Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox

It’s been roughly a month since the last time we checked-in on the Red Sox farm system and it’s been a whirlwind of positives and negatives. Since this article is going to focus on the positives, it feels important to start with the big negative of Luis Perales going down. He had seen a meteoric rise (9 starts, 2.94 ERA/2.03 FIP) after becoming the #57 prospect in baseball a week earlier by Baseball America, but he’ll now be on the sidelines as he works his way back from Tommy John surgery.

For an organization that has been starving to develop any form of consistent starting pitching, it’s a brutal blow. Not to mention, he wasn’t the only intriguing arm on the Portland Sea Dogs staff to get hurt, with Angel Bastardo looking like he’s going to require the same surgery on his damaged UCL.

Still, it’s a positive sign for the Red Sox new pitching infrastructure that they were able to unlock Perales with some significant arsenal changes, which have been detailed by Ian Cundall of SoxProspects.com. At 22 next season, it’s not like Perales will be significantly behind in his development, but it felt like he was on the verge of a Brayan Bello type of breakout. So, enough with the negatives, let’s dive into what’s been going right in the Red Sox prospect world.

  • 1. Marcelo Mayer, SS, Portland Sea Dogs

    Red Sox Player Development on X (formerly Twitter): "115.2 MPH exit velocity for Marcelo Mayer's league leading 20th double of the season. The hardest hit ball of his career! pic.twitter.com/dH7ZB2LUFI / X"

    115.2 MPH exit velocity for Marcelo Mayer's league leading 20th double of the season. The hardest hit ball of his career! pic.twitter.com/dH7ZB2LUFI

    It’d be wrong to not start with Marcelo Mayer, who has done nothing but swing the bat since Opening Day rolled around. Across 60 games, the former 4th overall pick has slashed an impressive .316/.380/.492/.872 with 6 long balls, 25 doubles, and 12 stolen bases in 14 attempts. That’s good for a 137 wRC+, which isn’t too shabby for the 15th-youngest player in the league.

    On top of the surface numbers being impressive, he’s also been hitting the ball harder than ever with a recent max exit velocity of 115.2 MPH on a double. How ridiculous is that? It would tie for the 17th-hardest hit ball in the majors this season with Kyle Schwaber.

    Mayer has also shown his growth at the plate by cutting down his K% from 25.8% at AA last season to 20.9% in 2024. He’s been walking more too, especially as of late, with his 7.9% mark in 2023 jumping to 9.3%. That’s a big step forward for him considering some of the swing-and-miss concerns that haunted him as he battled his shoulder impingement last year.

    On the defensive side of things, Mayer racked up a bunch of early errors with 10 in 49 games, but he’s continued to flash above-average potential at shortstop. He did make 2 recent starts at third base though, which is the first time he’s done that outside of Trevor Story’s rehab assignment last summer. Maybe something to keep an eye on since he’s due for a promotion to AAA and Trevor Story is expected to make a full recovery for 2024.

    The one glaring weakness when looking at Mayer’s numbers in 2024 is his struggles against lefties. In a small sample size of 57 plate appearances, he’s hitting a weak .218/.290/.309/.599 with no homers. I’m not panicking since we’ve seen him hit lefties quite well in the past, but just something to keep an eye on as he tries to check off every box at the AA level.

  • 2. Roman Anthony, CF, Portland Sea Dogs

    Tyler Milliken ⚾️ on X (formerly Twitter): "Well, Roman Anthony's elbow looks fine.First day back in the lineup and he's already going deep again.That's his 6th homer of the season. 3rd in the month of June. pic.twitter.com/PONVPVJ2AN / X"

    Well, Roman Anthony's elbow looks fine.First day back in the lineup and he's already going deep again.That's his 6th homer of the season. 3rd in the month of June. pic.twitter.com/PONVPVJ2AN

    It’s easy to forget Roman Anthony is only in the midst of his age-20 season, but April was a reminder of how challenging the jump from High-A to Double-A can be. He posted a rough .638 OPS through the first month of the season that included way too much swing-and-miss with a 33.3% K%. Fortunately, he’s flipped a switch since the calendar turned to May for the second season in a row, despite dealing with a few bumps and bruises.

    Dating back to May 1st, Anthony has been doing damage with a .305/.428/.568/.995 batting line over 34 games. That includes a much improved K% of 22.1% and he’s continued his trend of drawing walks at an elite rate of 15.9%. His power has been there as well, as he’s racked up 5 homers, 13 doubles, and 2 triples.

    In the outfield, Anthony has spent a majority of his time in center field with 40 starts at the position in 2024. While many still expect him to end up in a corner outfield spot, especially with Ceddanne Rafaela and Jarren Duran being elite options in center field, he has held his own out there. It’ll be interesting to see if he gets exposed to right field more as the season winds down, especially once he gets to Worcester.

