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These are the 5 AL East prospects to watch

MLB.com

The 2018 MLB Draft is less than two weeks away, which means the focus will soon shift to the next generation of talent, but there are already some top prospects knocking on the door in the American League East.

As part of MLB.com's weekly series that dives into some of the biggest storylines within the division, here's a closer look at some prospects who deserve some of your attention.

The 2018 MLB Draft is less than two weeks away, which means the focus will soon shift to the next generation of talent, but there are already some top prospects knocking on the door in the American League East.

As part of MLB.com's weekly series that dives into some of the biggest storylines within the division, here's a closer look at some prospects who deserve some of your attention.

Video: BAL@TB: Harvey K's three in Spring Training debut

ORIOLES
Prospect:
Hunter Harvey, RHP
MLB Pipeline rank: No. 3 (Orioles)
Why you should keep an eye on him: The Orioles are going through a tough time, and there isn't much on the horizon in the Minor League system when it comes to top-flight pitching. Harvey could be an exception. The son of former All-Star closer Bryan Harvey, Hunter was terrific in his 2014 full-season debut, earning a spot in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at just 19, roughly one year after Baltimore had selected him with the 22nd overall pick in the '13 Draft. But elbow issues slowed Harvey's progress, and he missed part of '14 and all of '15 before ultimately undergoing Tommy John surgery in June 2016. Harvey finally returned to the mound last July, and he looked like his old self while excelling across three levels. His injury history aside, Harvey remains loaded with upside. Now a member of the Orioles' 40-man roster, he has already made a trip to Baltimore (thought he didn't get into a game), and he could still achieve his projection as a solid MLB starter -- an area of need for the O's.
ETA: Harvey will be back in orange and black this season, his debut a much-anticipated event among Orioles faithful.

Video: NEU@BOS: Beeks whiffs Geaslen for his third K

RED SOX
Prospect:
Jalen Beeks, LHP
MLB Pipeline rank: No. 15 (Red Sox)
Why you should keep an eye on him: Beeks has been electric for Triple-A Pawtucket this season, posting a 2.28 ERA in nine starts and striking out 65 in 43 1/3 innings.
ETA: As soon as this season. If the Red Sox have an injury in the rotation, Beeks could be the next man up. A 12th-round Draft pick in 2014, Beeks has progressed steadily in his time in the farm system.

Video: NYY@PHI: Sheffield whiffs Joseph in the 3rd

YANKEES
Prospect: Justus Sheffield, LHP
MLB Pipeline rank: No. 3 (Yankees), No. 44 (MLB)
Why you should keep an eye on him: Sheffield recently earned a promotion to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after posting a 2.25 ERA in five starts at Double-A Trenton, where he struck out 39 against 14 walks in 28 innings. Though he is still working on refining his command, Sheffield's three-pitch mix continues to excite the Yankees, who project him as a mid-rotation starter in the near future. Sheffield has served a brief stint on the seven-day disabled list with shoulder tightness, but he is set to return to action this week. A prize of the July 2016 Andrew Miller trade with the Indians, Sheffield could be an option for the big league squad this summer.
ETA: *Sheffield could get his first call to the Majors some time* this season.

Video: Callis on why Guerrero Jr. has not been called up yet

BLUE JAYS
Prospect:
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B
MLB Pipeline rank: No. 1 (Blue Jays), No. 2 (MLB)
Why you should keep an eye on him: Guerrero arguably is the Blue Jays' most hyped prospect of all-time, and there is a real expectation that he will develop into one of the best players in baseball. Double-A pitchers have been no match for the Dominican native, who has a ridiculous .425/.479/.694 slash line and 45 RBIs in 41 games. It has been almost too easy for the son of a Hall of Famer, and even at just 19 years of age, his bat appears to be big league-ready.
ETA: Most people would say 2018, but the Blue Jays are taking a very cautious approach here. Guerrero is all but assured of having a stint at Triple-A Buffalo before making the jump to the Major Leagues. That means his arrival in Toronto is not going to happen any time soon, and there's still a very real chance he won't be promoted until late April of next year.

Video: Must C Classic: Adames hits HR off Sale for first hit

RAYS
Prospect: Willy Adames, SS
MLB Pipeline rank: No. 2 (Rays), No. 22 (MLB)
Why you should keep an eye on him: Farm director Mitch Lukevics has long said that Adames has the "It" factor. He has succeeded at every level since coming to the Rays in a 2014 trade that sent David Price to the Tigers. Adames has a slick glove, he hits for average and he hits for power.
ETA: The Rays brought him up Monday, though they've already said he will be returned to Triple-A Durham, even though he homered in his first Major League game. He shouldn't be back down in the Minors for long.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles, Tampa Bay Rays, Willy Adames, Jalen Beeks, Hunter Harvey, Justus Sheffield

Groome to undergo Tommy John surgery

MLB.com

NEW YORK -- Top Red Sox pitching prospect Jay Groome won't pitch at all in 2018. Instead, the talented 19-year-old will undergo Tommy John surgery on his left elbow next Tuesday in Los Angeles.

The procedure will be performed by Dr. Neal El Attrache at the Kerlan-Jobe Institute.

View Full Game Coverage

NEW YORK -- Top Red Sox pitching prospect Jay Groome won't pitch at all in 2018. Instead, the talented 19-year-old will undergo Tommy John surgery on his left elbow next Tuesday in Los Angeles.

The procedure will be performed by Dr. Neal El Attrache at the Kerlan-Jobe Institute.

View Full Game Coverage

The 6-foot-6 lefty was Boston's first-round pick in the 2016 Draft, taken No. 12 overall. He's currently ranked the organization's No. 2 prospect by MLB Pipeline (but their No. 1 pitching prospect), as well as the No. 85 overall prospect in baseball.

Due to injuries, Groome has made just 17 starts since being drafted, going 3-9 with a 5.69 ERA.

