The Red Sox farm system has gone through some ups and downs over the course of the last decade. From the green pastures that brought Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, and Jackie Bradley Jr., among others, to the Red Sox under Ben Cherington, there were then years where the top guys in the system consistently disappointed. By the time the end of the decade rolled around, the Red Sox farm was consistently ranked very low in farm rankings, but Dave Dombrowski still has some of the guys acquired during his reign as exciting prospects and young players today.
Since Chaim Bloom became Chief Baseball Officer, there has been a much clearer emphasis on building up the farm. While he may have flopped on the Mookie Betts trade, there’s still plenty in the system to be proud of. The development structure in the system has improved immensely, with multiple low-profile international signings turning into top prospects, including Brayan Bello, who made his debut last year for Boston.
On that note, players who have made their Major League debut will not feature on this list, as I believe that any other standard for graduation from prospect status is completely arbitrary.
There’s a lot of debate as to where the Red Sox farm system currently ranks around Major League Baseball, and while it’s not one of the best farms out there, it’s certainly a good system with plenty of potential impact players.
For this list, I used a combination of many different resources, including private data that is unavailable anywhere else on the internet. I also used information from articles on Prospects Live (and their former writer, Tieran Alexander’s Medium Blog from before he wrote at Prospects Live), FanGraphs, and Baseball America. SoxProspects does better coverage of the Red Sox farm system than anybody, and I used some of their scouting notes for when I didn’t have enough data available. RedSoxStats (if you’re not blocked, which I currently am LOL!) and Hunter Noll on Twitter are awesome at posting videos of everything happening in the Red Sox farm system. I’d also like to thank Max (@itsstrip on Twitter) for making the cover graphic for this article.
Also of note, I do not rank players who have only appeared in the Dominican Summer League, as there’s simply too little information. Freili Encarnacion would likely find his way into the top 15 if he were being ranked. Ages are listed as of July 1st, 2023.
Without further ado, here is the Boston Red Sox top 30 prospects list for the 2023 season.
1. Miguel Bleis
Summary: With his true five-tool skillset, Miguel Bleis has the highest ceiling in the Red Sox farm system. If there’s going to be a Julio Rodriguez/Ronald Acuña type superstar in the Red Sox organization, it’s going to be Bleis.
Hit: Miguel Bleis has an excellent hit tool, and it shows flashes in many different ways. Boasting elite BABIP skills, Bleis’ feel for contact and barrel accuracy is off the charts at his age. Everything had the danger of becoming an extra-base hit into the gap. Bleis’ hands are among the very best in Minor League Baseball, with the ability to make loud contact anywhere in the strike zone.
- 22.3 LD%
- 33.8 Sweet Spot%
- .502 wOBAcon
- .484 xwOBAcon
Bleis also has excellent contact types, as he was top five in the FCL for 18-year-olds in FB%, LD%, had the second lowest GB%, and the second highest Pull%. Many scouts said that Bleis was the best player in the FCL, and the statistics back that up.
In the Florida Complex League, Bleis didn’t see a ton of offspeed and breaking pitches, but he mastered the art of hitting fastballs. While he doesn’t walk a ton, he still flashed high-level swing decisions, particularly on fastballs.
- .507 wOBAcon vs Fastballs
- .480 xwOBA vs Fastballs
- 88.7 Z-Contact% vs Fastballs
- 17.0 Chase% vs Fastballs
- .600 wOBAcon vs Fastballs >93 MPH
- 16.7 Chase% vs Fastballs >93 MPH
Bleis doesn’t have a chase issue, but he does absolutely like to swing.
Bleis only had 6 batted balls against offspeed pitches, and 14 against breaking balls, so it’s still a gap in his evaluation to see how he fares against secondary pitches.
Power: At age 18, Miguel Bleis has an elite frame, at 6'3, 170, and that helps him put up impressive numbers in the power department. With his swing that shares a rough resemblance to Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr, Bleis was dominant in his FCL stint in the power department, far outpacing all other 18-year-olds.
Top-end exit velocities aren’t quite there yet, but as he grows into his frame, that will certainly come. However, Bleis’ ability to consistently make hard contact is among the best in the minor leagues already.
- 87.8 Average EV
- 99.9 90th Percentile EV
- 106.5 Max EV
- 41.2 Hard Hit%
Field: While I don’t have any film on Miguel Bleis in the outfield, every single scout believes that he’s a plus defender in center field. With the athleticism that we know he possesses, I don’t need much film to convince me of this. Bleis put up nine Davenport Runs in just 36 games of CF for the FCL Red Sox, an absolutely absurd tally. He also has a plus arm, which could help buoy his defense if his athleticism gets zapped.
Run: While base stealing isn’t a major part of today’s game, Bleis has the speed to steal bases, he has plus speed.
2023: Miguel Bleis will spend the first part of 2023 with Single-A Salem, and hopefully, he’ll earn a promotion to Greenville around the same time after the All-Star break that Marcelo Mayer and Blaze Jordan did last year.
Bleisball is going to take the world by storm. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
2. Marcelo Mayer
Summary: Marcelo Mayer is the biggest name in the Red Sox farm system, garnering praise from tons of different evaluators ever since being drafted 4th overall. Possessing the chance to combine an above-average defensive shortstop with a disciplined and well-rounded left-handed bat, his potential is tantalizing.
Hit: Marcelo Mayer’s hit tool is fantastic, it’s probably the best part of his game. At age 19, Mayer possesses an elite BABIP skill and has flashed high-level plate discipline as well. Despite struggling with whiffs a bit in his full-season debut, Mayer’s patience and pitch recognition allowed him to put up elite numbers regardless. Mayer’s discipline shines through in his ability to take walks, putting up the second-best walk rate of anybody under the age of 21 in the Red Sox system at the full-season level in 2022.
- 26.0 Chase%
- 16.0 BB%
- 25.2 K%
- 67.5 Contact%
Mayer will see plenty more pitches over the course of his ascent through the minors, so there’s not a ton of concern about the rather high whiff rate. Additionally, he’s shown acumen for covering the plate well, and everything that he does in the box with his swing is positive.
Mayer’s barrel accuracy on contact is excellent, helping him run up high BABIP numbers and line drive rates. Thanks in part to a silky smooth swing that makes people absolutely foam at the mouth, Mayer can generate consistent hard contact with great sprays. Mayer’s swing is straight out of the textbook, and
- .467 wOBAcon
- .423 xwOBAcon
- 30.2 Sweet Spot%
- .480 wOBAcon vs Fastballs
- .425 wOBAcon vs Fastballs > 93 MPH
- .445 wOBAcon vs Offspeed
- .425 wOBAcon vs Breaking
While Mayer did struggle with consistently making contact with breaking and offspeed pitches, his pitch recognition should only improve with the experience.
Mayer ran excellent splits against both right-handed and left-handed pitchers, with an OPS above .880 against both, and an OBP above .385 on either side. The ability to hit lefties as a lefty gives Mayer even more intrigue.
Coming straight out of high school, there were absolutely flaws to Mayer’s hit tool, but it’s still well-rounded and developed enough at this young age to keep us excited.
Power: While Mayer’s hit tool is more well-regarded, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t hit for power, as he actually shows great potential in that department. Despite just 13 home runs, Mayer put up a .209 ISO in his minor league season last year. In Spring Training last year, Mayer homered off of former Red Sox All-Star Nathan Eovaldi.
- 88.1 Average EV
- 103.8 90th Percentile EV
- 35.7 Hard Hit%
- 108.9 Max EV
Mayer’s exit velocities are very promising at the age of 19, and that’s even with some injuries that nagged him throughout 2022. His 90th Percentile Exit Velo gives him a 70-grade relative to his age and level, an incredibly exciting development. Mayer’s exit velocities would look normal for an MLB player, let alone a 19-year-old.
Field: Marcelo Mayer is a five-tool athlete who is very likely to stick at shortstop, and be a good one at that. Mayer has almost everything in the toolbox from the shortstop spot, with a powerful arm and clean actions, he makes plays on every ball that he gets to. He does tend to struggle with range, but it’s not a dealbreaker for him at the position. While some of the draft shine has worn off, he’s unlikely to be a Gold Glover, having Mayer at shortstop would instantly be a massive upgrade over what the Red Sox have had recently.
2023: Mayer will start 2023 at High-A Greenville, where he finished his first full season, and he’ll likely make appearances in Double-A Portland before the season is over if all goes well.
3. Ceddanne Rafaela
Pronunciation: say-DAHN raff-aye-ELL-uh
Summary: Ceddanne Rafaela is a top-tier defensive prospect, the type that will win Gold Gloves in center field, and can even give you some reps at shortstop. And while he lacks in some offensive departments, he has the skill set to be a solid hitter, and the athleticism to give you some chaos on the basepaths.
Fun Fact: Rafaela’s full name is Ceddanne Chipper Nicasio Marte Rafaela. An elite baseball name
Hit: Ceddanne Rafaela is a free swinger, his discipline is a major wild card. The risk with the hit tool comes with his major chase problem, which leads to extremely low walk rates, and merely average strikeout rates.
- 35.9 Chase%
- 5.0 BB%
- 21.6 K%
- 71.9 Contact%
Rafaela struggles to square up fastballs and offspeed, with concerns against velocity in his ability to catch up. However, despite the risk with his discipline, Rafaela’s BABIP skills buoy his offensive production.
- .458 wOBAcon
- .438 xwOBAcon
- 39.3 Sweet Spot%
- 10.3° LA
These are all elite numbers, and Rafaela’s offensive production is mostly due to them. Here’s where he’d rank in MLB last season with those numbers.
Rafaela will always carry high BABIPs and low walk rates, that’s just the type of hitter you’re going to get, but you’ll take that with his defense.
Rafaela also possesses the speed to beat out infield singles and steal bags.
Power: Ceddanne Rafaela hit 21 home runs last season and carried an ISO well above .200, however, he does not have great raw power. His high BABIPs come with line drives, but he struggles to put high exit velocities behind his small frame. While the Mookie Betts comparisons are certainly very fun, and they aren’t totally crazy (I’ll explain), Betts was always able to generate good exit velocities with incredible bat speed, and then, once he got to the majors, he began putting on weight. Rafaela is just 145 pounds, and while his bat speed is good, it’s just not quite the same as Betts.
