Spring training is a time for most Major League Baseball players to iron out the kinks before Opening Day.
But for others — namely MLB prospects — there’s a little more urgency.
That’s certainly the case with the Boston Red Sox, whose farm system looks quite a bit different now than it did last year. The Red Sox traded away several prospects, most notably Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech while promoting top prospect Andrew Benintendi to the major league roster, leaving them considerably less stocked at the minor league level.
There still are some exciting players in Boston’s pipeline, though, some of which could contribute in the big leagues very soon. With spring training games officially underway, let’s take a look at the top 20 prospects currently in the Red Sox’s system, courtesy of SoxProspects.com.
(A note: Benintendi technically still is a prospect, but considering he’ll probably be Boston’s Opening Day left fielder, we’re excluding him from this list.)
1. Rafael Devers, 3B
2. Jason Groome, P
3. Sam Travis, 1B
4. Bobby Dalbec, 3B
5. Brian Johnson, P
6. Marco Hernandez, 3B/SS/2B
7. CJ Chatham, SS
8. Josh Ockimey, 1B
9. Roniel Raudes, P
10. Michael Chavis, 3B
11. Nick Longhi, 1B
12. Mike Shawaryn, P
13. Luis Ysla, P
14. Kyle Martin, P
15. Trey Ball, P
16. Travis Lakins, P
17. Jake Cosart, P
18. Bryan Mata, P
19. Chandler Shepard, P
20. Gerson Bautista, P
Most of these guys won’t be seeing a major league field anytime soon. But a couple already have MLB experience (Hernandez and Johnson) and a few could be knocking at the door as early as this season. Below are three prospects from the above list to keep an eye on heading to spring training.
Rafael Devers, 3B. The 20-year-old Dominican Republic native is the Red Sox’s new top prospect and with good reason. He finished strong at High-A Salem last season, boasting a strong left-handed bat and improved fielding, and is projected to start 2017 at Double-A Portland. Boston enters the spring with some question marks at third base, and if Pablo Sandoval doesn’t live up to expectations, it might not be long before Devers gets a call.
Sam Travis, 1B. Travis had a strong 2016 spring training before an ACL injury derailed his season. It appears he’s picking up right where he left off, though, as the 23-year-old cranked a three-run homer Thursday in Boston’s exhibition debut. Travis has decent pop at the plate, and while Hanley Ramirez and Mitch Moreland currently have first base on lockdown, it’s not out of the question for the right-handed hitter to enter the fray at some point in 2017.
Brian Johnson, LHP. It’s been a long year for Johnson, who took a leave of absence last May to seek anxiety treatment. But the 26-year-old left-hander returned to the mound Thursday, throwing two innings of no-hit ball against Northeastern. Johnson always has been one of the Red Sox’s better pitching prospects, and he could move past Henry Owens as Boston’s preferred emergency starter in 2017.
Thumbnail photo via David Kohl/USA TODAY Sports Images