Top 26 Prospects: Boston Red Sox by Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel January 10, 2019 Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the World Series Champion Boston Red Sox. Scouting reports are compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as from our own (both Eric Longenhagen’s and Kiley McDaniel’s) observations. For more information on the 20-80 scouting scale by which all of our prospect content is governed you can click here. For further explanation of the merits and drawbacks of Future Value, read this. All of the numbered prospects here also appear on The Board, a new feature at the site that offers sortable scouting information for every organization. That can be found here. Top Prospects Team Lists 20192018ALBALCHWHOUBOSCLELAANYYDETOAKTBRKCRSEATORMINTEX NLATLCHCARIMIACINCOLNYMMILLADPHIPITSDPWSNSTLSFGALBALCHWHOUBOSCLELAANYYDETOAKTBRKCRSEATORMINTEX NLATLCHCARIMIACINCOLNYMMILLADPHIPITSDPWSNSTLSFG Red Sox Top Prospects Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV 1 Triston Casas 19.0 R 1B 2022 45 2 Darwinzon Hernandez 22.1 AA LHP 2021 45 3 Michael Chavis 23.4 AAA 1B 2019 45 4 Antoni Flores 18.2 R SS 2023 40+ 5 Tanner Houck 22.5 A+ RHP 2019 40+ 6 Nick Decker 19.3 R RF 2023 40+ 7 Bobby Dalbec 23.5 AA 3B 2020 40+ 8 Jay Groome 20.4 A LHP 2021 40+ 9 Bryan Mata 19.7 A+ RHP 2021 40 10 Travis Lakins 24.5 AAA RHP 2019 40 11 Durbin Feltman 21.7 A+ RHP 2019 40 12 C.J. Chatham 24.0 A+ SS 2020 40 13 Jarren Duran 22.3 A CF 2022 40 14 Brandon Howlett 19.3 A- 3B 2023 40 15 Gilberto Jimenez 18.5 R CF 2023 40 16 Mike Shawaryn 24.3 AAA RHP 2019 40 17 Denyi Reyes 22.2 A+ RHP 2021 40 18 Brayan Bello 19.6 R RHP 2022 40 19 Daniel Diaz 18.0 R 3B 2023 40 20 Nicholas Northcut 19.6 A- 3B 2022 40 21 Roniel Raudes 21.0 A+ RHP 2020 40 22 Bobby Poyner 26.1 MLB LHP 2019 40 23 Marino Campana 21.1 A RF 2022 35+ 24 Jhonathan Diaz 22.3 A+ LHP 2019 35+ 25 Eduardo Lopez 16.7 None CF 2024 35+ 26 Yoan Aybar 21.5 A LHP 2021 35+ 45 FV Prospects 1. Triston Casas, 1B Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2018 from American Heritage HS (FL) (BOS) Age 19.0 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 238 Bat / Thr L / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 25/50 70/80 35/65 40/30 45/55 60/60 Casas was one of the more heavily scouted underclassman high school prospects in recent memory, and stood out hitting in the heart of the lineup for South Florida powerhouse American Heritage and various Team USA squads, and at travel showcases and tournaments. Some of this success was probably because Casas was one of the oldest prospects in the 2019 graduating class, which prompted him to accelerate his schooling in 2017 and reclassify for the 2018 draft. Moving up a year made him age-appropriate for a high schooler in their draft year; at 18.4, he was basically average for a prep player. With the early-career acclaim came a change in the way opposing pitchers approached Casas. They began to pitch around him, and scouts often left Casas games having seen him swing just once or twice because he was constantly walking. Luckily Casas had a long track record of hitting in games, participated in multiple home run derbies during his amateur summers, and posted gaudy exit velocities during team pre-draft workouts, so clubs knew what his offensive potential was. He has good hands and a plus arm that helped him pitch into the low-90’s on the mound, but is a well-below average runner with poor lateral mobility. He played third base after signing (though mostly during instructs, as Casas injured his thumb sliding for a ground ball in June, needed surgery, and barely played during the summer) but expectations are he’ll move across the diamond to first base in 2019 or 2020, where we think he’ll be quite good. Casas’ calling card is his bat and there’s potential for a 60 hit, 70 game power, 80 raw power kind of package. The margin for error for a teenage first base-only types is very small, but we’re very high on Casas’ bat. 2. Darwinzon Hernandez, LHP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Venezuela (BOS) Age 22.1 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 70/70 60/60 45/50 40/45 94-97 / 99 We have the scowling Hernandez projected into a relief role and think his stuff is on par with many of the best lefty relievers in baseball. Developed as a starter to this point, he has well-below average control and likely wouldn’t throw enough strikes to go more than two or three innings a game in a big league rotation. In relief though, he could be incredible. His fastball is hard and comes in with tough angle. It has natural cut when Hernandez is locating it to his glove side, and with it, he misses bats away from lefties who swing inside its break. Both of his secondary offerings are capable of missing bats but the same mechanical repetition issues that plague Hernandez’s command cause them to be inconsistent. At times, he’ll flash a plus-plus breaking ball; at others, the pitch isn’t located near enough to the plate to entice hitters. And so, projected roles for Hernandez vary depending on the evaluator’s degree of confidence in his ability to tighten up his command. On stuff, he has a chance to be a high-leverage arm, and one of the top 30 or so relievers in baseball. 