- 84.5 Average EV
- 99.8 90th Percentile EV
- 108.7 Max EV
- 29.1 Hard Hit%
While those numbers are pretty weak, Rafaela is pretty solid in the pulled flyball department, so his game power plays up. Instead of being a 40 power, it plays up to being fringe-average, which is absolutely fine.
Overall offensively, Rafaela probably lands in the average department, with some wiggle room depending on if he can put on some weight without sacrificing athleticism.
Field: What is there to say about Rafaela’s defense that hasn’t been said already? This is where the Mookie Betts comparisons come into play, as a 5'8 former middle infielder who moved out to the outfield and began making herculean highlights, that’s a distinction that they share. Rafaela is without a doubt the best defender in the Red Sox organization and probably the best defender that the Red Sox have had since the 2018 MVP himself.
Every night was a new highlight on the timeline, and Red Sox fans everywhere have been absolutely fawning over his defense because of it. With the ability to make absurd catches coming in, going back, ranging left, and ranging right, there’s nothing that he can’t do in center field. Rafaela won Defensive Player of the Year in the Red Sox system each of the last two seasons.
Rafaela also has upside as a middle infielder, with good range and a good arm. His versatility can be counted on by the Red Sox in many different situations.
2023: Rafaela could find his way into the majors in 2023, as he’s on the 40-man roster. If Kiké Hernandez goes down with an injury, Rafaela’s defensive versatility and prowess make him a natural injury replacement. Rafaela will play in Worcester this year, so there will be plenty of Statcast data available to the public, as Hawkeye cameras are being installed in all AAA ballparks. Rafaela also currently boasts a 101 Steamer wRC+, which is very promising.
4. Nick Yorke
Summary: After a really rough season where Yorke failed to live up to the top 50 hype, and struggled with injuries, Yorke looked like a return to his old self in the Arizona Fall League, flashing his hit tool, and hitting a new Max EV.
Hit + Power: Nick Yorke had an awful season in 2022 at the plate. For a prospect who had exploded onto the scene in 2021 after being surprisingly taken in the first round of the 2020 Draft, Yorke failed to back up the hype.
As a hitter, when Yorke was at his best, he was a hit-over-power middle infielder with outstanding discipline. A K% in the 92nd percentile of all hitters in the minors, as well as an LD% in the 90th percentile, led to an xwOBA at .406 and an xwOBAcon of .437 in his breakout 2021 campaign.
Yorke’s exit velocities aren’t massive, and he has average raw power, but there’s certainly hope for him, as he can still bulk up.
Dealing with a myriad of injuries, Yorke put up a slovenly 84 wRC+, dropping his BABIP from the mid-.300s to a poor .288 number. All of this came as a surprise to Red Sox fans, as the hype was building for Yorke over last offseason, where he made multiple top 50s of national prospect rankings. All of Yorke’s offensive peripherals dropped precipitously, and his contact sprays were much worse as well.
In 2022, Yorke missed a week and a half with turf toe, he then later missed two weeks with back stiffness, and then another two weeks with wrist soreness. Yorke was invited to the Arizona Fall League, where he finally shined.
Yorke changed his batting stance from a tight and low batting stance with his hands by his chest (that he’s used since being drafted), into a brand new man. His new stance has him holding the bat up above his shoulders, and he sets up wider and more open.
With his new stance, he took the Arizona Fall League by storm, putting up a .950 OPS. In the small sample, his discipline was back to his best, but most excitingly, he hit a new Max EV, at 110.3 MPH. His average EV also went way up during his AFL stint, among other stats presented in the tweet below, which details his new stance.
If the Nick Yorke that shows up to the batter’s box in 2023 is the one that we saw in Arizona, then there’s a bright future for him, however, injuries aren’t to be taken lightly.
Field: Nick Yorke was drafted to be a second baseman, but even then, there are questions as to whether he’ll be able to stick there from some evaluators. He’s a pretty average defender at second base, and his speed isn’t anything to write home about. If injuries force Yorke to move off of second base, that could cause a drop in the rankings, as Yorke’s bat is questionable for a DH/1B type.
2023: Nick Yorke will start 2023 in Double-A Portland, where, if he stays healthy, he could make it up to Triple-A Worcester by the end of the season, assuming things go well. Yorke is behind schedule after 2022 because he had to repeat the full year in High-A, never making it to Double-A. If all goes according to the new plan, and he stays healthy, Yorke should be in the Majors by the end of 2024.
5. Mikey Romero
Summary: After a sparkling cameo in the Red Sox system, first-round pick Mikey Romero looks a lot like a budget version of his childhood friend, Marcelo Mayer. The two are both left-handed hitting, hit-over-power shortstop prospects that show plenty of promise.
Hit: Mikey Romero‘s best trait is his hit tool, which is clearly a plus in multiple departments. Romero’s swing is extremely smooth, staying short and on plane in order to generate a high frequency of contact. Romero has an excellent feel for hitting high velocity because of his swing path, and he’s shown the ability to drive the ball into the gaps. Mikey Romero’s high school stats are fantastic, as you’d expect from any first-round draft pick, but his profile should translate well to the minor-league level. To an extent, it already has, with his brief cameo showing excellent potential
- 84.1 Contact%
- 97.2 Z-Contact% vs Fastballs
- .425 wOBAcon
- 34.2 Sweet Spot%
Power: Mikey Romero has potential in the power department, as he had the fastest max bat speed of anybody at the 2022 MLB Draft Combine, at 84 MPH. However, because of Romero’s swing, his raw power plays down to below average. Even then, Romero put up some really solid numbers for an 18-year-old in his first taste of pro ball, albeit in a small sample.
- .203 ISO
- 85.0 Average Exit Velo
- 100.0 90th Percentile Exit Velo
- 36.8 Hard Hit%
Because he’s so far away from the majors, there’s a lot of molding that can be done to Romero as a ballplayer. There’s a timeline where Romero changes his approach to become a more powerful hitter, however, that would come at the expense of his hit tool and his current swing. All in all, most of the power contribution that Romero will make in his current form will come with line drives into gaps, and the occasional home run.
Field: Predicting where Mikey Romero will end up in the field is like playing a game of roulette. Some scouts believe that Romero is a good shortstop with a high chance of sticking there, while others believe that he’s a complete butcher who could end up at first base. Romero is a case study in what people think is more important as a shortstop, those who believe in hands and actions believe in him, while those that believe in athleticism don’t. In reality, he probably falls somewhere in between the two, with a good chance to be an above-average second baseman with his clean hands, but mediocre range and an average arm.
2023: Mikey Romero will start 2023 in Single-A Salem, and there’s a good chance that he finishes it in High-A Greenville. If everything goes according to plan, Romero could be on a similar timeline to the one that Marcelo Mayer and Blaze Jordan were on, where they got the move up to High-A in August. Romero is extremely far away from the majors, but for now, he shows plenty of promise for what he can become.
6. Bryan Mata
Summary: Bryan Mata is one of the hardest-throwing pitchers in all of Minor League Baseball, and he has decent secondary pitches, but his struggles to get swings on pitches out of the strike zone lead to high walk rates, and therefore some risk.
Fastball: Bryan Mata’s velocity is his most well-regarded trait, and it’s certainly worth its’ merit. Touching 100 MPH on his fastball, and sitting at 97, Mata has the traits, but hasn’t quite put it all together yet. The movement profile on Mata’s four-seamer is loud, but there’s issues with control and synergy, that make the fastball tend to play down a little bit.
- 97.3 MPH
- 12.0" HB
- 14.9" IVB
- 12.8 Chase%
- 22.8 Whiff%
- .348 xwOBA
- 25.8 CSW%
Slider: Bryan Mata’s slider is a solid pitch with good results, actually putting up his best chase rate of any pitch, but there’s a flaw with it. Mata needs to kill that -6.8 inches of horizontal break and bring it down closer to zero to create a better tunnel with his other pitches. Doing that could unlock the rest of his repertoire to get more chases, limit walks, and be a better pitcher.
- 87.7 MPH
- -6.8" HB
- 2.8" IVB
- 28.0 Chase%
- 42.4 Whiff%
- .228 xwOBA
- 37.6 CSW%
Sinker: Mata’s sinker is another pitch thrown hard with movement, and it does its’ job to get ground balls for Mata. In fact, Mata is one of just seven minor league pitchers to have thrown 70 innings with a 50 GB% and 30 K% in 2022.
- 96.9 MPH
- 16.3" HB
- 10.7" IVB
- 19.5 Chase%
- 16.0 Whiff%
- .287 xwOBA
- 25.2 CSW%
Changeup: Mata’s changeup has the same exact horizontal break as his sinker, but drops an additional five inches. His changeup, like his slider, gets a ton of whiffs in the zone and doesn’t allow hard contact, but he struggles to create a high volume of chases on it.
- 89.8 MPH
- 16.3" HB
- 5.1" IVB
- 22.1 Chase%
- 43.1 Whiff%
- .206 xwOBA
- 26.3 CSW%
Curveball: Mata’s curveball is devastating in the strike zone, with hitters fanning on it on 40.0% of their swings, and the contact that is generated isn’t damaging.
- 80 MPH
- -14.3" HB
- -7.0" IVB
- 14.3 Chase%
- 40.0 Whiff%
- .182 xwOBA
- 29.8 CSW%
Mata is better against right-handed hitters than against lefties, with a .246 xwOBA and 31.1 CSW% against batters on the right, compared to .313 and 27.3 for lefties.
It’s pretty obvious that Bryan Mata is a few tweaks away from having this figured out, and he’s absolutely got the raw traits to figure it out. Despite his poor walk rates, Mata was able to put together an ERA of 2.49 across the levels that he pitched at in 2022 coming back from Tommy John Surgery. In addition to a repertoire that isn’t fully optimized, he has struggled with sequencing, which has only compounded his issues, however, it also provides an avenue to a fix with a new approach.
2023: When Bryan Mata isn’t liking tweets, he’s going to be starting the season at Triple-A Worcester, where we’ll have access to Hawkeye Statcast data for him. He’s got some kinks to work out, but Mata will probably make his major league debut in some capacity this year. With the number of options that the Red Sox have in the rotation, it’s much more likely that his debut stint comes out of the bullpen, with a possible transition to the rotation in the future.
7. Brandon Walter
Summary: While suffering from a lack of velocity at this point in a prospect’s career usually spells failure, Brandon Walter’s spin and movement profile is well-rounded, and could give him a Major League role soon.
