Cole Brannen, selected 63rd overall out of high school. He’s got top-flight speed. The 19 year old has a short-compact left-handed swing which allows him to barrel up the ball to all parts of the field. While he doesn’t show much power, he does possess the ability to hit the gaps which should lead to plenty of doubles, as well as the potential for triples with his speed.
On the defensive side of the ball, Brannen has a strong arm, which should help him stay in centerfield as he continues to move up the ranks in the minor leagues.
Making his debut with the Gulf Coast League after agreeing to a $1.3 million signing bonus, he appeared in 39 games, garnering 31 hits, two doubles and driving in seven. The 6’1″ outfielder chipped in with a nine steals while being caught only once. He then was promoted to the Short-season A Lowell Spinners of the New York Penn League, but didn’t have much to show after only logging a few games. If everything breaks the right way for the young prospect, expect to see him open 2019 in Pawtucket.
Bobby Dalbec is a 22 year old infielder who was drafted out of the University of Arizona where he helped the Wildcats earn a berth in the College World Series finals. While at Arizona, Dalbec was a “2-way player” and while he had tremendous offensive output, he also was quite dominant on the mound as well. Dalbec split time as a starter and closer all three years at Arizona. His fastball touched 98 mph on the radar gun a couple of times during relief outings.
It was his offensive potential that caught Dombrowski and Quattlebaum’s attention, especially in a minor league system that is devoid of much power hitting prospects, minus Michael Chavis and Josh Ockimey.
In his first year in the Red Sox system, Dalbec proved a lot of his doubters wrong, showing a disciplined plate approach that led to him batting .386/.427/.674/ 1.101 OPS seven homers, 13 doubles, two triples, 33 RBIs, 25 runs, nine walks, 33 strikeouts and two steals in 34 games for the Short Season Lowell Spinners (Stats provided by Soxprospects.com).
I’d expect Dalbec to continue to impress as he climbs the minor league ranks and could be in Boston by mid-2020 at the earliest.
Brett Netzer, age 21, was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2016 Draft out of the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, where he was ranked by multiple outlets as being one of the top 250 prospects in the country. The junior eligible draftee was ranked as the 237th best prospect in the draft by Baseball America.
Listed at around 6 feet, Netzer is more of an offensive-minded infielder. In his three years at UNCC, he showed the ability to hit for a high-average with a .384 average in his sophomore year and finishing his junior season with at a .346 clip.
One of the reasons he was appealing to the Red Sox was due to his Carlos Santana-esque plate discipline. Over his sophomore and junior seasons, he combined to walk 54 times while striking out in only 47 of his 445 at-bats. He also showed some power hitting 24 and 25 extra-base hits in 2016 and 2017, respectively. Then when he went to the Cape Cod League, he bulked up and was able to hit .283/.360/.424 with eight XBH in 99 at-bats over 26 games with Hyannis.
With Dustin Pedroia getting up there in age as well as dealing with injuries over the past couple of seasons which have kept him off the field, Netzer could represent a potential future second baseman that Sox fans should enjoy watching.
Zach Schellenger of the Rookie Ball Gulf Coast League just turned 21. In the pitching heavy draft of last year which saw the Red Sox select Tanner Houck, Jake Thompson, Alex Scherff, and Aaron Perry, the hard thrower could be one of the quicker risers through the levels of the Minors.
Schellenger who was drafted in the 6th round out of the Seton Hall University where he excelled over his three years as a member of the Pirates pitching staff. In his time at Seton Hall, he became the team’s closer as a sophomore in 2016, pitching in 45.2 innings striking out 70 while walking 21. Unfortunately, Schellenger missed almost all of this past season with a biceps injury.
That still didn’t stop the Red Sox from drafting the right-hander who has the body and the stuff to be a potential bullpen weapon. When he is healthy he features a fastball/slider combination. His fastball sits in the mid 90’s and he compliments it with a slider that features a hard, heavy break.
Mike Shawaryn pitched for Single-A: Salem last season, and is now 23 years old.
During the 2016 draft the Red Sox were able to draft Jay Groome as their number one pick, but it was a fifth-round selection that year who could be a potential gem of a future Red Sox pitching staff.
Shawaryn is a 6’3 righty. He was drafted out of the University of Maryland where he pitched three seasons for the Terrapins staff. When he signed with the Red Sox, he did so by signing for $262,000 over slot, which was a significant amount for the fifth round draft pick. Shawaryn, who throws from a 3/4 arm slot throws three pitches: a fastball, change-up, and curveball all for strikes, with an added bit of deception.
His pitching arsenal includes his fastball which sits routinely around 91-93 mph, a slider (78-82 MPH) which has a 10-to-4 break to it, and a heavy change.
The ability to control his pitches as well as missing bats at higher levels could move him from a starting role to the bullpen, where his deception and his pitch selection could make for a valuable addition to a pitching staff.
The Red Sox may not be quite as bountiful as it once was, but don’t be deceived – there is plenty of talent in the Minor Leagues.