- C – Jordan Procyshen – 23 yo
- 2.59/.648 – PAG/APPA (HiA Salem)
- 2016 stats: .249/.302/.376; .677 OPS; 16 doubles, 4 home runs.
The 5’10” – 185 lb. lefty heads up a smattering of Red Sox catching choices this season. In spite of several select catchers offering their fair share of offensive highlights, Procyshen sits more in the prototypical catcher mold. He posted a .991 fielding percentage and caught 42% of would-be base stealers.
- 1B – Pedro Castellanos – 18 yo
- 3.45/.811 – PAG/APPA (DSL2)
- 2016 stats: .326/.394/.496; .890 OPS; 23 doubles, 20:25 BB:K,
In his debut season, the lanky Venezuelan led the entire Dominican Summer League in doubles, and ranked fourth in both RBi’s (47) and total bases (117). Castellanos 77 hits also ranked 2nd amongst all short season Red Sox prospects behind DSL2 teammate Yeison Coca. Now, I could have gone the safe route with LoA Greenville’s Josh Ockimey. The 2014 – 5th rounder out of Sts. Neumman and Goretti HS (Philadelphia) was among Red Sox prospect leaders in doubles, home runs and walks. However, Castellanos’ batting average mixed with his doubles total and above average defense (.985 Fld %) made him a perfect OAS choice. I suspect he’ll see a promotion to the GCL in 2017.
- 2B – Everlouis Lozada # – 17 yo
- 3.66/.785 – PAG/APPA (DSL2)
- 2016 stats: .298/.390/.391; .781 OPS; 12 doubles, 17 stolen bases, 35:56 BB:K
The Red Sox second base OAS race was much closer than one might believe. Three prospects stood out: Lozada, fellow DSL-mate Kervin Suarez and fourth year infielder Luis Alejandro Basabe. The 5’10” – 160 lb. Basabe was eliminated due to the mid-season trade to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Fellow Venezuelan Suarez fell short of most, if not all of Lozada’s offensive categories. Defensively he has work to do, but with high average, nice pop, good plate discipline a speed to spare, Lozada could secretly climb prospect boards if he successfully builds upon his debut season.
- 3B – Rafael Devers – 19 yo
- 3.25/.762 – PAG/APPA (HiA Salem)
- 2016 stats: .282/.335/.443; .779 OPS; 32 doubles, 11 home runs, 18 stolen bases.
Here’s another case where the gap between the have’s and have not’s is too large to ignore. The 6’0″ – 195 lb. Devers is a pure stud in the making, and it almost seems unfair that lefty-swinging Dominican sits in the same organization that just promoted superstar second baseman Yoan Moncada and outfielder Andrew Benintendi. Devers prospect ceiling is enormous and he will probably start 2017 with AA Portland; and could quite possibly sip of small cup of coffee at Fenway next September.
- SS – Yeison Coca – 17 yo
- 3.35/.730 – PAG/APPA (DSL2)
- 2016 stats: .308/.372/.408; .779 OPS; 9 triples, 12 stolen bases
The Red Sox OAS shortstop race posed the opposite situation that third base and Rafael Devers offered. Three kids stated quite a case including two top 15 prospects. C.J. Chatham, a 2016 – 2nd rounder out of Florida Atlantic University, who posted a combined 3.00/.719 PAG/APPA over two levels (GCL/SS Lowell), and fourth year pro Mauricio Dubon, who logged a combined 3.77/.852 PAG/APPA in a near even time split between HiA Salem and AA Portland. Now, this is in no way saying OAS choice Yeison Coca backed into being chosen as this years OAS shortstop. The rail thin Coca’s 80 hits led all short-season Red Sox and ranked 5th in the DSL. He struggled defensively with 19 errors, but his bat should continue to be the focal point of his ascension through the ranks.