Sinker: Brandon Walter doesn’t get a ton of velocity on his sinker, in fact, it would be one of the slowest primary fastballs in the Majors, but it’s still hard for hitters to pick up. He throws from an outlier arm slot and approach angle that allows his stuff to play with a higher velocity than it has, in addition to the heavy movement. In 2021, Walter was a few ticks higher on the radar gun with his fastballs than he was in 2022, which shows that this isn’t his ceiling.
- 90.8 MPH
- -17.7" HB
- 4.5" IVB
- 21.3 Chase%
- 13.9 Whiff%
- .279 xwOBA
- 33.9 CSW%
Slider: Walter’s sweeping slider is devastating, getting hitters to whiff on half of their swings. The pitch has a significant amount of sweep and has the potential to be an extremely effective offering at the Major League level thrown from his angle.
- 80.5 MPH
- 17.0" HB
- -2.6" IVB
- 33.3 Chase%
- 50.0 Whiff%
- .208 xwOBA
- 43.7 CSW%
Changeup: Brandon Walter’s changeup is another pitch with a ton of movement, but this movement comes in the opposite direction as his slider. He actually throws his changeup more often than any other pitch, and it was incredible at generating swings at pitches outside the strike zone.
- 81.8 MPH
- -20.9" HB
- 3.0" IVB
- 49.0 Chase%
- 36.1 Whiff%
- .219 xwOBA
- 32.5 CSW%
Brandon Walter also commands his pitches extremely well, which was another part of the reason, aside from the high chase rates, that he was able to limit walks so well in 2022.
Walter has chase rates at 37% against both left-handed and right-handed hitters, but he draws weaker contact and more called strikes against lefties. He had elite profiles against both in 2022.
If Walter adds some velocity, his stuff can be very dangerous, but even without velocity, there’s a mold for the crafty lefty with incredible movement and a funky arm slot, kind of like Alex Wood (who still throws a little harder than Walter, but it’s not insane).
There was a pathway for Walter to make his Major League Debut last season, but he missed the entire remainder of the season after early June with a bulging disc in his upper back. If his return from the injury is back to his 2022 form, or even his 2021 velocity, there’s a lot to like, but if not, it could be a fast drop down this list.
2023: Brandon Walter will be 27 years old when the 2023 season ends, so if he hasn’t made his Major League debut by then, it would probably be a very disappointing season. Walter was hurt by COVID, as somebody who was drafted late in the 2019 Draft, missing out on the 2020 season hurts, but he came back stronger. If Walter is fully healthy in 2023, he’ll make multiple Major League cameos, more likely as a reliever than a starter. However, he’ll start the season in the Worcester rotation.
8. Luis Perales
Summary: Called by scouts “the best arm in the Florida Complex League”, Luis Perales has an 80-grade fastball that overpowers hitters. He’ll need to develop his secondary stuff in order to stay out of the bullpen
Fastball: Luis Perales has an 80-grade fastball no matter how you slice it up. He’ll turn 20 years old in April, and he can still add strength to his frame, which could bolster his velocity even further. The pitch has a ton of carry, and even if he struggles to command it, it will make hitters miss, and force poor contact at any level of the game.
- 96.0 MPH
- 8.0" HB
- 21.0" IVB
- 20.3 Chase%
- 35.9 Whiff%
- .238 xwOBA
- 31.1 CSW%
Changeup: The questions for Perales start with everything outside of his fastball. None of his secondary pitches were thrown more than 11% of the time, but they all had gaudy results in 2022. However, outside of the velocity and uber-small sample results, there’s not a ton about the changeup that is attention-grabbing. Time will tell on Perales’ ability to throw his changeup.
- 87.4 MPH
- 10.1" HB
- 13.4" IVB
- 19.4 Chase%
- 40.6 Whiff%
- .078 xwOBA
- 27.9 CSW%
Slider: Perales’ slider was only thrown 52 times last season, and it needs to be retooled. Perales’ best pitch by far is his fastball, and his arsenal needs to be designed around it. A slider that falls outside the recommended windows for tunneling separation in all three categories (velocity, HB, and IVB) just will not cut it as a secondary pitch for him. Adding velocity, killing horizontal sweep, and limiting drop would make it a much better tunnel for his devastating fastball.
- 84.2 MPH
- -6.8" HB
- 1.2" IVB
- 34.4 Chase%
- 47.8 Whiff%
- .072 xwOBA
- 34.6 CSW%
Perales can overpower absolutely anybody with his stuff, but he’ll need to refine his repertoire, particularly finding a secondary pitch against lefties, as he only got them to chase at 18.5% of pitches out of the zone last year.
Perales needs to become more comfortable throwing his secondary pitches, because if he doesn’t, there’s no chance that he becomes a starter at the highest level. He’s only 20, so he has plenty of time, and he has the highest ceiling of any pitcher in the Red Sox system thanks to the fastball, but he’s a major work in progress as of right now.
2023: Perales will pitch at Single-A Salem to start the season, and hopefully make his way up to High-A Greenville. Perales has been a mystery for the Red Sox, as he’s barely even pitched professionally, but he flashes tantalizing potential. He probably won’t pitch the whole season, as he’ll probably have an innings limit both in each start, and over the course of the whole season, but there’s a major foundation to build off of with Perales.
9. Roman Anthony
Summary: Roman Anthony’s prowess as a prospect comes with the fact that he’s a high-upside hitter with power potential, and flashes of an elite hit tool. Although he probably finds his way to the corner of the outfield, his bat was among the more underrated ones in the 2022 MLB Draft.
Hit: Roman Anthony’s hit tool is interesting. While he cut his strikeout rate, showing much better swing decisions, and he has a decent bat path, his swing is extremely unconventional. With a pretty wild and violent swing, he tends to stiffen up, limiting what he’s been able to do with the bat so far. His contact rates in his short sample in the low minors were actually very promising, but it’s unlikely to hold up.
- 87.8 Contact%
- 22.4 Chase%
- 9.6 K%
However, in that same sample, Anthony’s launch angle was just 2.2°, which is obviously well below what is ideal. Turning 19 in May, Anthony has plenty of time to figure out his hit tool, and it has the potential to be above average in the future, although there’s major risk. The Red Sox were willing to give him first-round money, so there’s reason to believe that they have a plan for him, and if the initial stats are any indication, the plan could be coming to fruition.
Power: Roman Anthony has excellent raw power. While he didn’t quite show it in his stint in the minors last year, Anthony has proved his power prowess to scouts many times before. Notably, this 450 foot, 105 MPH home run in the High School All-America game in 2021.
Anthony shows the ability to make hard contact consistently, and many scouts assigned him a 60 or even a 70 raw power grade before the draft. Anthony struggled to put up elite exit velocities in his 83 PA cameo in the minors, with just an 84.4 Average, and 24.3 Hard Hit%, but take those with a grain of salt. It’s foolish to write off his power based on a rough stint in the low minors the same way that it’s foolish to say there are no more hit tool concerns after his debut.
In reality, Anthony will need to find a balance between improving his hit tool, and displaying his raw power in order to hit his ceiling offensively.
Field: Anthony is an excellent athlete with the potential to stick in center field, but is more likely to settle in right field. If he does make the move to right field, his speed and arm strength give him a chance to be a very good defender in right. There’s a DEFCON 5 scenario where he’s forced into the infield, and his arm can help him play 3B, but that’s extremely unlikely.
2023: Roman Anthony will start 2023 at Low-A Salem and depending on his performance, he could be seen at High-A Greenville by the end of the season. Similarly to Romero, he’s so far from the Majors that his development plan is hard to map out as of right now.
10. Brainer Bonaci
Pronunciation: BRY-ner BOE-nah-see
Summary: Brainer Bonaci, nicknamed Bones, combines versatile above-average defense at multiple positions with excellent plate discipline, and exit velocities that are better than you may think.
Hit: Brainer Bonaci has an extremely intriguing hit tool. His numbers at the Single-A level last year were absolutely fantastic, boasting the highest walk rate of anybody at his age with as many plate appearances.
- 78.5 Contact%
- 17.3 Chase%
- 18.0 BB%
- 18.0 K%
Bonaci has excellent swing decisions on fastballs, with low chase rates, and solid in-zone swing rates, along with good contact rates. Bonaci picks up velocity well too, with a .409 xwOBA against fastballs above 93 MPH.
- 75.1 Z-Swing% on Fastballs
- 16.1 Chase% on Fastballs
- 85.7 Z-Contact% on Fastballs
- 82.6 Contact% on Fastballs
However, Bonaci decides to keep the bat on the shoulder way too much against offspeed and breaking pitches. While he does struggle to make good contact against those pitches when he does get bat-on-ball, it’s still concerning to see somebody so dead-set against swinging on non-fastballs.
- 58.5 Z-Swing% vs Offspeed
- 61.0 Z-Swing% vs Breaking
- .318 wOBAcon vs Offspeed
- .330 wOBAcon vs Breaking
At age 19, this is something that is permissible, but it’s a department in which Bonaci must take strides in order to make an impact at a higher level in the long term.
Bonaci has the base to have an above-average hit tool, and there’s hope that he can unlock himself more in 2023.
Power: Brainer Bonaci is not somebody who is known for his power at this point in his career. He weighs just 160 pounds, has a launch angle of 9.2°, and didn’t hit his first home run of the 2022 season until he hit TWO on July 26th.
However, Bonaci actually has some solid raw power numbers and depending on how his body matures, there could be something to watch there.
- 87.9 Average EV
- 100.4 90th Percentile EV
- 32.0 Hard Hit%
Bonaci hit four of his six home runs from the right side of the plate and had a .523 SLG in his righty plate appearances. Many switch hitters should stop their switch-hitting, but Bonaci is a different hitter on both sides. He probably has a higher upside as a right-handed hitter, but he probably won’t quit hitting lefty quite yet.
Field: Brainer Bonaci is a solid athlete with excellent defensive versatility. Bonaci had to move around a lot in the infield last season, and he shined wherever he went. He has good instincts at shortstop with fluid hands and a strong arm. Wherever he ends up, I can see him as an above-average defender long-term.
2023: Bonaci will start the season with High-A Greenville, but with the logjam of infielders there, he could play in a variety of different positions, the same way he did last year in Salem. Depending on how he develops, his path could be interesting. His spectrum of long term outcomes is fairly wide.
11. Enmanuel Valdez
Summary: Enmanuel Valdez’s well-rounded batted ball profile works well with his good discipline to make him a fascinating prospect with the bat. However, pretty much every scout agrees that he has major limitations defensively, that could push him away from generating more value.
