Written by: Chris Clegg
Follow him on Twitter: @RotoClegg
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**Right below is the Redsox Top 20 list simplified. Scroll further down for FULL Present/Future Grades, FV, ETA, and summaries on EACH PLAYER ranked in the system! Tons of Statistics on each player as well! Some player highlights, future outlooks and more enjoy!**
If you like Podcasts, Click here to take a listen to the Red Sox Top 20 Pod where you can hear our prospect Analysts discuss the Top 5 prospects, and 5 others they find interesting in the system! Who doesn’t like more prospect analysis?
|1||Jeter Downs||2B/SS||Trade with LAD – 2020|
|2||Triston Casas||1B||1st Round: 26th Overall – 2018 Draft|
|3||Bryan Mata||RHP||International FA Signing – 2016|
|4||Bobby Dalbec||3B/1B||4th Round – 2016 Draft|
|5||Gilberto Jimenez||OF||International FA Signing – 2017|
|6||Noah Song||RHP||4th Round – 2019 Draft|
|7||Jarren Duran||OF||7th Round – 2018 Draft|
|8||Nick Yorke||2B/SS||1st Round: 17th Overall – 2020 Draft|
|9||Thad Ward||RHP||5th Round – 2018 Draft|
|10||Blaze Jordan||3B/1B||3rd Round – 2020 Draft|
|11||Jay Groome||LHP||1st Round: 12th Overall – 2017 Draft|
|12||Tanner Houck||RHP||1st Round: 24th Overall – 2017 Draft|
|13||Matthew Lugo||SS||2nd Round – 2019 Draft|
|14||CJ Chatham||SS||2nd Round CBB – 2016 Draft|
|15||Brainer Bonaci||SS/3B||International FA Signing – 2018|
|16||Nick Decker||OF||2nd Round – 2018 Draft|
|17||Connor Wong||C/2B/3B||Trade with LAD – 2020|
|18||Antoni Flores||SS||International FA Signing – 2017|
|19||Chris Murphy||LHP||6th Round – 2019 Draft|
|20||Aldo Ramirez||RHP||International FA Signing – 2018|
1. Jeter Downs 2B/SS – Tulsa Drillers (AA)
22 Years Old – Throw: R – Bat: R – 5’11” 195 lbs. – ETA: 2021
Jeter Downs has bounced around since being a supplemental first-round pick by the Reds in 2017. Downs joined the Dodgers as part of a package that sent Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Alex Wood, and Kyle Farmer to Cincinnati. Last season he hit .276 with 24 home runs, and 24 steals earning some spotlight and recognition among prospect rankings.
In February of 2020, Downs was traded to the Red Sox in the blockbuster deal that sent Mookie Betts and David Price to Los Angeles. This move only helps Downs in his pursuit of playing time. Leaving a crowded Dodger’s infield and moving to Boston gives him a legitimate chance to contribute at second base as early as next season.
Downs made significant improvements a the plate in 2019. He became a more patient hitter and began working deeper counts. Downs also began to use the entire field, hitting six opposite-field home runs in 2019. His previous two seasons combined, he hit only one opposite-field home run.
Downs is also very smart and aggressive on the base path. He makes the most of his speed, which is surprisingly only average-to-above average. He is also good enough in the field to play shortstop, but he likely fits better at second base.
2. Triston Casas 1B – Salem Red Sox (A+)
20 Years Old – Throw: R – Bat: L – 6’4” 239 lbs. – ETA: 2021
Triston Casas has big raw power that has been on display for some time. Dating back to his amateur playing days, Casas has been known as a pure power hitter. As the youngest player on the United States National 18-and-under squad in 2016, he led the team in both home runs and runs-batted-in.
A torn ligament in his right thumb limited his pro debut, but it did not stop him from working to improve. In 2019, Casas rebounded nicely with low-A, Greenville, ranking at the top of the league leaders in home runs, slugging percentage, and extra-base hits.
