Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Red Sox All Star Prospectus 2017

Welcome to our 5th Annual Red Sox All-Star Prospectus. Voting for the Mid-Summer Classic ends on Thursday and this year for the first time the voting was completely done online. The purpose of this post is to project the American League All-Stars as well as looking at the potential for our beloved Sox to make the squad.

34 players will represent each league on July 11th in Miami for the 88th All-Star game. A reminder of the rules, each team must have a representative, the fans elect the starters and final player, player voting and manager Terry Francona will select the rest of the roster consisting of 21 position players and 13 pitchers.

Starters
C Salvador Perez, Kansas City
Perez is solidly in-line to start his 4th consecutive All-Star game. No complaints here as the Kansas City backstop is the best all-around catcher in the AL. As for the Sox duo of Sandy Leon and Christian Vazquez, while they have each put up solid seasons should not plan to travel to Miami for all-star purposes. Although an argument could be made if Leon and Vazquez were putting up their combined numbers as a single player.

1B Eric Hosmer, Kansas City
Hosmer looks to be set-up to start for the 2nd straight year, although Justin Smoak of the Blue Jays is breathing down his neck and Blue Jay fans have been known to vote early and often. While Hosmer is a fine player, this is probably a spot that will cost a more deserving candidate a roster spot as given his numbers Hosmer would most likely not make the roster otherwise. Our own Mitch Moreland for example could be bumped for Hosmer.

2B Jose Altuve, Houston
Altuve is on his way to a 3rd start in a row as the second-highest vote getter in the AL currently. This is for good reason, as Altuve despite his small stature is the best 2nd baseman in the AL if not all of baseball. Boston’s Dustin Pedroia is having a good season but not an all-star type of season.

3B Jose Ramirez, Cleveland
While Miguel Sano of the Twins currently leads the vote, Ramirez has been making a hard charge and we’ll project that the Indians 3rd baseman will overtake his counterpart from Minnesota. Either player would be a solid choice to start at the hot corner despite different games, Sano with mammoth power and Ramirez a do it all type of player. The Red Sox 3rd Base issues have been well-documented and therefore none of them are all-star worthy.

SS Carlos Correa, Houston
Correa appears to be well on his way to his 1st All-Star game with a sizeable lead of Francisco Lindor of the Indians. Correa is a great choice as one of the many young shortstops in baseball. The Astros SS is also putting up probably the best numbers at his position in the AL. Xander Bogaerts of the Red Sox is in contention to make the team however, he is not alone.
LF Mike Trout, Los Angeles
CF George Springer, Houston
RF Aaron Judge, New York
The Yankees Aaron Judge is currently the leading vote getter as he has put together a tremendous season. Trout is on his way to his 5th straight All-Star game start despite being on the DL since the end of May. Trout’s recovery from thumb surgery might lead to a replacement making the roster although Trout is reportedly hopeful of playing on July 11th. Springer, like many other Astros is having a great season. The Red Sox B Boys outfield on Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley, and Mookie Betts all have put together solid seasons however it is unlikely that any of them will be selected although Betts has the best chance.

DH Corey Dickerson, Tampa Bay
Like our 3rd Base selection, Dickerson is not currently the top vote getter at his position as Nelson Cruz of the Mariners leads. However, Dickerson like Jose Ramirez has gotten late support for a great 1st half and looks to have enough momentum to overtake Cruz. Hanley Ramirez of the Sox has put up decent numbers but not enough to warrant all-star consideration.