Hit: Enmanuel Valdez has a fun batting stance and a fun profile. Coming over in the trade for Christian Vazquez, Valdez is a well-rounded hitter with the ability to make an impact in a variety of ways. Starting with discipline, Valdez has above-average plate discipline thanks to a patient approach with average whiff rates.
- 23.8 Chase%
- 11.2 BB%
- 21.6 K%
- 74.4 Contact%
Valdez does take a solid amount of called strikes, especially against right-handed pitchers, he balances it out with above-average contact rates.
- .469 wOBAcon
- .461 xwOBAcon
- .392 wOBA
- .387 xwOBA
While he doesn’t swing at a ton of fastballs, Valdez has a great feel for hitting velocity once the ball is on his bat. Having seen a ton of pitches, Valdez knows which pitches he wants, and has the ability to turn on them.
- .574 wOBAcon vs Fastballs
- .591 wOBAcon vs Fastballs >93 MPH
Valdez seeks out changeups even though he wasn’t thrown too many of them. His Z-Contact% and Z-Swing% against offspeed pitches is way higher than against any other pitch type, and his .362 xwOBA against those pitches is more than serviceable.
Power: Valdez packs a ton of pop into his small frame. He hit 28 home runs last year in the minors, including 7 in the Red Sox organization. Valdez’s bat path lends to him being able to hit for more power than his frame would indicate. His ability to find the sweet spot is one of the main draws for Valdez.
- 17.9° Launch Angle
- 34.5 Sweet Spot%
While others in the system have high sweet spot rates, Valdez is one of the few that pairs it with good exit velocities, and consistently hitting the ball hard. Valdez’s EV’s play up because of his upwards swing path.
- 39.8 Hard Hit%
- 88.8 Average EV
- 103.6 90th Percentile EV
- 109.1 Max EV
Field: Enmanuel Valdez projects poorly defensively even at second base. He’s reached his final athletic form, he has below-average arm strength and has no natural feel defensively anywhere. However, Valdez does have experience as a third baseman, left fielder, and first baseman. Even though he’s below average at all of those positions, the ability to play there in the first place makes him a valuable bench piece if the bat is as advertised.
Of Note: Valdez appeared for Toros del Este in the Dominican Winter League, and he really struggled, putting up a .542 OPS in 74 PA.
2023: Enmanuel Valdez will be part of Spring Training for the Red Sox and is in the running for an Opening Day roster spot. However, it’s much more likely that the 24-year-old starts the season back in Triple-A Worcester, before making his way up to the big leagues at some point this year.
12. Eddinson Paulino
Summary: Eddinson Paulino has a good hit tool and extremely strong defensive versatility, but his lack of raw power and a small frame limits his ceiling in the long term.
Hit: Eddinson Paulino’s hit tool is solid, but has some flaws that need to be ironed out. The good news is that Paulino doesn’t turn 21 until July, so he has plenty of time to figure it out. Paulino had a 127 wRC+ and a 25.6 LD% in 539 plate appearances for the Single-A Salem Red Sox while flashing good discipline.
- 19.5 K%
- 11.9 BB%
- 75.4 Contact%
- 26.6 Chase%
Paulino is extremely comfortable against fastballs and extremely comfortable against high-velocity fastballs as well. His ability to track and square up fastballs is his best trait as a hitter.
- .371 xwOBA vs Fastballs
- 86.0 Contact% vs Fastballs
- 86.0 Contact% vs Fastballs >93 MPH
- 90.0 Z-Contact% vs Fastballs
- 88.8 Z-Contact% vs Fastballs >93 MPH
Paulino also does a great job finding the sweet spot, with a 30.1 Sweet Spot% and 15.5° LA.
However, Paulino struggles immensely against breaking balls and offspeed pitches, like many at this level and age.
- 52.9 Contact% vs Offspeed
- 33.7 Chase% vs Offspeed
- .252 xwOBA vs Offspeed
- 62.1 Contact% vs Breaking
- 34.9 Chase% vs Breaking
- .213 xwOBA vs Breaking
Paulino has some risk to the hit tool, but his struggles aren’t anything that hasn’t been seen and solved many times. There’s upside for an above-average hit tool for Paulino if he gets the right development.
Power: Eddinson Paulino has bad raw power and it will never be part of his game. While the rest of Paulino’s profile is similar to Bonaci, this is the main gap between the two, and why Bonaci is ranked higher.
- 83.3 Average EV
- 98.5 90th Percentile EV
- 105.8 Max EV
- 20.2 Hard Hit%
The Max EV isn’t totally awful (it’s not good though), but an 83.3 Average EV is really bad, and even if he pulls fly balls, he’s unlikely to hit many home runs at a higher level.
Field: Eddinson Paulino is a high-level athlete with positional versatility to play at shortstop, second base, third base, as well as the outfield. The exciting infield in Salem allowed Paulino to play in some different places, and he has great instincts to make great plays at a lot of different spots.
2023: Paulino will start 2023 with High-A Greenville, and he won’t be able to play shortstop there because of Mayer, so he’ll likely get reps at third base. There are no guarantees about Paulino’s future, but there’s certainly a path to becoming a big leaguer.
13. Nathan Hickey
Summary: With Major League-level batted ball quality, and a patient approach, Nathan Hickey is one of the better hitters in the farm, but the question of where he ends up on defense looms large.
Hit: Nathan Hickey has a good hit tool that has some people very excited, even more so than I am. As an experienced bat coming out of the University of Florida in 2021, Hickey had a breakout 2022 season that saw him dominate lower levels of the Minors.
- 155 wRC+
- 19.2 BB%
- 23.8 K%
Hickey took a very patient approach, which helped him select which pitches he wanted to hit, and thus, keep his contact rates relatively solid, with really good batted ball data.
- .381 xwOBA
- .428 xwOBAcon
- 32.2 Sweet Spot%
- 74.0 Contact%
- 16.7 Chase%
Hickey’s approach also helped him against offspeed pitches, where his selective approach allowed him to avoid whiffs at a high level.
- 90.3 Contact% vs Offspeed
- 95.7 Z-Contact% vs Offspeed
- 65.7 Z-Swing% vs Offspeed
- 21.3 Chase% vs Offspeed
- .452 wOBAcon vs Offspeed
- .396 xwOBA vs Offspeed
Hickey also destroys fastballs, which is the pitch that he saw by far the most at the lower levels.
- .524 wOBAcon vs Fastballs
- .426 xwOBA vs Fastballs
However, having this type of approach usually doesn’t translate incredibly well to the higher levels. While Hickey is certainly an exciting prospect, we should wait and see before we pencil him into future MLB lineups.
Power: Nathan Hickey’s power is exciting, especially with his ability to make good contact.
- .259 ISO
- 16 HR
- .522 SLG
With solid base numbers (especially considering he played just 75 games last year, Hickey’s data backs him up.
- 88.3 Average EV
- 102.2 90th Percentile EV
- 32.2 Hard Hit%
- 14.6° Launch Angle
Hickey hits the ball hard, and he hits the ball in the sweet spot, which is usually a good indicator of solid power. I think that Hickey’s power is absolutely his most reliable tool going forward, and could even gain some strength depending on where he ends up defensively.
Field: Nathan Hickey played mostly catcher at the University of Florida, and has played mostly catcher in the Red Sox farm system, however, it may behoove the Red Sox to get him some reps at the corner infield spots. Those are spots that he has experience with in the past, and he could end up at either one of them long-term if the bat becomes too valuable to risk with his only mediocre defense at catcher. However, with automated balls and strikes looming, being a mediocre or worse defensive catcher wouldn’t be quite as big of a deal. Regardless, the Red Sox have options when it comes to Hickey, just none of them are that great.
2023: Nathan Hickey will start 2023 as the starting catcher for High-A Greenville seeking an early season move up to Portland. Assuming he keeps hitting well, he’ll be in Portland for a good portion of the season.
14. Wikelman Gonzalez
Summary: Wikelman Gonzalez is a moldable ball of clay with good athleticism and great velocity from a low arm slot. If the Red Sox can identify the ideal pitch shapes to give him, he can be a starter in the Majors.
Fastball: Wikelman Gonzalez’s stuff will probably change a lot from now until the majors, but his fastball at the moment is certainly interesting. With a similar movement profile to the fastball of Nathan Eovaldi, the Red Sox have seen something like it before, and they can try to mold his repertoire based off what he can do. Scouts like the low release point and the ability to spin the ball. He’s had starts where his velocity sits closer to 96, and starts closer to 93. The more we see of the higher velocity type, the better moving forward.
- 94.6 MPH
- 12.2" HB
- 15.5" IVB
- 22.0 Chase%
- 23.2 Whiff%
- .298 xwOBA
- 28.0 CSW%
Curveball: Gonzalez’s curveball doesn’t get chases, but it is great in the zone. With above average spin rates, Gonzalez has another intriguing pitch that is certainly a work-in-progress, but could be a weapon depending on how the Red Sox want to use it.
- 78 MPH
- -17.9" HB
- -9.1" IVB
- 17.7 Chase%
- 45.5 Whiff%
- .186 xwOBA
- 33.6 CSW%
Changeup: Gonzalez gets late drop on his changeup and is able to get plenty of whiffs on the pitch, but he doesn’t get close to enough chases on. it at the moment. It’s a hard changeup that could become an above-average pitch, but it’s once again a work in progress.
- 87.7 MPH
- 12.4" HB
- 6.3" IVB
- 21.2 Chase%
- 36.0 Whiff%
- .302 xwOBA
- 23.2 CSW%
Gonzalez has good athleticism from his small frame, and a low release that can make his stuff play up. Gonzalez is a project who will need plenty of tweaks and changes as he goes, but he is still only turning 21 years old this year, and has the shine of high-level arm strength. The Red Sox have tons of options as to how they can fix his repertoire in terms of pitch shapes, but there’s plenty of risk involved, and the Sox have to get the tweaks right if they want him to be part of their future. Perhaps they can try to get him to throw a gyro slider to work together with his fastball and help shore him up.
2023: Gonzalez finished the season in 2022 with some really good starts in High-A Greenville, and he’ll start there as part of the rotation in 2023. I’m not extremely confident that he makes his way up to Double-A Portland for that much time this year, but it’s certainly possible. If the season goes extremely well, he’ll be on the 40-man roster next year, but there’s such a wide range of outcomes for Gonzalez’s 2023 that it’s hard to even say.
