Saturday, July 2, 2016

RSM Red Sox Top 30 Prospects- July 2016

 We are now past the the minor league All Star games and a number of the prospects on our list have been promoted.  In addition the amateur draft occurred in early June.  By the end of June only one of the first five picks for Boston has signed, second rounder shortstop CJ Chatham, and he joins our list.

The Sox first round pick lefty pitcher Jason Groome, a high schooler from New Jersey, is expected to go right up to the July 15 deadline to sign, but most observers expect he will and he and some of the other draftees may join these rankings a month from now.

As always the number in { } behind the player's name is the previous month's ranking.  The team listed is the current assignment as of June 30.  The hitter's line is HR/RBI/BA/OBP/OPS and for the pitcher's W-L/ERA/WHIP/K-BB.

1. Yoan Moncada, 2B- Portland {1}. On June 20 the much anticipated promotion of Moncada to AA Portland happened.  In 61 games at Salem, Moncada finished at 4/34/.307/.427/.923 with 25 doubles and a trio of triples.  Yoan also stole 36 bases.  In his 40 at bats with the Sea Dogs, Moncada is off to a .250 start with one home run, triple  and double each.  At the beginning of his AA career, the Red Sox have chosen to keep Moncada at second base.  But do not be surprised if the next move in Moncada's career is not a quick promotion to AAA but instead a position change, maybe to third base.  Moncada has been named to play for the World team in the Futures Game in San Diego.

2. Andrew Benintendi, OF- Portland{2}. After an initial adjustment to AA, Benintendi has caught fire again in June.  His Portland line for June is 4/17/.305/.362/.886 with 11 doubles.  Now that Benintendi has been joined by some of his former Salem teammates, it will be interesting to see how high the Sea Dogs fortunes can rise. Benintendi will join Moncada in the Futures Game opposing him while playing for Team USA.

3. Rafael Devers, 3B- Salem  {4} Devers climbs back up to number three on the foundation of a resurgent June.  Despite hitting .238 for the year through June, Devers rebounded nicely in June hitting 0/9/.313/.352/.738.  If Devers continues to be hot at the plate in July it will be intriguing to see if he is the trade chip Dave Dombrowski tries to cash in for pitching.  Or could Devers make himself too strong a prospect to deal?

4. Anderson Espinoza, RHP- Greenville {3}.  For an eighteen year old pitching in the South Atlantic League where the average age is around 21, Anderson is having a strong campaign for his Drive team: 4-7/3.95/1.33/62-25 in 15 starts for 66 innings.  Espinoza is not completely dominating opponents as in 2015, and likely is looking at a complete season at Greenville.  But despite a few bumpy starts, Espinoza has also flashed the explosive stuff and is still one of the elite pitching prospects in all of baseball.

5. Sam Travis, 1B- Pawtucket {5} Travis of course is out for the season with the knee injury we discussed last month.  If not for the injury Travis was considered a top trade chip if the Sox dealt for pitching and tried to hold onto the big four on this list.  The question is if some team is rebuilding for beyond 2016, would they still take Travis in a deal?

6. Michael Kopech, RHP- Salem {6}.  After his off the field broken hand injury in spring training, Kopech has had some movement in his 2016. Some.  Kopech left extended spring training and was assigned to Lowell and made the Spinners Opening Night start.   Kopech went 4 1/3 innings in the opening start allowed no runs on four hits.  Michael walked and struck out four each.  After that one start Kopech was promoted two rungs to Salem.  On the day Kopech was scheduled to make his High A debut, he was scratched from the start with what was called a leg cramp.  He has since been diagnosed with a calf strain, and while not considered serious, Koepch was on the Salem DL as June ended.

7. Michael Chavis, 3B- Greenville {7} Chavis was activated from the disabled list on June 6 and returned to the Drive lineup for the first time since April. Chavis hasn't regained the lofty numbers from April hitting only .211 with one home run in June.

8. Pat Light, RHP- Boston {10} In twenty AAA games this year, Light has five saves and a 2.05 ERA.  Light shone particularly brightly in June: in seven appearances Light had a pair of saves with an ERA of 0.00.  Pat also struck out eleven with only three walks.  Light has been recalled to Boston and if he can continue to command the high octane fastball in June's manner, he could be one of the answers to the depth needed in the 7th and 8th innings.

9. Marco Hernandez, IF- Boston {9}Marco continues to contribute off the bench and in an occasional starting role for Boston. In 36 at bats, Hernandez has hit his first MLB home run and is hitting .250.

10. Brian Johnson, LHP- Pawtucket {8}. Johnson's career remains on hold as he is still away from the team and is in Florida working out while he continues to be treated for anxiety.

11. Mauricio Dubon, SS- Portland {15}.  Dubon is another recent graduate from Salem to Portland.  And while Mauricio is not the same caliber prospect as Moncada and Benintendi, he has opened scouts eyes this year from spring training through June.  He finished his Salem stint hitting .306 and a very impressive .387 OBP with 29 RBI. In his first 30 at bats for the Sea Dogs, Dubon has hit .267 with a still strong .353 OBP. Dubon also has a double and a pair of triples in those first 30 AB's.  Dubon was named a Carolina League All Star.

