Casas, Downs among Sox non-roster invitees

Boston announces 22 NRIs heading to big league camp this spring

February 13th, 2021

The Red Sox announced Friday that they have added 22 non-roster invitees to their Major League Spring Training roster for 2021. Among them are first baseman Triston Casas, the No. 44 overall prospect in baseball per MLB Pipeline, and infielder Jeter Downs (No. 49 overall).

Other top prospects in Boston's farm system who will be in camp are outfielder Jarren Duran (the club's No. 8 prospect), right-hander Thad Ward (No. 9), second baseman Nick Yorke (No. 11) and right-hander Frank German (No. 27).

The Red Sox selected Casas with the No. 26 overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft. The 21-year-old first baseman has a big frame -- he's 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds -- and has demonstrated both raw power and an advanced hitting approach at the plate. In 120 games between Class A Greenville and Class A Advanced Salem in 2019, he slashed .256/.350/.480 with 20 home runs and 81 RBIs.

Downs, 22, has already been in three organizations -- he was drafted by the Reds in 2017, traded to the Dodgers in the deal that sent Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Alex Wood and Kyle Farmer to Cincinnati in '18, and dealt to Boston in the deal that sent Mookie Betts and David Price to Los Angeles in '20.

Downs, who was named after Derek Jeter, hit .276/.362/.526 in 119 games between Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Tulsa in 2019, and he has moved through farm systems rapidly enough that he could be given an opportunity in the Majors this year.

Duran, 24, was a seventh-round selection by Boston in the 2018 MLB Draft, and after a strong '19 campaign, he could be in the center-field mix sometime this season. He was red-hot over 50 games for Class A Advanced Salem in '19, batting .387/.456/.543 with four homers and 18 steals. He struggled a bit after a promotion to Double-A Portland, but a strong Spring Training could go a long way toward assuring he'll make his MLB debut in 2021.

Ward, 24, was a fifth-round selection of the Red Sox in the 2018 MLB Draft. The right-hander had a sensational season between Class A Greenville and Class A Advanced Salem in '19, posting a 2.14 ERA and a 30-percent strikeout rate in 25 starts.

Boston selected Yorke with the No. 17 overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft out of Archbishop Mitty High School (San Jose, Calif.). There's a strong sense in the organization that he'll become an elite hitter at the Major League level, and he held his own at the club's alternate training site last year. The 18-year-old infielder played shortstop in high school, but after undergoing surgery on his throwing shoulder, he may be ticketed for second base.

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German, 23, was selected in the fourth round of the 2018 MLB Draft by the Yankees and was traded to the Red Sox, along with reliever Adam Ottavino, in January. In 16 appearances (15 starts) for Class A Advanced Tampa in 2019, he finished with a 3.79 ERA and 1.38 WHIP.

Josh Winckowski, who was acquired by Boston in the Andrew Benintendi trade on Wednesday, has also been added to the spring roster. The 22-year-old right-hander was a 15th-round pick of the Blue Jays in the 2016 MLB Draft. He owns a 3.35 ERA over four Minor League seasons, including a strong 2019, in which he posted a 2.69 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in 24 appearances (23 starts) between Class A Lansing and Class A Advanced Dunedin.

Here's the full list of the 22 non-roster invitees added to the Red Sox's Spring Training roster on Friday:

Right-handed pitchers
Matt Carasiti, Durbin Feltman, Frank German, Daniel Gossett, Zac Grotz, Kaleb Ort, Andrew Politi, Thad Ward, Ryan Weber, Josh Winckowski.

Left-handed pitchers
Matt Hall, Kyle Hart

Catchers
Kole Cottam, Chris Herrmann, Austin Rei.

Infielders
Triston Casas, Chad De La Guerra, Jeter Downs, Nick Yorke.

Outfielders
Jarren Duran, Michael Gettys, Yairo Muñoz.