15. Blaze Jordan
Summary: With his light-tower power being known nationally since he was 13 years old, Blaze Jordan’s bat has one of the highest ceilings in the farm. However, there are still a lot of kinks that need to be worked out, mainly, his defensive future and his hitting mechanics
Power: Blaze Jordan’s power made him famous at a very young age, long before he became part of the Red Sox organization. A viral video of a 500-foot home run hit at age 13 put Jordan’s name in the mind of every baseball fan.
While Jordan didn’t hit a ton of home runs last year, his thick frame and strong swing still showed up in the exit velocity department.
- 86.2 Average EV
- 105.0 90th Percentile EV
- 111 Max EV
- 35.2 Hard Hit%
Jordan’s top-end exit velocities are among the best, not only in the Red Sox system, but for anybody on the planet at his age.
Blaze Jordan’s raw power is by far his best tool, but he’ll need to hit more fly balls in order to unlock it. In his short cameo in the complex league and Single-A in 2021, Jordan had an excellent 51.9 FB%, but it dropped 20% this year. For Jordan to reach his ceiling, this is a crucial metric to follow.
Most of Jordan’s hardest contact came on the ground, and that’s a major issue, because, well, you can’t hit a home run on a ground ball. Jordan has some mechanical issues in his swing, but there’s reason to believe that his talent can win out in the long run.
More scouts have him with below-average game power than plus at the moment, but nobody can deny his raw power and the potential for plus game power in the future.
Hit: Blaze Jordan’s hit tool is a wild card, but he certainly has shown promise in his early minor league career. While many thought that Jordan would have a major whiff problem based on his immense power, that hasn’t been his issue so far. Jordan’s hitting has been limited by his propensity to chase pitches at the lower levels.
- 31.7 Chase%
- 30.0 Chase% vs Fastballs
- 36.5 Chase% vs Offspeed
- 32.8 Chase% vs Breaking
Jordan actually made contact around an average rate, but he was just aggressive and eager to swing, depressing his three true outcomes rates.
- 9.2 BB%
- 18.0 K%
- 71.7 Contact%
Jordan struggled with velocity but showed improvement as the season went on. He finished the season with a .306 xwOBA against fastballs above 93 MPH, but it was trending up.
Jordan also has high zone-swing rates and pretty average zone-contact rates.
The mechanical issues mentioned earlier still do need to be ironed out, and it could be very challenging for him in the short term, but if he doesn’t solve that, his hit tool will never be good enough to make him a good hitter. Aside from that, some patience would also go a long way to help his hit tool catch up to his raw power.
Field: Blaze Jordan is not a natural defender anywhere. He’s split time between both spots in the corner infield, but he’s more likely to end up at first long-term. It’s more likely that Jordan becomes a designated hitter than an above-average defender anywhere besides first base.
2023: Jordan will start the 2023 season with High-A Greenville, which is where he finished the 2022 season. He’s likely to put in most of his time at first base in 2023 with a massive logjam of infielders in Greenville. Jordan could play his way into a promotion to Portland, and if he really takes some strides, there’s a path for him in the majors by 2025.
16. Niko Kavadas
Summary: Niko Kavadas has massive power and an extremely passive approach at the plate that allowed him to put up monstrous numbers through the lower levels. Whether he’s the next Kyle Schwarber or the next NPB star though is yet to be determined.
Hit + Power: While Niko Kavadas put up some of the most ridiculous numbers of anybody in Minor League Baseball last year, his hit tool isn’t quite as good as the base metrics would suggest. Kavadas put up a 19.8 BB% between Single-A, High-A, and Double-A last year in 515 PA’s, but that’s mainly a function of his approach.
Kavadas takes an extremely selective approach, with an emphasis on taking pitches and looking for that one pitch to drive. With his immense power, it’s an approach that’s worked very well for him throughout his baseball career so far, but as he faces better pitchers, he’s more likely to encounter issues. Kavadas had a small sample at AA, but his strikeout rate jumped up to 40% over 100 PA’s in Portland, significantly higher than either of the previous levels.
- 29.5 K%
- 16.5 Chase%
- 67.1 Contact%
- 19.8 BB%
Kavadas will whiff a lot, and he will strike out a lot, but he will also walk a lot, and make a ton of hard contact. On contact, Kavadas shines against all types of pitches, and he’s able to turn on velocity well too.
- .657 wOBAcon vs Fastballs
- .645 wOBAcon vs Fastballs >93 MPH
- .436 wOBAcon vs Offspeed
- .404 wOBAcon vs Breaking
Niko Kavadas has some of the best raw power in the Red Sox organization, he hits titanic and majestic blasts from the left-handed batters’ box. Based solely on his Minor League stats, he climbed up some leaderboards last season.
- .547 SLG
- .267 ISO
- 170 wRC+
However, despite elite average exit velocity, his top end isn’t quite as high as some other hitters of this archetype.
- 90.1 Average EV
- 104.4 90th Percentile EV
- 109.8 Max EV
- 44.6 Hard Hit%
- 32.1 Sweet Spot%
Kavadas is able to maximize his power by hitting a ton of line drives and fly balls. Kavadas had the 3rd highest LD% of any player in MiLB with over 500 PA last year, leading to elite BABIP numbers. Kavadas’ dominated younger pitchers at the lower levels of the minors, but you have to start somewhere, and Kavadas got a late start, having spent four years at Notre Dame.
Niko Kavadas had some really solid platoon splits in his 2022 season in the minors, with a 1.006 OPS against righties, and a .910 OPS against lefties, but this is a small sample and at a rather low level. There’s so much that we’ll learn about Kavadas from his next stints at the beginning of 2023.
Field: Niko Kavadas will not be a positive defender anywhere. He will end up at either first base or designated hitter.
2023: As an eleventh-round pick in 2021, the Red Sox probably knew that Kavadas would fly through the lower levels with his profile. However, 2023 is the year where we learn about who Niko Kavadas truly is. He’ll start at Double-A Portland, and his value is tied up in his bat. If his power stands, and he manages the whiff rates, we could see him in the Majors by the end of the season, but it’s also very possible that he continues to struggle, and gets stuck in Double-A for eternity.
17. Chris Murphy
Summary: A lefty with a four-pitch mix, Chris Murphy has a well-rounded repertoire that could put him in the back of a Major League rotation somewhere, but more likely into a bullpen.
Fastball: Murphy doesn’t throw a particularly hard fastball, and he doesn’t do an excellent job of commanding it. Murphy’s fastball comes at the hitter from a flat approach angle, meaning the velocity plays up. Even with the mundane results in a large sample, many scouts believe that the fastball is Murphy’s best pitch.
- 92.7 MPH
- -8.2" HB
- 17.6 IVB
- 22.3 Chase%
- 20.7 Whiff%
- .328 xwOBA
- 24.2 CSW%
Slider: Chris Murphy’s slider is a passable pitch that has a fine tunnel with his fastball, although not ideal. Murphy throws his slider less often than his other secondary pitches, and he doesn’t get good whiff rates on it whatsoever.
- 83.2 MPH
- 7.8" HB
- 0.8" IVB
- 29.7 Chase%
- 25.7 Whiff%
- .289 xwOBA
- 27.6 CSW%
Curveball: Murphy uses his curveball to get called strikes, and he actually does that very well, with a 35.9 CSW% on this pitch. It’s not a standout pitch, but it’s not a bad pitch by any means either.
- 75.3 MPH
- 15.5" HB
- -11.3" IVB
- 21.9 Chase%
- 26.8 Whiff%
- .244 xwOBA
- 35.9 CSW%
Changeup: Murphy’s changeup is his best secondary pitch without a doubt. It’s his only pitch with either a 30% chase rate or a 30% whiff rate, and it has both. It’s his most common secondary pitch, and he probably could use it more often. It’s by far the pitch that he has the best command of, and it will be the key to his potential Major League success.
- 84.5 MPH
- -14.2" HB
- 8.6" IVB
- 31.9 Chase%
- 37.1 Whiff%
- .268 xwOBA
- 31.8 CSW%
Murphy really struggled after he got the call from Double-A to Triple-A, putting up an ERA well above 5 in his 75 innings there, along with uninspiring strikeout and walk rates. Murphy is better against left-handed hitters, but he doesn’t run significant platoon splits in either direction.
2023: Chris Murphy will spend the beginning of 2023 with Triple-A Worcester, and he’s certainly in line to have at least one Major League inning by the end of the season in some capacity. It will most likely come out of the bullpen, and his ceiling isn’t very high, but Murphy is certainly an arm that the Red Sox see something in, as they added him to the 40-man roster.
18. Cutter Coffey
Summary: Despite an abysmal start to his career in the minors, Cutter Coffey has a powerful arm in the infield and a powerful swing in the batters’ box. If the Red Sox can figure out how to unlock his hit tool, there’s a solid ballplayer in there.
Hit + Power: Cutter Coffey has a violent swing with good pull-side power. Coffey has some swing-and-miss concerns, but he did make major strides as a hitter in his senior spring. With a commitment to the University of Texas, the Red Sox gave him a $1,850,000 signing bonus after selecting him in the second round, with the compensation pick received for not signing Jud Fabian.
Coffey made more contact during his senior season in order to improve his stock and benefit his power. His bat speed doesn’t measure well, but he’s still explosive enough in his hands to allow his power to play up above his bat speed.
The Red Sox see enough potential in Coffey to select him as highly as they did, meaning they have a plan for how to develop his swing to keep his power. Like most prospects, his flaws didn’t seem to keep him from being an incredible high school baseball player, but he didn’t consistently see good breaking balls and high velocity, which he’ll have to get used to.
Field: Cutter Coffey would’ve been a solid prospect as a pitcher, and he had a powerful fastball. His 95 MPH fastball translates to his defense, as he had one of the strongest infield arms in the 2022 Draft. Coffey is an average athlete who played mostly shortstop in high school, but he profiles as a third baseman in the Red Sox system. His speed is merely average, but his arm allows him to be a good defender at the hot corner.
Fun Fact: Cutter Coffey did not throw a cutter when he pitched in high school. I wonder what Kutter Crawford thinks about that.
Pitching: If all goes haywire, and the Red Sox need to take a Michael Gettys route with Coffey, first of all, he’d be off this list, but second of all, he’s definitely an interesting pitcher. He throws mid-90’s with a solid slider as well that could be a fallback in the absolute worst case scenario.