12. Josh Ockimey, 1B- Greenville [17}. The South Atlantic League All Star continued his strong hitting in June, with a bit of a dip: 2/8/.254/.357.766.  The 20 year old left handed hitting slugger from Philly has an overall line for the season: 11/36/.286/.417/.925 with 17 doubles.  His high OBP has been fueled by his 53 walks which more than doubles his walk total for Lowell in 2015.  This added patience at the plate is being given as a major reason for his overall offensive explosion.

13. Nick Longhi, 1B- Salem {11} Along with Rafael Devers, Longhi is now a anchor in the Salem lineup with the promotions of several Opening Day teammates to Portland.   Longhi has hit well all year: 1/46/.289/.365/.760.  His June slash of .293/.372/.775 nearly matched the overall total. With the Sea Dogs using some veteran retread first basemen, it is not out of the question that Nick becomes another Salem alumnus to see Hadlock Field this year.

14. Roniel Raudes, RHP- Greenville {13} Another Drive member that was named a South Atlantic League All Star.  Raudes continues to post numbers better than his heralded fellow teenage teammate, Anderson Espinoza: 7-2/3.88/1.23/56-12.  His June ERA was over 5.00 however (as was Espinoza's), so it will be telling to see how strongly the teens can finish the campaign, before any innings limits may come into play.

15. Trey Ball, LHP- Salem{16}.  Ball seems to be the next Salem player who could go to Portland at any time.  In June Ball made five starts covering 25 innings: 3-2/2.52/1.56/14-14.  The factor most likely keeping Ball in Class A is that the walks in June matched the strikeouts.  Better command would likely push the former number seven overall draft pick to AA.

16. Travis Lakins, RHP- Salem  {12}. Lakins really struggled for most of June with an ERA of 7.17 and a WHIP of 2.02 in five starts.  Although for the year Lakins has 62 K's to 24 walks, the poor June has ballooned his overall ERA to 5.45.

17. Luis Alexander Basabe, OF- Greenville {14}  Ax's overall line for the year : 6/23/.217/.281.684 continues to be a disappointment (other than the home run number).  But in June he showed signs of life with a BA of .267 and a OBP of .329.  A strong last two months at Greenville in 2016 could put this Basabe twin back on the path to being a top ten Sox prospect.

18. CJ Chatham, SS- Unassigned {NR}. The Sox took this college shortstop from Florida Atlantic in the second round.  Chatham was expected to play for Lowell, but after reporting it was discovered Chatham had a hairline fracture in his thumb, which he had suffered in the last week of his college career, but had gone undetected.  Scouts are split on CJ's future chances of remaining at shortstop down the road.  But his bat is considered strong enough to play elsewhere if need be.  Chatham was considered the best college shortstop in the 2016 draft, although it was considered a weak college shortstop crop this year.

19. Yankory Pimental, RHP- Salem {18} Yankory has accumulated decent numbers at Salem for the year to date: 3-2/4.08/1.42/16-6 with a save.  With his fastball sitting in the mid 90's, Pimental is considered a bullpen prospect.

20. Chandler Shepherd, RHP- Pawtucket {22} Another prospect who was promoted during June.  The reliever was promoted from Portland to Pawtucket on June 20.  In 22 games for Portland ( 30 IP), his line was 1-1/1.80/0.80/39-10.  In his first seven innings for the Paw Sox, Shepherd continued to shine: 0-0/0.00/0.43/4-1 with another save.  As the Red Sox continue to look for bullpen depth, Shepherd could get a shot this year in Boston.

21. Kyle Martin, RHP- Pawtucket {21} Martin is another bullpen arm expected to be on Boston's radar, but he stumbled in June: 0-1/5.91/1.59/11-7 with a home run allowed.  But for the year Martin's ERA is 3.72 and he has four saves.

22. Deven Marrero, SS- Pawtucket {20}Despite a brief cameo appearance in Boston during June, while a parade of Paw Sox players came through Boston acting as the Bosox bench during a plague of injuries, Marrero's star continues to fade.  June was his best month at the plate hitting .273, but that still leaves his BA for the season at .214.

23. Luis Alejandro Basabe, 2B- Greenville {23} AJ continues to outshine his more heralded twin brother, and because of this he was named to the league All Star team, and his brother was not.  In June AJ hit a torrid: 0/9/.350/.466/.949 with six doubles and a triple.  This brought his YTD numbers to 3/21/.301/.406.847. One of the best statistical seasons in the Sox system to date.

24. Teddy Stankiewicz, RHP- Portland {19}.  The only player on the top 30 who has spent the entire season with the Sea Dogs. But Teddy, after a solid beginning to his AA career, really came off the rails in June: 1-3/8.44/2.17/16-11 in six starts.  This brings his ERA for the year to 4.99.  If Stankiewicz hopes to continue his one level per season rise through the Sox system, he will need a better July and August.