The New Jersey native spent the offseason working out with Red Sox lefty ace Chris Sale in Fort Myers, Fla.

Sale is a big believer in Groome and has expressed the hope numerous times they will one day pitch in the same rotation.

"It's been fun," said Sale earlier this year. "He's done a really good job. It's fun to see. He's young and this is his first go at it. I'm just trying to get him prepared and show him, 'Hey, this is what it takes to get through a big league season.' He's got all the tools you can possibly ask for. That guy is an animal. Just trying to give him some ins and outs and try to get him here sooner rather than later."

Video: Sale talks about being a mentor to Jay Groome

The general timetable for pitchers coming back from Tommy John surgery is 12-18 months.

Groome is seen as having frontline starter potential. In his time in the Minors, Groome's fastball has been sitting in the low 90s, although he hit 97 mph as an amateur. His best pitch, though, is his power curveball, which was the consensus best breaking ball of anyone in his Draft class.

Many pitchers make a full recovery from Tommy John surgery and some even throw harder when they return.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox

Red Sox prospect Chavis suspended for PEDs

MLB.com

BOSTON -- Top Red Sox prospect Michael Chavis was hoping to spend the early part of the season completing his development and perhaps earning a trip to Fenway Park at some point in the summer.

However, those plans have taken a major hit as the slugging corner infielder was suspended 80 games for violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program on Friday.

BOSTON -- Top Red Sox prospect Michael Chavis was hoping to spend the early part of the season completing his development and perhaps earning a trip to Fenway Park at some point in the summer.

However, those plans have taken a major hit as the slugging corner infielder was suspended 80 games for violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program on Friday.

Chavis, ranked No. 1 among Red Sox prospects and 80th overall by MLB Pipeline, tested positive for Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone, a PED.

"The Boston Red Sox fully support Major League Baseball and the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program," the Red Sox said in a statement. "While we are disappointed by the news of this violation, we will look to provide the appropriate support to Michael. Going forward, the club will not comment further on the matter."

In a lengthy tweet he posted after the suspension was announced, Chavis said he was unsure how the substance got into his system.

Tweet from @MichaelChavis11: Please see my personal statement on today's news... pic.twitter.com/LihaObpzOf

"Over the past several months, I have been searching for an answer as to how a prohibited substance I have never heard of, DHMCT, was detected in my urine during the offseason," Chavis tweeted. "It is a question that unfortunately has not been answered, and I have run out of time for now to find an answer. As hopeless as this is for me, I am faced with the reality that maybe I never will. The only thing I do know is that I would never, and have never, purposely taken any prohibited substance in my entire life."

Chavis was also apologetic.

"I also want to apologize for the negative attention brought to myself, my family, the Red Sox, our fans and everyone who supports me," Chavis said in his tweet.

In the 2014 Draft, the Red Sox took the right-handed-hitting third baseman in the first round, 26th overall.

A pull hitter with a swing designed for Fenway Park, Chavis had a breakthrough 2017 season split between Class A Advanced Salem and Double-A Portland, slashing .282/.347/.563 with 31 homers and 94 RBIs.

Chavis was invited to Major League camp for the first time this Spring Training, but he couldn't play after injuring his oblique a few days before Grapefruit League games started.

A third baseman for most of his Minor League career, Chavis gained comfort after last season playing first base in the Arizona Fall League. The plan for this season was that Chavis would play both positions to increase his value to the Red Sox.

It remains to be seen how much the suspension will impact the timetable of Chavis eventually getting promoted to the Major Leagues.

The Red Sox currently have Hanley Ramirez and Mitch Moreland at first base with Rafael Devers at third and J.D. Martinez as the designated hitter.

Though there was no immediate need for Chavis in Boston, he offered an intriguing option if someone got injured or underperformed. Chavis is without question the top power bat in the Red Sox's Minor League system.

With Chavis out of the picture for a while, Sam Travis, ranked No. 5 among Sox prospects by MLB Pipeline, is another power bat the Red Sox could call on if a need arises.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox

Poyner notches first big league victory

With game on line, prospect fans three over two innings
MLB.com

BOSTON -- For Red Sox lefty reliever Bobby Poyner, Thursday was momentous as soon as he walked to the bullpen for the start of the home opener at Fenway Park.

Poyner, who is ranked the club's No. 23 prospect by MLB Pipeline, had only been to games at Fenway Park as a spectator. And now he was here as the 25-year-old rookie who made the team out of Spring Training after spending all of last season with Double-A Portland.

View Full Game Coverage

BOSTON -- For Red Sox lefty reliever Bobby Poyner, Thursday was momentous as soon as he walked to the bullpen for the start of the home opener at Fenway Park.

Poyner, who is ranked the club's No. 23 prospect by MLB Pipeline, had only been to games at Fenway Park as a spectator. And now he was here as the 25-year-old rookie who made the team out of Spring Training after spending all of last season with Double-A Portland.

View Full Game Coverage

But the day just kept getting more special. Red Sox manager Alex Cora went to Poyner with the game tied heading into the 11th, and the reliever came up with six big outs, three of them on strikeouts.

Let the record show that Poyner was the winning pitcher in a game the Red Sox downed the Rays, 3-2, on Hanley Ramirez's walk-off single to deep right in the 12th inning.

"Today was awesome," said Poyner after his first career win. "Like I said, just building on each outing, keep improving, keep working on my pitches."

Cora became impressed by Poyner early in Spring Training, and he liked him even more once he saw how nothing rattled him.

Poyner has pitched in four of Boston's first seven games, giving up one run over 4 2/3 innings.

The fact that Poyner was the choice in those last two extra innings says something when the Red Sox still had a couple of experienced options available in Joe Kelly and Matt Barnes.