3. Michael Chavis, 1B Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2014 from Sprayberry HS (GA) (BOS) Age 23.4 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 40/40 65/65 50/55 40/40 40/45 55/55 Chavis was a well-known Atlanta-area prep prospect, who in high school was a strong statistical performer with easy plus raw power that showed up in games. He didn’t have a clear positional fit as an amateur, and that’s still mostly the case now–he was a shortstop in high school but wasn’t an athletic fit there, tried catching, which didn’t work, and scouts generally projected third base or first base long term. Though he has mostly played third, pro scouts see Chavis as a first base-only type, and he started seeing time there during the 2017 Fall League and again late in 2018. He missed much of 2018 with an 80-game PED suspension, which ominously came after a breakout 2017 campaign during which he hit 31 homers. He has now reached Triple-A, and had a strong half-season after the suspension was up, but scouts are wary of being all-in on a player whose entire profile is dependent on power and who has also had a recent PED suspension. One-dimensional hitters who are limited on defense tend to end up in a first base platoon (and in this case, it’d be the lesser side of one) or as a low-end starter like Kevin Millar. Either way, it seems unlikely a high-payroll, contending club like Boston would wait for a young player with limited upside to break in as an everyday player. We think Chavis is a low-end regular, who may be trade bait once he further establishes his level of performance post-suspension. 40+ FV Prospects 4. Antoni Flores, SS Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Venezuela (BOS) Age 18.2 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 25/55 45/55 20/50 50/45 45/55 60/60 Flores, who received the second highest bonus in the Red Sox 2017 international class at $1.4 million — just behind Danny Diaz’s $1.6 million — was the buzz of the Southwest Florida instructional league and has exciting potential. After dominating the DSL during the summer, Flores got a late call-up and played two games in the GCL before his summer was shortened by a minor injury. He reminds some scouts of a potential everyday shortstop who takes a few games to grow on you. Unlike many high-bonus July 2nd prospects, Flores doesn’t have loud, flashy tools, or exceptional twitch or physical projection. He’s more of the steady, low-key type of player with excellent feel for defense (common among prospects from Venezuela, where there’s more of a game-focused development) and high-quality contact. He projects to be an above-average bat with average raw power and the swing attributes to have a chance to get to most of it. Deceptively quick for his size, Flores has average speed and the defensive instincts to cover more ground than his raw foot speed indicates, as well as a plus arm. There’s a chance he outgrows shortstop, but he’d likely be at least above-average, if not plus, at third base in that event. It may be a card full of 5’s (except for arm strength) on the 2-8 scale, with very little pro experience, but scouts are excited about what little they’ve seen here and think Flores could be a first division regular if the bat develops enough. 5. Tanner Houck, RHP Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from Missouri (BOS) Age 22.5 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops 50/50 50/55 45/50 55/60 40/50 90-93 / 95 Houck was a projection prep arm from Illinois whose price was just high enough to get him to Missouri. He had a big freshman year there and then had a national coming-out party as the ace of Team USA that summer. Houck continued at about that level for the next two seasons, slinging in a heavy, 91-96 mph sinker from a low slot with a deceptive, crossfire delivery. He threw strikes and had a plus slider. Scouts who weren’t as enthusiastic about Houck’s changeup, or arm slot, or the length of his arm action, saw a reliever. His stuff would flatten out and his command would back up as he fatigued into the late stages of some starts. The Red Sox had Houck change his delivery and arm action for the first half-dozen or so starts in 2018, focusing on a more traditional four-seam fastball approach. It didn’t work, and Boston let Houck go back to what he had been doing later in the year; his dominant final two months of 2018 reflect his comfort with this approach. We think the likely outcome here is a multi-inning power reliever who dominates righties with strikeouts and groundballs, though some see a starter in the mold of Justin Masterson. Either way, Houck should move quickly, especially if he’s only asked to face a lineup once or twice per outing. 