Red Sox Prospect Outlook: Why Miguel Bleis (Already) Deserves Your Attention

Boston's best international prospect since Rafael Devers?


Feb 9, 2023

Before the start of the 2023 season, is evaluating several noteworthy prospects in the Boston Red Sox organization, using insight and analysis from industry experts to gauge each player’s outlook for the upcoming campaign. Next up: Miguel Bleis.

You hear that rumbling? The tracks are starting to vibrate because the Miguel Bleis hype train is picking up speed.

Understandably so, too, as there’s a lot to like about the fast-rising Red Sox prospect, who’s suddenly garnering national attention and becoming a valuable asset within Boston’s improved farm system.

Here’s everything you need to know about Bleis, an uber-talented outfielder from the Dominican Republic who turns 19 on March 1.

Boston Red Sox prospect Miguel Bleis

Bleis’ story
The Red Sox signed Bleis as a 16-year-old international free agent in January 2021. Obviously, there wasn’t a ton of fanfare surrounding the $1.5 million investment, with Bleis being so far away from potentially reaching the majors, but it nevertheless was a notable move. He ranked No. 21 on MLB Pipeline’s list of the top 30 international prospects during that signing period.

One must look no further than Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers as evidence of how important such additions can be down the road. Bogaerts, a four-time All-Star who left Boston in free agency this offseason, signed with the Red Sox as a 16-year-old out of Aruba in 2009. Devers, a two-time All-Star who just inked a 10-year contract extension with Boston, signed with the Red Sox as a 16-year-old out of the Dominican Republic in 2013.

The $1.5 million bonus Bleis received was the largest in Boston’s January 2021 international free agent class. And it’s becoming increasingly clear why the organization was so high on him at such a young age. Bleis since has evolved into a consensus top-100 prospect across MLB, even though he’s still raw with plenty of room for development.

Boston Red Sox prospect Miguel Bleis

Scouting report
Ian Cundall, director of scouting for, identified Bleis as a breakout candidate in Boston’s system ahead of the 2022 season, a projection that looks better with each passing day.

“He’s doing what I was hoping he would do,” Cundall recently told “And I think he might have even exceeded my expectations for last year.”

So, what makes Bleis such an intriguing prospect? Well, he can pretty much do everything.

“His skill set, the potential is just sky-high,” Cundall said. “He’s a potential five-tool guy. If you really want to dream, you could go plus on every tool.”

Bleis is listed at 6-foot-3, 170 pounds, a projectable frame that should allow him to add strength without compromising his athleticism, the hallmark of his current profile. The 18-year-old’s combination of power and speed, at his age, is tantalizing. It’s not hyperbolic to say he’s probably Boston’s best international prospect since Devers.

“He’s one of those guys, kind of like we were talking about with (top Red Sox prospect Marcelo Mayer), you see him on the field and you’re like, ‘OK, that’s the player,’ ” Cundall explained, highlighting Bleis’ knack for standing out among his peers.

Of course, it’s important to note Bleis has played just 76 games (303 plate appearances) in the Red Sox system, between the Dominican Summer League in 2021 and the Florida Complex League in 2022. There’s still a wide range of possible outcomes, but Bleis’ toolbox is well-stocked. He’s capable of impacting the game both offensively and defensively.

“Effortlessly moves and glides to the ball in the outfield. He’s got a good arm,” Cundall said. “And then at the plate, the bat speed and hands are just electric. He has no trouble with velocity up in the zone. He can get to a fastball anywhere. He just crushes fastballs. And the numbers he put up — for things like exit velocity and things like that, compared to guys in Triple-A — are just insane.”

The one knock on Bleis right now? His hit tool. Although even that could improve with time and experience, at which point he’d really be the total package.

“The raw tools are insane,” Cundall said. “The concern is the approach — doesn’t see a lot of pitches. He actually doesn’t chase very much and he makes a ton of contact in the zone. He just has a lot of issues with breaking balls and changeups right now. Pitch recognition’s not very good, and he’ll often be caught flailing at those. Just doesn’t look very comfortable against secondary pitches right now.

“But in talking to scouts who’ve seen him more than I have, and I’ve seen him a lot, everyone’s comfortable and projecting that with his aptitude and how they feel his bat is going to develop, that that will come with time. It’s just one of those things that yes, 18-year-olds are going to struggle with secondary pitches. That happens, you know what I mean? It’s just a part of development. And with the way that his hands work at the plate, and with how people think he’s going to develop, there’s not a lot of concern that that will be a debilitating issue.”

Bleis slashed .301/.353/.543 with five home runs, 27 RBIs and 18 stolen bases in 40 games (167 plate appearances) with the FCL Red Sox in 2022.

“He’s a potential five-tool guy. If you really want to dream, you could go plus on every tool.”

Ian Cundall, director of scouting for, on Miguel Bleis

Most-likely outcome: Everyday center fielder.

Look, we’re talking about a kid who’s entering his age-19 season. So much can happen. It would be reckless to suggest he’s a can’t-miss prospect, especially since the developmental path for young international prospects oftentimes is less linear than it is for college or high-school players who came up through the United States system.

But Bleis excels in so many areas that his likelihood of reaching the majors — and sticking there, contributing on a consistent basis — seems relatively high. He’s not reliant on one carrying tool. The question, then, is whether he’ll be able to put everything together and blossom into a star.

“A realistic comp: Carlos Gómez,” Cundall said. “He’ll have some really good seasons, he’ll have some OK-ish seasons. But he’s going to play good defense … and people might turn their nose up at the Carlos Gómez comp, but he’s a guy who finished in the MVP race twice, multiple-time All-Star. If they get a guy who’s a career, like, .250/.315/.430 player with good defense, you obviously take that. That’s, I think, a more realistic comp, someone like Carlos Gómez.”

Gómez, for what it’s worth, carved out a 13-year MLB career (2007-19) that included a 7.6-WAR season in 2013 and a 4.7-WAR campaign in 2014, both with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Best-case scenario: Perennial All-Star.

Let’s get borderline irresponsible for a second, shall we?

“This is obviously very, very best-case — this is like the 99.9th-percentile outcome,” Cundall said, emphasizing it’s a pie-in-the-sky scenario for the Red Sox, “is like Ronald Acuña-type talent.”

Again, that assessment says more about Bleis’ dynamic skill set, and what could be, rather than what he will become at the highest level. But it should be enough to excite Red Sox fans.

Acuña, a star with the Atlanta Braves, is one of the best all-around players in baseball, and there are at least some parallels that can be drawn between the two from a talent perspective. It’s on Bleis (and the Red Sox) to accentuate his strengths and improve his weaknesses moving forward.

SoxProspects ranking: No. 3
Only Mayer and Triston Casas rank ahead of Bleis on to begin 2023. Other outlets might also have Ceddanne Rafaela, who’s coming off an electric 2022, ahead of Bleis, but proximity to the majors surely plays into that evaluation. Rafaela could debut with Boston this season.

“When you see all of the raw tools there, you can comfortably project that his ability to hit those secondary pitches will come,” Cundall said of Bleis. “And if that comes, then look out. Because he’s a guy who would be a top 10-15 prospect in baseball if he shows this year that he can consistently hit secondary pitches. By the end of the year, he’ll be one of those top guys if that’s the case.”

Baseball America recently ranked Bleis No. 88 on its top 100 MLB prospects rankings, while MLB Pipeline placed him at No. 93. The Athletic’s Keith Law and ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel ranked Bleis No. 72 and No. 95, respectively.

“If he shows anything positive with that approach area, he’s going to be in the top 25 by the end of the season,” Cundall reiterated.

Fenway forecast
Bleis won’t debut with Boston in 2023. Or 2024. Or maybe even 2025.

There’s still a long developmental road ahead for Bleis, which speaks to the inherent difficulty of projecting his MLB potential but also to how impressive it is that he’s already generating buzz on national prospect lists at such a young age.

Bleis likely will begin the 2023 season at Single-A Salem. A reasonable trajectory would put him in line to debut with Boston in 2026, or thereabouts.

Thumbnail photo via Kelly O'Connor/SoxProspects
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