C – Roldani Baldwin – He’s no world-beater behind the plate, and is real good, not great defensively. The 22-year-old suffered an injury-filled 2018, but with a healthy 2019, could possibly see AAA Pawtucket by season’s end. The current hier apparent, Baldwin could serve as the backup to catcher Christian Vasquez upon his eventual/possible promotion to the majors.
1B – Garrett Benge – The 2017 – 13th rounder out of Oklahoma State raised his batting average over 100 points in 2018 after batting .230 in his pro debut. However, when looking at the first base landscape, placing him on this list is a mere formality. Boston’s log jam at third base could very well provide the organization with their next first baseman.
2B – Jarren Duran – Absolutely love this kid. A clear-cut favorite Sox prospect we followed in 2018, the Cal State Long Beach 7th-rounder is a supreme athlete and ranked second in the NYPL with 10 triples, despite playing in less than half of the league’s 76 games. Could be a fast mover with another season like his two-level pro debut.
3B – Bobby Dalbec – *See Garrett Benge above.” The 23-year-old Seattle native had a gargantuan 2018 blasting 32 home runs between HiA Salem and AA Portland. With Dominican phenom Rafael Devers cemented at third base for the forseeable future, Dalbec could be the one who eventually moves across the diamond to first. Could be sooner rather than later with Mitch Moreland and 2018 post season hero Steven Pearce each signed only through the 2019 season. Just a hunch.
SS – C.J. Chatham – As much as I enjoy the grey area we here sidle into occasionally, I made a loose pact to draw more concrete lines with our OAS this time around. Hence the selection of C.J. Chatham. However, my original choice for the Red Sox SS OAS was (then) 23 year old Santiago Espinal, who in 65 games for Hi-A Salem, batted .313 with 15 doubles, 7 home runs and 9 stolen bases. But was sent packing to Toronto in the late-June deal that brought the aforementioned Steven Pearce to Bean Town.
LF – Juan Carlos Abreu – With the Red Sox outfield fully locked down for at least the next two seasons (Benintendi, Betts and Bradley Jr.) this allows some OAS freedom in choosing all of the Red Sox UTR OAS outfielders. Sure, the Winter Springs HS draftee (2016) was a year older than current level, but still ranked second in the GCL in runs scored and hits, and with a near 1:1 BB:K ratio. However, he hit a wall upon his promotion to SS Lowell.
CF – Gilberto Jimenez – The wiry-thin Dominican’s 82 hits in his pro debut ranked third in the DSL in 2018. Signed for only $10K out of the Dominican Republic the previous August, Jimenez is a supreme athlete, transitioning from hitting purely right-handed to switch-hitting. He might just make a sweet “one to watch” prospect in leagues that house deep level minors. Anxious to see his performance in 2019.
RF – Marino Campana – In his first taste of full-season ball, the (then) 20 year old Campana ranked second in organizational home runs (16) – from HiA down – behind only top hitting prospect Bobby Dalbec. Moving forward, the Red Sox might just look the other way from his defense (.950 fielding percentage in 2018) if his bat continues to prove these kinds of results.
Top 5 Starting Pitchers – (Factor Score) / Highest Level Attained
1. RHP Denyi Reyes – (21.5)/ HiA Salem “Solid Stash”
** Avid readers understand that pitchers with control rise quickly within my system. This 22-year-old right-hander displayed precise control last season with 145 K’s and only 19 walks in 155.2 innings. Longtime UTR fans also know of Reyes from his debut here back in 2015 as a UTR-OAS from his DSL days, which earned him a place on my 2016 International Watch List. Unlike the hype over Bryan Mata and Roniel Raudes, Denyi Reyes could surpass them this coming season. The Red Sox took notice and protected Reyes by placing him on the 40-man roster.
2. RHP Kutter Crawford – (17) / HiA Salem
** A fringy-type prospect who had a breakout stint at LoA Greenville and earned a promotion to HiA Salem.
3. RHP Tanner Houck – (13.5) / HiA Salem
** Houck saw 10 starts at short-season Lowell (NYPL) after being drafted in the 1st round in June 2017. The Red Sox saw enough to aggressively advance the 6’5″ 220 lb righty to HiA Salem to start the 2018 season, where he held his own over 23 starts (4.24 ERA, 119 IP, 110 H, 111 K, 60 BB, 1.43 WHIP).
4. LHP Darwinzon Hernandez – (13)/ Double-A Portland “Solid Stash”
** I selected the 22-year-old Hernandez as my “One to Watch” to begin the 2018 season. The southpaw has always been on-the-cusp within my system since his second DSL stint in 2015. He just cracked into the Red Sox Top 30 prospect list in 2017 (#30) and rose into the Top Ten (#6) last season. The big-bodied lefty (6’2″ 245 lbs) was also added to the Red Sox 40-man roster for 2019.
5. LHP Jhonathan Diaz – (12) / HiA Salem “Legit UTR”** Diaz has been clawing his way back to the UTRMinors spotlight since debuting as a 2014 UTR-OAS from the Dominican Summer League. Missing the 2015 season with injury was a severe setback in his development. The now 22 year-old Diaz still has plenty of time to grow and it was pleasing to see him post a 3.00 ERA over 153 innings at LoA Greenville and earning a spot start at HiA Salem. Top 3 Relief Pitchers – (Factor Score) / Highest Level Attained
1. RHP Joan Martinez –(9) / HiA Salem
2. RHP Matthew Gorst – (7) / Triple-A Pawtucket
3. RHP Lukas Young – (6) / LoA Greenville