Backups
C Gary Sanchez, New York
Alex Avila, Detroit and Brian McCann, Houston
After Perez, Sanchez is the next best catcher in the AL. McCann is another option although the Astros having 3 starters hurt his chances while Avila as a part-time player for the Tigers has had a career resurgence in the 1st half and might be in-line to get selected as Detroit’s only selection.
1B Justin Smoak, Toronto and Jose Abreu, Chicago
Yonder Alonso, Oakland, Mitch Moreland, Boston, and Logan Morrison, Tampa Bay
Smoak might overtake Hosmer as the starter, if not he should still make his 1st all-star team. Abreu meanwhile will make his 2nd all-star team and first since 2014. Alonso has been outstanding for Oakland, which is most likely going to get a lone all-star and our choice will come later. Moreland and Morrison are both putting up fine season and would be worthy choices but are behind too many other candidates.
2B Jonathan Schoop, Baltimore and Starlin Castro, New York
Robinson Cano, Seattle, Brian Dozier, Minnesota, and Tim Beckham, Tampa Bay
Schoop is having a great year for an inconsistent Orioles squad and looks to be their lone representative. Castro is currently on the disabled list for the Yankees but looks to be back in time for the All-Star game. A name not on our list that is putting up a great season for as the Astros super utility man that should get serious consideration simply for his versatility is Marwin Gonzalez could be a possibility as an injury replacement for Castro. Cano, Dozier, and Beckham have all had good seasons but not quite good enough.
3B Miguel Sano, Minnesota and Ryon Healy, Oakland
Mike Moustakas, Kansas City, Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay, and Manny Machado, Baltimore
Sano might end up swapping spot with Jose Ramirez and Healy is our lone Oakland pick, both are putting up fine seasons. Moustakas is putting up great power numbers for a surging Royals team. While Longoria and Machado put themselves in contention based primarily on name alone.
SS Francisco Lindor, Cleveland and Elvis Andrus, Texas
Xander Bogaerts, Boston, Didi Gregorius, New York, and Andrelton Simmons, Los Angeles
Lindor like Correa is having a great season and is one of the fine young shortstops in the game. Andrus is having a career year and should be rewarded, possibly as Texas’ lone rep. That leaves Bogaerts and Gregorius on the outside looking in despite having solid seasons. Simmons is not quite at the level of the other names but is having a good year with the bat to go along with his outstanding defense.
OF Avisail Garcia, Chicago and Justin Upton, Detroit
Trey Mancini, Baltimore, Brett Gardner, New York, Michael Brantley, Cleveland, Ben Gamel, Seattle, Cameron Maybin, Los Angeles, Lorenzo Cain, Kansas City, and Mookie Betts, Boston
Garcia is finally having the type of season he has long been projected to have and Upton makes the team as the single Tigers player. Mancini and Gamel are 2 young players having good 1st halves. Gardner and Maybin are also having nice starts to 2017. Brantley has rebounded from injury to put up solid numbers, while Cain and Betts have produced fine seasons although not at their 2016 levels.
DH Nelson Cruz, Seattle
Albert Pujols, Los Angeles
Cruz makes our team as Seattle’s only representative and Pujols is mentioned for his career achievements.

Pitchers
Chris Sale, Boston, Craig Kimbrel, Boston, Roberto Osuna, Toronto, Dellin Betances, New York, Alex Colome, Tampa Bay, Jason Vargas, Kansas City, Corey Kluber, Cleveland, Andrew Miller, Cleveland, Ervin Santana, Minnesota, Brandon Kintzler, Minnesota, Yu Darvish, Texas, Dallas Keuchel, Houston, Lance McCullers, Houston
Marcus Stroman, Toronto, Luis Severino, New York, Chris Archer, Tampa Bay, Michael Fulmer, Detroit, Bud Norris, Los Angeles, Will Harris, Houston, and Chris Devenski, Houston
Pitchers are always a crap shoot based on who is available, the sheer number of pitchers, and whether you want more power armed relievers or starters. Sale and Kimbrel have arguably been the 2 best pitchers in the American League so far. For power armed relievers our roster gives us Betances, Colome, Miller, and Kintzler along with Kimbrel. Vargas has been outstanding for the Royals. Tito takes his guy in Kluber. Santana has been very good for the Twins. Darvish has been solid in his return from injury, while Keuchel and McCullers have been the leaders of the Astros staff. The Houston relievers Harris and Devenski could be solid choices if Francona wants more power arms and Fulmer nearly got our nod as the Tigers lone choice.

So there you have it the RSM 2017 All-Star Prospectus! Enjoy the game on July 11th.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Red Sox Draft Preview

After selecting Andrew Benintendi at number seven and Jay Groome at twelve in the past two drafts, coming off a 2016 AL East title, the Red Sox will pick at number twenty four this year.  The 2017 draft commences on Monday night.  While it is much more difficult to project who Boston will pick with a slot that is much nearer the end of the first round, there are a core of names that have been linked to Boston in various mock drafts.  In addition, there also names of players who are considered to be in the 18-28 range that could be there for the Sox to take.  Here are thirteen names to watch for as Boston waits to make its pick at 24.

