The Boston Red Sox have had defensive issues at times during the 2023 season, leading the American League with 98 errors entering play Tuesday.

For the organization as a whole, the Red Sox are placing a major emphasis on defense throughout the minor league system.

The Portland Sea Dogs, Boston’s Double-A affiliate, represent the payoff of the immense work with the gloves in the system.

At the start of September, Baseball America released a collection of the best skill sets in Double-A. The Red Sox had three prospects in Marcelo Mayer, Nick Yorke and Chase Meidroth recognized as the best defender at their respective infield positions in the Eastern League.

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Coaching staffs throughout the system are pleased with the progress shown through in-depth defensive work.

“It’s been awesome to see because we really push the envelope on the defensive side,” Portland manager Chad Epperson told in an interview when the Sea Dogs visited the Reading Fightin Phils. “This game can get one-sided if you let it real quick when you just worry about offense. I know offense matters and they want to put up numbers.”

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The Portland manager validated the praise of Mayer, Meidroth and Yorke for their individual efforts to improve and lead a movement in the system.

“Kudos to all three of those guys,” Epperson said. “You can’t carry your bats out on the field and do what they’ve done. I think Yorke has made five errors all year. It’s been impressive. Meidroth has been consistent. This kid’s bounced around from third to short to second. Obviously, we know what Mayer is capable of doing. We have pushed the envelope hard on the defensive side and they have responded to it.”

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While the infield dominated the headlines, Epperson also expressed an appreciation for the quality of Portland’s outfield defense. From Ceddanne Rafaela in the early months to Roman Anthony in the final weeks, each of the three outfield spots make an impact in saving runs.

“That goes for outfield play, too,” Epperson added. “Ultimately, we have three center fielders out there in the outfield. Any time you have that, they’re going to cover the pasture out there and it’s nice to watch them.”

From a player perspective, Yorke credited the daily work from individuals as well as the specified defensive plans and drills from Red Sox minor league coaching to improve the group.

“It’s been big,” Yorke told “I give a lot of of credit to our old infield coordinator who just took a job with Miami in Darren Fenster. He helped me a lot. He took over in 2022. That’s kind of when my defense took over and was a lot better. We’re doing early defensive work every single day. Pablo Cabrera does a great job getting us with whatever we feel we need. On top of that, he adds stuff that he thinks we need. The stats show that we have one of the best infields in minor league baseball. I credit a lot of that to our coaching.”

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The Red Sox offer an intriguing farm system that continues to evolve into one of the league’s best. The well-rounded abilities of top talent are major contributors to the success of the organization.

Featured image via Eric Canha/USA TODAY Sports Images