"He's a guy with the fastball throwing 89 [mph], 90 [mph], and he can get people out and the changeup," said Cora. "We've been talking to him about using the changeup against lefties, and he's been doing a better job. He's a good pitcher, tough to pick up the ball. In an era when we talk about pitching vertical, he does an outstanding job."

Poyner had experienced Fenway before, but Thursday's experience took it to another level.

"I mean, any time I think you're at Fenway Park, whether you're in the stands or whatever, I think it's a totally different intensity," Poyner said. "It was incredible. It was awesome."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox, Bobby Poyner

Where Red Sox's Top 30 prospects are starting season

MLB.com

With the 2018 season getting started, here's a look at where the Red Sox's Top 30 prospects are starting the season:

1. Michael Chavis (MLB No. 80), 3B -- Portland Sea Dogs (AA) -- DL
2. Jay Groome (MLB No. 85), LHP -- Greenville Drive (A) -- DL
3. Tanner Houck, RHP -- Salem Red Sox (A Adv)
4. Bryan Mata, RHP -- Salem Red Sox (A Adv)
5. Sam Travis, 1B -- Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA)
6. Cole Brannen, OF -- Greenville Drive (A)
7. Darwinzon Hernandez, LHP -- Salem Red Sox (A Adv)
8. Alex Scherff, RHP -- Greenville Drive (A)
9. Mike Shawaryn, RHP -- Portland Sea Dogs (AA)
10. C.J. Chatham, SS -- Greenville Drive (A)
11. Josh Ockimey, 1B -- Portland Sea Dogs (AA) -- DL
12. Bobby Dalbec, 3B -- Salem Red Sox (A Adv)
13. Jake Thompson, RHP -- Greenville Drive (A)
14. Danny Diaz, 3B -- Extended spring training -- Dominican Republic
15. Jalen Beeks, LHP -- Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA)
16. Travis Lakins, RHP -- Portland Sea Dogs (AA) -- DL
17. Antoni Flores, SS -- Extended spring training -- Dominican Republic
18. Pedro Castellanos, 1B -- Greenville Drive (A)
19. Brett Netzer, 2B -- Salem Red Sox (A Adv)
20. Tyler Esplin, OF -- Extended spring training
21. Austin Maddox, RHP -- Boston Red Sox (MLB) -- DL
22. Roniel Raudes, RHP -- Salem Red Sox (A Adv)
23. Bobby Poyner, LHP -- Boston Red Sox (MLB)
24. Tzu-Wei Lin, INF/OF -- Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA)
25. Chad de la Guerra, SS/2B -- Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA)
26. Chandler Shepherd, RHP -- Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA)
27. Wiliams Jerez, LHP -- Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA)
28. Joan Martinez, RHP -- Salem Red Sox (A Adv)
29. Ty Buttrey, RHP -- Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA)
30. Jhonathan Diaz, LHP -- Greenville Drive (A)

With the 2018 season getting started, here's a look at where the Red Sox's Top 30 prospects are starting the season:

1. Michael Chavis (MLB No. 80), 3B -- Portland Sea Dogs (AA) -- DL
2. Jay Groome (MLB No. 85), LHP -- Greenville Drive (A) -- DL
3. Tanner Houck, RHP -- Salem Red Sox (A Adv)
4. Bryan Mata, RHP -- Salem Red Sox (A Adv)
5. Sam Travis, 1B -- Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA)
6. Cole Brannen, OF -- Greenville Drive (A)
7. Darwinzon Hernandez, LHP -- Salem Red Sox (A Adv)
8. Alex Scherff, RHP -- Greenville Drive (A)
9. Mike Shawaryn, RHP -- Portland Sea Dogs (AA)
10. C.J. Chatham, SS -- Greenville Drive (A)
11. Josh Ockimey, 1B -- Portland Sea Dogs (AA) -- DL
12. Bobby Dalbec, 3B -- Salem Red Sox (A Adv)
13. Jake Thompson, RHP -- Greenville Drive (A)
14. Danny Diaz, 3B -- Extended spring training -- Dominican Republic
15. Jalen Beeks, LHP -- Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA)
16. Travis Lakins, RHP -- Portland Sea Dogs (AA) -- DL
17. Antoni Flores, SS -- Extended spring training -- Dominican Republic
18. Pedro Castellanos, 1B -- Greenville Drive (A)
19. Brett Netzer, 2B -- Salem Red Sox (A Adv)
20. Tyler Esplin, OF -- Extended spring training
21. Austin Maddox, RHP -- Boston Red Sox (MLB) -- DL
22. Roniel Raudes, RHP -- Salem Red Sox (A Adv)
23. Bobby Poyner, LHP -- Boston Red Sox (MLB)
24. Tzu-Wei Lin, INF/OF -- Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA)
25. Chad de la Guerra, SS/2B -- Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA)
26. Chandler Shepherd, RHP -- Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA)
27. Wiliams Jerez, LHP -- Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA)
28. Joan Martinez, RHP -- Salem Red Sox (A Adv)
29. Ty Buttrey, RHP -- Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA)
30. Jhonathan Diaz, LHP -- Greenville Drive (A)

Red Sox prospect coverage | Red Sox Top 30 prospects stats

Team to watch
High Class A Salem is led by three of the four best pitching prospects in the Red Sox's system: 2017 first-rounder Houck, fellow right-hander Mata and hard-throwing left-hander Hernandez. The best hitter on that roster is Dalbec, who has light-tower power but had his first full pro season in '17 marred by a hamate injury.

Where baseball's top prospects are starting the 2018 season

Teams on MiLB.TV
Pawtucket Red Sox
Portland Sea Dogs
Salem Red Sox
Greenville Drive

New faces
After signing Scherff for a well above slot $700,000 as a fifth-rounder last summer, the Red Sox had him concentrate on strengthening his shoulder rather than make his pro debut. He's now a member of low Class A Greenville's rotation. Diaz and Flores, Venezuelans who signed for seven-figure bonuses last July, will make their pro debuts this summer in Rookie-ball.

