Chaim Bloom had multiple objectives upon taking over as chief baseball officer of the Boston Red Sox, all with one main goal in mind: create a sustainable, long-lasting operation that would help the organization compete every year.
One of those objectives was to rebuild a fledgling farm system, and it appears the former Tampa Bay Rays executive is well on his way to achieving that goal. Baseball America, arguably the top publication when it comes to all things baseball scouting and developing, ranked the Red Sox No. 9 in its most recent farm system rankings.
“(First baseman) Triston Casas looks like a potential middle-of-the-order cornerstone who can hit for average and power,” the Red Sox capsule on the most recent rankings read. “The addition of (shortstop) Marcelo Mayer with the fourth pick in the draft gave the Red Sox an immediate jolt of impact talent.”
The Red Sox currently have three players on Baseball America’s top 100 prospects list: Casas (No. 20), Mayer (No. 32) and current big league outfielder Jarren Duran, who has yet to graduate from the prospects list at No. 22.
Getting the fourth pick by virtue of an abysmal 2020 season sure helped Boston. That Mayer — projected by many to go No. 1 overall in the 2021 draft — fell to No. 4 also was a fortunate development.
But it is telling that two of Boston’s top four prospects (per Baseball America) were acquired in the Bloom era. In addition to Mayer, there’s also Jeter Downs, who is considered a strong infield prospect.
Where Bloom should get the most credit, though, is on the margins. The Red Sox seemingly took a chance by overdrafting Nick Yorke in the first round last year, but he overcame a slow start to his career and looks like a fast riser even for his age. Similarly, it looks like Blaze Jordan might have been a steal as a third-round pick for Boston in the 2020 draft, although he also is quite young.
Stealing Connor Seabold (along with Nick Pivetta) from the Philadelphia Phillies for Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree looks better by the day, especially as Seabold starts knocking on the door of the big leagues. He’s probably not a front-of-the-rotation arm, but he represents the sort of organizational depth that is key to sustaining long-term competitiveness.
Even a player like Connor Wong, whom Boston acquired in the Mookie Betts trade, serves a purpose despite not ranking very high on any prospect lists. He’s filled in nicely behind the plate with Boston when called upon, often commended for his work handling the big league pitching staff when given the chance.
Bloom and the Red Sox have done a fine job of not only adding high-end talent like Mayer and Downs but also filling organizational holes with some lesser-known youngsters. Credit also must be given to previous regimes for drafting players like Casas, Duran and Tanner Houck in addition to signing international free agents who are climbing the minors. It would be interesting to know what kind of changes the Sox have made within the player development system to improve how the club grooms its young players.
One positive ranking on one list from one publication does not solve all of Boston’s player development problems. It does, however, indicate progress, which is encouraging for Sox fans who want to see stability in the years to come.
That the Sox have been able to do this while also competing for the American League East crown is gravy.