2023: After a rough 2022, Coffey will start his 2023 season in June with the Red Sox Complex League team. Unlike the other two high school prospects who the Red Sox selected early in the MLB Draft, Coffey didn’t see any time in Single-A Salem during 2022, and it puts him behind the track of Anthony and Romero. Regardless, Coffey will probably get the chance to play at multiple places around the infield this year, and it’s not a dealbreaker that a 19 year old is going to play in the Complex League.
19. Matthew Lugo
Summary: A move to the hot corner has helped Matthew Lugo find his stride offensively as well as defensively. He still has a lot of development to do, and his range of outcomes is wide despite his solid tools.
Hit: Matthew Lugo has a very interesting profile as a hitter. While Kavadas swings at nothing, Matthew Lugo goes the other way on that spectrum, with very high swing rates.
- 79.6 Z-Swing% vs Fastballs
- 30.9 Chase% vs Fastballs
- 87.5 Z-Swing% vs Offspeed
- 35.8 Chase% vs Offspeed
- 79.5 Z-Swing% vs Breaking
- 41.1 Chase% vs Breaking
However, despite these absurdly high swing rates, Matthew Lugo is able to salvage his plate discipline from being completely horrible with decent contact rates.
- 19.8 K%
- 72.2 Contact%
- 79.0 Contact% on Fastballs
- 77.2 Contact% on Fastballs >93 MPH
Obviously, Lugo doesn’t walk a lot, but that’s just not the type of hitter that he is. Lugo’s 126 wRC+ at the High-A level this year was impressive, but he carried a BABIP similar to 2021 despite a near 10% drop in line drive rate, and a 13% uptick in fly ball rate.
- .418 wOBAcon vs .360 xwOBAcon
- .357 wOBA vs .315 xwOBA
Power: Matthew Lugo has solid raw power, but because of his approach, it kind of plays down. Because he swings at a ton of pitches outside the strike zone (and makes contact with a decent portion of them), he doesn’t maximize his power consistently. This is illustrated by his 85.1 Average EV despite solid top-end metrics at 103.3 90th Percentile EV, and 110.8 Max EV.
Depending on how Lugo plays in 2023, his approach could see some change, because he has an interesting path to success. He’s not fully filled out yet, so if he adds some strength to his frame, Lugo can emphasize power with a slightly less swing-happy approach. However, this scenario is unlikely, and he will probably end up with below-average game power despite good tools.
Field: Matthew Lugo moved from shortstop to third base late in the 2022 season, and it coincided with his best offensive stretch of the season. From August 4th, through the end of the MiLB season, Lugo had these numbers
- 151 PA
- 7.3 BB%
- 23.2 K%
- .219 ISO
- 153 wRC+
- 12 SB
And he seems comfortable playing at third base, at least more so than shortstop. Lugo has a slightly above-average arm, but struggles with recognizing when to hold on to the ball. He profiles as an average defender at third base.
Run: Matthew Lugo has above-average speed, but as his frame fills out, he’s likely to become just an average runner.
2023: Lugo will start 2023 in Double-A, where he’ll likely play much of the season. If he impresses, he could get a move up.
20. Wilyer Abreu
Summary: Wilyer Abreu doesn’t swing often, but when he does, he makes good contact. He ran up great walk rates, as well as really good batted ball data, with a plus arm that helps him in the corner outfield.
Hit: Wilyer Abreu’s biggest strength is his plate discipline, where he combines elite chase rates with good contact rates. Abreu’s approach at the plate helped the Sea Dogs win the Eastern League Northeast Division Second Half crown, and pushed them into a playoff spot.
- 18.2 Chase%
- 70.7 Contact%
- 19.7 BB%
- 26.4 K%
Abreu struggles against high fastballs because his swing path is very steep, but that swing helps him in other departments of his game. While Abreu doesn’t post excellent contact rates on fastballs, he does a good job on contact against them.
- .469 wOBAcon vs Fastballs
- .428 wOBAcon vs Fastballs >93 MPH
- 70.4 Contact% vs Fastballs
- 62.9 Contact% vs Fastballs >93 MPH
Abreu’s swing decisions against offspeed pitches are elite, with average swing rates and elite chase rates, and he is comfortable making contact with breaking balls as well.
Not only is Abreu’s approach and discipline excellent at the plate, with his high walk, manageable strikeout approach surviving the jump from the lower to upper minors, but Abreu has excellent BABIP skills as well.
Abreu finished in the top 15 of Minor League Baseball in LD% among players with over 500 PA, and finished with the 6th lowest GB% in that same sample.
Abreu shares some nice company in the department of batted ball type and plate discipline, as Miguel Vargas is the only other high-minors player who matched him.
- .436 xwOBAcon
- .433 wOBAcon
- .372 xwOBA
- .321 wOBA
- 32.2 Sweet Spot%
Power: Wilyer Abreu isn’t known for his power, but he’s certainly giving you something in that department. With Abreu’s bat path, he’s able to hit a ton of line drives and fly balls, and he has solid raw power to put them over the fence.
- 86.0 Average EV
- 104.9 90th Percentile EV
- 109.1 Max EV
- 33.6 Hard Hit%
While Abreu’s pull rates aren’t excellent, but he hits enough fly balls for a solid amount of them to leave the yard. Abreu isn’t going to be a massive power hitter, but he certainly has the tool in the box for him when he needs it.
Field: Wilyer Abreu played all three outfield spots for the Sea Dogs after being traded in the Christian Vazquez trade. Depending on where there’s an opening, he can play passable defense in any of the three spots, however, he probably works better as a corner outfielder in the long run.
2023: Wilyer Abreu could start 2023 in either Double-A Portland or Triple-A Worcester, but he’ll definitely see plenty of action at the highest level of the minor league system before the season is over. With MiLB free agent signings Raimel Tapia and Greg Allen likely in Worcester, the Red Sox may have boxed Abreu in a little bit, but if his bat speaks, the organization will have to listen.
21. Brooks Brannon
Summary: Brooks Brannon may not stick behind the plate, but he has elite raw power with elite bat speed. Brannon has a really strong profile offensively for a prospect coming straight out of high school.
Hit + Power: Because Brooks Brannon only took 15 professional plate appearances, there isn’t much data out there about him, but we do know about Brannon’s profile as a prospect.
Brannon has immense raw power from the catcher spot and has the frame of a grown man before even turning 19 years old. Brannon has a patient approach with a strong lower half that supplements his high level bat speed. Brannon had an extremely impressive high school season that won him the Prep Baseball Report Player of the Year award for the state of North Carolina.
- .609/.644/1.330 (yes these were his actual stats)
- 20 HR in 34 G
- 91 RBI in 34 G???
The Red Sox were able to pry him away from the University of North Carolina with a $712,500 signing bonus, well above slot value for a ninth round pick. It has the potential to be a coup with how strong Brannon’s upside is, however there’s still some major flaws that need to be ironed out.
Brannon does have some swing and miss issues, and his game struggled to scale up against better breaking balls, but he’s still very young, so this can work. Brannon had an extremely impressive 15 PA cameo in the Red Sox organization, but he did struggle to elevate the ball.
Brooks Brannon’s offense isn’t the question, he’ll probably put up some gaudy offensive numbers in the minors, and it’s very appealing to look at a player this young, with such great raw tools, but he’s still so far away from his final product.
Field: Brooks Brannon has an above-average arm, but he’s already building out his frame, and he’s not an excellent pitch blocker, so he might not stick there as a full-time catcher for that long.
It’s unlikely that Brannon ever becomes a high level defender behind the dish, but with the advent of automated balls and strikes, it could keep some catchers in that position for longer, as the defensive burden will no longer be as heavy.
2023: Brannon will almost definitely have to wait until June to start putting up numbers, as he’ll likely be assigned to the Red Sox Complex League team. If things go well for him, he could make a cameo at Single-A Salem at the end of the year, similar to how Johnfrank Salazar did this year. The Red Sox will probably give Brannon the ability to catch at the complex league, but there are plenty of other catchers who could be there as well. Brannon may have some games where he is the designated hitter, or plays at first base. Eager Sox fans like me are going to be awaiting his call-up to Salem so we can watch him on MiLB.TV
22. Chase Meidroth
Summary: Fourth-round pick Chase Meidroth’s cameo in the Red Sox system launches him up my rankings, as he put his absurd discipline and BABIP skills on display in a small sample.
Hit: Chase Meidroth had arguably the best contact skills of anybody in the 2022 MLB Draft. Of all players with enough data, his 95.2 Contact% at the University of San Diego was the highest in the draft class. He translated this to an incredible stretch to start his professional career.
- 11.5 K%
- 88.4 Contact%
- 18.7 Chase%
- 14.6 BB%
In college, Meidroth struck out 9.1% of the time despite his absurd contact rate, and that’s due to his extremely passive approach at the plate.
- 33.7 Swing% (NCAA)
- 50.2 Z-Swing% (NCAA)
- 19.0 Chase% (NCAA)
While his BABIP skills aren’t great, with below-average line drive rates, and an average launch angle of 8.3°, he makes enough contact for his offense to be pretty solid. I think overall, Chase Meidroth has a solid hit tool.
Power: Chase Meidroth is not known for his power whatsoever, but he actually had solid results in college at San Diego. His ISOcon was in the 74th percentile last year, and his exit velocities in college were reportedly around the collegiate average despite his high contact rates.
In his short stint with the Red Sox, his exit velocities weren't excellent, but he did a fantastic job of hitting the ball in the sweet spot, so he created more bases from lower exit velos.
- 84.7 Average EV
- 99.5 90th Percentile EV
- 105.2 Max EV
- 25.5 Hard Hit%
- 36.2 Sweet Spot%
Meidroth will never be a high-level power hitter, but there’s certainly some potential for the occasional home run, and the gapper extra-base hit.
Field: Chase Meidroth has a lot of defensive versatility in the middle infield, but he can absolutely play third base with his arm strength. Meidroth is a smooth middle infielder who likely profiles as a second baseman but can play in some spots.
The low-swing rate, high-contact rate, low-power, versatile middle-infielder mold, is one that the Red Sox has had success with. If Chase Meidroth is a third of the player that Brock Holt was, it’s a successful draft pick.
2023: Meidroth will start 2023 in either Single-A Salem or High-A Greenville. Defensive reps will be tough to come by in either spot, with Romero at short in Salem, and a massive population of infielders in Greenville, we could see Meidroth playing in a variety of different places in 2023.
