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Boston Red Sox Top 20 prospects for 2018: mid-season review

Checking in on the Red Sox

Minor League Baseball: Arizona Fall League-All Star Game
Michael Chavis
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Continuing with our mid-season organization reviews, we turn our attention to the Boston Red Sox farm system.

This list was originally published January 11th, 2018

*****THIS IS NOT A NEW LIST******

THIS IS A REVIEW OF THE PRE-SEASON LIST

THESE ARE NOT NEW GRADES

1) Jay Groome, LHP, Grade B: Age 20, first round pick in 2016 from high school in New Jersey, hasn’t pitched this year due to Tommy John surgery.

2) Michael Chavis, 3B, Grade B: Age 23, first round pick in 2014 from high school in Georgia; served 80-game PED suspension; since coming back he’s hitting .329/.416/.594 with nine homers, 19 walks, 43 strikeouts in 155 at-bats in New York-Penn League, Double-A, and Triple-A, playing like he has something to prove, which he does.

3) Tanner Houck, RHP, Grade B: Age 22, first round pick in 2017 from University of Missouri, 4.24 ERA in 119 innings in High-A, 111/60 K/BB, 1.48 GO/AO; a bit disappointing for an advanced college pitcher mainly due to worse-than-anticipated command.

4) Bryan Mata, RHP, Grade B: Age 19, signed out of Venezuela in 2016, 3.50 ERA in 72 innings in High-A, 61/58 K/BB; currently on disabled list with back injury; impressive with youth and heavy sinker, needs to lower the walks, stock holding.

5) Mike Shawaryn, RHP, Grade B-: Age 23, fifth round pick in 2016 from University of Maryland, 3.46 ERA in 138 innings in Double-A/Triple-A with 123/36 K/BB, 123 hits; advanced pitchability with three pitch mix, throws strikes, ready sometime next year, stock holding.

6) Sam Travis, 1B, Grade B-/C+: Age 25, second round pick in 2014 from Indiana University; hitting .254/.313/.356 in Triple-A, eight homers, 28 walks, 88 strikeouts in 354 at-bats; bat seems stagnant and clock is ticking on his birthday, needs a change of scenery.

7) Jalen Beeks, LHP, Grade B-/C+: Age 25, 12th round pick in 2014 from University of Arkansas; 2.89 ERA in 87 innings in Triple-A, 117/25 K/BB; traded to Tampa Bay Rays; 34 major league innings so far with 28/17 K/BB, 6.62 ERA; certainly capable of better, Tampa is a good spot for him.

8) Alex Scherff, RHP, Grade B-/C+: Age 20, fifth round pick in 2017 from high school in Texas; could have gone in first round if not for Texas A&M scholarship but Red Sox were able to sign him; 5.25 ERA in 60 innings between Gulf Coast and South Atlantic Leagues, 46/24 K/BB, 62 hits; missed time with strained oblique, has upside but raw.

9) Darwinzon Hernandez, LHP, Grade C+/B-: Age 21, signed out of Venezuela in 2013, 3.58 ERA in 103 innings between High-A and Double-A, 127/62 K/BB, only one homer allowed, can get up to 98, stock up a bit but has command questions.

10) Jake Thompson, RHP, Grade C+/B-: Age 23, fourth round pick in 2017 from Oregon State University; 4.98 ERA in 121 innings in High-A, 91/46 K/BB, 137 hits; thoroughly mediocre season from a guy who looked like an advanced college pitcher a year ago; may need to switch roles.

11) Roldani Baldwin, C, Grade C+: Age 22, signed out of Dominican Republic in 2013; hit .233/.282/.371 in High-A, seven homers, 10 walks, 44 strikeouts in 202 at-bats; fought injuries this year and lost some progress with the bat, good defensive tools but needs polish.

12) Cole Brannen, OF, Grade C+: Age 20, second round pick in 2017 from high school in Georgia, difficult year, hitting .185/.271/.220 with 25 walks, 77 strikeouts, 20 steals in 227 at-bats between Low-A and New York-Penn League; fast, but problems with contact undermined him this year, still young.