Casas has big bat speed and mashes the ball with his big six-foot-four frame. He has advanced plate discipline and natural power. He has a good feel at the plate and makes hard contact to all parts of the field.
In the field, Casas moves very well for his size. He is not a great runner and will likely continue to regress in that department with time. He has seen time at third base, but likely will be a first basemen long term.
3. Bryan Mata RHP – Portland Sea Dogs (AA)
21 Years Old – Throw: R – Bat: R – 6’3” 240 lbs. – ETA: 2020
Bryan Mata was a fast riser in 2019 after struggling in 2018 with both injuries and his command. Mata rebounded nicely high-A last year pitching to a 1.75 ERA in 51.5 innings. Upon his promotion to double-A, he did struggle with his command again.
Mata’s arsenal features a plus fastball that sits anywhere between 94 and 97 miles-per-hour with a nice sink action. His curveball has had some refining, but still needs more work to be an average pitch. Mata has had some nice success with his slider that sits in the mid-80s. His fading changeup is also an average to above-average pitch.
Mata still needs to work to refine his command. He has shown improvement after walking an insane 7.3 per-nine-innings. Last season he cut that number to 3.6. There is still work to be done if Mata wants to be a successful starter at the Major League level.
4. Bobby Dalbec 3B/1B – Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA)
25 Years Old – Throw: R – Bat: R – 6’4” 227 lbs. – ETA: 2020
Bobby Dalbec, like Casas, has big raw power. Dalbec struggled with injuries during his first full professional season but has been dominant in both 2018 and 2019. He has combined to hit 59 home runs between the two seasons. The power is legitimate.
Dalbec is quite an interesting hitter. He strikes out at a high rate, walks at a very high rate, and hits for big power. If he can turn some of his ground balls into line drives, he could see an increased batting average. But right now, the hit tool is suspect. Dalbec has a very aggressive approach at the plate and puts everything he has into his swing. From a hitting standpoint, Dalbec could be a boom-or-bust type player at the next level.
In the field, Dalbec actually is above average at third base despite not being very quick. He has a solid arm as he was a pitcher in college and threw in the low 90s. It is likely that Dalbec moves to first base long term.
5. Gilberto Jimenez OF – Lowell Spinners (Short-Season A)
20 Years Old – Throw: R – Bat: S – 5’11” 160 lbs. – ETA: 2022
Gilberto Jimenez signed with the Red Sox in the 2017 international signing period. He began switch hitting shortly after turning professional and earned the Latin program player of the year award in 2018 for his debut performance.
Jimenez has high-end speed that is a true 70 grade. You can find Jimenez beating out routine ground balls with how fast he is. As he continues to learn and refine his approach on the base paths, he can be a legitimate base stealer. The big question mark surrounding Jimenez is his hit tool, as he is mostly a slap hitter to this point. He does have good bat speed for his size, but needs to continue to refine his approach at the plate.
In the field, his speed makes him a natural center fielder who can cover a ton of ground. He also brings a plus arm to his nice set of tools. His glove makes him a well rounded center fielder who will likely stick there at the big league level.
6. Noah Song RHP – Lowell Spinners (Short-Season A)
23 Years Old – Throw: R – Bat: R – 6’4” 200 lbs. – ETA: 2024
Noah Song was one of the best pitchers in college baseball, leading the league in strikeout rate with 15.4 per nine innings. He was drafted in the fourth round but would have likely been higher if it were not for his two-year commitment to the Navy.
Song has the stuff of a first-round pitcher, and brings four average to above-average pitches to the table. His four-seam fastball can top out at 99 mph, and his curveball and slider combo are nice strikeout pitches. He also used his changeup more frequently in his professional debut, which was encouraging to the Red Sox.
Song has the upside to move up higher in the Red Sox prospect rankings, but it is likely he will not be with the team until after the 2021 season due to his military commitment. The upside is worth the wait for the Red Sox, who see him as a front line starting pitcher.
