As the minor league seasons wrap up, the Red Sox are deciding what to do with their top talent in the farm system.
Per recent rule changes, teams can no longer expand their rosters up to 40 players in September. The new rules state that all teams must expand their roster to 28 players, meaning that intriguing prospects that are in the higher levels of the minor leagues might not get an opportunity to show the big league club what they have to offer in the seasons final month. Such is the case with the Boston Red Sox.
The Arizona Fall League has long been a hotbed for the game’s elite prospects. It’s a showcase for prospects of all levels of the minors, and is made up of six teams that play in spring training complexes in Arizona. Some of the games brightest young stars – Pete Alonso, Vlad Guerrero Jr, Ronald Acuna Jr. and Cody Bellinger– have showcased their immense talents in the AFL ahead of making their Major League debuts in recent years.
The Boston Red Sox will send six prospects to the AFL in 2019. Pitchers Tanner Houck, Yoan Aybar, and Bryan Mata will be joined by shortstop, C.J. Chatham, and outfielders Marcus Wilson and Jarren Duran on the Peoria Javelinas roster.
While the AFL has historically been a league that features the top prospects in the game, two of the Sox most highly rated prospects, corner infielders, Bobby Dalbec and Triston Casas are notable omissions. In the case of Dalbec, his ascent from AA to AAA, and his subsequent success at the higher level, may lead to a taste of Major League action in the form of a September call-up. For Casas, being left off the AFL roster probably has more to do with managing his workload. The 2018 first round pick is finishing his first full professional season, after being shut down with an injury shortly after being drafted in 2018.
There’s potential foreshadowing in the case of Tanner Houck, as Rob Bradford of WEEI, mentioned that the former first round pick would be showcased a starter. He was moved to the bullpen at the midseason point; however the removal of Rick Porcello from the Sox rotation may leave an open vacancy for the rising talent of Houck, or even Mike Shawaryn.