Ralph, on the Red Sox? This is sure to be the most homer post ever, or most homah post eva round my way. Now that I’ve gotten my obligatory Boston accent joke out of the way, and played into all your stereotypes. Which aren’t really stereotypes, as much as they’re totally spot on truth bombs….(but don’t tell the others I said that). Moving on, if I may. Let’s get into the
gloating glowing review of the Top Boston Red Sox Prospects for Fantasy Baseball. (SEO hi-5) This is a system that’s churned out a host of fantasy stars in recent years. Just in the last three seasons alone, players like Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, and Jackie Bradley Jr. have matriculated. With another crop of players on the come up, names like Moncada, Benintendi, and Devers have become synonymous with top prospect status. The exciting part about covering the Boston system, is the prospects are deep and diverse in terms of skills sets. It helps that outside a few high end arms in Kopech and Groome, it’s mostly hitting prospects. Personal bias aside, it’s a good system and one with several players worth your attention.
**Updated December 6th 2016 Post-Sale Trade**
Tier 1: Specs On The Beach
Potential stars. Consensus T100 prospects with premium fantasy ceilings.
Andrew Benintendi, OF | Age: 22 | ETA: 2017 | 2016 Level MLB/AA/A+
I like to consider myself the foremost voice in the Benintendi movement. I was higher on Benny Baseball than just about anybody coming out of the 2015 draft, and I ranked him higher than most other perts throughout the 2016 season. All he did was rake across three levels, and look like the only Boston bat to show up in the playoffs. Why do I feel this way you ask? What is it about Benintendi’s skillset I love so much? The swing… Have you seen his swing? It’s like Marilyn Monroe in her prime. It’s like Nas on Illmatic, it’s like Michael Jackson dancing. No word of a lie, I’ve had three epiphanies while watching Benintendi swing a bat. In all seriousness, he has the swing of a future batting title champ, which is by all means a very likely outcome. In additon to the hit tool, he possesses 20 homer power right now with the ability to hit more in his peak years. His greatest asset might be his extremely advanced approach, which he couples with plus speed to contribute in OBP, runs, and steals. There’s very little risk in the profile. Benintendi has all the tools to be top 100 fantasy hitter this year. In fact, I expect him to be top 100 overall. Hey if you don’t believe here’s Grey’s post from a few weeks back.
Rafael Devers, 3B | Age: 19 | ETA: 2018 | 2016 Level: A+
After an aggressive assignment in his age 19 season Devers struggled for the first two months. Then something clicked around June 1st, call it adjustments, call it growing pains, whatever, but from then on Devers slashed .332/.372/.522 with 8 homers. He’s never going to be an on base machine, but his excellent bat to ball skill and plus power make him one of the better middle of the order prospects in all of baseball. Made significant improvements at the hot corner this season, which leads many to believe he can stick at 3rd long term.
Jason Groome, LHP | Age: 18 | ETA: 2020 | 2016 Level: A-/RK
A year ago at this time, many felt Groome was the best player in the 2016 draft. The prep lefty with the big breaking ball and mid-90’s heater had scouts drooling. However, off the field issues, a strange ruling regarding his eligibility by the NJIAA, and sign-ability concerns saw Groome drop to the Red Sox at 12. Potentially a major coup for a system starving for some homegrown pitching. As for the scouting report, his delivery is repeatable and clean, and at 6’6 220 he already has the size of a future innings eater. He should start the season at Class A Greenville of the Sally League. With Groome the sky’s the limit, as long as he keeps his nose out of trouble.
Tier 2: Floorboreds
Lacking the “star” upside. They might have some warts, but their ETAs are on the horizon.
Sam Travis, 1B | Age: 23 | ETA: 2017 | 2016 Level: AAA
I wrote a gushing prospect love letter to Sam Travis back in April, and not a lot has changed since. Mostly because he blew his knee out and missed the remainder of the season. As long as his recovery continues to progress and he reports no setbacks, he should see some at-bats in Boston this season. Never going to be a major league star, but he could be an above average major league first baseman.
Michael Chavis, 3B | Age: 21 | ETA: 2018 | 2016 Level: A+
Chavis has to be the most slept on prospect in the Red Sox system. A bat first corner infielder with a plus raw power he’s really yet to tap into. There’s hit tool concerns, and a lot of swing and miss to his game, but he’s got power. Power is sexy.
