With the 2018 Minor League Baseball season coming to a close as playoffs begin at all levels, its time to take a look at which prospects took the biggest jump in 2018, as well as who took the biggest step back.
In this new series, I’ll be taking a look at six players per system—three of whom rose the most in 2018, while the other three fell the most in 2018.
Next up are the Boston Red Sox.
Since getting called up from the @PortlandSeaDogs and joining the PawSox last week, top @RedSox prospect Michael Chavis has gone 8-14 (.571) with 2 HR, 6 RBI, and 7 Runs. Come see @MichaelChavis11 go to work when the PawSox are back in town tomorrow: https://t.co/RyPw8wO1Eh pic.twitter.com/dh9pkCr7jT— PawSox (@PawSox) August 27, 2018
2018 was an intersting year for Michael Chavis.
Chavis’ season got off to a late, and rough, start, after the Red Sox top prospect was banned for the first 80 games of the season for PEDs.
However once Chavis returned, the premier prospect erased any doubt that his suspension would set him back. In 46 games across three levels, Chavis hit .298 with nine home runs and 27 RBIs.
Chavis reached Triple-A by the end of the season, however a combination of the suspension and the fact that the Red Sox major league team has very few, if any, needs, kept the 23-year old in the minor leagues.
Chavis’ 2019 season should be even more interesting. Chavis has nothing left to prove in the minors, however a stacked Red Sox lineup that lacks any need for a boost could force Chavis out of town before he even really arrives.
The Red Sox second pick in the 2016 draft, C.J. Chatham emerged as a serious breakout prospect in his second-full professional season.
In 114 games between Single-A and High-A, Chatham hit .314 with three home runs and 52 RBIs. What Chatham lacked in the power category he made up in the contact category, as the 23-year old shortstop struck out just 86 times in 437 at-bats.
While Chatham is certainly not getting the starting shortstop job in Boston any time soon, he made a huge jump from a depth prospect to a potential major league starting shortstop.
Whether it be in Boston or not is yet to be seen, but 2018 was huge for the stock of C.J. Chatham.
A 14th-round pick in the 2015 draft, Bobby Poyner has emerged as a potential late-inning relief ace in Boston.
After starting the season in Double-A, Poyner made the jump to the big leagues after a solid season in the minors. In 34 games between Double-A and Triple-A, Poyner recorded a 3.07 ERA, striking out 36 in 44 innings, while walking 11.
Prior to the season, Poyner was virtually unheard of. But after a strong major league debut month, in which he is 1-0 with a 2.33 ERA in 18 appearances, Poyner will likely find himself pitching in big games late in October in Boston.
Not many pitchers get that opportunity, especially not low-ranking prospects who started the season in the Double-A bullpen.
Heading into 2018, Ronnie Raudes was an intriguing young pitcher, with a potential big season in works.
However, after a injury-riddled and inconsistent season, Raudes is one of the biggest question marks in the Boston system.
In 11 starts at High-A, Raudes went 2-5 with a 3.67 ERA, striking out just 35 in 54 innings, while opponents hit at a .276 clip off of him. Raudes’ season ended in June due to elbow inflammation, a bad sign for a young pitcher.
Raudes’ struggles, as well as his injury, are a major cause for concern for his development, especially after a productive, important 2017 season for his development.
2019 will be big for Raudes, from both a health and production standpoint, especially after 2018’s misstep.
Considered as one of the top pitchers in the entire 2016 draft, 2018 was a pure disaster for Jay Groome.
After a 2017 season that saw him pitch just 55 innings due to injury, Groome’s injury problems went from bad to worse, as the lefty underwent Tommy John Surgery in May, subsequently ending a season that never even started.
While Groome had already produced a couple red flags when on the mound such as control and consistency, the fact that he lost an entire season of his development due to a lingering issue is an atrocity.
2019—assuming that he makes it to the mound—will be really telling for Jay Groome. Will he stay healthy? Will he throw strikes? Its not easy to live up to hype as is, but Jay Groome has done everything but in his first two professional seasons.
Power will typically get you to the major leagues above all else as a position player. Josh Ockimey may have all the power in the world, but any opportunity to make it to the major leagues in 2018 for Josh Ockimey was completely missed.
While the 22-year old first-baseman hit 20 home runs between Double-A and Triple-A, Ockimey struck out a whopping-149 times in 404 at-bats, hitting just .245.
There is absolutely no margin for error for position players with the goal of making it to the major leagues with the Red Sox, as the Red Sox just simply have no need for power, average, or speed. Ockimey probably should’ve made it to the major leagues in 2018 considering the fact that he was drafted back in 2014, but his inconsistency at the plate erased any chance of that.
For Ockimey’s future, a change of scenery would be great. His power cannot be passed up, but his failure to hit for average won't get him on any 100-plus win team.