    In terms of a promotion timeline, it wouldn’t shock me if we see Roman Anthony stay in Double-A for a bit longer. He’s younger than both Mayer and Teel and there’s no need to rush him with the current surplus of outfields on the big league roster. Still, I don’t think he’ll be too far behind if he continues to swing the bat like this.

     

  • 3. Kyle Teel, C, Portland Sea Dogs

    Tyler Milliken ⚾️ on X (formerly Twitter): "Nobody has ever wanted to be in Worcester more than Kyle Teel.8th homer of the season.Just pushed his OPS to .902 and is batting .314. pic.twitter.com/6gV2p7bNRE / X"

    Nobody has ever wanted to be in Worcester more than Kyle Teel.8th homer of the season.Just pushed his OPS to .902 and is batting .314. pic.twitter.com/6gV2p7bNRE

    If there’s anyone ready for a promotion right now in the Red Sox system, it’s Kyle Teel. He’s checked off almost every box offensively by slashing .313/.405/.493/.898 with 8 homers through 54 games. It’s even more impressive considering he started slow in April (99 wRC+) before going nuclear in May (183 wRC+) and June (169 wRC+).

    There wasn’t much doubt that Teel would hit for a solid average after being drafted, but it’s been encouraging to see him flash 15-20 home run power after adding weight over the offseason. He’s also shown a knack for taking advantage of the Maine Monster, which will be essential for him as a left-handed hitter at Fenway Park. Still, if there’s one thing I’ll be keeping an eye on, it’s his 23.9% K% for the season that has ticked up to 25.6% in the month of June.

    Defensively, he’s only thrown out 7 of 49 runners, but his pop times are still consistently above-average. More of the blame for those stolen bases is on pitchers not controlling the run game properly or being slow to the plate. It’s clear his defensive outlook hasn’t changed with Baseball America recently pushing him up to #46 on their Top 100 list because of his well-rounded profile behind the plate.

    The biggest task for Teel right now is growing as a game-caller behind the plate since he didn’t do it at the University of Virginia. Red Sox Director of Player Development, Brian Abraham, recently told Ian Browne of MLB.com about how it takes time to learn a pitcher’s strengths, what they need to work on, and what pitches work best in a specific moment. Considering how much the Red Sox have talked up Connor Wong for being an asset in that department, it makes sense to see them putting so much emphasis on it.

  • 4. Kristian Campbell, CF/2B, Portland Sea Dogs

    Tyler Milliken ⚾️ on X (formerly Twitter): "Kristian Campbell has already earned his first Player of the Week honors in the Eastern League.6 Games - 30 PA.429/.467/.786/1.2522 HR, 4 2B7 RBI1/2 SB246 wRC+It only took 2 weeks. His stock continues to go through the roof. Hunter Pence vibes. 📈pic.twitter.com/fSoPVGMQAj / X"

    Kristian Campbell has already earned his first Player of the Week honors in the Eastern League.6 Games - 30 PA.429/.467/.786/1.2522 HR, 4 2B7 RBI1/2 SB246 wRC+It only took 2 weeks. His stock continues to go through the roof. Hunter Pence vibes. 📈pic.twitter.com/fSoPVGMQAj

    Kristian Campbell might be the Red Sox prospect with the most helium right now, as he just brought home Eastern League Player of the Week honors despite being promoted only 2 weeks ago. In 40 games at High-A, he raked to the tune of .306/.418/.558/.976 with 8 homers and 13 doubles. Since moving up, he’s taken it to another level with a ridiculous slash line of .419/.507/.694/1.200 that includes 3 homers, 6 double, and 1 triple for a 232 wRC+.

    Sox Prospects has now saw Campbell climb up to #10 in their rankings after opening the year at #22. He does have some warts with a 26.6% K% at High-A that included plenty of swing-and-miss in the zone, but he’s also flashed elite exit velocities and the ability to draw a walk. Those issues seem to be trending in the right direction with his K% only being 16.4% at AA so far with a solid 12.3% BB%.

    On the defensive side of things, Campbell continues to split his time between center field and second base. He’s especially raw in center field, which he’s been learning on the go so far in 2024, but he should become an average defender with his athleticism over time. If he can find a way to make it work out there and keeps mashing to this degree, it won’t be long before he’s landing on different publication’s Top 100 prospect lists.