Maybe around at 24, but unlikely:

Evan White, 1B-OF  Univ. of Kentucky
Jake Burger, 3B         Missouri State
Logan Warmoth, SS  UNC

Any of these three could pique Boston's interest as solid college bats, and there has been speculated interest in all by Boston.  But in the dozens of mock drafts I have seen none of these three make it to 24. White, a college first baseman considering athletic enough to play centerfield, especially seems to be rising in the mocks. Burger is considered one of the better power hitters in the draft, and Warmoth a good hitting shortstop.

The high school kids:

Bubba Thompson, OF Mobile, Alabama
Nick Allen, SS San Diego
Heliot Ramos, Puerto Rico

Any or all of these players are likely to be there at 24, although none is a lock.  Thompson, who in the most recent Sporting News mock was Boston's pick, is an athletic outfielder committed to Alabama to play baseball.  Of the three, Thompson is the one most often projected to be gone by 24.  Nick Allen is considered the best defensive shortstop in the draft.  His drawback, if it is one, is his size. Allen is listed at 5'8" 160. As with most prospects his size, Allen draws Dustin Pedroia comps.  The team that is linked to Allen the most besides Boston is the Cubs, who pick after the Sox.  Ramos has been mocked in the 30-45 range.  But Jim Callis of MLB.com is reporting this weekend, Ramos is rocketing up the charts.  Ramos, is the younger brother of former Portland Sea Dog, Henry Ramos.

College Arms

Griffin Canning, RHP   UCLA
Nate Pearson, RHP       Central Florida Junior College
Tanner Houck, RHP      Missouri
Alex Lange, RHP          LSU
David Peterson, LHP    Oregon

There is contention within the game, that Boston is looking for a college player either pitcher or bat, to more quickly replenish the Dave Dombrowski depleted system.  Especially since Boston went with high schooler, Jay Groome in 2016's first round.  This may be true or complete hogwash, but if it is true, do not be surprised if one of these five is the pick (assuming the three college bats mentioned above are gone). The four right handed pitchers have all been projected to Boston in various mocks, most often Houck and Pearson.  But the mock drafts have ranged from Canning at 10 to Lange at 35, just recently.

Canning has a new possible red flag with reports of some questionable medicals on his pitching arm. This could make him more likely to drop to 24, but would Boston also pass? Pearson is a big hard thrower who had not been considered a first rounder earlier this year.  But as his stock continues to rise, the latest rumor says Pearson has a pre-draft deal with a team between 21-26. Boston?
Houck, entered the college baseball season considered a late top ten pick. But an up and down season, followed by an unimpressive SEC tourney, likely leaves Houck available into 24 territory.  But he is also mocked often to the Orioles or Jays at 21 and 22.  Lange is another SEC star who should be picked in the 20-35 range. Of the four righties, I think Lange would be the pick only if the others were off the board.

Peterson was mocked to Boston by Baseball America this weekend.  This was a surprise, because even though Peterson was expected to be around at 24 when the college baseball season began, a strong campaign pushed Peterson anywhere from a late top ten to Baltimore at 20 in every mock drafts for weeks.  Common landing spots for Peterson in the mocks was 15 to Houston, and Yankees at 16.  Peterson is 6'6" 240, but is not a hard thrower.  One of his comps is Brian Johnson, a lefty strike thrower.  Peterson, who had a twenty K game this year versus Arizona State, was drafted by the Red Sox out of high school before he opted to go to Oregon.  I am sure the Sox would like another shot.

If This Pair is There, Would the Sox Dare?

Keston Hiura, 2B-  UC-Irvine
Seth Romero, LHP None (Univ. of Houston)

If not for each player's issues, both are considered by most (but not all) observers as sure top ten selections.  The reason Boston may choose to deal with the issues would be the value of taking a top ten pick at 24.  This would be similar to grabbing Jay Groome at 12, when his "maturity" issues pushed him down from the top three.

Hiura is widely considered to be the best pure hitter in the entire draft. But Hiura has two issues pushing him down the draft.  The first is lack of a true position leaving teams to wonder where he'd fit defensively.  Most believe left field rather than his college position of second base. But the real issue is his right arm, never a strong arm to begin with.  Hiura has played at DH for the entire college season because of an elbow injury.  It is widely believed Hiura will need Tommy John surgery, perhaps right away. So would Boston draft the best hitter in the draft knowing he may need to sit out until the beginning of 2019 season, or start playing and need TJ surgery down the road?  Now even with the injury, in many mock drafts, Hiura does not get to 24, because his bat is just that good. Houston at 15 and the Mets at 20 are other reported landing spots. But Jim Callis of MLB.com for one has consistently linked Hiura to Boston.

Romero, has his own set of issues, illustrated by his team listing above.  Romero was the star pitcher for the University of Houston, but ran into more than one disciplinary situation with this coach. Late in the campaign, Romero got into a fight with a teammate and was thrown of the team for good. Again a top ten talent, who many scouts feel could help a big league bullpen this year, could be there at 24 for Boston's plucking. The Red Sox would have to do thorough investigations to be sure Romero could be depended to behave himself as a pro. The question asked in the industry is does Romero have "maturity" issues or something more?  Keith Law of ESPN, for one, when asked this question in one of his chats, thought it was more than maturity issues.  Law, in fact, also stated he did not feel Romero stuff was all that good, either.  I think Law would be in the minority as far as the stuff assessment, but the plus pitching ability would be the only reason to take Romero.

Here is my best guess for who the Sox want and can get at 24 in order of preference (again I am going to assume White, Burger, and Warmoth are gone...if not it is one of them):

1. David Peterson
2. Keston Hiura
3. Nick Allen
4. Nate Pearson
5. Griffin Canning
6. Tanner Houck
7. Bubba Thompson
8. Seth Romero
9. Alex Lange
10. Heliot Ramos

If you want to hold me to a one player guess I will go with Keston Hiura.









Saturday, June 3, 2017

RSM Top 30 Red Sox Prospects- June 2017

Another month has passed and another ranking of the Red Sox system is here.  Three members of the organization have spent sufficient time in the big leagues this season to graduate from our consideration.  Two from last month's top 15: Marco Hernandez and Robby Scott, and one player not ranked recently, but whom had spent many months in our rankings over the past few years: Deven Marrero. Besides those three players exiting the list, there also are several players making fairly significant moves up or down the list.

The June rankings are also the last before another draft rolls around, in just over a week.  In addition, the international signing period begins July 2, and the Sox are expected to sign at least two of the top twenty prospects in that pool.

As always, the team listed after the player's name is their team as of May 31. The number in { } is the May ranking.  The slash line for hitters is HR/RBI/BA/OBP/OPS and the slash line for the hurlers is
W-L/ERA/K-BB/WHIP.

Here are the best prospects in the Red Sox system as of June 1st:

1. Rafael Devers, 3B- Portland {1}. Devers began the month of May with a five for five game including two homers and four RBI on May 2nd.  It was the fourth multi home run game as a pro for Devers and his third five hit game.  But later in the month around the 20th-26th, Devers suffered through his first AA slump going 2 for 23 in a six game span. As May closed and June commenced, Devers picked the pace up again. Throughout this mini slump the clamor for Devers to be promoted to Pawtucket or Boston abated.  But, if Rafael shows the ability to adjust and overcome the slow stretch, which he seemingly is doing, a promotion to AAA is probably not to far down the road.  Devers and his line of 8/30/.291/.356/.856 with ten doubles and a triple through May may not stay in Portland by the end of June.

2. Jay Groome, LHP-XST {2}. Last year's first round draftee still has not appeared in an actual game since suffering a lat injury in his first 2017 game at Greenville in early April. But Groome did throw two innings in Florida in an extended spring training intra squad game on May 30.  Everything went well, and Groome reported he felt fine after the outing. Groome is targeted to return to the mound for either Greenville or perhaps a pit stop first in Lowell by mid-June.

3. Sam Travis, 1B-Boston {3}.  After hitting 4/14/.286/.353/.805 with nine doubles for the Paw Sox, Travis was called to Boston and made his MLB debut.  Travis was particularly hot in his last twenty games at AAA hitting three home runs, nine RBI and an average of .338. This included his first five hit game as a pro on May 6.  Travis has continued to show a proclivity to hit in his early big league at bats. Sam smacked seven hits in his first fourteen at bats, including a pair of doubles. A start like that would seemingly earn a rookie regular playing time. But incumbent first sacker Mitch Moreland and DH Hanley Ramirez both have a half dozen home runs, while hitting .276 and .256 respectively.  Boston still has some roster issues to shake out and Sam Travis may be right in the middle of those decisions.