23. Elmer Rodriguez-Cruz
Summary: Elmer Rodriguez-Cruz is a very long way from the majors, but he absolutely ate up hitters last year with his fastball, slider, changeup, and curveball.
Fastball: Elmer Rodriguez-Cruz tops out at 95 MPH at the moment, but he’s got an extremely projectable 6 foot, 3 inch frame that isn’t close to built out yet. He doesn’t even turn 20 years old until August, so his velocity right now will not be his peak velocity. He gets good extension on his delivery, and he’ll improve his fastball as time goes on. We really have no way of knowing exactly what this pitch will look like in the future
- 91.5 MPH
- 11.1" HB
- 15.6" IVB
- 24.5 Chase%
- 22.2 Whiff%
- .298 xwOBA
- 26.0 CSW%
Curveball: Rodriguez-Cruz’s curveball is by far his most comfortable secondary pitch, throwing it triple as often as any other secondary pitch in 2022. He has great control and feel for this pitch, which could become his calling card.
- 78.0 MPH
- -6.0" HB
- -6.7" IVB
- 35.5 Chase%
- 37.3 Whiff%
- .172 xwOBA
- 39.9 CSW%
Changeup: Rodriguez-Cruz dominated hitters with his changeup, but he only threw it 44 times in 2022, so we still have to see exactly how it develops. He needs to get a better feel for the pitch and become more comfortable throwing it, because judging it based off of his Low-A and Complex League results is disingenuous.
- 85.7 MPH
- 14.6" HB
- 11.9" IVB
- 47.2 Chase%
- 56.5 Whiff%
- .087 xwOBA
- 38.6 CSW%
Slider: ERC’s slider has a passable tunnel with his fastball, but it doesn’t quite fit within the requirements. The gap between the IVB’s and the HB’s is still a little bit too high. As his frame develops, both pitches will change, and we can re-evaluate this later, but as of now, the slider is a work-in-progress.
- 81.2 MPH
- -4.1" HB
- -2.6" IVB
- 35.0 Chase%
- 18.5 Whiff%
- .075 xwOBA
- 22.4 CSW%
ERC did significantly better against lefties in 2022, with a whiff rate 11% higher against that side. His reverse splits will certainly be something to monitor going forward.
Elmer Rodriguez-Cruz is even further away from the majors than Wikelman Gonzalez, who himself is still a ball of clay. Depending on what Rodriguez-Cruz ends up landing at for his size and velocity, along with athleticism, the Red Sox will tweak around with his repertoire, and hopefully develop a pitcher with a Major League future. There’s no reason why his ceiling can’t be a Major League starter, but the reasons could pop up over the next few years.
2023: Rodriguez-Cruz has only pitched 38.1 professional innings since being drafted in the 4th round in 2021, but he’s already made his way to Single-A Salem. He’ll probably be on an innings limit, but we’ll get the chance to watch him pitch and develop over the course of the next few seasons.
24. Ryan Fernandez
Summary: Despite the relatively low ranking, Ryan Fernandez is among the players on this list with the highest chance to make an MLB impact in 2023. It’s very hard to rank a reliever much higher than this, but Fernandez has the potential to be a piece of the Red Sox bullpen for years to come with his devastating stuff.
Fastball: Ryan Fernandez’s fastball is a high level pitch that possesses the ability to set the table for his other pitches, but also make hitters miss.
- 95.7 MPH
- 10.8" HB
- 17.1" IVB
- 28.1 Chase%
- 29.0 Whiff%
- .313 xwOBA
- 29.3 CSW%
Cutter: Fernandez’s cutter is not the main attraction, but it does a great job as the middleman for his fastball and slider. With good tunneling between his other pitches, he’s able to get hitters to swing out of the zone 39.2% of the time.
- 91.5 MPH
- 0.6" HB
- 9.3" IVB
- 39.2 Chase%
- 31.3 Whiff%
- .226 xwOBA
- 33.1 CSW%
Slider: Fernandez’s hard slider is his most effective pitch. Once the hitter sees the fastball, it’s hard to distinguish it immediately from the slider, giving him incredible chase and whiff rates. His fastball and slider have a 7.2 MPH difference in velocity, in addition to a 14.5" difference in induced vertical break, and a 13.7" difference in horizontal break. These numbers are a huge reason why Fernandez was able to get chases on 48.3 of out-of-zone sliders last season.
- 88.5 MPH
- -3.4" HB
- 2.6" IVB
- 48.3 Chase%
- 59.5 Whiff%
- .150 xwOBA
- 51.9 CSW
He only used it 46 times last year, but he does have a changeup in his bag at about 88 MPH.
Yes, he had an ERA comfortably above 4 last season in the minors, but he was one of just 21 minor league hurlers with a K-BB% above 25, and a GB% above 50 in as many innings.
Fernandez’s stuff is hard to pick up for both right-handed hitters, and left-handed hitters. Batters of either handedness each have a CSW% above 34 and an xwOBA below .290 against Fernandez.
2023: There is a major concern given the unknown around Fernandez’s elbow, which kept him out of action for most of the last two months of last season, and could’ve contributed to why he was not selected in the Rule 5 Draft back in December. Fernandez was invited to Red Sox Rookie Development Camp, so that’s absolutely a good sign there. He’ll most likely start the season in Portland, but I really do believe that the small right-hander has a chance to have the next John Schreiber-type rise to prominence in the Red Sox bullpen.
25. Phillip Sikes
Summary: With good athleticism in the outfield and excellent barrel accuracy, Phillip Sikes has some intrigue. However, his whiff issues at age 23 in the low minors probably outweigh the positives that he gives.
Hit: Phillip Sikes is one of those guys that you just know is a baseball player, he’s good at a lot of different things. While he has major whiff rate concerns, his BABIP skills are excellent and allow his hit tool to have some potential.
- .447 wOBAcon
- 38.8 Sweet Spot%
- 16.8° Launch Angle
- 29.5 LD%
Sikes’ LD% last season was 29.5, which was behind only Niko Kavadas and Triston Casas in the Red Sox system.
Sikes didn’t see a ton of offspeed last year. but he destroyed those pitches to the tune of a .725 wOBAcon and .571 xwOBA in 2022. Sikes also is excellent against fastballs, with a .475 wOBAcon and a .417 xwOBA
- 66.6 Contact%
- 13.9 BB%
- 25.0 Chase%
However, Sikes struggles badly against velocity (.295 wOBAcon, .314 xwOBA) and against breaking balls (61.4 Contact%, 30.9 Whiff%, .223 xwOBA). His hit tool is about average.
Power: Phillip Sikes has average raw power, and it could be very good depending on who you ask. Sikes’ power also plays up with the well-above-average fly ball and pull rates, leading to the 6th best ISO in the Red Sox system last year.
- 86.1 Average EV
- 101.2 90th Percentile EV
- 27.9 Hard Hit%
- .228 ISO
- 42.9 FB%
- 48.6 Pull%
- 106.6 Max EV
All in all, Phillip Sikes is an excellent minor-league hitter who needs to keep seeing pitches and make a few tweaks (that are probably pretty hard to make) in order to make it up the ranks
Field: Phillip Sikes is an athletic defender in the corner of the outfield. He has the ability to make some really nice catches out there, and he has a plus arm as well. Evaluators think that Sikes will settle in a corner, but I’d like to see him get a chance in center if possible.
2023: Phillip Sikes turns 24 this year, and hasn’t played above High-A. He also has a flawed game without a true standout skill. Sikes will start the year in Greenville, and hopefully, progress to Double-A Portland.
26. Ronaldo Hernandez
Summary: Known as “Oso”, Ronaldo Hernandez has awesome power but everything else in his game is a question mark. Evaluators are torn on whether he’s actually a good defensive catcher, and his plate discipline is almost non-existent.
Hit + Power: Ronaldo Hernandez is another proud graduate of “Swing at Everything School,” but for a catcher, he still provides solid enough offense. Oso’s raw power and ability to hit ropes to the pull side buoyed his offensive production in 2022. He barely ever walks, but he doesn't strike out a ton either.
Oso produced at a solid level throughout most of the season at the Triple-A level. From 5/21 through the end of the season, these were Hernandez’s stats
- 326 PA
- 5.4 BB%
- 17.6 K%
- .218 ISO
- 121 wRC+
Oso can catch up to fastballs, and he can sit on breaking balls… when he makes contact. However, his whiff rates are over 30%, and he always finds himself getting behind in counts.
- 37.5 Chase%
- .388 wOBAcon
- .322 wOBA
- 69.3 Contact%
Oso also put up some really good exit velocities, especially for a catcher.
- 85.5 Average EV
- 105.1 90th Percentile EV
- 35.3 Hard Hit%
This 112 MPH home run in Buffalo was impressive, and his max is allegedly around 117 MPH or even higher.
Field: Ronaldo Hernandez might be a catcher in the future, and a lot of his future is reliant on whether he can do that. He split time with Connor Wong last year in Worcester, but evaluators are torn on his defensive capabilities.
While he’s not the most comfortable behind the plate, he has certainly improved through the years, changing some people’s opinions. I’ve flip flopped myself on whether I think he’s a catcher or not, but it’s really his only hope.
With the advent of Automated balls and strikes, Oso certainly gets a bump defensively as he has an absolute cannon behind the plate.
2023: 2023 is the year when Ronaldo Hernandez will most likely make his Major League debut. He’s been added to the active roster multiple times, but he’s never seen the field. He’ll spend most of the year with Jorge Alfaro in Triple-A, but he’s almost a lock to make his debut at some point this year.
27. Alex Binelas
Summary: Alex Binelas struggled badly when he got to Double-A last year, but there’s hope that a new season can give him the chance to reset and tap into his incredible raw power.
Hit: Alex Binelas is a power-over-hit prospect with a below average hit tool. Yes, he has solid walk rates, but that comes from a very patient approach at the lower levels, and he really struggled when he got to Double-A. Binelas has some of the worst contact rates of anybody on this list, and they only got worse as he progressed through the levels.
- 62.6 Contact%
- 29.4 K%
- 12.6 BB%
- 28.1 Chase%
Binelas doesn’t have great BABIP skills whatsoever, he displayed poor line drive rates in his first season in the Red Sox organization and paired with being a poor runner, that’s not a good recipe. In fact, Binelas carried one the very lowest BABIP in the Red Sox system last year.
2022 was Binelas’ first full year in Minor League Baseball, and he moved up a level during the season, so there’s absolutely some room for improvement in 2023, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he adjusts better.
