For most first-place teams like the Boston Red Sox, little focus is on the farm system.
The Red Sox don't nearly have the farm system that they used to. Former top prospects Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are all producing at All-Star levels in the majors.
Other former elite prospects such as Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech and Manuel Margot are elsewhere, dealt away for current stars Chris Sale and Craig Kimbrel.
Whether it be for their own production or for their return in trades, the Red Sox past farm systems have played a major role in todays success. This years farm system likely won't produce any immediate stars or net the Red Sox an All-Star come July, but the Red Sox system is stocked up with some serious deep sleepers.
The Red Sox have an impressive history of developing draft picks and international signings, as is shown throughout each and every levels sleepers.
The #Drive are sending five representatives to the 2018 SAL All-Star Game!— Greenville Drive (@GreenvilleDrive) June 5, 2018
Iggy Suarez will manage the Southern Division team, and he will be joined by pitchers Kutter Crawford and Denyi Reyes, outfielder Victor Acosta and athletic trainer Phil Millan.https://t.co/qi25Yluhb1
Single-A Sleeper Prospect: Denyi Reyes
The Single-A Greenville Drive had three players named to the 2018 South Atlantic League All-Star Game. All three are not currently ranked among the Red Sox top-30 prospects.
For a farm system with a concerning lack of depth, the production of young, low-level players is a great sign for the future Red Sox farm system.
Of those young players is Denyi Reyes, a 22-year old righty from the Dominican Republic.
Reyes has had an incredible season thus far for the drive, recording a 1.91 ERA in 16 appearances, including 13 starts.
Reyes has struck out 92 batters with just 13 walks in 89.2 innings. Reyes’ pinpoint control coupled with a high strikeout rate make him a great bet to continue his success across higher levels.
With a 1.45 ERA in 62 innings last season, Denyi Reyes looks like a sure bet to carry over his success throughout multiple roles and levels. Its pretty surprising that Reyes isn't among the Red Sox top-30 prospects given his consistency, but if Reyes continues to produce at a high level, you can certainly expect to see him listed among the BoSox best in the future.
Like Reyes, Crawford has found success in the Drive rotation due to a high-strikeout rate. Crawford currently possesses a 2.95 ERA with 87 strikeouts in 79.1 innings across 15 starts. Crawford made just one appearance all of last season, so it'll be a while before we can get a realistic sense of Crawford’s outlook.
Continued success has been a constant theme throughout sleeper prospect lists, and Victor Acosta is no stranger to consistency. With a .296 batting average in 61 games, Acosta is on his way to pass last seasons .304 average in just 31. Like Crawford, the 22-year old outfielder will need to stay healthy and continue to produce before anybody can get a sense of his potential.
We're so proud of our 5 Sox stars that made the 2018 Carolina League Northern Division All-Star team!— Salem Red Sox (@salemredsox) June 12, 2018
We can't wait to see them represent Salem at the All-Star Classic next Tuesday in Zebulon, NC at Five County Stadium!
Good luck, boys! pic.twitter.com/SMdV8ql3Yn
High-A Sleeper Prospect: Daniel Gonzalez
Like the Greenville Drive, the High-A Salem Red Sox produced a handful of non Top-30 All-Stars.
Of the Salem Red Sox five representatives, four are not currently ranked among the Red Sox top-30 prospects. Between both A-ball levels, seven-of-eight All-Star players are not among the Red Sox top-30 prospects.
A 22 year-old righty from Venezuela, Daniel Gonzalez has put together a great 2018 season.
With a 7-1 record and 2.91 ERA. Gonzalez has produced at a high level out of the Red Sox bullpen.
Gonzalez has walked just 13 batters and allowed just five home runs in 65 innings, flaunting pinpoint control, a tool that will play a big role in netting him a promotion to Double-A.
If last season’s 2.78 ERA out of the bullpen didn't validate Gonzalez’ consistency, this seasons all-star campaign should.
As an advanced, young righty with great control, Gonzalez’ outlook is great. Double-A will be a big opportunity for Gonzalez to continue to validate his value, but if his production continues, its hard to imagine Gonzalez not getting a shot in the majors in the not-so-distant future.
Of the remaining Salem All-Stars, first baseman Jerry Downs is the only one who either isn't a top-30 prospect, or hasn't been promoted to double-a. Downs is hitting just .243 on the season, but has hit five home runs and driven in 29, both career-highs in just the first-half.
Congrats to our @EasternLeague All-Stars. #SeaDogsBaseball sending three to Trenton.— Portland Sea Dogs (@PortlandSeaDogs) June 29, 2018
Kyle Hart @hart_attack_kid, Matt Kent @MK51Baseball and Josh Ockimey @josh_ockhttps://t.co/AqCFDfZsQL pic.twitter.com/VliNqx8Lwz
Double-A Sleeper Prospect: Kyle Hart
The Double-A Portland Sea Dogs had an impressive trio of all-stars, headlined by Red Sox #11 prospect Josh Ockimey.
The other two, lefties Kyle Hart and Matt Kent, are not ranked among the Red Sox top-30 prospects.
Of the two, Hart has put together the more impressive season. In 13 starts, Hart is 5-5 with a 3.72 ERA.
Hart has allowed just six home runs in 75 innings, but has struck out just 52. The finesse lefty recorded a 2.15 ERA across two levels last season, making 19 starts.
Hart’s track of consistency should net him a call-up to Triple-A in the fairly near future, putting him on pace to appear in the big leagues late next season if all goes well.
You can never have too many lefties, and the production from the Sea Dogs duo is another good sign for the future outlook of the Red Sox system.
Unlike Hart, Matthew Kent has split time between the rotation and the bullpen. The 25 year-old has struck out 71 in 71 innings, but has struggled at times with 21 walks and a 3.80 ERA. If Kent’s control can improve, he could find himself ahead of Hart given his high strikeout rate and age.
PawSox OF Rusney Castillo, LHP @jalencbeeks and PawSox closer Ryan Brasier have all been elected to the International League All-Star Team for the 31st Annual @TripleABaseball All-Star Game to be played in Columbus, OH on July 11. https://t.co/LYrS74Rpoq pic.twitter.com/bzXXKbjxpf— PawSox (@PawSox) June 27, 2018
Triple-A Sleeper Prospect: Ryan Brasier
With the Red Sox in deep contention for the American League East crown against the Red Sox, nothing will be more vital than September.
Once the rosters expand, the Red Sox will receive help in the bullpen and on the bench.
While most of that help will be used in low-leverage situations, the Red Sox might have a big time sleeper waiting in the wings.
PawSox closer Ryan Brasier has put together a great 2018 season.
The 30 year-old righty has a 1.45 ERA in 31 games out of the bullpen. Brasier has saved 11 games, and has allowed just one home run to 38 strikeouts in 37.1 innings.
While Brasier has no place as the Red Sox closer, the righty could find himself in high-pressure situations come September if he can continue to produce in the same situations at Triple-A.
Pitching wins championships, and Ryan Brasier has all the makings of a secret weapon out of the bullpen down the stretch.