Mayer, Casas, Duran rep Sox in new Top 100

Schwarber to play the field soon; Bogaerts reaches 20-homer mark

August 21st, 2021

BOSTON -- Having the fourth overall pick in the 2021 Draft gave the Red Sox the No. 9 prospect in MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 midseason rankings.

, a 6-foot-3 shortstop taken with the club’s highest pick in 54 years, provided the Red Sox the top-rated Draft prospect when he fell right into their spot.

Mayer, an 18-year-old, left-handed hitter with raw power, is known as a plus defender who makes most plays look easy. He’s currently playing for the team’s Rookie-level club in Fort Myers, Fla.

, a 6-foot-4 power-hitting first baseman at Double-A Portland and one of two other Top 100 prospects in Boston's system after Mayer, ranked 18th. His stock rose after a strong showing at the Tokyo Olympics during which he helped the United States win silver. He led Team USA with three home runs and eight RBIs, and all three of his homers put them ahead.

Casas, 21, entered Friday hitting .280 with six homers and 35 RBIs with Portland. He has power to all fields, which he showed with a double high off the wall to left-center in Portland on Tuesday night.

Taken in the 2018 Draft at 26th overall, Casas ranked second in extra-base hits (49), third in homers (19) and fourth in slugging (.472) in the Class A South Atlantic League when he was 19.

Boston's other Top 100 prospect is outfielder , who is currently with the Major League club. The No. 26 overall prospect, a seventh-round pick out of Long Beach State in 2018, is known for his speed, but he’s struggled at the plate, sometimes looking overmatched against breaking balls and chasing too many high fastballs. Duran will need to cut down on his swings and misses to let his speed be an asset.

Red Sox coaches were working with him about four hours before Friday night's series opener against the Rangers at Fenway Park.

“This is a tough league, it’s not an easy league,” manager Alex Cora said. “It’s hard to hit at this level, there’s some growing pains. We do believe this guy can have an impact at this level.

“Obviously, there are some things we want him to work on to add to his game. Today, we were out there bunting. I think Jarren can take advantage of his speed and put pressure on the opposition.”

Duran entered Friday batting .222 with two homers and eight RBIs in 24 games, with 32 strikeouts in 81 at-bats since being called up in mid-July.

So, as the Red Sox look to rebuild their farm system under chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom, they have a couple of highly ranked players at the top.

Schwarber in the field soon
Cora deployed Kyle Schwarber as the DH in Friday night’s 6-0 win over the Rangers. J.D. Martinez played left field.

The skipper said Schwarber’s close to playing the outfield and worked out some at first base before the game.

He went 2-for-2 with two walks and a double high off the Green Monster.

“The at-bats from Kyle were amazing, controlling the strike zone,” Cora said.

Schwarber, acquired from the Nationals the day before the Trade Deadline on July 29, missed six weeks with a right hamstring strain and didn’t make his debut with the Red Sox until two weeks after the trade. 

“We feel like this weekend, if everything goes well, he can play in the outfield,” Cora said.

As far as Schwarber at first base, Cora said: “He’s going to learn playing the position.”

Bogey hits 20
Xander Bogaerts hit his 20th homer of the season, a solo shot into the second row of Green Monster seats near the left-field foul pole during a three-run fifth inning.

It’s the third straight full season Bogaerts has hit 20 or more homers, with a career-high 33 in 2019 and 23 in 2018. He hit 11 in last year’s pandemic-shortened season.

“I said it in Spring Training, April, May, June and July, he’s the most consistent person in this organization,” Cora said of his All-Star shortstop.

Bogaerts is just happy things are going well after what he considered a slow start.

“It’s nice,” he said of the 20-homer mark. “I know I started off slowly this year. I have to start stepping up, contribute a little more, play good baseball.”

Bogaerts started with a first-inning RBI single during his 2-for-4 night.