6. Nick Decker, RF Video Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from Seneca HS (NJ) (BOS) Age 19.3 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/50 55/60 25/55 50/45 40/50 55/55 The amateur side of the scouting industry is fearful of prep bats from the Northeast because they face bad pitching during the spring, and are tough to evaluate as hitters. This, coupled with Decker’s slightly advanced age relative to other high schoolers, as well as a deep, late first and early second round group of high school outfielders pushed him into the second round despite having first round physical ability. Decker is a high-effort player with good instincts on the bases and in the field. He probably doesn’t have the pure speed for center but has a small hope of staying there based on his feel. Even when he likely moves to a corner, there’s enough power for Decker to profile as an everyday player provided he hits enough, and early returns on his bat in pro ball (he missed GCL time due to a wrist fracture but played during instructs) are very strong. 7. Bobby Dalbec, 3B Video Drafted: 4th Round, 2016 from Arizona (BOS) Age 23.5 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/40 70/70 30/55 40/40 50/55 70/70 There isn’t much precedent for sustained big league success when hitters run strikeout rates as high as Dalbec’s (he’s struggled badly with whiffs since college), but his combination of power and defensive ability give him significant upside if he grows into even a 40 bat. Breaking balls especially flummox him, even when they hang and appear hittable. Mike Olt, Juan Francisco, Matt Davidson, and Pedro Alvarez are recent examples of players with offensive skills who struggled to overcome their issues with strikeouts. But Dalbec is also more athletic than most of those low-contact, corner sluggers, and looked great at third base during the Fall League. Realistically, Dalbec’s issues limit him to a bench or platoon role, which is largely enabled by his ability to play third base well. But because there’s superlative power here, the ceiling is sky high if things suddenly click with the bat. Dalbec also spent time pitching in college (he was 91-93 with an average slider), a secondary skill that is of increasing interest to teams, though it’s still just largely considered to be a parlor trick to show off during a blowout. 8. Jay Groome, LHP Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from Barnegat HS (NJ) (BOS) Age 20.4 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 55/55 55/65 45/55 40/50 90-92 / 96 As early as his freshman year of high school, Groome was pegged by those who scouted him as a potential high first round pick. He had a silky smooth delivery and projectable frame, with average big league stuff almost two years before he was even eligible to be drafted. His stuff just ticked up from there, and arguably peaked the summer before his draft year, when Groome would work 92-96 mph in short stints, worked with an easy plus curveball, mixed in an average to above changeup, and did it with that big, athletic frame and a starter’s delivery, all of which led to being a first overall pick favorite at the time. But a myriad of concerns unrelated to Groome’s talent dogged him more than most prep prospects. That, combined with a quickly thickening frame, contributed to his fall out of the top 10 picks of the 2016 draft. Since signing, Groome hasn’t been on the mound much, making just 17 total pro starts due to a back injury and an eventual Tommy John surgery. He’s slated to return to the mound in June or July of 2019. Some scouts are still wary of his high school off-field issues and maxed-out frame, seeing a bunch of 50 or 55 attributes aside from his plus curveball. Those who are still on board note that his changeup was improving and his velo was regularly up to 96 mph prior to surgery, leading them to think that he was just getting back on track. Proponents expect him to pick up where he left off and reach the No. 2 or 3 starter upside he seemed to have at age 17. 40 FV Prospects 9. Bryan Mata, RHP Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Venezuela (BOS) Age 19.7 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/55 50/55 50/55 30/45 92-94 / 96 Mata’s conditioning, velocity, and control all fluctuated wildly throughout 2018, and he ended up walking 58 hitters in 72 innings before his season ended in late July due to back tightness. That’s not to say the industry expected Mata to perform. When he began his season at Hi-A, he was only 18 and the youngest pitcher in the league by a wide margin. He was sent to the Futures Game in July despite these struggles because his stuff is quite good. Mata worked more with a two-seamer in 2018 and his ground ball rate rose to 57%. His low, three-quarters slot creates