13) Josh Ockimey, 1B, Grade C+: Age 22, fifth round pick in 2014 from high school in Pennsylvania; hitting .254/.364/.476 between Double-A and Triple-A, 20 homers, 68 walks, 138 strikeouts in 382 at-bats, true-outcome hitter with defensive concerns.

14) Tzu-Wei Lin, INF, Grade C+: Age 24, signed out of Taiwan in 2012; hitting .315/.371/.457 in Triple-A, .182/.265/.227 in 44 major league at-bats; versatile glove, has shown more pop the last two seasons, should be fine role player.

15) C.J. Chatham, SS, Grade C+: Age 23, second round pick in 2016 from Florida Atlantic University; missed almost all of 2017 with hamstring problems; healthy this year and effective, hitting .320/.354/.398 with three homers, 11 steals, 21 walks, 82 strikeouts in 415 at-bats between Low-A and High-A; fine defender and hits for average.

16) Bobby Dalbec, 3B, Grade C+: Age 23, fourth round pick in 2016 from University of Arizona, hitting .258/.366/.572 with 32 homers, 66 walks, 164 strikeouts in 430 at-bats between High-A and Double-A; viable defender at third with big power, will have to see about contact against advanced pitching but has real thunder.

17) Danny Diaz, SS, Grade C+: Age 17, signed out of Venezuela in 2017 for $1,600,000, hitting .238/.283/.476 in 105 at-bats in Dominican Summer League; can’t tell much from that, was highly-regarded as an amateur for his offensive potential.

18) Hector Velazquez, RHP, Grade C+: Unusual case, a 29-year-old purchased from the Mexican League last spring; long track record of success in Mexico, posted 3.03 ERA in 68 innings in major league pen, 42/22 K/BB, 79 hits, made six starts, versatile arm good to have around.

19) Austin Maddox, RHP, Grade C+: Age 27, third round pick in 2012 from University of Florida; out most of the season with shoulder problems.

20) Ben Taylor, RHP, Grade C+: Age 25, seventh round pick in 2015 from University of South Alabama; claimed on waivers by Cleveland Indians, posted 2.60 ERA in 55 innings in Triple-A, 66/9 K/BB, sharp command, looking for a bullpen spot.

OTHER GRADE C+:

Lorenzo Cedrola, OF; Traded to the Cincinnati Reds, hitting .292/.332/.382 in 380 at-bats in Low-A, interesting sleeper prospect.

Chad De La Guerra, INF; Hitting .234/.303/.399 with 14 homers, 32 walks, 112 strikeouts in 368 at-bats in AA/AAA.

Williams Jerez, LHP; Traded to Los Angeles Angels; 3.62 ERA in 55 innings in Triple-A, 72/25 K/BB, ready for bullpen trial.

Travis Lakins, RHP; 2.47 ERA in 51 innings in AA/AAA, 56/18 K/BB, ready for bullpen trial.

Joan Martinez, RHP; 5.28 ERA in 46 innings in High-A, 51/35 K/BB, good arm but raw.

Bobby Poyner, LHP; 2.40 ERA in 41 AAA innings, 35/10 K/BB; 1.69 ERA in 11 major league innings with 10/1 K/BB, looks good in the pen.

Roniel Raudes, RHP; 3.67 ERA in 54 innings in High-A, 35/19 K/BB, went on disabled list in early June.

Hildemaro Requena, RHP; 6.29 ERA in 97 innings in Low-A/High-A, 61/30 K/BB, 134 hits, disastrous season, now on DL.

Chandler Shepherd, RHP 3.93 ERA in 124 innings in Triple-A, 104/33 K/BB, control artist.

*************

Mixed results for the Red Sox, though of course having a 90-42 team filled with young stars takes some of the worry away from a farm system that looks rather thin right now. I had Brian Johnson as a Grade C pre-season but he’s been reasonably useful in the majors.

Thinking ahead for 2019, Chavis will be at the top of the list with Dalbec also moving up at least 10 spots. I’m not sure where Groome will land. First-rounder Triston Casas will be in the top five though we have no pro data to look at due to injury. Pitchers Kutter Crawford, Denyi Reyes, and Jhonathan Diaz will all be moving up.