The Boston Red Sox underwent major change Monday, swinging three trades to kickoff what is certain to be an intriguing final stretch before the Major League Baseball trade deadline.
Perhaps the most impactful move was the trade of Christian Vázquez. Boston sent their longtime catcher to the Houston Astros for prospects Enmanuel Valdez and Wilyer Abreu, who will be looked upon as a source of hope for Red Sox fans — the way all newly acquired prospects do.
Here’s a look at each prospect and their potential fit in Boston’s farm system.
Valdez ranked as the Astros’ No. 12 prospect, according to Baseball America’s midseason rankings, following a strong start to his 2022 season that has included a promotion.
The 23-year-old has hit .327 with an 1.016 OPS in 82 games between Double-A and Triple-A this season. He has 21 homers and 26 doubles, showing off a bat that is viewed by scouts as his best attribute. Valdez has played every infield spot but shortstop and even made a few appearances in the outfield, showing a serviceable glove at all five positions he’s played.
The addition of Valdez will provide an immediate spark to Triple-A Worcester’s ranks as they’ve been pick clean by the Red Sox amid Boston’s injury struggles this season. Moving forward he’ll have an ability to catch on in one of multiple spots, perhaps as one of those super-utility players that chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom seems to like having around.
Abreu ranked as the Astros’ No. 21 prospect, according to Baseball America, with other outlets viewing him as a more highly rated prospect.
Abreu is 23-years old like Valdez, but has not played past Double-A. He hit .249 with an .858 OPS along with 23 stolen bases in 89 games at the level. A true outfielder, Abreu was noted as “a plus defender in right with a tremendous throwing arm,” according to The Athletic’s Keith Law.
Abreu doesn’t have a clear path to the big leagues, but his high-end skills translate well to that of a potential plug-and-play outfield prospect. The Red Sox are clearly lacking organizational outfield depth, and the addition of Abreu goes some way in helping fix that.