On the shelf
Both of Boston's Top 100 Prospects will miss the beginning of the season. Chavis is on the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs disabled list after straining an oblique in February and should return to action soon. Groome is on the Greenville DL with a flexor strain and will begin throwing again in the near future. Ockimey (hamstring) and Lakins (elbow) join Chavis on the Portland DL. Righty Austin Maddox opened the season on the big league disabled list with a shoulder strain.

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

Boston Red Sox

Poyner making case to join Red Sox bullpen

Lefty prospect, who reached Double-A last season, impressing Cora
MLB.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A rare Red Sox prospect who has flown under the radar, lefty reliever Bobby Poyner has emerged as a legitimate candidate to make the team.

It would be an impressive climb for Poyner, who came to camp as a non-roster invitee after splitting last season between Class A Advanced Salem and Double-A Portland. Poyner, 25, was a 14th-round pick by the Red Sox in the 2015 Draft out of the University of Florida.

View Full Game Coverage

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A rare Red Sox prospect who has flown under the radar, lefty reliever Bobby Poyner has emerged as a legitimate candidate to make the team.

It would be an impressive climb for Poyner, who came to camp as a non-roster invitee after splitting last season between Class A Advanced Salem and Double-A Portland. Poyner, 25, was a 14th-round pick by the Red Sox in the 2015 Draft out of the University of Florida.

View Full Game Coverage

"He's in the mix," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. "He's a guy that deception comes into play. He can get lefties and righties. That changeup plays and that fastballs plays, too. His poise on the mound is great."

• Wright not ruling out joining OD rotation

Cora doesn't mind the fact that Poyner has never pitched in Triple-A.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"You look at the numbers and they're impressive. If you can pitch you can pitch. There are a lot of people who have made the jump from Double-A to the big leagues, from A-ball to the big leagues or not play in the Minor Leagues to the big leagues. He understands his craft. He's confident."

Though he did allow an inherited runner to score in Saturday's 4-3 win over the Rays, Poyner bounced back by striking out Carlos Gomez to end the inning.

Poyner, who is ranked No. 23 among Red Sox prospects by MLB Pipeline, doesn't mind the fact he's never gotten much hype. A lot of it has to do with the fact he's not a high-velocity guy.

"I've never really been on any of the prospect lists or anything like that," Poyner said. "Just trying to get outs at every level and go from there."

Poyner joins Robby Scott and Roenis Elias as lefties trying to win a spot in the bullpen. In eight Grapefruit League outings, Poyner has a 1.23 ERA and five strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings.

The numbers Poyner put up at Double-A last year (0.94 ERA, 52 strikeouts in 38 1/3 innings) are eye-opening.

They didn't happen by accident.

"When I went from Low A to High A and I struggled, I was working with Paul Abbott, the pitching coach there, and we changed the way I was kind of holding my changeup and really just kind of fine-tuning that," said Poyner.

The changeup is the pitch he got Gomez to chase.

"It's become huge," Poyner said. "It's been my best pitch the last couple of years."

After pitching in big games throughout his career at the University of Florida, the electric crowd at Fenway Park wouldn't be much of a culture shock.

Video: TB@BOS: Travis belts a three-run homer to left field

Travis rakes away, but no path to roster spot
Sam Travis, ranked No. 5 among Red Sox prospects by Pipeline, mashed a three-run homer over the Green Monster on Saturday. Travis leads the Red Sox with four homers and 13 RBIs this spring. But it would take an injury to another player for Travis to crack Boston's roster.

What is the message for Travis, given he seems to be blocked in his path to the Majors at this point?

"To keep playing hard, keep working. There's always other stuff he can do to get better," Cora said. "Versatility is one of them. We've seen him play left field. He'll play more left field this week. But that's something that we'll make sure he does. Make him as versatile as possible."

Swihart to test hot corner Sunday
Blake Swihart has already played catcher, first base and left field this spring. He will add another position to the mix on Sunday when he plays third base for the Red Sox in Bradenton.

When was the last time Swihart played third?

"Probably my senior year in high school," Swihart said. "I've got to get a lot of reps in and practice in, but errors happen all the time. If they happen, they happen. I just have to get my feet wet and try it out. Spring Training is to get practice in so just have to go out and do it."

Video: TB@BOS: Moreland mashes a solo homer to right field

Moreland mashes one
In a fight for playing time given Boston's logjam at first base and DH, Mitch Moreland took an impressive swing on Saturday, blistering a solo shot into the bullpen in right-center to open the bottom of the fifth.

It was Moreland's second homer of Spring Training. With J.D. Martinez now in the fold, Moreland is sharing first base with Hanley Ramirez. There will also be some rotating when Martinez plays the outfield and Ramirez can DH, which will give Moreland other opportunities to be in the lineup.

"Good swing," said Cora. "With Mitch, it's about timing right now. He hasn't had too many at-bats so he played yesterday, he played today, he's playing tomorrow, trying to get them into rhythm. We all know what kind of hitter he is. He can hit the ball out of the ballpark, and he can also shoot it the other way in the air and hit the wall. Very comfortable with that."

Up next
Left-hander Brian Johnson, who is trying to win a spot in the rotation, takes the ball for Sunday's 1:05 p.m. ET game against the Pirates in Bradenton. Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, Christian Vazquez and Moreland are all scheduled to be in the lineup. The game can be seen on MLB.TV

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox, Bobby Poyner

Top prospect Chavis among Cora's first cuts

Special to MLB.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox made their first round of roster moves on Sunday, sending 11 players out of big league camp and over to the Minor League side.

There were no surprises, just young players returning to the camp where they can continue their development and progressions. It's part of the learning process for them.

View Full Game Coverage

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox made their first round of roster moves on Sunday, sending 11 players out of big league camp and over to the Minor League side.