movement on his changeup that pairs well with the two-seamer and also gives right-handed hitters a tougher look at his loopy curveball. He could have four above-average pitches at peak if you count the four- and two-seamers as two separate offerings, but none of it will matter if Mata’s 2018 strike-throwing is the norm going forward. The consensus is that he has feel for creating effective movement on his pitches but not for locating them yet. Proponents think due to his age that Mata will improve and become a No. 4 starter. Detractors are skeptical of his athleticism, his ability to repeat and throw strikes, or both. 10. Travis Lakins, RHP Drafted: 6th Round, 2015 from Ohio State (BOS) Age 24.5 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops 55/55 55/60 45/50 55/55 45/45 92-94 / 96 Two elbow fractures halved Lakins’ 2016 and 2017 seasons and caused him to break camp late in 2018. He was quickly moved to the bullpen last year, and had a healthy, successful season that ended with him claiming a spot on the 40-man. Lakins works a lot with a low-90s cutter that has enough length to miss bats away from righties. After peppering his glove side with cutters, he can throw riding, mid-90s four seamers past hitters at the top of the strike zone, which then sets up his 12-6 curveball beneath it. Relievers with four viable pitches are rare, and Lakins has the stuff to play a valuable multi-inning relief role, though single-inning usage might give him the best shot at staying healthy. 11. Durbin Feltman, RHP Video Drafted: 3rd Round, 2018 from TCU (BOS) Age 21.7 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 70/70 60/60 40/45 45/50 93-97 / 99 If forced to pick one prospect from the 2018 draft to throw a big league inning tomorrow, we might pick Feltman, who has an electric fastball/slider combination. As a junior, Feltman struck out 43 batters and walked just six in 24.1 innings, and tied the TCU school record for saves despite being injured for some of his junior year. His fastball is hard and comes in at a tough angle, while his slider has bat-missing vertical action. Barring injury, Feltman should be a quick-moving reliever and has a chance to turn into a late-inning arm. 12. C.J. Chatham, SS Video Drafted: 2nd Round, 2016 from Florida Atlantic (BOS) Age 24.0 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/45 45/45 30/40 50/50 50/55 60/60 Chatham played on Miami-area powerhouse high school team American Heritage with Zack Collins, and stood out defensively for being a long-limbed athlete with a plus arm and above average defensive ability. Collins went to Miami and became a top ten pick while Chatham went to Florida Atlanta and became a second round talent. Over 2.5 seasons, he has played only 156 games due to multiple injuries. He has viable infield defensive ability and above-average bat control with some doubles pop, but also has some clear offensive limitations. He had a mostly healthy 2018 at Hi-A, and should begin 2019 on the doorstep of a big league utility role. 13. Jarren Duran, CF Drafted: 7th Round, 2018 from Long Beach State (BOS) Age 22.3 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/50 55/55 30/45 70/70 40/50 40/40 The trajectory of Duran’s summer and fall rise is unique. During collegiate scrimmages in the fall of 2017, scouts saw a big, athletic second baseman who was just okay defensively, had an all-fields, line drive approach without much pop, and plus to plus-plus speed. Duran had a fine junior spring, but hit for almost no power (which perhaps should be expected in a pitcher-friendly home stadium like Blair Field in Long Beach) and slipped to the seventh round as a nearly-22-year-old with a modest statistical track record. After signing, the Red Sox had Duran change his swing a bit in BP to see if they could tap into something more, and the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Duran started showing above-average pull power. Boston also moved him to center field, where his long-range speed fits better than it did on the infield. He crushed short season and Low-A after signing. For Long Beach State, Duran had 13 extra base hits in 253 PA in 2018; across two pro levels, he had 28 extra base hits in 302 PA, including 11 triples. There are multiple examples of hitters, including Matt Chapman and several of the Stanford guys, who had breakouts after leaving overly-traditional west coast college hitting programs. Duran may be the most recent. 14. Brandon Howlett, 3B Drafted: 21th Round, 2018 from George Jenkins HS (FL) (BOS) Age 19.3 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/50 55/60 35/50 40/40 40/50 50/50 Howlett was a known prospect in Florida for years and was on a trajectory to go in the top five rounds after a strong start to his spring, but he finished poorly, including a brutal NHSI tournament where all 30 teams had multiple scouts on hand. Howlett swung and missed a ton in front of dozens of high level evaluators, when many had pegged him as the sleeper prospect to break out at the event. The Red Sox found after signing him that he had an issue with his contacts, giving him particular trouble in day games (which all of the games at NHSI were), and got him squared away before his pro career began. Howlett hit six homers in 43 pro games with a manageable strikeout rate that surprised many amateur scouts who had discounted his hitting ability earlier that year. He’s often compared to Northcut since they both play third base and were widely-scouted later-round finds for Boston. Howlett has a little better feel to hit and ability to tap into his power in game situations, but is a little behind Northcut defensively. 15. Gilberto Jimenez, CF Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (BOS) Age 18.5 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/55 35/40 20/35 80/80 45/55 45/45 Jimenez is a scout favorite and probably the highest-rated of the true sleepers on this list. The Sox 2017 international signing class is already paying dividends with Flores, Jimenez, Bello and Diaz all among the org’s top 20 prospects while none have played longer than a week in the GCL. Jimenez is described as a running back playing baseball due to his sneaky athleticism in a compact frame, his all-out style, and standout work ethic. Depending on whom you ask, he’s either a 70 or 80 runner, but his instincts on the bases and in the field aren’t up to snuff just yet. Since there isn’t much raw power presently, he plays more of a slap-and-dash, small-ball game that accentuates his speed. This limits his upside a bit, but when you look back at prospects who outplay their projections, scouts will often point to a name and tell you not to underrate plus athletes with plus makeup; we were aggressive in ranking Jimenez for that reason. 16. Mike Shawaryn, RHP Video Drafted: 5th Round, 2016 from Maryland (BOS) Age 24.3 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/50 50/55 45/50 45/50 89-92 / 93 Shawaryn’s prospect stock peaked when he was a dominant college sophomore at Maryland. Injury and a downtick in stuff plagued him as a junior and he fell to the fifth round of his draft. Shawaryn has traversed the whole of the minors as a starter but ultimately might fit best in relief due to some of his stuff’s limitations. He has a funky, low-slot delivery that creates cuttery, horizontal movement on his slider; it’s his best way to miss bats. His changeup and fastball (which was only in the upper-80s for much of his time in the Arizona Fall League) are both fringy on their own but play up a bit due to the deceptive funk in his delivery. Shawaryn fits in a No. 5 starter/swingman relief role, and could be ready in 2019. 17. Denyi Reyes, RHP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (BOS) Age 22.2 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 209 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/50 45/50 45/50 45/55 88-90 / 92 As rare as complete games have become at the big league level, they’re even rarer in the minors, where developmental caution takes precedence over single-game results. A hyper-efficient strike-thrower, Reyes threw two complete games in 2018 (and needed less than 100 pitches in both) and also had an 8-inning outing against Columbia in July. Though he doesn’t throw that hard, Reyes’ propels himself way down the mound and has super long arms that help him generate big extension, which help his upper-80s fastball play like one in the low-90s. His fastball angle isn’t great for missing bats, but his changeup and curveball are both effective, though not dominant, alternatives. Reyes profiles as an efficient backend starter. 18. Brayan Bello, RHP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (BOS) Age 19.6 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/60 50/55 45/55 30/50 91-95 / 96 A hard-throwing, flexible teenage righty who had a strong summer in the DSL, Bello came stateside for a single GCL outing, then later went to instructional league for shorter outings during which he’d flash three above-average pitches. His build and arm action both portend greater, potentially significant velocity. He has No. 4 starter stuff if things come together, but he’s probably several years away. 19. Daniel Diaz, 3B Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Venezuela (BOS) Age 18.0 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 25/50 55/60 20/50 50/40 40/50 60/60 Diaz was the Red Sox top international signing in 2017, getting $1.6 million, just ahead of now-superior prospect Antoni Flores’ $1.4 million bonus. Diaz was solid in the DSL last year and made his stateside debut during instructional league. He’s already a big kid — scouts estimate 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds or so, much more than where he’s listed — and he’s unlikely to be a third baseman long term, but players this young still have the opportunity to reshape their bodies pretty significantly. He has plus arm strength and raw power, but there’s also some question about how much he’ll hit, due to an aggressive, power-first approach that needs to be dialed in. Diaz is limited to a corner and there are questions about his position and hitting ability, so he’s a wait-and-see case for now, but he has ceiling because of the power and could generate above-average offense as a third baseman. 