Even after the trade of Manuel Margot to the Padres, the Red Sox still feature three prospects with big fantasy potential – Yoan Moncada, Rafael Devers, and 2015 draftee Andrew Benintendi. Cuban import Rusney Castillo was an adventure last year, and I’d imagine dynasty leaguers are faced with a choice between selling low or holding this offseason. Jackie Bradley is another question mark, but showed flashes and is still just 25 years old entering 2016. At the very least, his plus defense should give him a long leash. Blake Swihart graduated, and has a fantasy-friendly profile behind the plate thanks to his offense. Eduardo Rodriguez and Henry Owens made their debuts as well, and should be solid options in the middle of the rotation. In short, there’s still plenty of upside on the major league club and a top-heavy farm ready to feed it over the next two or three years.
Tier 1: Specs On The Beach
Potential stars. Consensus T100 prospects with premium fantasy ceilings.
Yoan Moncada, 2B | Age: 20 | ETA: 2017 | 2015 Level: A
2015 Stats: 363 PA, .278/.380/.438, 8 HR, 49 SB, 12% BB, 23% K
Moncada is the whole offensive package wrapped up in a second baseman. He’s a potential fantasy monster with plus power and double-plus speed. The switch-hitter is built like a superhero at just 20 years old and while there are still going to be peaks and valleys along the way, he proved that he’s ready for some tougher competition in 2016. If your league’s rules didn’t allow for him to be acquired yet, he’s a no-brainer #1 overall in first-year player drafts and could arrive in the majors in early 2017.
Rafael Devers, 3B | Age: 19 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A
2015 Stats: 508 PA, .288/.329/.443, 11 HR, 3 SB, 5% BB, 17% K
Devers is another potential beast in this system, although he obviously doesn’t offer anything in the steals department the way Moncada does. Fantasy owners are going to want him to stick at third, where his plus hit and power from the left side will be a little more valuable, but the bat would play at first too if he moves across the diamond. Devers is still a little more than two years away, but he’s arguably the best third base bat left in the minors. It’s not hard to see him reaching 25+ homers regularly.
Andrew Benintendi, OF | Age: 21 | ETA: 2017 | 2015 Level: A(ss)/A
2015 Stats: 239 PA, .313/.416/.556, 11 HR, 10 SB, 15% BB, 10% K
The Red Sox drafted Benintendi in the first round of the 2015 draft (7th overall). He’s a college bat that should move relatively quickly and has the potential to fill roto cats with above-average power, plus speed, and an above-average hit tool that ties it all together. Short season ball wasn’t much of a challenge, and frankly the Sally wasn’t either. He hit .351 with four homers in 19 games. The plate discipline numbers are gorgeous. I ranked Beni 4th among the 2015 signees, but even if you’re not as high on him he shouldn’t last outside the top ten picks.
Tier 2: Floorboreds
Lacking the “star” upside. They might have some warts, but their ETAs are on the horizon.
Sam Travis, 1B | Age: 22 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: A+/AA
2015 Stats: 559 PA, .307/.381/.452, 9 HR, 19 SB, 11% BB, 14% K
Travis isn’t a well known prospect, but he can hit and hit for some power. The ceiling isn’t going to be more than 20 dingers, and that limits his upside as a first baseman in shallower leagues. But he has good plate discipline and could be an asset in deepish OBP formats. Travis got some reps in the AFL and should see Triple-A and maybe even a cup of coffee at some point this year.
Brian Johnson, LHP | Age: 25 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AAA
2015 Stats: 96 IP, 2.53 ERA, 3.0 BB/9, 8.4 K/9
Johnson is the type of profile that’s easy to get into for deep leagues because he’s relatively safe. There isn’t a huge ceiling, but Johnson has three above-average pitches in his fastball, changeup, and curve. More importantly, he commands them well. So while he may never be more than a BORP, it’s a safe bet he’ll carve out a role in a rotation. He’s major league ready, and depending on how the Red Sox decide to construct their 2016 rotation, we should see him in the majors this summer.
Sean Coyle, 2B | Age: 23 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: Rk/AAA
2015 Stats: 203 PA, .193/.294/.341, 6 HR, 5 SB, 12% BB, 33% K
Between Pedroia and Moncada, I’m not sure how Coyle fits outside of a utility role, but there’s some pop and speed here. The problem is that he doesn’t really have a great hit tool to make it all work, and that surfaced with a .159 average and lousy strikeout rate in 39 games at Triple-A Pawtucket.
