With the Red Sox season kicking into high gear, I thought it would be a good time to look at the Sox farm system, and check out some players who could potentially make it to the show, either this year, or in the next couple seasons.
For this analysis I thought it would be best to look at the top players in all of single A, double A, and triple A. I will be categorizing the players by infield, outfield, and the pitching rotation.
To start let’s take a look at the infield. The first prospect I want to talk about is the recently acquired second baseman, Yoan Moncada. To be fair, Moncada has yet to enter single A ball, as he has started in extended spring training, but to exclude him from this list would be borderline sacrilegious on my part. The 19 year old Cuban prospect inked a monster deal which included a $31.5 million signing bonus. To be honest I did not think the Sox needed him, as pitching was their number one concern, but we got him and I am not complaining.
In the Cuban National League, Moncada posted some pretty solid numbers. As a 17 year old he hit .283 with .414 OBP through 56 games, and at 18 he posted a .273 average with slightly lesser OBP at .365. Now while these numbers might not jump at you, keep in mind that he was 9.5 years younger than the average player in his league. It’s no wonder he was such a highly sought after commodity, and standing at 6’2”, 205 lbs he literally looks like the best baseball player of all time.
Now, I don’t anticipate Moncada being called up until at least sometime next season, but it is very interesting to try and speculate where he might play. In Cuba, Moncada played mostly second base, but he has the potential to play either short stop or third as well. The Sox plan to use him at second for the time being, but as he gets closer to his inevitable call up I feel as though he will make the move to third. With Bogaerts presumably still at short it would be ideal to have Moncada play third. Bogaerts has typically struggled when he’s been moved to the hot corner, so it makes sense for him to stay at short. Panda would then have to make the move to either DH, or first, depending on whether Napoli is still with the team or not.
All in all, I’m very excited to watch this kid’s progression as he moves his way through the farm system. He’s got all the potential in the world, and it never hurts to be from Cuba. If Cuba is good at making two things it’s cigars and ball players. Moncada will be a fun player to witness, we just have to wait a few more years till he’s ready to tear up the bigs.
The next infielder I want to get to is third baseman, Garin Cecchini. Cecchini, who just turned 24, made his debut for the Sox back on June 1, 2014. He only saw 36 plate appearances over his time in the majors, but it was a good way for him to get a taste of the bigs. Now while Cecchini’s numbers haven’t been as solid in recent years, I am still very high on him. What intrigues me most about his game is his versatility. Over the past two seasons, Cecchini has seen action at third, first, DH, and left field. As he has spent more and more time in the minors, he has learned to adapt his game to fit the needs of the team. If he can get his bat straight, be on the look out for perhaps a September call up.
The final guy that I want to go in depth on is Triple-A catcher Blake Swihart. Swihart saw time with the Sox down in Ft. Myers, but with the additions of Ryan Hannigan and Sandy Leon, he was sent back down to start off the year in Pawtucket. This came as a shock to many, since the loss of Christian Vazquez seemed to make catching a pressing matter, and Hannigan and Leon aren’t exactly top tier talent.
However, the move back to the minors has yet to affect Swihart, as he is batting .333 through 66 at bats. He has also managed to collect 11 RBI’s and has posted a career best .371 OBP. The Sox have come out and said that they do not want to rush Swihart, but it would not surprise me if we see him in the next few months. He is an exciting prospect, and it will be interesting to see how the Sox handle their catching situation next year, when they will have presumably both Vazquez and Swihart available.
So those are the big three infielders to keep your eye on as the season progresses. Some quick honorable mentions to also look out for are third baseman Refael Devers. Devers, who is only 18, is a very intriguing player. Through his short career in the minors, he has a .317/.390/.475 stat line. That’s just scary. Make sure you learn his name now because in a few years he will be the face of the Sox farm system, and one of the top young talents in the MLB.
Really quick just some guys to look out for are shortstop Deven Marrero, second base man Wendell Rijo, and short stop/ third baseman Michael Chavis. These guys have a lot of potential and, barring a trade, should see the field at Fenway Park one day.
Despite the woes of the pitching staff, you have to give Cherrington credit for building one of the best farm systems in baseball. It really is quite an accomplishment and we all have to watch and wait to see if it pans out.
In part two we’ll take a look at some of the best outfield prospects that the Sox have.
By Jake Cianci