20. Nicholas Northcut, 3B Video Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from Mason HS (OH) (BOS) Age 19.6 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 25/45 60/60 30/50 45/40 45/55 55/55 Northcut drew wide-ranging takes from scouts in the year leading up to signing with the Red Sox as an 11th rounder from an Ohio high school. He played on the Evoshield Canes, the top travel team in the country, and was scouted often, with a decent but not great glove at third base, above average to plus power, and some feel for hitting and game power, but seemed a mid-round prospect. In the spring and into pro ball, Northcut slimmed up a bit and now projects as at least average at third base, with similar raw power, but some pro scouts questioned his feel to hit. All the elements have been there at some point over the past year and some amateur scouts were really in on Northcut — one said he saw a lot of Austin Riley in him — but didn’t realize his price would end up being as low as it was once he started sliding in the draft. 21. Roniel Raudes, RHP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Nicaragua (BOS) Age 21.0 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/50 45/50 45/55 40/50 89-91 / 93 After pushing him very quickly at the onset of his pro career, in 2018 the Red Sox throttled down Raudes’ development and had him repeat Hi-A. He regressed statistically (his strikeout rate was down, and his walk rate stayed just below average after regressing in 2017) before he succumbed to a June elbow injury that cost him the remainder of his summer. Raudes started throwing harder in 2018 and remains a projectable, athletic 20-year-old with a great arm action and some changeup feel. That’s still a lot of good stuff, even though other aspects of his profile have either plateaued or gone backward. We hope the fastball control comes back and think Raudes can pitch at the back of a rotation if it does. 22. Bobby Poyner, LHP Drafted: 14th Round, 2015 from Florida (BOS) Age 26.1 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops 40/40 50/50 55/55 50/50 60/60 88-92 / 93 Oddly, because four-pitch lefties with command typically find their way into a rotation, Poyner has run the pro ball gamut exclusively as a reliever, with a long track record of performance in that role. His changeup is excellent, but the rest of his stuff is largely enabled by his command. He’s a big league-ready middle reliever. 35+ FV Prospects 23. Marino Campana, RF Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic (BOS) Age 21.1 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Campana has strikeout issues that are fed by lever length and mediocre bat control, but he still got to much of his considerable raw power in 2018 and logged 42 extra-base hits as a 20-year-old in full-season ball. A wiry 6-foot-4, Campana could have plus raw power at maturity, which would carry a corner outfield profile if he can hit enough. Successful outcomes for skillsets like this can still be volatile at the big league level, with Domingo Santana and Avisail Garcia as contemporary examples. 24. Jhonathan Diaz, LHP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Venezuela (BOS) Age 22.3 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/45 55/60 45/50 45/55 87-89 / 92 Diaz had a strong 2018 repeating Low-A as a 21-year-old (153 innings, 147 K, 39 BB, 53% GB%). He’s a husky, low-slot, pitchability lefty with a rainbow curveball and average changeup. The changeup may need to get a bit better to keep righties from teeing off on his fastball, but Diaz also hides the ball really well and can throw his curveball for strikes in fastball counts, so perhaps he already does enough to make the lack of velocity matter less. He profiles as an innings-eating No. 5 starter or long reliever. 25. Eduardo Lopez, CF Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (BOS) Age 16.7 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr S / R FV 35+ Lopez was the Red Sox top signing in the 2018 July 2nd period and the club thinks they have one of the safer bets in the class, due to his feel to hit and instincts. Some scouts saw Lopez without much power and with fringy speed and arm strength, but as is the nature of international showcases, often clubs get a look or two at a player when he is 14 or 15 years old, then won’t see him again until instructional league almost 18 months later. Players can change significantly from those limited and early looks, while feel for hitting and defensive instincts are often not obvious unless the club puts in extra work, which not all clubs can do for every player. The Red Sox and rival scouts see an above average bat, average speed, and feel for the game. Some clubs see that as a bat-first left fielder with limited projection, while the Red Sox see a center fielder with a plus bat, a combo that can post a sneaky 3-win season every now and then. 26. Yoan Aybar, LHP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Dominican Republic (BOS) Age 21.