Baseball America’s ongoing Top 100 Prospect rankings have been updated for July. The Boston Red Sox now feature three of the game’s elite prospects
There are many sites that rate MLB’s top prospects. Keith Law of ESPN is a respected prospect insider, and compiles and ranks prospects for “The Worldwide Leader in Sports’. MLB.com has their own list dedicated to ranking the wave of impact big leaguers with the “MLB Pipeline”, and others such a Baseball Prospectus and FanGraphs put together respectable lists.
The industry standard for prospect rankings is Baseball America. They’ve been focusing on baseball’s future at the minor league level since 1990, and are the first of the prospect ranking companies to use the 20-80 scouting scale to break down all aspects of a potential Major Leaguer’s game. Coming into 2019, the Boston Red Sox had a farm system ranked dead last in the organizational standings, and did not have a single player crack the Baseball America Top 100 (Note: They also had zero in ESPN’s top 100, and MLB Pipeline had Michael Chavis at #79), but as we move into the second half of the 2019 season, there’s been a shift in the rankings and things are trending upward for the Sox.
As reported here in SoxSphere about a month ago, the Red Sox landed two 2018 draftee’s- first rounder Triston Casas, and seventh round pick Jarren Duran- in Baseball America’s Mid-Season Top 100 Prospects Update. In today’s “July Update”, they’re joined by AA Portland slugger, Bobby Dalbec. For Dalbec, the recognition as one of the games premier power hitting prospects is expected, if not a little delayed. While he didn’t make the preseason Top 100, Baseball America did rate him as the organization’s top prospect headed into 2019. He finished 2018 with 32HR/109 RBI/.919 OPS in 129 games in two levels of minor league play.
Dalbec’s 2019 numbers don’t jump off the page. His .242 batting average does raise some questions as to whether or not he’ll be able to hit consistently enough outside of the home runs to be a productive everyday player, but he’s walked 52 times in his first 75 games this season, producing an eye-catching .370 OBP. The ability to control the strike zone with outstanding pitch recognition, and take a walk, plays well in today’s Major League game. His calling card, however, is the power. Baseball America rates his power as a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale, and his 17 home runs lead the entire Red Sox organization to this point of the season. While the July prospect ranking we’re likely done before yesterday’s games, Dalbec put an exclamation point on his new found prospect status, opening July with a 2-homer game, homering in consecutive games for the third time this season.
The Red Sox now feature three of Baseball Americ’a Top 100 Prospects, with Casis checking in at #90, Duran at #93, and Dalbec at #98. The emergence of Dalbec could make the transition away from Mitch Moreland and Steve Pearce, who both will become free agents at the end of the season, much easier, both from the standpoint of finding a replacement, and from the financial side, as young, controllable players like Dalbec can free up some money to improve the team in other areas as the organization looks for some financial relief after being over the luxury tax in each of the past two seasons.
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