7. Jarren Duran OF – Portland Sea Dogs (AA)
23 Years Old – Throw: R – Bat: L – 6’2” 187 lbs. – ETA: 2021
Jarren Duran has an incredible hit tool, shown by his .303 batting average in 2019. Through his first two months of high-A ball, he nearly hit .400. Duran struggled a bit upon his promotion to double-A, but he is still an exciting prospect who has exceeded expectations after being a seventh round draft pick in 2018.
Duran’s swing is designed to work well with his plus-plus speed, as his left-handed swing is very compact. He has the speed to beat out routine ground balls and can cause a lot of issues on the base paths with his speed. His power is below-average, but I believe that Duran could develop into a ten-to-15 home run threat with exceptional speed and a great batting average. He is an exciting player to watch and could be a big riser through the Red Sox system.
8. Nick Yorke 2B/SS – GCL Red Sox (Rok)
18 Years Old – Throw: R – Bat: R – 6’0” 200 lbs. – ETA: 2023
*No professional statistics*
Nick Yorke was one of the most interesting picks of the first round in the 2019 draft. Most scouts had Yorke ranked well outside of the top 100 prospects for this draft class. Despite what others thought, this was the Red Sox plan from the get-go.
Yorke has a short swing but still produces stable bat speed from the right side of the plate. His swing is a prototypical swing for launch angle and hits the ball in the air consistently. He has an excellent hit tool, and scouts rave about his mental game. Ryan Orzella, a former California area scout, said: “It does not matter if the guy is throwing 75 miles per hour or 100 mph, Yorke is also on it and ready to hit.”
His hitting skills have shown to translate to stats. During his sophomore year, he had .494 batting average. Yorke followed that up with a .505 batting average in his junior year. He did struggle with shoulder injuries during his junior year, but he looked fine during his senior season that was cut short by COVID-19.
Yorke was a shortstop in high school, but there are some concerns about his arm. This could lead to a move to second base, which I believe is where the Red Sox intend on him playing. He has also shown the ability to play center field. It appears that Yorke will be ready to perform at whatever positions that the Red Sox want.
9. Thad Ward RHP – Salem Red Sox (A+)
23 Years Old – Throw: R – Bat: R – 6’3” 182 lbs. – ETA: 2022
Thad Ward was a relief pitcher in college at Central Florida and has made an amazing transition to a starter as a professional. In his first full professional season in 2019, leading the Red Sox system with 157 strikeouts and posting a 2.14 ERA.
Ward’s best pitch is his slider that he places very well and uses it as a nice wipeout pitch. He is a highly athletic pitcher and has an easy delivery that pounds the strike zone consistently. Ward also features a solid two-seam fastball that has nice sink action. It can run up to about 96 mph. Ward has also began to throw his changeup more and has a solid feel for that pitch. He is another player who I could believe could move up this system very fast.
10. Blaze Jordan 1B/3B – GCL Red Sox (Rok)
17 Years Old – Throw: R – Bat: R – 6’2” 220 lbs. – ETA: 2024
*No Professional Stats*
Blaze Jordan had some of the best raw power in the 2019 draft class. He won the High School Home Run Derby at the 2019 All-Star Game last July. You can see some of those highlights above. He can hit balls a mile! At the age of 13, Jordan belted a pair of 500-foot home runs.
He produces impressive bat speed and exit velocity for his age. At the World Wood Bat Championship last October, Jordan was recorded at a massive 106.9 mile-per-hour exit velocity. It is important to note that Jordan was only 16-years-old at that time.
While there is no denying his power ability, there are concerns in his hit ability. He has shown big swing and miss potential against older and better competition, leading scouts to wonder how his bat will translate. With age and time, I still believe that Jordan will make enough contact to make a significant impact at the Major League level.
Jordan has worked hard to lose weight and improve his agility and glove to stay at third base. He likely moves to first base or a corner outfield spot with time, but the Red Sox intend to give him a chance third. He has an average arm and lacks quickness, which is why I believe he will end up at first base long term.
