Boston Red Sox

WORCESTER - Triston Casas steps up to the plate during the final home game of the inaugural season at Polar Park on Sunday, September 26, 2021. (Ashley Green/Telegram & Gazette via Imagn Content Services)

The immediate future of baseball may be uncertain with the current Major League Baseball lockout, but the Red Sox’s future is bright. On Wednesday morning, Baseball America released its annual preseason prospect rankings and Boston is well represented.

In total, the Red Sox have four players in the top 100, including two in the top 20. They are one of only 12 teams to have four players on the list, highlighting the job chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom has done rebuilding the farm system and organizational depth since taking over for Dave Dombrowski after the 2019 season.

While these four players may not be household names yet, they’re well on their way to that status. Here’s a look at who’s on the list…

  • SS Marcelo Mayer (15th)

    Heading into the 2021 MLB Draft, Mayer was viewed by many as the top overall prospect in the class. Yet Mayer fell to the Red Sox at fourth overall, and was considered the steal of the draft.

    The 18-year-old then joined the Red Sox’s Florida Complex League team and instantly looked the part. He slashed .275/.377/.440 with 17 RBIs in 26 games.

    Given he was drafted out of high school, Mayer’s major league ETA isn’t projected to be until late in the 2024 season at the earliest. Still, the early progress is a strong indication that he’s on his way to justifying the lofty pre-draft projections, and this ranking reflects that.

  • 1B Triston Casas (19th overall)

    WORCESTER – Triston Casas steps up to the plate during the final home game of the inaugural season at Polar Park on Sunday, September 26, 2021. (Ashley Green/Telegram & Gazette via Imagn Content Services)

    This time last year Casas was ranked 47th by Baseball America, while at the same time being the Red Sox’s highest-ranked prospect on the list. Both he and the team have come a long way in terms of development in the last 12 months.

    Casas, a first-round pick of the Red Sox in 2018, spent the majority of the 2021 season in Double-AA Portland. He slashed .284/.395/.484 with the Sea Dogs in 77 games, hitting 12 doubles and 13 home runs with 52 RBIs. The lefty also spent part of the summer with Team USA at the Olympics, winning a silver medal.

    Now 22, with three years of minor league baseball under his belt, there’s a strong chance Casas makes his major league debut this upcoming season (assuming there is a season). Given the relative uncertainty the team has faced at first base, the door is wide open for him to grab an everyday spot in the lineup at some point this year.

  • 2B Nick Yorke (31st overall)

    Yorke had one of the biggest jumps of any prospect on this year’s list, moving up from the 63rd ranking this time last year. This comes just over a year after he was viewed as ‘over-drafted’ when the Red Sox took him 17th overall in the 2020 draft.

    In his first year of professional league baseball in 2021, Yorke was named the organization’s Minor League Offensive Player of the Year. In 97 games split between Single-A Salem and High-A Greenville, the 19 year old slashed an impressive .325/.412/.516. His 123 hits were the most by any Red Sox minor leaguer that season.

    Also drafted out of high school, York isn’t expected in the major leagues for at least a few more years. At the same time, he’s a name to know if he develops and builds off an impressive first season.

  • OF Jarren Duran (91st overall)

    Jul 17, 2021; Bronx, New York, USA; Boston Red Sox center fielder Jarren Duran (40) follows through on a single against the New York Yankees during the second inning at Yankee Stadium. The hit was the first of his MLB career in his first ever plate appearance. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

    Red Sox fans got to see a bit of Duran last year. The 2018 seventh-round pick made his major league debut in July, and hit .215 in 33 games.

    Despite his initial struggles in the big leagues, it appears Baseball America isn’t ready to write Durran off – and neither should the Red Sox. He possesses a rare combination of speed and power that could make him a chess piece sort of player down the road.

    His biggest issue right now is his approach at the plate. He struck out 40 times compared to just four walks in his short major league stint, but the Red Sox have been able to work through similar problems with other players in the past.

    Currently, Duran is one of just four outfielders on the Red Sox’s 40-man roster with major league experience (not including J.D. Martinez). He’ll have a chance to make the initial roster out of Spring Training, and even if he doesn’t, expect to see him in the majors at some point in 2022.

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