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+ After four fruitless pro seasons as an outfielder, Aybar moved to the mound in 2018. He spent most of his 2018 season in Florida — first in extended spring training, then the GCL, then Instructional League — throwing really hard (94-97, up to 100) and flashing the occasional above-average slider. Without context, Aybar is raw for a 21-year-old but perhaps someone so new to pitching, with this kind of arm strength and fledgling feel for spin, has potential for growth. Aybar is Rule 5 eligible next year. Other Prospects of Note Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category. Upper-level Hitters Brett Netzer, 2B Josh Ockimey, 1B Roldani Baldwin, C Netzer is a Tommy LaStella type: fine at second base, an advanced hit tool with a little bit of power, and probably just a good bench bat. Ockimey shows plus power and patience at the plate, but the average will be low and he’s a 30 athlete who some scouts think is a DH-only, so it’s going to be tough to profile. Baldwin has some pop, but isn’t a lock to catch and he’s had injury issues, including a concussion. Lower-level Hitters Kole Cottam, C Cedanne Rafeala, OF Tyler Dearden, OF Bryan Gonzalez, RF Albert Feliz, OF Eduardo Vaughan, CF Cottam, 21, is either short on arm strength or defensive ability behind the plate (maybe both) depending on who you ask, but he has plus power and hit 19 homers for Kentucky last year, so there’s some Mike Napoli type upside if it all works out. Rafaela, 18, is a Curacao-born Ronald Torreyes-type, about 5-foot-8 and a multi-positional plus runner with bat control and sneaky tools. If we’re talking upside, one scout said Dearden, 20, could be Cody Bellinger if it all goes perfectly, with a similar frame and swing, but he’s a raw cold-weather player who hasn’t reached Low-A yet, so he’s a wait-and-see case. Gonzalez and Feliz are 2018 July 2 signees. Both have plus raw power and strong frames now, but Gonzalez has the arm for right and a little better feel to hit at the moment. Vaughan is a very raw projection type with some average current tools, but he’s the sort who could take a big step forward. Relevant Pitching Depth Chandler Shepherd, RHP Josh Taylor, LHP Colten Brewer, RHP Brewer was acquired for Esteban Quiroz this winter and relies heavily on a 92-94 mph plus cutter, mixing in a solid curveball. He put up great numbers in Triple-A and might be a middle relief piece. Shepherd is an inventory arm with a standout curveball who’s likely a long reliever in the big leagues. Taylor was acquired from Arizona for Deven Marrero and has a big arm that’s been into the upper-90’s, but the rest comes and goes. He was added to the 40-man this offseason. Lower-level arms Alexander Montero, RHP Thad Ward, RHP Also Ramirez, RHP Jake Thompson, RHP Thompson looked like a real prospect after going in the fourth round in 2017 from Oregon State, hitting 98 mph with a starter look in his pro debut, but everything backed up this year. He’s still throwing pretty hard but hasn’t performed. Ramirez is a 17-year-old Mexican pitcher who would’ve gone to the GCL last summer if not for fatigue; he has advanced feel of a four pitch mix and looks like a potential starter. Ward had a velo jump at UCF this spring, going from 88-91 to 91-95, touching 96 mph, but was used heavily and regressed in his pro debut. There’s a slider that is a consistent 55 and flashes 60, and solid command that should allow him to start for a bit in pro ball, but his skinny frame will likely limit him to relief. System Overview This system is bad, though it got that way in part because talent from it was used to build a championship team, which is the very best of reasons to have a bad farm system. Still, this group is more compelling than the one we wrote up last year now that the 2017 IFA group has already had several members who have asserted themselves as the system’s most interesting players to follow. The Red Sox have a strong recent track record in Latin America. Former International Director Eddie Romero was promoted to Assistant GM while former Mets International Director Chris Becerra, who signed several of the Mets’ prospects near the top of our recent audit of that org, was brought in to replace him. The Red Sox domestic talent acquisition is going to be limited as long as they’re fielding a good big league team, but we expect the international talent to keep flowing.