As the trade deadline approaches the Red Sox will likely be on the outside looking in when it comes to acquiring a big-time impact player.
The idea of acquiring a big name player is a tempting proposition for the Boston Red Sox, but large trades over the past season will hinder the acquisition discussions.
The Red Sox farm system was recently ranked as the 24th system in baseball by Baseball America. Despite the notion that the farm system has been entirely uprooted by the aggressiveness of Dave Dombrowski, there is plenty of talent within the Boston pipeline.
Here’s a look at the projected Top 10 prospects in the organization headed into the 2019 season, based on performance and projection at the midway point of 2018.
** Prospects that have spent time with the Major League club like Jalen Beeks, Sam Travis, Tzu-Wei Lin are not on the list due the projected loss of prospect eligibility headed into the 2019 season. **
1. Michael Chavis, 3B:
Chavis lost some of his prospect shine when he was hit with an 80-game PED suspension at the start of the 2018 season. He’s still an impact bat and is the closest of the Red Sox prospects to making an impact at the MLB level. The power hitting infielder has returned from his suspension and is shaking off rust in Portland before likely being promoted to Pawtucket for the remainder of the season.
If there was a blockbuster trade, it is likely that Chavis would be included.
2. Triston Casas, 3B/1B:
The Red Sox 2018 first round pick will not play at all this season after tearing ligaments in his thumb during his first professional game. He is projected to be ready for Spring Training and possesses the type of raw power that the organization was desperately lacking headed into the 2018 draft.
It is worth noting that 2018 Draft Picks may not be traded until next season, but Casas is likely to remain in a Red Sox uniform for the foreseeable future.
3. Durbin Feltman, RP:
Feltman, the Red Sox third round pick in 2018, was a college closer at TCU who is already close to Major League ready. If the Sox are unable to land an impact reliever at the deadline, Feltman may get a chance to audition for some high leverage big league innings this season. The TCU product has allowed one run between Lowell and Greenville.
Whether Feltman makes the big leagues this season, or not, many analysts believe that he has the makeup to become the closer-of-the-future in Boston.
4. C.J. Chatham, SS:
Chatham is finally healthy after undergoing surgery on his shoulder that cost him much of 2017 and limited him to DH duties in the early part of 2018. He’s producing offensively, hitting .325 and has 25 walks against only 36 K’s at the High-A level. He’s also 6 of 7 in stolen base attempts.
The former second round pick has the upside that an inquiring team would pursue in any trade package.
5. Bryan Mata, SP:
Mata is still just 19 years old, and is one of the youngest starting pitchers at the High-A level. He has a plus fastball and 2 secondary pitches that are useful now and are developing into plus pitches in their own right. He’s currently 5-2 with a 3.14 ERA, but is having trouble with consistency in the strike zone, as evidenced by his 50 walks against 56 K’s.
The young starter has some of the highest upside of any prospect in the Red Sox system, as he was rewarded with a trip to the Future’s All Star game. He will compete for the best young pitcher in the Sox system this season.
6. Jay Groome, SP:
Groome will not pitch again this season and will likely miss all of 2019 while recovering from Tommy John elbow surgery. The Red Sox patience was rewarded when the promising lefty fell to their pick in the 2016 draft and despite injury, Groome will be a mere 21 years old when he returns to the mound.
It is certainly possible that a trade partner would include Groome in any discussions, but Dombrowski will likely try to retain one of his only blue chip prospects.
7. Bobby Dalbec, 1B/3B:
Dalbec has been an intriguing name in the Red Sox organization the past few years. He’s displayed big time raw power, but strikeouts have been a big problem for him.
The University of Arizona prospect is an interesting name as he’s 23 years old and still in Single A, despite warranting a promotion. Dalbec’s stock is rapidly rising and his 23 homeruns have done nothing to slow that notion down. If there’s a larger trade, expect Dalbec to be included.
8. Tanner Houck, SP:
The 2017 first round pick has struggled with his control, having walked over 50 hitters in Salem this season. The Red Sox tweaked Houck’s mechanics in an effort to boost velocity, but have recently allowed the Missouri product to return to his prior mechanics.
The good news is, opposing hitters are struggling to hit the righty, but his walk rate is something that will need to be addressed in order to see his stock truly rise. At this point, it is unlikely that a prospective team would pursue Houck despite his untapped potential.
9. Josh Ockimey, 1B:
Ockimey is a consistent hitter that projects to grow into some power. The first baseman currently resides in Portland and was rewarded with a trip to the MLB Spring Training camp on multiple occasions before the season started.
10. Cole Brannen, OF:
Brannen makes the list mostly on potential at this point. His athleticism is among the best in the system, and at just 19 years old, he’ll have some time to translate it into in game production. He’s currently hitting .242 in Lowell and has stolen 8 bases in 9 attempts.
Potential is a large part of prospect evaluation and it may catch the eye of another team.