4. Josh Ockimey, 1B- Salem {5}. Ockimey followed up a strong April with nearly an identical May:
4/25/.305/.424/.908 with five doubles.  Josh leads the entire Sox system with 47 RBI, is third in hits with 54, and is tied for fourth in home runs with seven. On May 3rd, Ockimey enjoyed a personal thrill when he clubbed a long three run home run while playing in Wilmington, Delaware.  This game was played in close proximity to his home of Philadelphia.

5. Michael Chavis, 3B- Salem {9}. The 2014 first round pick continued to ravage the Carolina League.  Chavis leads the circuit in batting average (.357), OBP (.435), slugging average (.695) and home runs (12). He leads all of minor league baseball in slugging and OPS.  His twelve home runs also leads the Sox system, four more home runs than the runner ups, Rafael Devers and Bryce Brentz. For the week of May 22-28, Chavis was named the Carolina League Player of the Week for the second time in the young season.  The only glitch in his otherwise red hot season is that he has DH'd a lot and needs for more consistent time in the field at third base. If Chavis can show consistent play in the field, he likely would be in line for a promotion to Portland to replace Devers whenever he moves up.

6. Bobby Dalbec, 3B- Greenville {4} Dalbec was off on to a decent start at Greenville, marred only be a worrisomely high strikeout rate (which reached as high as 37% in early May).  But on May 15, Dalbec was placed on the disabled list with an  wrist inflammation of some type. His line at the time was: 2/12/0264/.358/.716.  But after a couple of weeks on the DL the swelling did not go down. Further testing showed a hamate bone fracture.  Dalbec had late May surgery and is expected to be out until mid to late July.

7. Brian Johnson, LHP- Pawtucket {11}.  Now this is what throwing a complete game shutout at the major league level does for your ranking.  On May 27, Johnson blanked Seattle on five hits in his third big league start. Most impressively Johnson threw 109 pitches, 85 of which were strikes: 78%. But this is not the only reason for Johnson climbing back up the rankings.  His entire season at AAA has been exceptional: 2-0/2.82/37-17/1.34 in seven starts ( Johnson is also 2-0 with an ERA of 2.57 in two starts for Boston). In none of his AAA starts has Johnson allowed over three earned runs. Before Johnson had an arm injury in 2015 (right as he was making his MLB debut) and took a sabbatical in 2016 for anxiety issues, his reputation was a solid starter who pounded the strike zone at a very high rate, despite not having overpowering stuff. In other words, a pitching style exactly like Johnson exhibited versus the Mariners. Johnson was returned to AAA after his shutout, but he is the "sixth starter" for Boston going forward.

8. Travis Lakins, RHP- Portland {10}. Lakins dominated in his second season at Salem. His line versus the Carolina League in 2017 was 5-0/2061/43-13/1.18.  In mid May Lakins was promoted to Portland, after taking a no hitter into the sixth inning in his last Salem start on May 9th.  Lakins made his AA debut on May 18, and it not go well going only 1.2 innings and allowing five runs on five hits. His second start for the Sea Dogs also was a struggle, but start number three was much improved. The early Portland experience can be chalked up to the adjustments needed to be made after a promotion. Class AA especially is considered the biggest step up the ladder. Lakins' results for the Dogs for the rest of 2017 will be interesting to follow.

9. Shaun Anderson, RHP- Salem {7}. Another pitcher promoted during May, Anderson moved up from the Greenville Drive to Salem to replace Travis Lakins.  Before the May 16th promotion Anderson had made seven starts for the Drive: 3-0/2.56/37-11/1.06.  Anderson's step up also had a slow beginning.  His first three Salem starts: 0-1/5.29/5-5/2.14.  Another example of the climb to the big leagues being a process, a step by step process in most cases.

10. Mike Shawaryn, RHP- Greenville {16}.  Another 2016 draftee joining our top ten, along with Groome, Dalbec, and Anderson. Shawaryn should be another Sox right handed starting pitcher to be promoted any day now. Shawaryn has been more and more dominant at Greenville.  On May 6th he established a franchise record with twelve strikeouts.  In that game Shawaryn only walked one hitter, and that is his outstanding stat through May.  Shawaryn had 78 strikeouts with only 13 walks, a ratio of 6 to 1. In addition the 78 K's lead the entire Red Sox minor league system, twenty more than the anyone else ( Jaleen Beeks and Henry Owens have 58 each).

