Sunday, June 5, 2016

RSM Red Sox Top 30 Prospects- June 2016

A new month brings around the new RSM ranking of the Red Sox farm system.  This month brings a slight shuffle of the "top four" and injury and illness to much of the rest of the top ten.  There are four of our current top eight that are either currently out injured or ill, have not played yet this season due to injury, or are out for the remainder of the season due to an injury sustained in May.

There have also been some poor 2016 performances (in one case dropping the player out of the top 30- Ty Buttrey) or lackluster May results.  All of this has caused shuffling from number six all the way down through the rankings.  But on the more optimistic side there have also been players who make moves up the list due to strong showings in early 2016.

As always the team listed after the player is his assignment as of June 1 and the number in { } is May's ranking.  The offensive slash line is HR/RBI/BA/OBP/OPS and for the pitching prospects the slash line is W-L/ERA/WHIP/K-BB.

Let's get started.

1. Yoan Moncada, 2B- Salem {1}.  Moncada remains the best Boston prospect and one of the best in the game.  Yoan began May by winning the Carolina League player of the week in the month's first week. Among the highlights of that week was Moncada's first Carolina League home run, which was a grand slam.  After that week, Moncada scuffled through much of the rest of May, tamping down talk for now of a possible promotion to Portland. Yoan did finish May with a slash line for the season of 3/23/.287/.414/.858.  Besides the sterling OBP, Yoan added thirteen doubles and along with a trio of triples. Moncada also had 31 stolen bases by the end of May. You can still expect to see Moncada playing at Hadlock Field some time this season.

2. Andrew Benintendi, OF- Portland {2}. Benintendi became the first of the top prospects playing at Salem to be promoted to AA on May 15.  Benintendi forced the issue by tearing through the Carolina League at 1/32/.341/.413/.976 with thirteen doubles and seven triples in 135 at bats. The first two weeks or so of AA have not produced the same results.  In his first 42 at bats with the Sea Dogs, Andrew is hitting .213 with only two extra base hits.  But this is a step in the development of all prospects that can be very important.  The organization can see how the player, who has excelled up until this point, reacts and adjusts to adversity.

3. Anderson Espinoza, RHP- Greenville {4}. Espinoza has not completely dominated batters throughout 2016 at this point as he did in 2015.  But he has certainly had outstanding performances and an overall steady, strong first two months at Low A: 4-4/3.43(2.38 in May)/1.19/49-17 in ten starts.  On May 24th Espinoza had the longest outing of his pro career.  Anderson pitched six innings of two hit shutout ball.  The Sox are expected to cap Espinoza's 2016 at around 110 innings, after hurling only 58 1/3 innings last season.

4. Rafael Devers, 3B- Salem {3}. Devers is one of the players who struggled for the first two months of 2016. His line is 4/22/.197/.273/.587 with seven doubles and a triple.  Despite the overall underperformance, as the numbers show, Devers has flashed his power at times with the dozen extra base hits.  On May 28 Rafael had his first three hit game of the campaign, and that may be the start of a resurgence for the rest of 2016 for this very highly regarded prospect.

5. Sam Travis, 1B- Pawtucket {5} Travis was having a very solid AAA debut season with six home runs while hitting .272.  This all changed on May 29 when in a third inning rundown play, Travis injured his left knee.  The testing came back to reveal a left ACL tear and Travis will miss the rest of 2016.  Despite the lost remainder of 2016, Travis is expected to remain highly regarded as a top Sox prospect.  But the opportunity to grab the 2017 Red Sox first base job to open next season season may be in jeopardy.

6. Michael Kopech, RHP -XST{7}. Kopech's season will be the mirror image of Sam Travis'.  Kopech has missed all of 2016 so far due to a broken right hand in spring training, but is expected back soon.  Kopech is now at extended spring training, and made his first game appearance. Kopech pitched two innings and gave up only one hit, no walks while fanning three.  It is expected that Kopech will be assigned to a team before June is over, likely back to Grenville where he pitched in 2015.

7. Michael Chavis, 3B- Greenville  {8}.  Another player who is currently out with injury, but Chavis has apparently dodged a bullet.  In late April, Chavis injured his left thumb ligament and it appeared, in fact was reported in some places, that Chavis needed surgery. This would have ended or at least severely curtailed his 2016.  But as it turned out Chavis did not need any surgery, and he is at extended spring training working in both the field and at the plate.  Chavis, who was hitting .356 with three home runs at the time of the thumb injury, is now looking like he could return to the Drive during June.

8. Brian Johnson, LHP- Pawtucket {6}.  Johnson whose reputation was built on being able to repeat his delivery and pound the strike zone, did not look like himself for any of 2016.  His line for the season: 2-3/4.64/1.64/28-22 in seven starts. May was even worse with an ERA of 8.31 with more walks than strikeouts (8-11).  On May 21 the Red Sox announced Johnson was being placed on the temporarily inactive list as Johnson was seeking treatment for anxiety.  At this point all of the focus will be to get Johnson the treatment needed for his condition.  Hopefully Johnson can regain his nearly major league ready status in the future.

