by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
The once deep Red Sox system has been drained, especially if you include the in season trade of Rick Porcello, and it would look even more barren had Andrew Benintendi not gotten injured (meaning he hasn’t officially “graduated” yet). While there’s still a few interesting names, after yesterday’s trades for Chris Sale and Tyler Thornburg things are looking particularly barren. Let’s take a look:
1) Andrew Benintendi – Outfielder (Previous – #2)
ETA – Already Arrived
Grade – A-
Had it not been for injury he would’ve already graduated off this list. That said it doesn’t mean he should be overlooked, after delivering 8 HR and 8 SB, courtesy of an impressive 11.4% strikeout rate, while playing at Double-A. During his time in the Majors he showed his line drive approach (25.0%) while also showing an impressive eye considering his lack of professional experience:
- SwStr% – 7.4%
- O-Swing% – 25.2%
The 2015 first round pick is going to open the season as a starter for Boston and should deliver both power and speed.
2) Rafael Devers – Third Baseman (Previous – #3)
ETA – 2018
Grade – A-/B+
We’ve heard about the power potential that he possesses, and in the second half of the season he started to show it in games as he not only hit 7 HR, but added 24 doubles and 6 triples over 267 AB. If you simply doubled that for a full season, you’d have 74 extra base hits and as he gains strength and experience it’s easy to imagine some of those doubles and triples turning into home runs.
He has also showed a tremendous approach at the plate, with a 17.2% strikeout rate at High-A this past season. The fact that he didn’t lose that (51 K over 267 AB) as the power emerged is an even more promising sign.
Having played the entire season at 19-years old, Devers has the potential to take a significant step forward and emerge as one of the truly elite prospects in 2017.
3) Jason Groome – Left-Handed Pitcher (Previous – #5)
ETA – 2019
Grade – B+
Selected 12th overall this past year, the southpaw didn’t pitch much after being drafted though did manage 10 K over 6.2 IP. He has the size that team’s look for from starters (6’6”) and at 18-years old he should add some more weight as he matures (220 lbs. already). He already brings a big fastball and has the potential develop into an absolute steal. It’s going to take time, but as a lefty he could help form a dominant top of the rotation before too long.
4) Josh Ockimey – First Baseman (Previous – #7)
ETA – 2019
Grade – B-
There obviously is concern about his strikeout rate (25.9% at Single-A), but he did show a command of the strike zone (17.6% walk rate) and began to grow into his power (18 HR, as well as 25 doubles and 1 triple). The strikeout rate was also a step in the right direction, after he posted a 34.1% mark at Low-A in ’15, but there’s obviously a lot of work to do (the strikeouts helped lead to a .226 average). There’s potential, but he’s not there yet.
5) Sam Travis – First Baseman (Previous – #9)
ETA – 2017
Grade – C+
A torn ACL limited him to 173 AB in ’16 at Triple-A, hitting .272 with 6 HR. As a first baseman he’s going to need to hit for more power if he wants to be a viable option (10 HR in ’15), though he did have 42 doubles so the potential is there. Of course there also is the potential for strikeout issues, with a 21.1% mark in his limited AB last season, which also is something to watch. There’s potential, but his ceiling doesn’t seem to be all that high.
The Next Five:
6) Brian Johnson – Left-Handed Pitcher (Grade – C+) (Previous – #10)
7) Roniel Raudes – Right-Handed Pitcher (Grade – C+) (Previous – NR)
Note – At 18-years old he has a long ways to go, but a 1.83 BB/9 at Single-A is highly impressive for a pitcher his age. He’s definitely one worth keeping an eye on.
8) Michael Chavis – Third Baseman (Grade – C) (Previous – NR)
9) Bobby Dalbec – Third Baseman (Grade – C) (Previous – NR)
10) Jake Cosart – Right-Handed Pitcher (Grade – C-) (Previous – NR)
Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Reference, Brooks Baseball, MLB.com, MILB.com
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Grade A – Elite Prospects (aka potential future perennial All-Stars)
Grade B – Above Average Prospects (aka above average Major Leaguers, could develop into a potential All-Star)
Grade C – Average Prospects (aka solid, though unspectacular)
Grade D – Nothing More Than Roster Filler
Grade F – Move On
Make sure to check out all of our 2017 Prospect Rankings: