It appeared the Boston Red Sox might ease highly touted prospect Triston Casas into his first full season in the major leagues.
Instead, the Red Sox showed a tremendous amount of faith in the 23-year-old when they designated veteran Eric Hosmer for assignment in mid-December, clearing a path for Casas to start at first base on an everyday basis.
Casas could have learned under the tutelage of Hosmer — the two are friends since they attended the same high school in Florida — but the Red Sox clearly think Casas can handle the heavier workload despite his inexperience in the majors.
“That vote of confidence is huge,” Casas said last month at Red Sox Winter Weekend. “They’ve been instilling it in me. From the day that I got drafted they had the intention for me to be an everyday first baseman forever now. It was never to be a platoon player. It was never to be a role player. It was to be in the middle of the lineup and contribute every single day.
“And that’s the mindset I’ve taken since I stepped on the field with them. Going into this year, I’m going to take that mentality until they take it away from me.”
Casas certainly looks for Boston manager Alex Cora to pencil him in consistently as he looks to become a mainstay at first base. While Casas is eligible for the Rookie of the Year award this season, trying to play at least 150 games is the goal for him over the hardware.
Casas earned a call up to the big leagues in September of last season and showcased his raw power along with his plate discipline as part of his first impression. He batted .197 with five home runs and 12 RBIs in 23 games.
Casas surely has a stranglehold on the starting job at first base with the only player who can challenge him at the position being Bobby Dalbec. But Casas isn’t taking anything for granted heading into Spring Training.
“I’m going in there with the mentality to go win a job,” Casas said. “I had a good audition in September for sure, but look to pour it on in Spring Training. Go out there and try to win every day. We’ll see where I am at the end of it and hopefully come Opening Day, I’m on the roster.”