There were no surprises, just young players returning to the camp where they can continue their development and progressions. It's part of the learning process for them.

View Full Game Coverage

It's also part of the learning process for first-year manager Alex Cora, who had to deliver the unwanted messages to the prospects for the first time in his career. It's never an easy task, even for a veteran manager, but especially for a rookie.

"I had a flashback of when I got cut," Cora said. "It's a learning experience, and that was a learning experience today. But having Dave [Dombrowski, Red Sox president of baseball operations], he's done it for a lot of years, the coaches. Talking to the players, [telling them] to stick to the plan. There's a few things that we noticed throughout the course of these few weeks that they need to keep working on. It was a good experience. It's never cool to tell somebody that you're going to Minor League camp, but it's part of the process."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Boston's top prospect Michael Chavis, according to MLB Pipeline, catcher Austin Rei, infielder Esteban Quiroz, outfielders Jeremy Barfield and Steve Selsky and right-handers Kyle Martin and Fernando Rodriguez were reassigned to Minor League camp. Left-handers Jalen Beeks (No. 15) and Williams Jerez (No. 27) and right-handers Ty Buttrey (No. 29) and Chandler Shepherd (No. 26) were optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket.

Beeks had a rough outing on Saturday. Stepping in for David Price, who was scratched from his start against the Twins because of rain in the forecast, Beeks faced seven batters without recording an out, giving up seven runs on six hits and a walk before rain cancelled the game.

Cora made sure the young lefty knew his move was not related to the outing.

"Yesterday, I told him on the mound, 'You're a good pitcher. Don't let this day bother you,'" Cora said. "[But], it will bother him. But that was one that it was so fresh in his mind. 'It didn't happen because yesterday you struggled. It was going to happen regardless. You still have to go through the process, and there's a few things that you have to work on, but you will pitch in the big leagues.'

"With Shepherd, too, going through the adjustments. There's a few things we noticed the last few weeks that he has to add to his craft. It started yesterday. It's tough sometimes when you're young. You've been doing something for so long and all of a sudden [someone says] you should do it this way, this will benefit you. It takes a while, and obviously you're going to go through struggles. But when you find it, you're going to be fine.

"Chavis, [who is working his way back from a left oblique injury early in camp], it was obviously a tough one for him. He wasn't able to perform, but he learned a lot over the course of whatever we've been here, as far as like work ethic, showing up on time, do your work. And actually, he'll be fine. But sometimes Spring Training, yeah, the experience you get on the big field, it helps. But I think the experience you had in that clubhouse, just being around the guys and seeing how they work, is going to benefit him."

The Red Sox now have 45 players in big league camp, 36 from the 40-man roster and nine non-roster invitees.

Video: NEU@BOS: Beeks whiffs Geaslen for his third K

Linpressive
Cora likes what he has seen this spring from Tzu-Wei Lin, the 24-year-old infielder who has been with the organization since signing as an international free agent in 2012. He made his Major League debut last season, hitting .268 in 25 games and playing second base, third base and shortstop.

Lin has played 29 innings at shortstop, 16 in center field, 14 at third base and 11 at second through 14 spring games. After going hitless in two at-bats in Sunday's 7-3 loss to the split-squad Orioles at JetBlue Park, he's hitting just .160, but Cora isn't worried about that at this point.

"Very good defensive player," Cora said. "And his at-bats are good. He controls the strike zone. … You see the batting average and then you see the at-bats, you don't see the same thing. That's a good sign because he's putting quality at-bats.

Video: BOS@PHI: Lin robs Williams with a great diving stop

"But defensively, good tempo. He's getting used to the second-base part of it. Obviously, it's a different angle. But at short and at third, he's great. In center field, he hasn't had too many chances, but for everything I heard, everything people have told me, he can handle center field. He gets good jumps, throws to the right base and he understands the game. And in the clubhouse, amazing. He's a professional. People like him. He's very likable. This guy is going to contribute. He's a big leaguer."

Cora compared his versatility to that of Brock Holt.

"Defensively, he's a shortstop for a championship-caliber team," Cora said.

Video: TB@BOS: Duffy collects RBI, Lin makes nice play

This and that
Brock Holt was hit by a pitch from left-hander Zac Lowther in the eighth inning. Holt had been expected to make the trip to Dunedin, Fla., on Monday to face the Blue Jays, but he will now stay behind.

"Hopefully he's all right," Cora said. "But we're not going to push him."

Mookie Betts, who got his first hit of the spring on Thursday, led off Sunday with his first home run -- a shot to left field -- against right-hander Hunter Harvey.

Video: BAL@BOS: Betts blasts a solo homer to left field

Carson Smith pitched a scoreless fifth inning, striking out Colby Rasmus (who reached on a wild pitch) and Danny Valencia before Pedro Alvarez grounded into a fielder's choice. He struck out the side swinging by retiring Chance Sisco. In five appearances this spring, Smith has given up one run on four hits, with three walks and six strikeouts over five innings.

Video: BAL@BOS: Smith fans Sisco to strike out the side

J.D. Martinez went 0-for-3 and played five innings in left field.

Up next 
Right-hander Hector Velazquez is scheduled to start Monday when the Red Sox travel to face the Blue Jays at 1:07 p.m. ET (listen live on Gameday Audio). Left-handers Roenis Elias and right-handers Marcus Walden and Justin Haley are set to follow him on the mound.

Maureen Mullen is a contributor to MLB.com.

Boston Red Sox, Michael Chavis

Red Sox land pair on Top 100 Prospects list

Infielder Chavis No. 79; left-hander Groome No. 85
MLB.com

BOSTON -- The Red Sox hope that the power bat of Michael Chavis and the electric arm of Jay Groome will create a lot of excitement for the Fenway faithful once the young players have completed their development.