11. Jay Groome LHP – Lowell Spinners (Short-Season A)
21 Years Old – Throw: L – Bat: L – 6’6” 220 lbs. – ETA: 2022
The Red Sox were thrilled when they drafted Jay Groome 12th overall in the 2016 MLB Draft. The upside alone made it feel like a steal at the 12th pick. Unfortunately, Groome has not been able to live up to the hype, pitching on 66 innings in four years as a pro. Multiple injuries kept him off the mound, and in May of 2018, Groome had the dreaded Tommy John surgery and did not return until August of 2019.
Groome was solid in his short return, showing some velocity gain on his fastball, sitting between 92 and 96 mph. His curveball also has plus potential, but he needs to show it more consistently in order for that pitch to reach its potential. Most scouts considered it the best curveball in his draft class.
Command has always been an issue for Groome, but he is a solid athlete and has a clean delivery, which should help him throw strikes more consistently as he regains form. 2020 would have been a big developmental year for Groome, and he is a player I look forward to seeing back in-game action.
12. Tanner Houck RHP – Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA)
24 Years Old – Throw: R – Bat: R – 6’5” 230 lbs. – ETA: 2020
Tanner Houck had many questions coming out of college about his low arm slot and whether he could succeed as a starter. It worked out well for Chris Sale, and Houck has been solid as a professional pitcher. He thrives off of his sinker and slider from his three-quarters delivery.
His slider sits in the low 80s and runs across the strike zone. His two-seam fastball ranges from 92-to-96 mph with nice sink action to it. Houck has also made major strides in improving his changeup by using a circle changeup grip and throwing it in the high 80s. It is still a pitch that still needs refining though. There are questions about whether Houck will be in the bullpen long term as he was used there in Triple-A last season, but it is hard to imagine him not being a starter moving forward.
13. Matthew Lugo SS – Lowell Spinners (Short-Season A)
19 Years Old – Throw: R – Bat: R – 6’1” 185 lbs. – ETA: 2023
Matthew Lugo brings a nice skillset to the Red Sox with his solid bat speed and a good feel for contact. His raw power is actually very nice and shows his potential to grow into more game power. He was one of the youngest players in the 2019 draft class but shows an advanced approach at the plate, hitting balls well to all sides of the field. Lugo’s above-average speed will likely slow down as he continues to grow and develop.
Many scouts believe Lugo is better suited to play second or third base, but the Red Sox think he can be a shortstop long term. His quickness and range are ideal for the position. He is another player who could find himself rising through the Red Sox prospect rankings and end up being a solid Major League player.
14. CJ Chatham SS – Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA)
25 Years Old – Throw: R – Bat: R – 6’4” 185 lbs. – ETA: 2021
CJ Chatham was a high school outfielder and pitcher before making the transition to shortstop at Florida Atlantic. Hamstring injuries have hampered his pro career and caused him to miss some time, but the talent is there. Chatham has improved steadily and posted a career .298 batting average in his four professional seasons.
He is a contact-oriented hitter who hits line drives to all parts of the field. Chatham does not hit the ball in the air often, which limits his home run power. He also does not walk very often, so most of his value comes from his batting average. Chatham has average speed but covers enough ground to stick at shortstop thanks to a solid glove and a plus arm. He has a solid floor but is likely not more than a utility player at the next level.
15. Brainer Bonaci SS – GCL Red Sox (Rok)
18 Years Old – Throw: R – Bat: S – 5’10” 140 lbs. – ETA: 2024
Brainer Bonaci adds to the list of shortstop Prospects in the Red Sox farm system. He is still extremely young and actually had to wait a week after the J2 period began in 2018 when he turned 16 to sign with the Red Sox. He is very small at 5’10” 140 pounds but he is likely to add weight to his frame with time.