25. Tate Matheny, OF- Greenville {28}. The son of Cardinals manager Mike Matheny began his pro career in 2015 by hitting .181 at Lowell.  2016 has unveiled an entirely different player.  For the Drive, Tate has hit and hit: 4/32/.315/.359.817.  Matheny also has eleven doubles and four triples. With that type of production and his pedigree as a kid growing up in big league clubhouses, this 2015 fourth round draftee could blossom as a top prospect.

26. Austin Rei, C- Greenville {27}. Rei is another player improving over a poor Lowell debut.  The second round draftee hit only .179 at Lowell in 2015.  Rei is not nearly matching Matheny's improvement, but is hitting better: 2/20/.228/.346.656.  Rei has also been strong behind the dish.

27. Henry Ramos, OF- Pawtucket {29}.  Ramos who rejoined our rankings last month, was soon thereafter promoted to AAA.  Ramos after a pair of injury shortened seasons at Portland now has a chance to show he can be a big league player.  Since his promotion to Pawtucket, Ramos has been hitting, in 81 at bats, 2/17/.309/.318/.800.  Still only 24, Ramos may well have turned the corner.  Henry could be a lesser part of a Boston trade package at the deadline.

28. Yoan Aybar, OF- Lowell {30}.  Aybar is finally getting some game action as the Lowell season began in June.  In the first twelve Spinners' games Aybar began: 1/6/.2783/.327/.740, also with a double and a triple.

29. Jalen Beeks, LHP- Portland {NR}.  Beeks was promoted from Salem at the same time as Yoan Moncada (and fellow pitcher, Ben Taylor).  In his final three starts for Salem, Beeks had an ERA of 1.72. His AA debut was outstanding, with ten strikeouts.  Beeks joined the Sox system as a 12th round draft pick in the 2014 draft from a junior college.  Beeks will turn 23 in July.

30. Kyri Washington, OF- Greenville {NR}. Kyri who debuted on our list in May, only to slip off last month, sneaks back in at 30.  His year to date numbers: 11/50/.289/.323/.881.  The eleven home runs tie him for second in the entire system with Josh Ockimey (Paw Sox vet Chris Marrero has 12).  Kyri barely made the Drive roster out of spring training, but has capitalized on his chance.

A few other names who just missed the list:

* Bryce Brentz,OF- is getting a chance in Boston at least for now, has his first MLB home run.
* Aaron Wilkerson, RHP- Indy League refugee, who starred in AA, now at AAA, Boston beckons
* Luis Ysla, LHP- Sea Dog reliever
*Ty Buttrey, RHP- converted to pen in Portland, 96 mph heater may play better in pen.
*Jake Cosart, RHP another bullpen convert as of this past April

Christopher Acosta- the international free agent who signed at same time as Anderson Espinoza, was expected to make his stateside debut this year.  But he got into trouble during extended spring training and he bolted and went home to the Dominican.  Acosta was then asked to report to the Red Sox Dominican Academy.  He refused that and the Sox suspended him and placed him on the restricted list.  For the moment this places him off the Sox radar.

As mentioned at the top the deadline to sign draftees is July 15, so for next month's rankings we are likely to have more than one addition to our list.  Hopefully this will include Jason Groome placed well into the top ten.

1 comment:

  1. The Red Sox have started to dip into this talent pool, ever so slightly, with two trades this week. First they traded P Aaron Wilkerson, who is an older prospect at age 27 that spent some time in independent league baseball and 2B Wendell Rijo, who has been on this list in the past for Aaron Hill. Neither of these players probable amount to anything more than fringe major leaguers.

    Overnight, the Red Sox traded P Jose Almonte and 2B Luis Alejandro Basabe to Arizona for Brad Ziegler. Again neither of these prospects project to anything more than fringe major leaguers, in fact Luis Alejandro isn't even the highest rated prospect in his own family (see above).

    These are exactly the types of moves that the Red Sox need to be making to improve their team without giving up their top prospects. Trader Dave has also kept enough pieces in the cupboard to be able to swing 1-2 more trades for SPs. The question in my mind is can he swing a trade for a SP who could be a number 2/3 starter without giving up the top prospects?

    The Sox could go after guys like Jeremy Hellickson and Rich Hill and it would be an upgrade to their rotation and it would put them in a good position to make the postseason. Or they could after Gerrit Cole/Jose Fernandez types and have to give up on some top prospects. Just for example, if the Sox could get Cole for a package of Benintendi, Kopech, Dubon and Raudes I'd have to do that. But if the only way to get Cole or a pitcher like him would be to give up 3 of your top four prospects (Benintendi, Devers and Espinoza) then I'd rather go after guys like Hellickson and Hill.

    For the two relatively minor trades so far, I'd give Trader Dave an A, simply because he hasn't given up anything of significance and he's gotten two proven veteran players and filled two positions of need. However, his overall grade for the trade deadline remains to be seen based on what happens between now and the 31st. He's certainly not done making trades.