Their promise is evident by the fact that they are on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects list, as announced Saturday night on MLB Network. Chavis is ranked No. 79, and Groome is No. 85.

BOSTON -- The Red Sox hope that the power bat of Michael Chavis and the electric arm of Jay Groome will create a lot of excitement for the Fenway faithful once the young players have completed their development.

Their promise is evident by the fact that they are on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects list, as announced Saturday night on MLB Network. Chavis is ranked No. 79, and Groome is No. 85.

MLB Pipeline's 2018 Top 100 Prospects list

:: Complete 2018 Top Prospects coverage ::

The annual ranking of MLB's Top 100 prospects is assembled by MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis, Jonathan Mayo and Mike Rosenbaum, who compile input from industry sources, including scouts and scouting directors. It is based on analysis of players' skill sets, upsides, proximity to the Majors and potential immediate impact to their teams. Only players with rookie status entering the 2018 season are eligible for the list. Players who were are at least 25 years old when they signed and played in leagues deemed to be professional (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Cuba) are not eligible.

Chavis, a third baseman in recent years, is now adding first base to his repertoire. But his bat is his separator.

In a breakthrough 2017 season that started at Class A Advanced Salem and finished at Double-A Portland, Chavis belted 31 homers and had 94 RBIs to go along with a .910 OPS.

If the 22-year-old Chavis can continue that momentum, he might not be far from taking aim at the Green Monster with his powerful right-handed swing.

Video: Chavis, Crockett on big league chances, progress

"I'd like to say I feel like I'm pretty close, significantly closer than I felt like I was last year," Chavis said recently. "Obviously that's not up to me, and it's not something I really can control and say, 'Hey, I'm ready.' So that's not really something I worry too much about. Obviously it's been my lifelong goal to play in the big leagues, but whenever I get that opportunity, I'm definitely going to take advantage of it."

Video: Top Prospects: Jay Groome, LHP, Red Sox

Groome has wisely spent his offseason taking advantage of an invaluable mentor named Chris Sale. When Boston's ace heard that Groome was moving to Fort Myers, Fla., for the winter, Sale took the 19-year-old lefty under his wing, and they've been working out together three to four times a week.

Video: Sale talks about being a mentor to Jay Groome

"I mean, the kid's been throwing 98 [mph] since he was 14. He's got all the tools. I'm not reconstructing this guy," said Sale. "You know, I'm just working out with him and picking his brain a little bit, just trying to maximize his potential. That guy is an animal. I'm just trying to give him some ins and outs and try to get him here sooner rather than later."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox

Sale takes top prospect Groome under his wing

MLB.com

MANSHANTUCKET, Conn. -- Red Sox ace Chris Sale's leadership has extended this offseason to one of the most important arms in the organization.

Left-hander Jay Groome is ranked the No. 1 Red Sox prospect by MLB Pipeline, and Sale wants to make sure the ultratalented 19-year-old gets the most out of his considerable ability.

MANSHANTUCKET, Conn. -- Red Sox ace Chris Sale's leadership has extended this offseason to one of the most important arms in the organization.

Left-hander Jay Groome is ranked the No. 1 Red Sox prospect by MLB Pipeline, and Sale wants to make sure the ultratalented 19-year-old gets the most out of his considerable ability.

The unique partnership between the ace of the Major League staff and the top arm in the farm system started when Sale heard from mental skills coach Laz Gutierrez that Groome was relocating to Fort Myers, Fla., for the offseason.

Sale lives in Southwest Florida, not far from Boston's Spring Training base.

"I figured hey, you know, young guy in our organization, all the talent in the world," Sale said at Red Sox Winter Weekend on Saturday. "I mean, the kid's been throwing 98 [mph] since he was 14. He's got all the tools. I'm not reconstructing this guy. I'm just working out with him and picking his brain a little bit, just trying to maximize his potential."

Sale's intense offseason workouts are legendary. For Groome to tag along at this stage of his development can only be a good thing.

Video: Sale discusses preparing for the 2018 season

"It's been fun," said Sale. "He's done a really good job. It's fun to see. He's young and this is his first go at it. I'm just trying to get him prepared and show him, 'Hey, this is what it takes to get through a big league season.' He's got all the tools you can possibly ask for. That guy is an animal. Just trying to give him some ins and outs and try to get him here sooner rather than later."

The Red Sox took Groome with the 12th overall pick in the 2016 Draft. That is one selection earlier than when Sale was taken by the White Sox in the '10 Draft.

Sale thinks Groome's raw stuff is better than his own.

"Obviously we have similarities, being pitchers and being left-handed," Sale said. "But he's got me by a pretty good amount. Like I said, he's young and it's great just being able to show him on this platform what it takes and the work that goes in. You can't just roll out of bed and expect to go out and be effective. Just being able to talk to him, tell him what to expect and what to be ready for. He's been getting after it. He's a good kid."

The work Sale is doing with Groome isn't sporadic. It is regular. And right-hander Rick Porcello also has been a participant.

"We work out Monday nights," said Sale. "And then me, Rick and Jay, we do Pilates on Wednesdays. And then me and Jay work out Thursday and Friday. So about four times a week."

Groome's 2017 season was limited to 14 starts due to a left lat injury that occurred in his first start. The injury kept him off the mound for more than two months. There were struggles once he got back out there, and Groome finished the year 3-9 with a 5.69 ERA while making four starts for Class A Short-Season Lowell and 10 starts for Class A Greenville.

Video: Top Prospects: Jay Groome, LHP, Red Sox

But such early lumps aren't uncommon for a pitcher who was drafted out of high school.

"Well, he's in a unique situation," said Sale. "I was in college and I had teammates in college and coaches in college pushing me in the right direction."

What Sale has conveyed to Groome this offseason is that he is a fully available resource to tap into.

