Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Red Sox farm system update

@JimCallisMLB
November 11, 2019

Dave Dombrowski did exactly what the Red Sox hired him to do, delivering the 2018 World Series championship in his third season on the job as president of baseball operations. But ownership's skepticism that he could build a sustainable, cost-efficient contender led to his dismissal in September, just 11 months

Dave Dombrowski did exactly what the Red Sox hired him to do, delivering the 2018 World Series championship in his third season on the job as president of baseball operations. But ownership's skepticism that he could build a sustainable, cost-efficient contender led to his dismissal in September, just 11 months later.

Boston won last year's title thanks in large part to a homegrown core that included Matt Barnes, Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Rafael Devers and Christian Vázquez -- all of whom were signed before Dombrowski's arrival in August 2015. The Red Sox had baseball's top-rated farm system at that time, but it has thinned considerably since those players graduated to Fenway Park and other prospects were sacrificed in blockbuster trades for Craig Kimbrel and Chris Sale and smaller deals for World Series heroes Nathan Eovaldi and Steve Pearce.

State of the System
AL East BAL, BOS, NYY, TB, TOR
NL East ATL, MIA, NYM, PHI, WSH
AL Central CLE, CWS, DET, KC, MIN
NL Central CHC, CIN, MIL, PIT, STL
AL West HOU, LAA, OAK, SEA, TEX
NL West ARI, COL, LAD, SD, SF
Division Team

Though Boston features just one Top 100 Prospect in first baseman Triston Casas, that doesn't mean it's bereft of talent. Michael Chavis and Darwinzon Hernandez arrived in the big leagues this year and should take on expanded roles in 2020. Third baseman Bobby Dalbec and right-handers Tanner Houck and Bryan Mata could add some youth next season, but most of the organization's best prospects are a few years from making a difference.

As the Red Sox try to rebuild their system, they've found several intriguing talents on the cheap. Outfielder Jarren Duran and right-hander Thad Ward blew away expectations in their first full pro seasons after getting selected in the middle rounds of the 2018 Draft. Righty Noah Song had a first-round arm, but lasted four rounds this June amid concerns about his U.S. Navy service commitment. Speedy center fielder Gilberto Jimenez signed for just $10,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2017.

TOP FIVE PROSPECTS

1) Triston Casas, 1B (No. 85 on Top 100)
2) Bobby Dalbec, 3B/1B
3) Bryan Mata, RHP
4) Jarren Duran, OF
5) Tanner Houck, RHP

Complete Top 30 list »

HITTING & PITCHING PROSPECTS OF THE YEAR

Triston Casas, 1B/3B (No. 1): After an injury-shortened debut, the 2018 first-rounder showed off his power by ranking among the Class A South Atlantic League leaders in extra-base hits (49, second), homers (19, third), slugging (.472, fourth), RBIs (78, fifth), OPS (.821, sixth) and total bases (199, seventh) at age 19.

Thad Ward, RHP (No. 8): Transitioning from college reliever to pro starter, the 2018 fifth-rounder had a streak of 34 2/3 innings without an earned run in May and June and went 8-5 with a 2.14 ERA (eighth in the Minors), 157 strikeouts and a .197 opponent average in 126 1/3 innings. More »

STOCK UP/DOWN

green up arrow Thad Ward, RHP (No. 8): His stuff kicked up a notch in his first full pro season, and he now sports the best slider in the system as well as a 92-96 mph fastball with sink and an effective changeup.

red down arrow Mike Shawaryn, RHP (No. 22): He reached Boston three years after turning pro, but a 9.74 ERA and .987 opponent OPS in 14 big league relief appearances casts doubt on his ceiling.

NEW ADDITIONS

Draft: Matthew Lugo, SS, 2nd round (No. 13); Cameron Cannon, SS/2B, 2nd round (No. 14); Noah Song, RHP, 4th round (No. 15); Ryan Zeferjahn, RHP, 3rd round (No. 21); Jaxx Groshans, C, 5th round. Complete Draft list »

International: Chih-Jung Liu, RHP (No. 16); Juan Chacon, OF

Though Boston didn't have a first-round pick in June -- their top choice moved down 10 spots as a penalty for exceeding the luxury tax -- Lugo did generate that kind of buzz with the potential for four solid tools and raw power to match. If not for his pending military service, Song might have gone in the first round after leading NCAA Division I in strikeout rate (15.4 per nine innings) thanks to a 92-98 mph fastball and a slider that's a wipeout pitch at its best.

2020 IMPACT PROSPECT

Bobby Dalbec, 3B/1B (No. 2): Devers isn't going to surrender the third-base job, but Dalbec has light-tower power (59 homers in the last two seasons), a cannon arm and the ability to fill Boston's hole at first base.

BEST TOOLS

Hit: C.J. Chatham
Power: Bobby Dalbec
Run: Jarren Duran
Arm: Bobby Dalbec
Field: Gilberto Jimenez
Best athlete: Jarren Duran
Fastball: Yoan Aybar
Curveball: Jay Groome
Slider: Thad Ward
Changeup: Brayan Bello
Control: Denyi Reyes

HOW THE TOP 30 WAS BUILT

Draft: 21
International: 8
Trade: 1

The Red Sox's last three first-rounders -- Casas (2018), Houck (2017) and left-hander Jay Groome (2016) -- rank among their six best prospects. They have high hopes for a 2017 international class that includes Jimenez, shortstop Antoni Flores, third baseman Danny Diaz and right-hander Brayan Bello.

TOP 30 BY POSITION

1B: 1
3B: 4
SS: 4
OF: 4
LHP: 3
RHP: 14

Led by Dalbec, the Red Sox feature four third basemen on their Top 30, tied with the Dodgers and Rockies for the most in baseball. Boston is one of just four organizations without a catcher on their Top 30.

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly MLB Pipeline Podcast.