  • 5. Cutter Coffey, SS/3B, Greenville Drive

    Tyler Milliken ⚾️ on X (formerly Twitter): "MAKE IT 6 STRAIGHT GAMES WITH A HOMER FOR CUTTER COFFEY!7 OVER THAT STRETCH!WHAT HAS GOT INTO THIS MAN!🎥: @Hunter_Noll pic.twitter.com/vnuNzELw3W / X"

    MAKE IT 6 STRAIGHT GAMES WITH A HOMER FOR CUTTER COFFEY!7 OVER THAT STRETCH!WHAT HAS GOT INTO THIS MAN!🎥: @Hunter_Noll pic.twitter.com/vnuNzELw3W

    Cutter Coffey felt like a forgotten prospect until about 2 weeks ago when he started a power surge for the ages. He ended up hitting a homer in 6 consecutive games, with 7 total over that stretch, that flashed the power many envisioned when he was selected in the 2nd round back in 2022. His first year of affiliated ball wasn’t a pretty sight as he failed to show much power and his hit tool lagged behind.

    In the month of June, he’s ripped the cover off the ball with a slash line of ..288/.373/.682/1.055. He’s now up to 8 total homers and 2 doubles in this month alone, while drawing his fair share of walks at 12% and only striking out 16% of the time. That only raised his season numbers to .247/.322/.519/.841 with a 129 wRC+, which is solid, but speaks to how unremarkable April and May were for him.

    Coffey was expected to eventually end up at third base and while most of his time has been spent there in 2024 (18 starts), he also spent a good chunk at shortstop (14 starts). It doesn’t help that Mikey Romero and Luis Ravelo are also on the roster and require starts at the position. Either way, with Coffey’s athleticism he has a chance to be a strong defensive third baseman, which creates an intriguing profile if he can consistently tap into his power at the plate.

  • 6. Miguel Bleis, CF, High-A Greenville

    Tyler Milliken ⚾️ on X (formerly Twitter): "Miguel Bleis has hit all 4 of his homers this season since May 7th.Entered today with a slash line of .306/.398/.486/.884 in the month of May.Good for a 159 wRC+.pic.twitter.com/ixsC6cdJls / X"

    Miguel Bleis has hit all 4 of his homers this season since May 7th.Entered today with a slash line of .306/.398/.486/.884 in the month of May.Good for a 159 wRC+.pic.twitter.com/ixsC6cdJls

    It’s been a nice bounce back campaign for Miguel Bleis, who saw his stock skyrocket last spring before his season was derailed by a left shoulder subluxation that required surgery. He started 2024 in Single-A once again and posted encouraging numbers that included a 123 wRC+ in 43 games. While his surface numbers weren’t something that made your jaw drop (.257/.349/.398/.747), he had lowered his K% down to 19.5%, saw his BB% jump to 10.8%, and was seeing more pitches every at-bat.

    Bleis was also still showing off special athleticism despite adding 30 lbs over the offseason to strengthen his overall frame. He still looked like a natural in center field and ended up stealing 16/23 bases before his promotion. Since moving up to High-A, he’s missed a handful of games with a sprained finger, but hasn’t done much outside of 4 more stolen bases and a ridiculous throw from right field.

    Even with a strong start to 2024, it feels like Bleis is on the cusp of a national breakout. He hasn’t homered a ton so far with 4 in 48 total games, but once that part of his game starts clicking, it won’t be long before his 5-tool profile starts to get some serious attention. His ceiling is as high as any prospect in this system, which is saying something when you have 4 top 100 prospects ahead of you in the rankings right now.

  • 7. Nick Yorke, 2B/LF, Worcester Red Sox

    I’ll be the first one to admit that it’s felt like forever since Nick Yorke exploded onto the scene in 2021 and became a top 40 prospect in the game. He’s rode his fair share of ups and downs as he worked through injuries and constantly tweaking his mechanics at the plate, but after his recent promotion to AAA, his bat has caught fire. In 14 games, he owns a lethal line of .352/.462/.537/.999 with 2 homers, 4 doubles, and 3 stolen bases without getting caught.

    Many people were surprised with Yorke’s promotion after his surface numbers at AA were mediocre at best, but the Red Sox were happy with his ability to cut his K% from 24.1% to 18.3%. His chase rate dropped by roughly 5 percent as well and as Alex Speier wrote last week, his average exit velocity increased by 3.5 MPH. He was hitting the ball harder, striking out less, and controlling the strike zone better, which made it time for  promotion after he racked up over 700 plate appearances at the level.

    Not to mention, he’s also picked up left field this season and has been solid out there. That gives him a bit of versatility outside of his ability to play second base, which will be key since his bat isn’t viewed in the same realm as a few years ago. The important thing is that he’s been resorting back to his old approach of not chasing homers, which is the right move considering it didn’t transform his game last year and created more swing-and-miss concerns.

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