11. Nick Longhi, 1B-Portland {12}.  After a shaky April where Longhi compiled a paltry batting line of 2/4/.182/.194/.482 with just one double, Longhi sprang to life in May. Longhi hit well for the entirety of May: 1/14/.290/.353/.729 with five doubles. As the Maine weather warms up ( it will get warmer with less rain, right???) the question is can Longhi hit more home runs?  This is one thing he needs to add to his resume.

12. Roniel Raudes, RHP- Salem {8}. The teenager from Nicaragua slips down our list four spots. This decline is a combination of his own season: 1-2/4.93/38-15/1.50 in nine starts and being passed by the stronger showings of Johnson, Lakins, and Shawaryn. The strong K to walk ratio shows Raudes still has the makings of a promising pitcher.  Also not to be forgotten is Raudes will not turn 20 until next January, and even if he spent all of this year and part of next at Salem he would reach the Eastern League at a very tender age.  On May 28 Raudes went onto the DL.

13. Ben Taylor, RHP- Pawtucket {14}. Taylor has continued to be one of the relievers who have ridden the Boston-Pawtucket shuttle.  Taylor has gotten into eleven games for Boston, the numbers are not great: 0-1/6.59/14-9/1.90 with one save.  In late May Taylor went onto the DL at Pawtucket.

14. CJ Chatham, SS-XST {15}. Chatham had injured a hamstring late in spring training and rehabbed in Florida until finally making his Greenville debut on May 24.  The good news is CJ went one for three and drove in two runs.  The bad news is Chatham re-injured the same hamstring and went back on the DL after the one game.

15. Bryan Mata, RHP- Greenville {25}. For those lamenting the loss of Anderson Espinoza, please meet Bryan Mata. The Venezuelan righty impressed in his pro debut in 2016 for the Red Sox team in Dominican Summer League. Mata had been in extended spring training awaiting a June assignment to either the Gulf Coast Sox or Lowell. But Mata was so impressive in the Florida camp, that just days after his 18th birthday on May 3, he was sent to the Drive in the South Atlantic League.  Mata's first two starts totaling nine innings lead to this line: 1-0/2.00/10-4/1.22.  The Sox will limit his innings, as they have with other 18 year old pitchers at Greenville.

16. Jaleen Beeks, LHP- Portland {18} This lefty product of the University of Arkansas continues to outperform his expected levels.  Beeks entered the system in 2014 as a 12th round draft pick.  Two years later Beeks reached Hadlock Field.  His 2016 Portland numbers were only 5-4 with an ERA of 4.68 in thirteen starts.  However through May this year's line is:5-1/2.19/58-22/1.16 in nine starts. Beeks also compiled a 25 inning scoreless streak. Beeks could well be in line for a promotion to Pawtucket by late June to early July.

17. Jamie Callahan, RHP- Pawtucket {17}. Another pitcher promoted since our last rankings.  This time a relief pitcher, who had shone at AA. The outstanding number for Callahan for the Sea Dogs was twenty K's and no walks.  Callahan also had four wins and two saves at AA.  Callahan has also had a bit of an adjustment since reaching Rhode Island: 0-0/5.40/8-5/1.05 with a save.

18. Darwinzon Hernandez, LHP- Greenville {24} This lefty continued performing in May as he had in April. His YTD line: 2-1/2.72/51-22/1.18 in nine starts in his South Atlantic League debut. Darwinzon went on the DL on May 24.

19. Stephen Nogosek, RHP- Greenville {27}.  Nogosek, another 2016 draftee, has racked up ten saves with an ERA of 2.30 for the season.  He also has 37 K's in 27.1 innings pitched.  A promotion to Salem is expected to be imminent.

20. Aneury Tavarez, OF- Pawtucket {21}. After a red hot start in Portland, hitting .377 with an OBP of .473, Tavarez was promoted to Pawtucket where after hitting a pair of doubles in his first two games, he has been dogged by injury.  Tavarez was activated from his first DL stint on May 19, but five days later went back on the DL with recurrent right hand tendonitis.

21. Kyle Martin, RHP- Pawtucket {29}.  Martin showed a resurgence with a strong May.   In May appearances, Martin's line was 0-1/0.79/10-2/0.88. A continuance of that effort could place Martin on the Pawtucket-Boston bullpen shuttle.