- LF – Tyler Hill – 20 yo
- 3.75/.877 – PAG/APPA (SS Lowell)
- 2016 stats: .332/.400/.487; .887 OPS; 14 doubles, 4 home runs, 113 TB
Hill, a 2014 – 19th rounder out of the Delaware Military Academy (DE), entered 2016 after posting a combined 2.53/.657 PAG/APPA in the GCL, then four games for Short Season Lowell of the New York-Penn League in 2015. The 6’0″ – 195 lb. is considered an excellent athlete and has an overall strong set of tools. In 2016, he improved on all offensive fronts. He ranked first in the NYPL in total bases, while sitting within the league’s top 10 in runs (43), hits (77), triples (5), doubles, RBi’s (38) and batting.
- CF – Luis Alexander Basabe – 19 yo
- 3.41/.794 – combined PAG/APPA (LoA Greenville – 3.41/.794; HiA Salem – 3.80/.826)
- 2016 stats: .264/.328/.452; .780 OPS; 8 triples, 26 doubles, 25 stolen bases
Aside from uber outfield prospect Andrew Benintendi, the identical twin brother of former organizational mate/current Diamondback Luis Alejandro, L. Alexander Basabe provides quite a comprehensive set of tools. His batting average could use improvement and he needs to cut down on his strikeouts, but with another solid year – he’s yet to score less than a 3.37/.754 PAG/APPA in a season – the slender Venezuelan could position himself as the new top overall outfield prospect in the system in 2017.
- RF – Danny Mars – 22 yo
- 3.19/.758 – PAG/APPA (HiA Salem)
- 2016 stats: .293/.353/.401; .754 OPS; 10 triples, 31 stolen bases
Part of the fun of doing the UTR OAS lists is you get to analyze the depth (or lack thereof) in each organization. One statement Jim and I say to ourselves a lot is, “Boy, if only this kid was in a different organization.” Danny Mars fits that description. It’s crazy to think that despite trading away outfielder Manuel Margot to the San Diego Padres in mid -November 2015, the system still boasted extensive depth: Benintendi, Basabe, Henry Ramos, Nick Longhi, Yoan Aybar and Kyri Washington and Tyler Hill. But Mars possesses the tools – plus-plus speed, good pop and superior defense – to work his way through the pack. 2016 was his first in full-season ball and although he doubled his games played, he sustained offensive consistency while posting career highs in each peripheral stat. I believe Mars projects better as a center fielder and he could see a opening day promotion to HiA Salem.
PitchersThe turnover among Red Sox pitchers on my list has been high over the last three seasons, including 2016. My 2014 list had many arms that were somewhat long in the tooth, UTR speaking, with most being at 23 years of age at the end of that season. I mentioned how the Boston system was weak when Pat Light worked his way into my OAS list at the end of the 2014 season. Marc and I won’t refrain from adding top prospects along with those who are true under-the-radar OAS’s. As a 2012 1st rounder, Light should have been a no-brainer, but his Factor Score was the only criteria in making the OAS posting. His .162 TPS swayed me in predicting a possible bust; and he tried to disprove that by working his way into the bullpen, advancing through Triple-A, then onto Fenway in 2016. Red Sox fans know how that went and would agree with what I said after the 2014 season. The Red Sox parted ways with Light by shipping him to the Twins in August 2016. The 2015 UTR-OAS list looked much improved and a lot younger. Most pitchers were below the HiA level, with two spending all season in the DSL. Those DSL youngsters are now in the States, with Roniel Raudes making the 2016 list below and 19 year-old RHP Denyi Reyes getting limited innings in the GCL. There, Reyes was teammates with 2014 OAS and 20 year-old Jhonathan Diaz, who missed all of the 2015 season. Anderson Espinoza was to be a quick mover, but was traded to San Diego in late July. I only tagged one pitcher from last years’ list – Teddy Stankiewicz. I pegged him as a “solid stash,” and even though he drops off my radar being in Double-A, with a .128 TPS as a 22-year-old at that level, the “stash” tag still holds. Lastly, top prospect Michael Kopech‘s Factor Score didn’t allow him to be ranked because of the missed time with a broken hand. But his .052 TPS was best amongst all minor league Red Sox pitchers that were tracked this season. On the International side for the Red Sox, one pitcher from the DSL is listed below (Ritzi Mendoza), but there are three others worth watching. 19-year-old Yorvin Pantoja is a small framed (5′ 11′ 175 lbs) lefty that was quickly sent state-side after only three DSL starts. On the other end of the spectrum, 6’3″ 17-year-old Bryan Mata could be an intriguing arm within the system. He’s already throwing a low-to-mid 90’s fastball along with an advanced curve. RHP Jose Gonzalez (18 yo) went 8-0 with a 1.32 ERA in 68 innings (61 K / 16 BB) with the DSL Red Sox2. Top 5 Starting Pitchers – Factor Score/TPS 1. LHP Logan Boyd – 14.5/.114
- 22 years old (LoA Greenville)
- 19th round – 2015
- Boyd is a projectable lefty who saw his first full season at Greenville after working out of the bullpen in Short Season Lowell in 2015.