I have no idea what to make of Dubon. The first half of 2016, he was the slap hitting speedster on the talented Salem Sox roster. Upon promotion to AA Portland, he continued to hit, but started to hit for power and run less. He’s continued to show his Portland persona with the Suprise Saguaros of the Arizona Fall League, connecting for 3 homers in 13 games. All in all Dubon’s tools rate average across the board. He’s a solid defender that should stick in the middle of the infield, and he’s got enough offensive ability to win an everyday job as a major league shortstop. Whether he has the ability to be a fantasy asset outside of 16+ team dynasty leagues remains to be seen.
Travis Lakins, RHP | Age: 22 | ETA: 2018 | 2016 Level: A+
After struggling with inconsistency during his time at Ohio State, Lakins simplified his repertoire focusing on his plus fastball (he had 3 in college) that sits 92-96 with sink and run. He also eliminated his curveball, focusing instead on throwing a low-80’s slider with tilt, and his best offspeed pitch his plus changeup. He’s a small righty, so you know he’s on my wheelhouse. Looks like a back of the rotation starter with a little upside.
Josh Ockimey, 1B | Age: 21 | ETA: 2019 | 2016 Level: A-
The first half of Ockimey’s 2016 was like early Snoop Dogg, you were like damn this kid’s really something. He slashed .315/.456/.568 with 9 homers from April to June, and looked like a real breakout. Then the summer doldrums came, and the bottom fell out (think Snoop Lion). While he still hit for power, his overall second half numbers were awful (.179/.311/.335). That was a product of the shift and split issues, Ockimey might never be anything more than a platoon player if he can’t figure those out.
Brian Johnson, LHP | Age: 25 | ETA: 2017 | 2016 Level: AAA
He’s a boring lefty, that’s had his struggles with anxiety. When his stuff is on he looks like he could be a number 4 starter for a playoff team. When his stuff is off, he struggles. It’s really as simple as that. His curveball is a plus pitch, and his fastball when he’s on flirts with plus status, his change is average, and he throws a cutter from time to time. Really only someone I’ want to own in deeper dynasty leagues.
Tier 3: Long Shot Lolitas
Sexy ceilings, but these youngsters also come with risks and distant ETAs
Roniel Raudes, RHP | Age: 18 | ETA: 2018 | 2016 Level: A
I’ve been a fan of Raudes for awhile and here’s what I wrote about him in August. “Since Anderson Espinoza was sent packing in the Drew Pomeranz trade, Raudes has become the top teenage arm in the Red Sox system. Apologies to Jason Groome, yet to make his debut. All Raudes has done in his last 5 starts is go 3-2 with a 1.57 ERA and a .210 BAA. His k rate over that time has been lower than his season average of 8.37, but his sterling control has guided his success. With elite control and good stuff, Raudes has a bright future.”
Bobby Dalbec, 3B | Age: 21 | ETA: 2019 | 2016 Level: A-
I featured Dalbec in my First Year Player Draft rankings, as the 18th overall prospect. Considering it’s only been three weeks, this is what I said then. “After setting the PAC-10 on fire as a Sophomore, Dalbec struggled to duplicate the success in his junior season. Struggling with strike outs and the weight of being the big bat in the Wildcats lineup, Dalbec faltered. Despite a heroic performance in Arizona’s College World Series run, Dalbec dropped to the Red Sox in the fourth round. Upon assignment to class A short season Lowell of the New York Penn League, Dalbec raked, averaging nearly a RBI per game and cranking 7 homers in 35 games. He’s one of the better values in first year player drafts, and someone I’ll own everywhere. Draft Dalbec.”
C.J. Chatham, SS | Age: 21 | ETA: 2019 | 2016 Level: A-
This one is about as boring as you get, a defense first shortstop with an average hit too and little else. In my opinion not much of fantasy prospect, but he’s high profile enough I had to mention him.
Mike Shawaryn, RHP | Age: 22 | ETA: 2019 | 2016 Level: A-
A 5th rounder out of Maryland, Shawaryn might be a steal. Possessing a plus fastball, plus slider, and above average control. He has a starter’s build, but due to concerns with his delivery, many think he could end up in the pen. The stuff is there, and if he can develop his change into an above average offering we could be looking at a future star.