Wendell Rijo, 2B | Age: 20 | ETA: 2017 | 2015 Level: A+
2015 Stats: 455 PA, .260/.324/.381, 6 HR, 15 SB, 7% BB, 21% K
Rijo offers a little bit of everything, and it’s encouraging that he played well as a 19-year-old in High-A. He’s probably just another utility type from this group, but at 20 there’s the chance he blossoms into something more, especially in the power department. His bat carries his value, which buys him more love on a fantasy list like this one.
Marco Hernandez, SS | Age: 23 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AA/AAA
2015 Stats: 484 PA, .305/.330/.454, 9 HR, 5 SB, 4% BB, 18% K
Hernandez popped nine homers between Double and Triple-A in 2015 after hitting just 14 in the previous three years combined. He’s young for AAA, and while it’s probably nothing more than a utility infielder profile, he’s worth keeping on the radar just in case the offensive output from last year wasn’t a fluke. I’d take him over Marrero, who’s more highly ranked but is mostly glove.
Bryce Brentz, OF | Age: 26 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AAA/MLB
2015 Stats: 250 PA, .232/.308/.382, 8 HR, 0 SB, 10% BB, 30% K
Brentz probably doesn’t fit into Boston’s outfield plans and he struggles to hit, but there’s just enough raw power to make him interesting for fantasy. He’s close enough to the majors that he could find some at bats this year if there’s an opening. It’s probably nothing, but I’ve seen weirder guys fall into some fantasy value in deep leagues.
Trey Ball, LHP | Age: 21 | ETA: 2017 | 2015 Level: A+
2015 Stats: 129.1 IP, 4.73 ERA, 4.2 BB/9, 5.4 K/9
Ball’s a lot more dicey than Johnson, but there’s still some upside here and I like buying up left-handed starters in deep formats. It’s my kryptonite. The scouting reports and projection on his stuff are better than the stats he’s actually posting in the minors, so you’re buying low and hoping it gels together in the next year or two. He’s probably not worth your time if you don’t have a deep farm, but he’s an interesting flyer if you do.
Tier 3: Long Shot Lolitas
Sexy ceilings, but these youngsters also come with risks and distant ETAs.
Michael Chavis, 3B | Age: 20 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A
2015 Stats: 471 PA, .223/.277/.405, 16 HR, 8 SB, 6% BB, 31% K
Chavis was a first round draft pick in 2014 and he’s a solid bat to pick up in dynasty leagues if you can let him cook. He has above-average tools across the board and should eventually play a valuable position at either second or third base. The real fantasy draw here is that the power comes with some speed to steal bases, which is hard to find at third. The tradeoff is the risk associated with his low average and high strikeout rate in the Sally.
Anderson Espinoza, RHP | Age: 17 | ETA: 2019 | 2015 Level: Rk/A
2015 Stats: 58.1 IP, 1.23 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 10.0 K/9
Espinoza has loads of potential, but he is just so far away you really can’t justify a roster spot for him unless your league is pretty deep. His bread and butter are the fastball and curve, both of which are plus pitches already. If it all comes together he could be a frontline starter, but you’ll have to be super patient and willing to hold through some rough patches as he advances. I don’t like investing in arms this young, but I can see why people would fall in love with this kid.
Michael Kopech, RHP | Age: 19 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A
2015 Stats: 65 IP, 2.63 ERA, 3.7 BB/9, 9.7 K/9
The Red Sox took Kopech 33rd overall in 2014, and he had a successful first season with Greenville. He’s got a nasty heater, but the whole package is more of a project. A lot of eyes on him mention a funky delivery, which could lead to command issues and in turn limit his overall ceiling.
Luis Alexander Basabe, OF | Age: 19 | ETA: 2019 | 2015 Level: A(ss)
2015 Stats: 256 PA, .243/.340/.401, 7 HR, 15 SB, 13% BB, 26% K
Basabe is a lottery ticket at 19, but he’s a solid profile with the power/speed combination we like in fantasy. The switch-hitter could develop even more pop as he matures. I dig the walk rate, but the strikeout rate and long ETA probably limit him to the deepest dynasty leagues right now. If you do pick him up, make sure you get the right one. His twin brother Luis Alejandro Basabe is in Boston’s system too. I’m not kidding.
Mauricio Dubon, 2B/SS | Age: 21 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A/A+
2015 Stats: 531 PA, .288/.349/.376, 5 HR, 30 SB, 7% BB, 14% K
Dubon is a pure hitter who makes a lot of contact and can run. He’s older than the other prospects in this tier, but has some upside as a middle infielder and would probably make a great utility guy in the majors since he can play three positions. There’s no pop though, and that limits his fantasy potential.