- 22 years old (LoA Greenville / HiA Salem)
- 13th round – 2015
- Another lefty that saw his first time in the rotation. After two starts at Greenville, Kent was promoted to HiA Salem and put up respectable numbers. Kent has good pitchability with three solid offerings and deception.
- 20 years old (DSL Red Sox)
- International Free Agent – 2013
- What a turnaround year for Mendoza. Even though he was seeing his 4th season in the DSL, he was getting another shot at consistently starting. He made 9 starts in 2014 (4.03 ERA 16 K/15 BB) and was moved into the bullpen for all of 2015. He had a very strong 2016 (7-0, 1.05 ERA, 68.1 IP, 39 H, 8 ER, 13 BB, 48 K in 14 starts) and was named the 2016 Latin Pitcher of the Year for the Red Sox.
- 20 years old (LoA Greenville/ Short-Season Lowell / LoA Greenville)
- International Free Agent – 2012
- Gonzalez made the UTR-OAS rankings in 2014, but fell off the radar in 2015 pitching in the bullpen at Lowell. He returned to the rotation at Greenville, but got off to a rough start and was sent back to Lowell to work things out. Gonzalez is a big kid (6’5″ 210 lbs) and once his stuff matches his frame, he could be very intriguing.
- 18 years old (LoA Greenville)
- International Free Agent – 2014
- 2016 “One to Watch”
- 2015 Organizational All-Star – #4 Factor Score
- Some readers were very happy that I listed Raudes on the 2105 UTR-OAS list, and were quick to stash him on their rosters. I brought the right-hander into the forefront by making him my Red Sox “One to Watch”. In that write-up, I stated that I was expecting Raudes to be assigned to the GCL Red Sox to begin the 2016 season. He was sent to LoA Greenville and showed his critics he belonged by posted very respectable numbers. He became a commodity to those in the deepest leagues when other sites began to tout him. So, our followers? You were way head of the curve. Could Ritzi Mendoza follow that same trajectory in 2017?
- 22 year old (LoA Greenville / HiA Salem)
- 3rd round – 2014
- Cosart’s low TPS was bolstered by his 104 strikeouts in 70.2 innings. He throws a 95-97 mph heater along with above-average curve.
- 23 year old (LoA Greenville / HiA Salem)
- 14th round – 2015
- Poyner led all Red Sox minor league relievers with 15 saves in 2016. His TPS is higher than I like coming out of the bullpen, but it spiked during his time at HiA Salem when he posted a 4.99 ERA, caused by a .298 batting average with runners on base.
- 22 years old – LoA Greenville)
- International Free Agent – 2015
- Diaz throws into the high 90’s and had a successful year in his first full season after only one season in the DSL. Look for Diaz to be a late bloomer at some point mid-to-late in the 2017 season, as he gains better control and improves his slider.