9. Marco Hernandez, Utility- Boston {13} Hernandez came to Boston as an unheralded player to be named later from the Cubs for Felix Doubront before the 2015 season.  After starring for both Portland and Pawtucket last year, Hernandez has made his way to the big leagues in 2016 as he has rode the Pawtucket-Boston express.  On Memorial Day, Hernandez blasted a three run home run in Baltimore to clinch a win over the O's.  This was his first big league home run, and Marco is looking more and more like a player who could help Boston in a Brock Holt-like role.

10. Pat Light, RHP- Pawtucket {12}.  Despite a cup of coffee with Boston, Light has spent almost all of 2016 in Pawtucket.  His main assignment has been to harness his 98 mph fastball.  If Light can throw his top shelf fastball for strikes consistently, he could be the answer for the Carson Smith replacement in Boston.  The May numbers were encouraging: 0-1/3.12/1.21/21-10 with three saves.

11. Nick Longhi, 1B- Salem{11}. This 2013 draftee is putting up his third consecutive solid season and is knocking on the door of the top ten. His 2016 line is 0/35/287/.362/.747 with fifteen extra base hits. After hitting seven home runs for Greenville in '15, it would be nice for Longhi to get off the schneid in the long ball column this year.  If Longhi begins to mix in some home runs and maintains his other numbers, a mid season promotion to Portland is not out of the question. It's possible the injury to AAA first baseman Sam Travis could set off a chain of first base promotions in the organization eventually.

12. Travis Lakins, RHP- Salem {10}.  The Ohio State product was another player who did not have a good May: 2-1/7.91/1.50/17-6 in four starts.  But for the year to date Lakins has struck out 44 as opposed to only 16 walks.  Look for Lakins to rebound in June.

13. Roniel Raudes, RHP- Greenville {15}. The "other" eighteen year old in the Drive rotation.  In his nine starts on the season, Raudes has actually put up numbers slightly better than his eighteen year old staff mate, Anderson Espinoza: 5-1/3.21/1.12/40-8.  Raudes will also have his innings caped at around 110 for the year, he is at 42 through May.

14. Luis Alexander Basabe, OF- Greenville {9}. "Ax" falls out of the top ten due a real battle at the plate so far in 2016 for Grenville: 4/14/.201/.270/.666 with five doubles and four triples.  Basabe was completely lost in May hitting only .115. As a nineteen year old playing in the South Atlantic League there is plenty of time to regain his stroke, and the thirteen extra base hits garnered so far does show signs of light in his game.

15. Mauricio Dubon, SS- Salem {16}.  Dubon continues to shine and be very consistent for Salem.  His YTD line is 0/19/.299.382/.767.  His line for May nearly mirrors: 0/12/.295/.382/.814. Dubon still appears to be in line for a promotion to Portland.

16. Trey Ball, LHP- Salem {22}.  Are we seeing the blossoming of Trey Ball?  After missing nearly all of April with an injury, Ball has returned to pitch several strong starts and has compiled a pitching line of: 2-2/2.31/1.21/24-19 in seven starts.  In five May starts Ball's ERA was 1.80.  After pitching all of 2015 also at Salem, it would seem just a few more strong High A outings would lead to Trey Ball, who will turn just 22 on June 27, to Hadlock Field.

17. Josh Ockimey, 1B- Greenville {20} The power hitting first sacker is threatening to skyrocket even further up our rankings if he continues to rake as he has throughout 2016.  From Opening Day to the end of May, no one else in entire system has crushed the ball in the manner that Ockimey has.  His YTD line is 9/28/.308/.450/1.016 with a dozen doubles and a triple. The numbers for May alone were: 4/18/.321/.467/1.015.  The ungodly OPS is fueled in part by 42 walks.

18. Yankory Pimentel, RHP- Salem {19}.  The twenty two year old Dominican continues to compile strong numbers at Salem: 3-1/1.38/1.00/21-15 with two saves in  a dozen games. Pimentel is one of several young bullpen arms the Red Sox are developing in the system, and Yankory could see Maine before the season ends.

19. Teddy Stankiewicz, RHP- Portland {17}. Teddy is another prospect whose May did not live up to April.  After a good start to his AA career in April for Portland, the numbers that Stank had in May were: 1-4/5.02/1.53/13-11 in five starts. Stankiewicz will be another prospect to watch how he reacts to this bump in the road.  If he can recover, he ranks near the top of starting pitching candidates at the upper levels of the system.  If not, he will join a long list of players throughout the game who have hit the wall at AA.

20. Deven Marrero, SS- Pawtucket {14}. Perhaps the poster boy for Red Sox prospects who have had a terrible 2016 at the dish: 0/15/.196 (only .182 in May)/.242/.482 with eight doubles.  Despite his sterling glove almost any chance Marrero had to be an everyday major league player is gone.  If he can stick in the show, it would likely be as an utility infielder. But hitting under the Mendoza line in AAA may even preclude the backup role in the big leagues.