22. Austin Maddox, RHP-Pawtucket {33} Another relief specialist with a strong May, which included a promotion to AAA. 1-0/1.17/7-5/1.17 for the Paw Sox.

23. Chandler Shepherd, RHP- Pawtucket {23}. Shepherd has maintained his spot in the bullpen prospects pecking order. His ERA for the year is 4.91 with 27 K's to ten walks.  With so many pitchers of similar resumes, this leads to another story line to follow in June.  As mentioned at the top the Sox expect to be active in signing international players beginning July 2.  There is now a cap of money allowed to be spent on this.  But teams can traded some of their money ( or slots) for players.  Boston was banned from signing anyone last year, as a penalty for the overpaying of some players by paying for groups of players through a single agent. So it is expected Boston will go big this year and that may entail needing to trade for other teams slots.  Coincidentally, Boston is expected to have a huge forty man roster crunch next winter.  To solve both issues, Boston could trade one or several of the players needing to be on the 40 man roster next winter. These players include:

Noe Ramirez
Kyle Martin
Luis Ysla
Ben Taylor

These four are all ready on the 40 man but could come off to create room for:

Jalen Beeks
Jamie Callahan
Ty Buttrey
Austin Maddox
Jake Cosart
Chandler Shepherd
Williams Jerez
Teddy Stankiewicz
Trey Ball
Darwinzon Hernandez

Do not be surprised if a few of these pitchers, nearly all who appear on our rankings are dealt.

24. Jake Cosart, RHP- Portland {19}. Cosart continues to struggle with command still with more walks (24) on the year than strikeouts (18).

25. Tate Matheny, OF- Salem {22}. The line off hitter for the Salem Red Sox struggled in May at the plate: 0/8/.200/.294.557, with four doubles and a triple. Matheny did steal eight bags in nine tries.

26. Ty Buttrey, RHP- Portland {40}/ Ty has rocketed back into prospect consideration after his full time conversion to the bullpen in Portland.  1-2/3.28/37-10/1.30 with two saves in fifteen games. Buttrey is striking out around 40% of the batters he has faced as opposed to 14% in 2016.

27. Lorenzo Cedrola, OF- Greenville {30}. This speedster continues to produce at the plate for the Drive as well: 2/20/.299/.335/.762 with nine doubles and three triples. In May Cedrola hit .322.

28. Tyler Hill , OF- Greenville [37}. A newcomer to our top 30.  Hill was drafted in the 19th round of the 2014 draft from his high school in Wilmington, Delaware.  Hill has played since in the Gulf Coast League and Lowell until 2017. Hill hit especially well in May: 1/18/.301/.398/.828.  Hill also for the year has stolen 18 bases in 22 attempts.  No one else in the system has more than a dozen thefts.

29. Josh Tobias, 2B- Portland [38}.  The player Boston received from the Phillies for Clay Buchholz also enters our top 30. Tobias, not considered a top prospect at the time of the trade, has nevertheless hit well in his Red Sox system debut.  After beginning 2017 by hitting .345 in 87 at bats for Salem, Tobias was promoted to Portland on May 1st.  Tobias has hit a solid .276 for the Sea Dogs. At only 24 years old, Tobias still has ample time to carve out a big league career.

30. Trey Ball, LHP- Portland {20}. Finally reaching AA in 2017, the Eastern League was considered a test for the first round draftee from 2013.  After compiling a career 4.45 ERA in his minor league sojourn, Ball needed to show improvement.  He has not to this point.  Ball has had a tendency to have one or two bad innings derail what seems to be a good start. The total of his seasonal numbers are bleak: 1-5/5.77/41-19/1.59 in eight starts.  Ball will turn 23 on June 27, the time for Boston to give up on Ball is not near.  But as mentioned above Ball would need to go on the 40 man roster this winter and without a major turn around for the Sea Dogs, that is unlikely to happen.

We will finish as usual with another dozen names knocking on the door of the top 30:

Teddy Stankiewicz
Tzu-Wei Lin
Gerson Bautista
Trenton Kemp
Luis Ysla
Danny Mars
Kyri Washington
Austin Rei
Austin Glorius
Yoan Aybar
Yankory Pimental
Christopher Acosta

We will back a month from now post-draft for another set of rankings.