"Sometimes you learn more from your teammates and your peers than you do from coaches," Sale said. "I've done this for a while. So I'd like to think I know a little bit of something about it and can share it with him. And, you know, the sooner he can realize what he can be, the better off we're going to be in the long run. You know, I look forward to the day that me and him are pitching in the same rotation."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox, Chris Sale

Chavis ranks No. 4 on top 3B prospect list

2014 first-round pick coming off breakthrough '17 season in Minors
MLB.com

BOSTON -- Coming off a breakthrough season in the Minor Leagues, Red Sox corner infielder Michael Chavis is getting some deserved recognition heading into 2018.

The latest is his No. 4 ranking among third-base prospects by MLB Pipeline. He was also informed last week that he'll be a Major League invite to Spring Training for the first time in his career. Chavis is ranked Boston's No. 2 prospect by Pipeline.

BOSTON -- Coming off a breakthrough season in the Minor Leagues, Red Sox corner infielder Michael Chavis is getting some deserved recognition heading into 2018.

The latest is his No. 4 ranking among third-base prospects by MLB Pipeline. He was also informed last week that he'll be a Major League invite to Spring Training for the first time in his career. Chavis is ranked Boston's No. 2 prospect by Pipeline.

:: Top 10 Prospects by Position ::

While recognition like that proves to Chavis how far he's come, he's determined to not take his foot off the gas pedal.

"There is some pride there," said Chavis. "But that's something I try not to concern myself with too much. I've never heard of someone being, say, the number one prospect, and [the team] being like, 'Well, he's the number one prospect, let's call him up.' That's not really something I try to concern myself with. It's definitely something that's notable and it's an accomplishment.

"But in regards to a confidence booster or a major key, I don't really concern myself with it too much. It's definitely nice to know, and I guess it makes you feel a little better, but it's not a major thing for me."

Video: Chavis, Crockett on big league chances, progress

The big thing for Chavis is to build off last year, when he posted a .282/.347/.563 slash line with 31 homers and 94 RBIs across two levels. It was quite a step up from his struggles of '15-16, when it looked like he might have a hard time living up to his status as a first-round Draft pick in 2014.

"I definitely feel more confident, having the success I had last year," said Chavis. "It's definitely something I want to base this season off of. I want to hit the ground running. The previous years before last year, I kind of had some ups and downs. I had some times of success, I had some times of struggles, but I didn't have the consistency that I wanted.

"I feel like last year I figured myself out as a player, I grew up a lot, I matured a lot as a player and a person, and I think that helped me out on the field. This season, I'm looking forward to growing even more as a player and a person. There's still a lot to learn."

One thing Chavis is learning is a new position. To increase his versatility, the Red Sox had him play some first base in the Arizona Fall League. As Kevin Youkilis demonstrated for Boston from 2004-12, the ability to play both corners can be extremely valuable to a team.

And with third baseman Rafael Devers breaking through in impressive fashion for the Red Sox last year, Chavis might be able to get to the Major Leagues quicker by playing first base.

"It was definitely an easier transition than shortstop to third base," said Chavis. "Both of them are on the corners, so the angles off the bat and in-game reads are pretty similar. The transition was definitely a little bit easier, but a lot of it is just getting the in-game reps and getting more comfortable. I don't know the exact amount of games I played in Arizona at first base, but I played a decent amount."

As nice as it is for Chavis to be able to play multiple positions, his calling card is his bat. Chavis has always had power. But he is now learning to maximize it.

"He really took some big steps forward," said Red Sox director of player development Ben Crockett. "His offensive approach really matured, and I think that's first and foremost. There weren't major mechanical changes that were made. It was really him kind of understanding who he is as a hitter and understanding what makes him successful. Looking for the right pitches to hit, and being able to lay off and recognize pitches that he can't do as much damage with."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox, Michael Chavis

Chavis gives Red Sox a big bat in pipeline

Third baseman's maturing approach led to Arizona Fall League, Spring Training invite
MLB.com

BOSTON -- For all the talk about the Red Sox trying to find another power hitter via free agency or a trade, it should be noted that another slugger could be making his way through the pipeline with a possible arrival at Fenway Park at some point in 2018.

Michael Chavis, ranked as Boston's No. 2 prospect by MLB Pipeline, is a right-handed hitter who swings for the fences. He headlines the Red Sox Minor Leaguers who are taking part in the team's Rookie Development Program in Boston this week.

BOSTON -- For all the talk about the Red Sox trying to find another power hitter via free agency or a trade, it should be noted that another slugger could be making his way through the pipeline with a possible arrival at Fenway Park at some point in 2018.

Michael Chavis, ranked as Boston's No. 2 prospect by MLB Pipeline, is a right-handed hitter who swings for the fences. He headlines the Red Sox Minor Leaguers who are taking part in the team's Rookie Development Program in Boston this week.

After a breakthrough season in the Minors last year (31 homers, 94 RBIs, .910 OPS), how close does Chavis feel he is to getting to the Major Leagues?

"I'd like to say I feel like I'm pretty close, significantly closer than I felt like I was last year," Chavis said. "Obviously that's not up to me and it's not something I really can control and say, 'Hey, I'm ready.' So that's not really something I worry too much about. Obviously it's been my life-long goal to play in the big leagues, but whenever I get that opportunity, I'm definitely going to take advantage of it."

Tweet from @RedSox: Welcome to the 2018 Rookie Development Program!Bringing a little baseball to your life on this Wednesday morning: pic.twitter.com/kS3NDVuRRt

Chavis isn't the only one who feels like he's close.

"He's put himself on the Major League radar having some success in the Double-A level and the Arizona Fall League," said Red Sox vice president of player development Ben Crockett. "I think coming into this year, we're just looking for him to pick up where he left off at the end of the season and really just be as consistent as he can offensively and defensively with his exposure to both first base and third base."

Chavis has mainly been a third baseman since the Red Sox took him in the first round of the 2014 Draft, but he demonstrated he could also play first base in the Arizona Fall League.