21. Kyle Martin, RHP- Pawtucket {24}. After Pat Light, Martin could be the most ready arm for the Boston bullpen. Martin followed a strong April with even a better May: 0-2/1.65/0.86/23-3 with two saves. The outstanding statistic for Martin is on the year 34 strikeouts versus only three walks.

22. Chandler Shepherd, RHP- Portland{26}. Other than one start for Lowell in 2014, the Red Sox have used Shepherd out of the bullpen in his other 65 games of his pro career.  In his AA debut, Shepherd has been a bright light for the dismal Dogs: 1-1/2.31/0.99/30-9 with four saves.  For all of the talk about Andrew Benintendi racing to the big leagues this year, it is just as likely the first member of the 2016 Portland Seas Dogs to reach Boston will be Chandler Shepherd.

23. Luis Alejandro Basabe, 2B- Greenville {28}.  It is almost like the Basabe twins have changed uniform numbers just to fool everyone about which Luis is which. "AJ" was considered a borderline prospect at best while his outfield playing twin, was rocketing into the top ten lists. But as mentioned above, Ax Basabe has really struggled in 2016, but brother AJ is opening eyes:3/12/.289/.389/.826 with a pair of triples and eight doubles.  There may well be two Basabes on this list for the next few years.

24. Williams Jerez, LHP- Portland {23}. Williams continues to have workman like, but unspectacular numbers at AA: 0-1/3.77/1.57/22-11.  Considering Jerez is only 24, in only his third year of pro pitching, and most importantly, is left handed, there is plenty of time for him to carve out a niche in a major league bullpen.

25. Wendell Rijo, 2B- Portland {21}. Another member of the "boy, I have had a terrible 2016" club. His debut year at AA has not gone well at the plate: 1/8/.176/.236/.486 with seven doubles.  At age 20, again this season the one thing Rijo has in his favor, he is much below the league average age.  In theory Rijo could spend all of 2016 and 2017 at Portland and still be on pace for a possible big league career.  But with the wave of infielders behind him at Salem (and that may be one reason he was pushed up to Portland to begin with) it would behoove Mr. Rijo to start hitting.

26. Jake Cosart, RHP- Greenville {NR}. This hard throwing right hander was not on the May rankings, but has appeared on the list before.  In 2016 the Red Sox, as they have done with other pitchers in the recent year or two, have converted Cosart to the bullpen full time at Greenville.  Jake has responded with: 1-0/2.05/1.14/39-14.  If he can continue a nearly 3 to 1 strikeout to walk ratio, Cosart could come up the system quickly.

27. Austin Rei, C- Greenville {NR} Another player who has been on these lists most of last season after being drafted in the third round of the 2015 June draft.  Rei, who had a miserable season at the plate for Lowell in 2015, seems to be rebounding at Low A.  His batting numbers for May were encouraging: 1/4/.266/.405/.749.  Rei came out of college with a reputation as a strong defensive catcher, so any offensive offerings just improve his chances to be a big league catcher some day.

28. Tate Matheny, OF- Greenville {NR} Still another player drafted in 2015 who was not on this list in May, but did make a 2015 appearance.  After missing the early part of 2016 with an injury, the twenty two year old son of Cardinals manager, Mike Matheny, joined the Drive in late April and contributed immediately.  His line for the year is: 2/23/.284/.314/.711 with four doubles and three triples.

29. Henry Ramos, OF- Portland {NR} And a final returnee to our rankings.  Ramos who has played for Portland since Opening Day 2014, has had much of his Portland experience shattered by a series of injuries.  Ramos actually had a brief sojourn on the DL this April.  But despite that Henry has began 2016 in style in what is likely a last ditch effort to maintain his standing with Boston as any type of future major leaguer: 3/9/.277 (.304 in May)/.331/.738 with five doubles and three triples.  Ramos is athletic enough to be at least a backup outfielder in the big leagues, but he must stay healthy.

30. Christopher Acosta, RHP and Yoan Aybar, OF {29/30}.  This pair of highly regarded Dominican prospects are awaiting the start of their seasons.  Acosta, coming of a 2015 DSL season, is likely headed for the Gulf Coast League and Aybar, who has all ready spent a year each in the DSL and GCL, is ticketed for Lowell.

So there's the RSM rankings of the Sox farm for another month.  There will be at least one new name in July, maybe more, because the MLB draft is on June 9-11.  The Sox pick at 12 in the first round and that player will certainly be on our July rankings, if they have signed by then. For updates on any Sox related draft rumors check out our post on the pre-draft here at RSM.

1 comment:

  1. Great work as always, Art. Where did Josh Ockimey come from? His numbers are out of this world, with a good batting eye thrown in for good measure. Maybe he's the beneficiary in the long run of Travis blowing out his knee?