Power: When it comes to raw power, Alex Binelas has to be up there for the very best in the Red Sox system. Coming out of the University of Louisville, this was his big draw, as he slugged .608 in his three year college career with 33 home runs in 111 games.
Binelas’ raw power numbers totally buoyed his offense and have saved his status as a prospect.
- 85.5 Average EV
- 106.1 90th Percentile EV
- 110.6 Max EV
- 35.0 Hard Hit%
Binelas has some of the very best raw power in the Red Sox organization. His power plays up because he can lift the ball, and he also can hit to all fields. However, he doesn’t consistently connect on the ball enough to drive balls into gaps.
Field: Alex Binelas is not a good defender, as his limited mobility limits him to likely playing more first base than anything else. His arm is average, his speed is below average, and his jumps are not very good. Binelas will likely end up at first base if he ever makes it.
2023: Alex Binelas will start 2023 once again playing for the Portland Sea Dogs in Double-A. Binelas is below Niko Kavadas and Matthew Lugo in the pecking order at the moment, but should still be able to get plenty of plate appearances.
28. Taylor Broadway
Summary: Taylor Broadway has two excellent secondary pitches in his slider and curveball. Throwing pitches at three distinct speeds, he put up gaudy strikeout and walk numbers last year in his time split between the Red Sox and White Sox organizations.
Fastball: Despite poor results in 2022, Taylor Broadway’s fastball isn’t bad. It has a similar profile to Matt Foster of the White Sox, whose fastball had a 110 Stuff+ in 2022. With solid, but unspectacular velocity from his filled-out, 5'11 frame, Broadway will not likely add significantly more velocity to his fastball. Broadway needs his fastball in order to set up his curveball and slider.
- 93.9 MPH
- 18.6" IVB
- 5.8" HB
- 28.9 Chase%
- 23.5 Whiff%
- .395 xwOBA
- 29.8 CSW%
Slider: Broadway’s best pitch in 2022 was his slider, and while it doesn’t fully satisfy the tunneling requirements, it still did a great job at getting chases and whiffs. Coming within the recommended windows for horizontal break and velocity gaps, if Broadway kills a little bit of the induced vertical break on the fastball, it could set up his slider better, but it’s probably not the end of the world as it is, given how well the slider performed.
- 85.8 MPH
- -1.8" IVB
- -1.9" HB
- 45.3 Chase%
- 51.1 Whiff%
- .209 xwOBA
- 43.8 CSW%
Curveball: Curveballs that draw chases are generally more effective than curveballs that don’t, and Broadway’s curveball does generate chases. Doing so at a 32.9% clip, and also getting a decent amount of called strikes, Broadway’s curve is a very good pitch for him that allows him to show hitters three distinct speeds.
- 80.7 MPH
- -16.3" IVB
- -6.3 HB
- 32.9 Chase%
- 44.7 Whiff%
- .213 xwOBA
- 38.6 CSW%
Broadway gets more whiffs against right-handed hitters, but he forces weaker contact out of left-handed hitters. Overall, his repertoire did a solid job of fending off both of them this year.
Broadway pitched six innings for the Sea Dogs after coming over from the White Sox as the player to be named later in the Jake Diekman-for-Reese McGuire trade. In those six innings, Broadway faced 19 batters, struck out 10 of them, didn’t walk anybody, and allowed just two hits.
2023: Taylor Broadway will most likely spend time with the Red Sox Double-A affiliate in Portland to start the season, but depending on the way that he pitches, he could certainly make his way up to Triple-A, or even a cameo for the Red Sox big club at some point. He’s already at a pretty advanced age, so it wouldn't shock me if he does end up making his debut this year if things go well.
Sidenote: Broadway has elite energy, as seen from his days at Ole Miss.
29. Johnfrank Salazar
Summary: Johnfrank Salazar has elite contact rates and swing decisions at a very young age, but he’ll need to add some semblance of power to his game in order to make strides up the rankings.
Hit: Johnfrank Salazar’s hit tool is excellent, he makes a ton of contact, and he doesn’t strike out much at all. Despite some poor chase rates on offspeed and breaking pitches, he does an excellent job against fastballs in his swing decisions.
- 12.7 K%
- 10.7 BB%
- 80.6 Contact%
- 26.3 Chase%
- 44.8 Chase% vs Offspeed
- 36.9 Chase% vs Breaking
Salazar takes a quantity-over-quality approach at the plate, but he has a good enough frame to create higher-quality contact later in his time. He’s just 19 years old and doesn’t turn 20 until August, and he’s already made his debut at the Single-A level, so he has plenty of time to develop his game.
- 16.7 Chase% vs Fastballs
- 87.8 Z-Contact% vs Fastballs
- 87.0 Z-Contact% vs Offspeed
- 90.6 Z-Contact% vs Breaking
- .367 wOBAcon vs Breaking
Salazar hasn’t seen a ton of breaking balls or offspeed pitches, or even high velocity fastballs at this point in his career, so I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt so far.
Power: Johnfrank Salazar doesn’t have good power, but he has good size and could certainly grow into serviceable power. I mean, he had a 122 wRC+ in the minors last year despite a .097 ISO.
Standing 6'1, 160, there’s no reason why Salazar can’t sacrifice a little bit of his contact quantity for a little bit more quality.
- 82.4 Average EV
- 97.5 90th Percentile EV
- 104.6 Max EV
- 17.0 Hard Hit%
With the potential addition of strength to his good frame over the next few years, Salazar’s power could become a tool to watch, but for now, it’s very bad.
Field: Johnfrank Salazar has fantastic defensive versatility and a plus arm. He can play across the whole infield at a high level, and he has great defensive instincts. He has clean hands and is capable of being a very good third-baseman. Perhaps the most interesting part of Salazar’s defensive profile is the fact that he can also play a little bit of catcher. Depending on the team he’s on, he might need to play there a bit this year.
2023: Johnfrank Salazar will be assigned to Single-A Salem to start 2023, and if he makes his way up to Greenville, it would be considered a successful season for him.
30. David Hamilton
Summary: David Hamilton is the fastest player in the Red Sox organization, he stole 70 bases in the minors last year, and it could’ve been more if he used an approach that better caters to his game.
Hit: David Hamilton needs the Willie Mays Hayes speech from Major League. Unlike many in today’s game, it benefits Hamilton to keep the ball on the ground. Because he’s the fastest player in the organization, the most valuable state of David Hamilton is when the ball is in play and he’s running. Unfortunately, he doesn’t play that way.
- 48.8 FB%
- 17.4 LD%
- 33.8 GB%
His discipline is not bad, but one would expect that he’d put up good discipline numbers against pitchers that are mostly younger than him.
- 78.3 Contact%
- 24.4 Chase%
- 10.5 BB%
- 22.4 K%
With Hamilton’s solid discipline, an approach that sees him cut his losses in the power department (18.5 Hard Hit% is already extremely low), and just do whatever it takes to get on base, could see him become an intriguing piece for the Red Sox.
Hamilton stole seventy bases last year for Portland, and speed plays at any level, so he can find his way into the Majors in some role if he behind to get on base.
Field: David Hamilton is a solid defender at second base, but he’s not a great fit at shortstop. However, he played a couple of times in center field in 2022, which could be a home for him because of his speed. He probably won’t contribute a ton of value as a defender, but I won’t close that door.
2023: Hamilton was added to the 40-man roster before the Rule 5 Draft, which means the Red Sox likely see him as a potential Major League piece at some point in the future. And because he turns 26 in September, that future is probably pretty near. Hamilton will probably start the season at Triple-A Worcester, but I wouldn’t be totally shocked if they keep him in Double-A either. They’ll give him the opportunity to move up if he plays well, as the Red Sox could absolutely use some speed.
BONUS WILD CARD: Miguel Ugueto
I really don’t have much data on Miguel Ugueto, but there’s reason to be excited nonetheless. Before his injury, Ugueto was displaying some really solid tools and a high contact rate at the Single-A level at the age of 19. His pull-side power is very solid, and he could develop into a really solid hitter.
Ugueto should be an interesting prospect to track this year, and he’s definitely a sleeper on the rise in the Red Sox farm.
He’ll probably play in Single-A Salem to start the season again, potentially making his way to High-A Greenville.
Others To Watch (Including DSL Prospects)
Noah Dean: A lefty reliever with one of the best fastballs in the MLB Draft last year.
Shane Drohan: A talented lefty who has some really interesting stuff. He hasn’t pitched very much above the lower levels and he just turned 24, but he has a three-pitch mix around a sinker, change, and curve. Could ascend through the farm in a similar way to Walter if things go right for him.
Alex Hoppe: Hoppe is another prospect from the 2022 MLB Draft with a really solid college resume. He’s a righty with a hard fastball and solid secondaries. He struggles to command his sweeper and changeup, but there’s upside with his stuff.
Luis Guerrero: Guerrero is a hard-throwing relief pitcher who put up some really intriguing strikeout numbers in the low minors last year. He touches 100 on his fastball, and his splitter has potential, but as a reliever, it’s hard to crack the list as far away from the majors as he is.
Freili Encarnacion: Encarnacion is a shortstop with a projectable frame. A 6'2 180, he has plus power from the right side that could make him a player to watch. Despite struggling pretty badly early in the DSL, he has the ability to make noise in the Complex League this year.
Marvin Alcantara: Alcantara showed promising traits in the Dominican Summer League last year.
Stephen Scott: If Scott continues to hit the way that he did in the Arizona Fall League, he’ll look like a really bad omission from this list.
Here is a histogram of the ages of the prospects above. Important to remember that I don’t rank DSL players, so there is likely a slightly heavier skew toward the younger prospects than presented.
For more of my Red Sox analysis over the course of the entire season, with episodes going up recapping every single series, please follow Red Sox Rundown (@SoxRundown) on Twitter. It’s my podcast along with Aidan, Stephen, and Isaac, and you can find our first few episodes, including interviews with Chris Cotillo and Rob Bradford, at this Spotify link. You can also find it on Apple Podcasts. You can find me on Twitter at @Sam_Federman, where you’ll find all of my tweets about the Red Sox and their farm system throughout the season. However, my main writing gig comes for Mid-Major Madness, covering Metro Atlantic Atheltic Conference Basketball closer than just about anybody on the planet.
I’m excited to release this article, as it’s one of the biggest projects that I’ve ever taken, I hope you enjoyed it. Go Sox.