch.

It is not unrealistic to expect Feltman to end up in Double-A Portland by the end of the season. If all goes well, the Red Sox likely view him as a potential big league arm at some point in 2019.

Third base prospect Bobby Dalbec just arrived in Portland and has opened some eyes with his raw power. He has homered twice in less than a week since his promotion, bringing his combined total between Single-A Salem and Double-A to 28.

In an interview on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Hardcore Baseball, Sox Prospects Director of Scouting Ian Cundall said Dalbec has surpassed Chavis as the best power hitter in the Red Sox minor league system.

But questions remain about his ability to make contact.

In 2017, Dalbec struck out 38 percent of the time. He has cut his strikeout rate down to around 30 percent this season. He has raised his batting average to .258 with a strong summer after hovering around .200 to begin the year.

Dalbec’s promotion to Portland should go a long way in determining whether or not he is a legitimate major league prospect. If he continues to cut down on the strikeouts, he will likely cement himself as one of the top prospects in the system. He is a low floor, high ceiling player.

Baseball America currently ranks Dalbec as the ninth-best prospect in the organization.

Dalbec’s promotion meant first baseman Josh Ockimey went from Double-A to Triple-A Pawtucket.

Jul 11, 2018; Trenton, NJ, USA; Portland Sea Dogs first baseman Josh Ockimey (29) takes infield practice prior to the game at ARM & HAMMER Park. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Ockimey, a power-hitting lefty, has 17 home runs this year, including two in his first week in Pawtucket. But he has struggled against left-handed pitching, batting just .198 against southpaws in Portland.

He is the 10th ranked prospect in the system according to Sox Prospects. Ockimey did not make the midseason Baseball America Top 10.

Right-hander Mike Shawaryn, a consensus top-10 prospect, was also promoted to Pawtucket after a strong season in Portland (3.28 ERA in 19 starts). Scouts are split on whether the 23-year-old profiles as a starter or a reliever.

You can hear Matt McCarthy on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s own Hardcore Baseball podcast and on various Sports Hub programs. Follow him on Twitter @MattMcCarthy985.