Photo Credit: Portland Press Herald / John Ewing
Despite having one of the weaker farms in Major League Baseball, there are still a few guys left in the system that Red Sox fans can be excited about.
The current top five in the Red Sox system, according to MLB Pipeline, are Michael Chavis, Jay Groome, Triston Casas, Bryan Mata, and Tanner Houck. These are the usual suspects brought up when discussing Sox prospects, but in this piece we’ll dive into a few lesser-known prospects that deserve some recognition.
To start off, we take a huge jump outside the top five prospects in the system as we examine the sixth ranked prospect in the system, Bobby Dalbec.
I’ll admit, this guy isn’t very “under the radar.” However, for a top six prospect in our system, Dalbec doesn’t get nearly enough attention. Many analysts acknowledge a large gap between the top five Red Sox prospects and the rest of the field; however Dalbec has been single-handedly closing that gap since the beginning of this season.
Starting the year off in Salem, Dalbec set the single-season homerun record for the Salem Red Sox, blasting 25 HR in 99 games with the team. Since then, he’s been promoted to Portland and has continued to hit the ball well. In 16 games so far, he’s slashing .298/.388/.649 with 5 HR and an OPS over 1.000. With a plus-plus raw power rating, he boasts the most power potential in the system, and possibly the most power we’ve ever seen come through this system. If he can continue raking at the minor league level, Dalbec could be MLB ready within the next year or two.
Making a slightly larger jump in the prospect rankings, 12th ranked prospect Durbin Feltman is a guy that could be MLB ready as soon as 2019. That’s right, the Red Sox 2018 3rd round pick could make his Major League debut next season.
Touted as the best closer in college baseball during his time at TCU, Feltman has been lights out at every level he’s pitched. He started his journey in Lowell, where he threw four scoreless, and hitless, innings while striking out seven batters. This quickly earned him a promotion to Greenville, where he threw seven innings while accumulating 14 strikeouts, three saves, and posting a 2.57 ERA. He currently resides in Salem, where he’s throw 6.2 innings, allowed only one run, and has rung up seven batters.
Though hitters have been seeing him slightly better at the High-A level, Feltman likely won’t stay in Salem for long. Equipped with s fastball topping out at 99 mph and a hard biting slider, Feltman shows potential to be a late-inning relief pitcher for the Red Sox. At the rate he’s been climbing through this system, there’s a good possibility he’ll be coming out of the bullpen at Fenway next season.
While MLB Pipeline left him off their list, the guys over at SoxProspects.com rank Jarren Duran as the number 20 prospect in the Sox’ farm. Like Feltman, Duran is another 2018 Draft Pick that has transitioned very well into the system.
He started his Red Sox career with the Spinners, where he slashed .348/.393/.548 with a .941 OPS and 11 stolen bases in 37 games. This earned him a promotion to Greenville, where he’s currently slashing .389/.413/.472 with 8 stolen bases in 17 games.
His best tool is his plus-plus speed and, while he only has two homeruns, his speed gives him the ability to stretch singles into doubles and doubles into triples. Therefore, his higher SLG% mainly derives from his great speed, as opposed to raw power. He played 2B in college, but he’s recently been transitioning to the outfield, where his speed can be fully utilized. Towards the end of his stint with Lowell, he played a lot of CF, and has played strictly RF since his promotion to Greenville.
It will be interesting to see if he can make a smooth transition to the OF from 2B. Scouts have noted a slow first step as something he already needs to work on. However, he has plenty of time to develop as an outfielder. In fact, the Red Sox have a player on their roster now who made the transition to OF from 2B, Mr. Mookie Betts.
Duran will be an interesting guy to watch as he climbs through the system. If he can continue to put up good slash lines and steal bases, he has the ability to turn into a highly-rated prospect and an effective MLB player.
Hear more about these prospects – and others – in the most recent version of the Sox Sphere pod!