The days of Red Sox fans being excited about prospects seem to be over, as a new regime led by Craig Breslow was brought in to bring Boston back to the postseason.

The crowds at Fenway Park are ready for a winner, but we’ve got a few weirdos dedicated writers here at NESN who are still keeping an eye on the farm for you. It’s only right, after all, as Chaim Bloom’s biggest accomplishment with Boston was rebuilding a previously decimated system to one that can stack up against most in Major League Baseball. The Red Sox have a wealth of exciting prospects that could soon make an impact with the big league club.

We decided to ask a few members of our NESN Digital team to answer some questions about the system as we enter what is bound to be an offseason full of transactions. Here’s what they had to say.

Which prospect’s 2023 season surprised you the most?

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Ricky Doyle: Shane Drohan
The 2023 campaign didn’t end well for Drohan, who struggled after a promotion to Triple-A Worcester. And Boston’s decision to not add him to the 40-man roster means he’ll be available to other clubs in the upcoming Rule 5 draft. But there was a point last season where it looked like Drohan might be the Red Sox’s best pitching prospect, flashing increased velocity and an evolving repertoire. Few saw that coming from the 2020 fifth-round pick.

Tim Crowley: Roman Anthony
Anthony’s rise stood out as the most surprising. Not to say that his potential was not significant, it certainly was as a second-round HS bat. He rewarded Boston for promoting him to High-A even after a slow start in Low-A Salem, rising through three levels as the Player of the Year in the system. The intriguing outfielder showed major progress.

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Keagan Stiefel: Kyle Teel
The Red Sox clearly saw something in Teel, making him the only first-round catcher they’ve drafted in the last decade. Did anyone think he’d rise all the way to Double-A Portland in two months, though? Teel’s been spectacular thus far and looks like a player who could contribute as soon as Boston will allow him to.

Which under-the-radar prospect caught your attention in 2023?

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RD: Yoeilin Cespedes
Cespedes was considered one of the best players available in the 2023 international class. So, it’s not like he came out of nowhere. But SoxProspects already has Cespedes, an 18-year-old infielder, listed as the organization’s No. 10 prospect after a sensational debut performance in the Dominican Summer League. He showed more power than expected, and it’ll be interesting to see if that trend continues as he gets older and bigger.

TC: Chase Meidroth
Meidroth quietly put together a really well-rounded season, spending most of the year with Portland. His plate approach is appealing and his defense stood out even with quality glove talent surrounding him in the infield with Marcelo Mayer. If the power can improve in 2024, Meidroth will gain even more attention.

KS: Luis Guerrero
We tend to focus on prospects with major upside, but Guerrero seems to be a guy who makes big contributions despite what is likely to be a diminished role. Guerrero throws gas and was rewarded for his breakout campaign with a trip to the MLB All-Star Future’s Game in 2023. Would anyone be mad if he eventually made his debut as a really solid middle reliever? I wouldn’t, especially considering he was never supposed to make it as far as he has.

Which prospect do you believe will have the most productive MLB career?

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TC: Roman Anthony
Anthony could break his way into a starting outfield spot for years to come based on his upside. His defense continues to evolve and his abilities with the bat are encouraging, especially after showing some pop to the opposite field in 2023.

KS: Kyle Teel
I’m doubling down on Teel picks here, as there’s something he brings to the table that Red Sox fans should feel really good about. He’s got the physical tools to be an absolute stud at the next level, and I’ll go as far to say that I think he can eventually compete with Adley Rutschman as the American League’s starting catcher in the All-Star Game. I haven’t been this excited about a prospect in a long time.

RD: Miguel Bleis
Anthony and Mayer obviously are studs, and Teel feels like a safe pick, as an advanced catching prospect who could debut as soon as 2024. But I’ve been riding the Bleis bandwagon for the past couple of years. It’s time to double down, despite his season-ending shoulder injury, as his five-tool potential at age 19 is just too tantalizing. I’m getting Ronald Acuña Jr. vibes (only half kidding).

Which prospect that debuted in 2023 will make the biggest impact in 2024?

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RD: Ceddanne Rafaela
Will he hit enough? Who knows, but Rafaela’s speed, versatility and defensive prowess align perfectly with Boston’s current needs. It’s easy to see him bouncing around — a more dynamic Kiké Hernández, perhaps? — and providing a consistent spark next season, so long as he’s viewed as a piece of the puzzle and not a savior for a team coming off back-to-back last-place finishes.

TC: Ceddanne Rafaela
In a small sample size, Rafaela showed how much he can impact the Red Sox in the near future. While the bat may need just a little more time with minor league at-bats, Rafaela looks very smooth in center field as a superb athlete who can run down any ball. 

KS: Wilyer Abreu
Rafaela is the right answer, but I still feel confident in Abreu as my choice. In a relatively small sample size last season, Abreu showed his bat is legit while playing better defense than anyone thought he could. In an ideal world, he’s the Red Sox’s fourth outfielder.

Featured image via Salem Red Sox