Bonaci is a switch hitter who makes great contact from both sides of the plate and drives the ball to all parts of the field. As he continues to gain strength, his bat speed and power will likely improve. Home run power will likely never be a huge part of his game, Bonaci understands that and focuses more on solid contact and a disciplined approach to the plate. He has an incredibly strong arm that will allow him to make even the toughest throws at shortstop and he is likely to remain at the position long term.
16. Nick Decker OF – Lowell Spinners (Short-Season A)
20 Years Old – Throw: L – Bat: L – 6’0” 200 lbs. – ETA: 2023
Nick Decker was a high school standout that looked destined to play college ball until the Red Sox drafted him in the second round in the 2018 draft. His professional debut was cut short by a fracture in his wrist. Decker has a lot of bat speed and generates big raw power that he is already showing the ability to tap in too. There are some holes in his swing that led to a high strikeout rate at a near 30 percent rate. He has shown the ability to hit the ball to all sides of the field well. In the future, it looks like he could be an average hitter with solid home run power.
Decker is also a solid athlete that helps him in the outfield. He has good reaction on batted balls and has a solid arm that will play well for him as a right fielder. The speed will likely decrease with age, so he is destined to stick in a corner outfield spot.
17. Connor Wong C/2B/3B – Tulsa Drillers (LAD) (AA)
24 Years Old – Throw: R – Bat: R – 6’1” 178 lbs. – ETA: 2020
Connor Wong was another piece that came over from Los Angeles in the Mookie Betts and David Price trade. He has played all over the field and was originally a shortstop in college before moving to catcher his final two seasons. He is now the best catcher in the Red Sox farm system if they choose for him to stay there.
Wong has really begun to swing more freely, which has led to more power. He has legitimate home run power to all sides of the field but does have some swing and miss potential that led to a 31 percent strikeout rate in 2019. Wong has good speed behind the plate and continues to improve his framing and his ability to throw runners out. He has played across the field so he could be a utility-type player if he does not make it as a catcher.
18. Antoni Flores SS – Lowell Spinners (Short-Season A)
19 Years Old – Throw: R – Bat: R – 6’1” 190 lbs. – ETA: 2023
Antoni Flores, yet another young shortstop in the Red Sox farm also has a strong arm and approach in the field. He has soft hands and a plus arm, but there is questions about his ability to stay at shortstop due to a lack of athleticism.
At the plate, Flores controls the strike zone well but struggles with his overall approach. His .520 OPS was one of the worst in his short-season league. There is some upside, but Flores still has a lot of work to do in order to hit his potential. He is still young, so there is still plenty of time for Flores to refine his game.
19. Chris Murphy LHP – Lowell Spinners (Short-Season A)
22 Years Old – Throw: L – Bat: L – 6’1” 175 lbs. – ETA: 2022
Chris Murphy was a college standout at San Diego and set the school record in strikeouts-per-nine with 12.2. He has a great fastball that sits between 92 and 96 mph and has worked to improve his command. Command was his big downfall in college. Murphy has an above-average curveball that is arguably his best pitch, showing 2 shapes. His changeup are improving pitches. Murphy has worked on his mechanics, which has led to improved command and has the potential of a back end starting pitcher.
20. Aldo Ramirez RHP – Lowell Spinners (Short-Season A)
19 Years Old – Throw: R – Bat: R – 6’0” 180 lbs. – ETA: 2023
Aldo Ramirez thrived in the Mexican League before having his contract purchased by the Red Sox in 2018. He looked dominant in his Dominican Summer League debut in 2018 and was again solid in the New York League as one of the youngest players in the league.
Ramirez features both a two and four-seam fastball that can top out at 97 mph. He also counters the fastballs with a curveball that sits in the high 70s. His best pitch might be his changeup that has good sink action and hits in the mid-80s on the radar gun. Ramirez delivery is solid and repeatable, and he pounds the strike zone well. At his size, he does not have a ton of projectability, but he does have three solid pitches in his arsenal. He could fit well in the bullpen or as a back end starter.
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