Video: Top Prospects: Michael Chavis, 3B, Red Sox

"Reports were really good," said Crockett. "Darren Fenster, our coach there, was working with him daily, and even hearing from scouts from outside the organization, it was all really positive. That transition isn't always as easy as people think it might be. I think there's a lot that goes into the footwork around the bag, understanding responsibilities at a new position. He took to it really easily actually."

The fact that Chavis can play first could be particularly beneficial for future roster construction when you consider the Red Sox just broke in a top prospect at the hot corner last year in Rafael Devers.

Crockett said Chavis will continue to play both corners in 2018.

Earlier this week, Chavis was thrilled to hear that he will be a non-roster invitee for the Red Sox at Spring Training.

"I was actually eating lunch and I got called into the office," said Chavis. "I found out I was invited to camp and I was thrilled. It was one of my goals I set before this past season was to be invited to Arizona Fall League and also be invited to big league camp after the season, so having accomplished both of those, it was a big moment yesterday finding out. I told everybody, I told my family and everybody was really excited."

Video: Chavis on his goal of playing in the Fall League

The biggest area of development the Red Sox saw from Chavis last year was the mental side of hitting, which is often a separator.

"Yeah, incredible year for Michael [last year]," said Crockett. "He really took some big steps forward. His offensive approach really matured and I think that's first and foremost. There weren't major mechanical changes that were made. It was really him kind of understanding who he is as a hitter and understanding what makes him successful.

"Looking for the right pitches to hit, and being able to lay off and recognize pitches that he can't do as much damage with. And really start to understand what pitchers are trying to do to him. He's used some different methods to help him filter his performance, whether that's thinking about at-bat to at-bat, looking back on what he did well and what he didn't and being able to move on."

The confidence Chavis has now is what he lacked in his second pro season in 2015, when he slashed .223/.277/.405 with 144 strikeouts in 435 at-bats for Class-A Greenville.

Video: Red Sox's Chavis hits walk-off homer in Fall League

"It's not the easiest thing. If it was easy, guys would just do it off the bat," Chavis said. "One of the things coming from high school, there wasn't much failure. So coming into pro ball, it was something I had to try to learn to try to handle the failure, whether it was a little small portion where it was like a bad day, a bad week or a bad series. But being able to learn how to cope with that, being able to grow from it or being able to flush it and start over the next day was something I had to learn and that was something that helped me stay more consistent.

"Sometimes the pitcher has a good day. Sometimes you just have a bad day. It was being able to learn that a bad day doesn't mean there's something wrong. It's just being able to know myself as a player and know my swing."

That swing could be arriving at Fenway Park in the not-too-distant future.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox

Castillo, Chavis among 16 spring camp NRIs

MLB.com

BOSTON -- The Red Sox announced 16 non-roster invitees to Spring Training on Tuesday, including outfielder Rusney Castillo, who will once again try to work his way back on the radar.

Infielder Michael Chavis will be in Major League camp for the first time in hopes of building off his monster 2017 season, in which he belted 31 homers and had 94 RBIs split between Class A Advanced Salem and Double-A Portland. Chavis is ranked No. 2 among Red Sox prospects by MLB Pipeline.

BOSTON -- The Red Sox announced 16 non-roster invitees to Spring Training on Tuesday, including outfielder Rusney Castillo, who will once again try to work his way back on the radar.

Infielder Michael Chavis will be in Major League camp for the first time in hopes of building off his monster 2017 season, in which he belted 31 homers and had 94 RBIs split between Class A Advanced Salem and Double-A Portland. Chavis is ranked No. 2 among Red Sox prospects by MLB Pipeline.

The other invitees are as follows: Catchers Dan Butler, Oscar Hernandez, Austin Rei and Jake Romanski; infielders Iván De Jesús Jr., Chad De La Guerra and Esteban Quiroz; Outfielders Jeremy Barfield and Aneury Tavárez; left-handed pitcher Bobby Poyner; and right-handed pitchers Justin Haley, Kyle Martin, Fernando Rodriguez Jr. and Marcus Walden.

Video: TOR@BOS: Martin notches his first Major League K

Castillo, who is from Cuba, was signed to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract with the Red Sox in August 2014. But the right-handed hitter has spent most of his time in the Minor Leagues and hasn't played for the Red Sox since June 16, 2016. He was taken off the 40-man roster shortly after that.

Though Castillo had a solid 2017 season for Triple-A Pawtucket (.314/.350.507, 15 homers), he is blocked by Boston's loaded outfield of Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts.

Castillo is still owed $35.5 million over the next three seasons. One complication for the Red Sox is that by putting Castillo back on the 40-man roster, it means that his salary would then be factored into Boston's luxury-tax calculations.

Perhaps the best-case scenario would be for the 30-year-old Castillo to have a strong Spring Training and then get traded to a team that has a need in the outfield.

The Red Sox look forward to being able to get a closer look at Chavis this spring. The 22-year-old slugger was named 2017 Red Sox Minor League Offensive Player of the Year in 2017. He hit three home runs on April 19 against Wilmington, including a walk-off, two-run shot that gave Salem a 7-6 win.

Selected 26th overall by the Red Sox in the 2014 Draft, Chavis also helped Peoria win the 2017 Arizona Fall League title by hitting four home runs and ranking among the league leaders in several offensive categories.

De La Guerra (No. 23) and Martin (No. 25) are the other two invitees who are ranked among Boston's Top 30 Prospects by MLB Pipeline.

A Carolina League All-Star in 2017, De La Guerra hit .283 with 31 doubles, nine homers, 81 runs and a .361 on-base percentage in a season split between Salem and Portland. This is the third consecutive Major League camp for Martin, who made two appearances for the Red Sox last season, including a scoreless inning in his debut on July 20.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox