Boston Red Sox Top 30 Prospects

No matter where I been, no matter what I do, I’m always coming back home to you. - Slug

In 2021 these words will take on new meanings for yours truly. After over 30 years of attending games at McCoy Staduim (next season will be 30), the Red Sox Triple-A affiliate will move miles from my boyhood home in Pawtucket to miles from my current home in Worcester, Massachusetts.

The move brings with it a lot of emotion, admittedly some joy at the prospect of cutting my drive time to just minutes from my typical 40- to 70-minute commutes around greater New England. Most of the emotion is driven by nostalgia, Pawtucket was the place my baseball journey began. Fishing for autographs with hollowed out two liter bottles on twine or fishing line. (This is practice known as “fishing” where kids hang these bottles in hopes of “hooking an auto” from the front row above the Paw-Sox dugout, which sits about ten feet below the closest seats on the third baseline.) Watching players like Mo Vaughn, Nomar Garciaparra, Jon Lester, Dustin Pedroia, Mookie Betts, and John Valentine go on to major league careers for the hometown Sox and elsewhere. I’ve been blessed enough to share this experience with my three children in recent years, and look forward to making new memories watching the Woo-Sox in years to come.

Feelings and history aside, the Red Sox system is finally on the upswing in many ways, after an endless attack on assets due to a variety of factors over the last several seasons. The trades of the Dombrowski era, the homegrown core on the major league level, and some International signing restrictions left over from former general manager Ben Cherington’s tenure left the cupboard bare. With extra emphasis on the draft in those season’s the Red Sox failed to walk away with any quick impact pops in either 2016 or 2017. Fast forward twelve months and on the heels of a strong 2017 International class, a talented 2018 draft crop, and bounce-back seasons for Bobby Dalbec, and Michael Chavis, give some flickers of light that there might in fact be more here than suspected.

This is the 2018 Boston Red Sox top 30 prospects list.

1. Michael Chavis, 1B/3B 

Age: 23

Highest Level: AAA

.298/.381/.538, 9 HR, .240 ISO, 158 wRC+, 26.8%, 9.8%, 3 SB

After a PED suspension left Chavis in the shelf for two-thirds of 2018, the slugger returned and eased fears his 2017 breakout breakout was dubious. Between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket, Chavis hit the ball with authority to all fields, much like he did all of 2017. There’s still aggression that the best arms will exploit, but he feasts on fastballs and mistakes in the zone. The raw power is a comfortable 70, translating to 60 game power at present. The questions that surround Chavis’ profile at the plate are based around just how quality the hit tool is. I put a 50 on it personally, with the belief early strikeouts struggles at MLB will stabilize around 750-1,000 plate appearances.

Defensively Chavis is a bit of a tweener. Mediocre with the glove, with below average range at third, his strength at his natural position is his plus throwing arm. He’s played some first but at 5-foot-11, he’s not the ideal body for the position. There’s been whispers he could get some looks at second, but I’m unsure how he’d handle the position. Long story short, Chavis has got to hit and I believe he will. Where he ends up on the diamond is anyone’s guess. ETA: 2019

2. Triston Casas, 3B

Age: 18

Highest Level: Rookie

.000/.200/.000, 0 HR, .000 ISO, -12 wRC+, 40.0% K%, 20.0% Bb%, 0 SB

The first thing that strikes you when watching Casas is his massive size. Kid is a monster. All of 6-foot-4, 240 pounds, Casas is a strong left-handed batter with big raw power. The Red Sox hope they can mold his big ball of clay into a polished middle-of-the-order masher. The swing is long at present and he will get eaten up early in his career versus quality offspeed and breaking balls, but he’s got time to figure that out. He’ll need to up keep his body as he’s naturally bigger, and it could go sideways. Most scouts including our on Jason Pennini think he’ll eventually slide across the infield to first base. ETA: 2022

Jason’s Take: The 2018 first round pick is massive; he is officially listed at 6-foot-4, 238 pounds. The range looked fringey at third fielding some ground balls to his left. Considering his age and present body, it looks highly likely he will move across the diamond. At the plate opponents attacked Casas down and away with soft stuff, whether offspeed or breaking balls. Well-located changeups were effective against him, but when pitchers missed their spots Casas punished them with hard contact. The swing reminds me a little of Jay Bruce who continues to raise his hands even as he strides forward. I think Casas will strike out a lot, but the bat speed is pretty good, and he’s strong as hell. The “U shaped” bat path should produce a lot of fly balls and power.

3. Bobby Dalbec, 3B 

Age: 23

Highest Level: AA

.257/.361/.558, 32 HR, .301 ISO, 153 wRC+, 32.4%, 12.2% Bb%, 3 SB

A true three-outcome hitter through and through, the former Arizona two-way start bounced back in 2018. Setting a Salem Red Sox record, homering 26 times over 100 games. He was then promoted to Double-A Portland where he set the Eastern League on fire over his first nine games, connecting for 5 homers in that span. Unfortunately the 17 games over he rest of the month saw him hit .185/.264/.338 and only one homer, while striking out 38% of the time. Dalbec will need to overcome his contact woes, and get better at making contact at the pitches he does swing at. It’s somewhat concerning he struggled to translate his high walk rate to his month plus in Double-A, especially when you consider it’s long been one of the strong points of his game. Dalbec is a solid defender, but his elite throwing arm boosts his value at the hot corner. I could see him developing into an above average major league third baseman with a strong, OPS-focused offensive profile. ETA: 2020 

4. Jay Groome, LHP

Age: 20

Highest Level: A

Did Not Pitch Due To Tommy John Surgery 

To say it’s been a long strange trip for Groome since being named MLBPipeline’s top prospect in the 2016 draft prior to his senior season at Barnegat. Some shenanigans with his eligibility due to playing his junior season at IMG, saw him watch most of the games from the sideline. Some off-the-field concerns saw his stock drop, and the Red Sox scooped him 12th overall. Many—myself included—believed it was great value. However, two years later with hindsight on our side it’s hard not to feel underwhelmed. A string of injuries, culminated in TJ this season, while family issues made headlines in 2017. I wish normalcy for Groome more than anything. One full healthy season where the big southpaw can focus on his development and not his health.

Groome was under the tutelage of ace Chris Sale this offseason and one has to hope he can pick up some tips from the All-Star. At his best, Groome blends a double-plus power curveball, with serious depth, a plus mid-90’s fastball that’s been clocked as high as 97, and a developing changeup. His big 6-foot-6 frame creates downhill plane, and gives him the look of a prototypical innings eater. It’s going to be a few years as Groome has lost more than a year of development, but the frontline upside is still there. ETA: 2021

5. Antoni Flores, SS

Age: 18

Highest Level: Rookie

.340/.435/.528, 1 HR, .189 ISO, 173 wRC+, 12.9% K%, 14.5%, 0 SB

Signed for $1.4M during the 2017 signing period, Flores might be the most exciting player in this system at the moment. A relative unknown for many, the teenager really popped over the last several months as he debuted in the Dominican Summer League before making his way stateside. Nice combination of hit and defensive skills. He looks like a player that can stick at short with a strong arms, and natural movements in the field. He does a good job engaging his lower half, and his quick hands and strong wrists point towards an average power ceiling. ETA: 2022


Jason’s Take: Some of the more interesting Red Sox position players attending instructs are J2 signings. My favorite was Antoni Flores, a slick-fielding shortstop with feel to hit... The body is mature for his age, but considering he’s still 17, it is reasonable to wonder if growth will force him to third... At the plate he starts with a wide base stance and the bat rested on his back shoulder. There’s very little pre-slot hand movement as he lifts the bat but keeps his hands level with his shoulders. With a small load and moderate stride, Flores incorporates his lower half well. His approach is advanced for a 17-year-old... Flores has not looked remotely overmatched versus older competition. He’s been impressive and could be a big mover up lists if he proves himself over a larger sample size.

6. Mike Shawaryn, RHP

Age: 24

Highest Level: AAA 

149.1 IP, 3.44 ERA, 3.58 FIP, 7.96 K/9, 2.29 Bb/9, .230 BAA 

A rough junior season saw Shawaryn go from a late 1st round consideration entering draft season, to a 5th-rounder in actuality. Since that day the right-hander has set out to prove it was a wise decision from the Red Sox’s brass. With good feel for his pitches, Shawaryn has two variations of his fastball, predominately featuring his two-seam sinker, but also mixing on a four-seamer he uses up in the zone. His slider is a plus pitch showing two variations, one your more traditional sweeping slider in the mid-80’s, a cutter variation in the high-80’s. This pitch really plays up due to his low arm slot. It truly toes the line between low three-quarters and side-arm. This makes the ball out of his hand hard to pickup.

He attacks each handedness differently, but effectively, mixing in his average changeup with fade to lefties, while working mostly his two-seamer and slider to right-handers. Despite good movement on his pitches, particularly his two-seamer, Shawaryn commands his arsenal and throws strikes, generating timely ground balls. I see Shawaryn as a number-four starter with mid- rotation upside. Useful innings out of the pen in a multi-inning fireman role might suit Shawaryn in 2019 for Boston, before easing him into the rotation mix. ETA: 2019

7. Darwinzon Hernandez, LHP 

Age: 21

Highest Level: AA

107 IP, 3.53 ERA, 3.22 FIP, 11.27 K/9, 5.55 Bb/9, .220 BAA

It didn’t take long for Darwinzon to make a name for himself in the AFL, but those of us that have followed the Sox system knew of the high-octane stuff for some time. This issue with Hernandez is throwing strikes consistently. His ability to miss bats is apparent upon just a small sample. That nastiness works both for and against him at times. He recorded double digit swinging strikes in ten of his final eleven starts with Salem, before finishing the season in Double-A Portland’s pen. Well built at 6-foot-2, 240 pounds, Hernandez has the look of a future innings eater. Tossing from a three-quarters delivery from the left side, a quick arm and good extension allows the ball to explode out of Hernandez’s hand. His arsenal consists of a plus fastball that boarders on double plus, an average slider that hints at more, and a pair of fringe offerings in his changeup and curveball. The former of which is the stronger of the two. There’s some reliever risk, but true mid-rotation upside. ETA: 2020

Jason’s Take: Very fast arm, electric. Live arm. Athletic. Delivery somewhat out of control with effort. Attacks hitters. Looks off balance but found zone anyway. Fastball 94-96, T97. Works off the Fastball. Body slows for slider 85-87. Slider shape inconsistent but flashes plus. Curveball 77-79. 

8. Tanner Houck, RHP

Age: 22

Highest Level: A+

119 IP, 4.24 ERA, 4.31 FIP, 8.39 K/9, 4.54 Bb/9, .242 BAA

It was year of adjustment for Houck, but in many ways he came back more affirmed in his identity. Boston tried to change his arm slot, asked him to throw more four-seamers, and rework his breaking ball. It didn’t work, and Houck went back to his crossfire, patented two-seamer, and slider. His delivery and low arm slot give Houck some funk to his stuff, but also a rash of injuries concerns. Though the later has yet to come to fruition. His two-seamer has nasty sink at 94-96, while the four-seamer works 95-97, touching 98 high in the zone. The secondaries are led by his sweepy, low-80’s slider, a true swing and miss pitch. He also mixes in a fringe changeup. Houck is a high-floor arm, with a back-of-the-bullpen profile, and a mid-rotation ceiling. ETA: 2020

9. Durbin Feltman, RHP

Age: 21

Highest Level: A+

23.1 IP, 1.93 ERA, 1.10 FIP, 13.89 K/9, 1.93 Bb/9, .202 BAA

Coming out of TCU, Feltman looks to be the rare relief only prospect. The right-hander has a storied career in the Horned Frogs bullpen, notching 32 saves and striking out 129 in 87 2/3 innings. He went to the Red Sox in the third round of the 2018 draft and reached High-A Salem by August. Many have picked Feltman, as the first player for the most recent draft to reach the majors, and I have to admit a late-2019 ETA is likely. Feltman’s elite 1-2 punch of his mid-to-high-90’s fastball with run, and his hard-slider in the mid-80’s with wipeout potential, has translated thus far and looks tailor made for the late innings. I’d slap a future 60 value ceiling on Feltman as a reliever. Another arm that could factor into the 2019 Boston bullpen. ETA: 2019

10. Bryan Mata, RHP

Age: 19

Highest Level: A+

72 IP, 3.50 ERA, 4.76 FIP, 7.62 K/9, 7.25 Bb/9, .226 BAA

It’s hard to figure how one manages a mid-3’s ERA with a 17.7% walk rate, but such is the riddle known as Bryan Mata. After showing advanced feel, and projectable stuff as an 18-year-old in the Sally League in 2017, his command took a step back, more than doubling his walk rate. Likely a mix of injury, and the struggles of being 19 at High-A, drove the regression. The good news is the stuff is still there, sitting 90-94 on the fastball with run, mixing in an above average changeup that flashes plus with sink and fade, as well as a fringe-to-average curveball he can land for strikes. While 2018, was a step backwards for Mata, there’s still a lot to like with a future innings eater not an unlikely ceiling for the sturdy teenager. ETA: 2021

11. CJ Chatham, SS 

Age: 23

Highest Level: A+

.314/.350/.389, 3 HR, .076 ISO, 110 wRC+, 18.2% K%, 5.1% K%, 11 SB

Chatham was one of the better shortstop prospects coming into the 2016 draft. His quick first step, range, footwork, glove, and plus arm make him an easy fit at the position. He’s tall for a shortstop but his athleticism and lean frame hush those concerns. At the plate, Chatham displays an average hit tool, flashing advanced hand-eye coordination, and solid bat to ball skills. A deep load and long levers limit his bat speed, and make him prone to at least moderate swing and miss. Some swing adjustments might see Chatham get to more power, but for now it’s below average. He’s quick on the bases, but not speedy, though his instincts and quick jumps should help him steal some bases. Overall I see Chatham as utility infield type with above average defensive value, and the ability to put the ball in play. Should start the season at Double-A Portland. ETA: 2020

12. Danny Diaz, 1B/3B

Age: 17

Highest Level: Rookie

.238/.283/.476, 6 HR, .238 ISO, 112 wRC+, 23.9% K%, 4.4% Bb%

The second highest-paid player in the 2017 International class, Diaz combined plus raw power, with some feel to hit. At the moment he’s a raw power hitter, prone to big hacks, and an aggressive approach. He hit for solid power in the GCL before breaking his hamate in mid-July. Over time Diaz should grow into his body fueling some concerns he could move off of third, having already moved off of short. His strong arm should keep him there for now, and his offensive profile fits nicely at third. A potential middle-of-the-order masher if his hit tool catches up to Diaz’s prodigious power. ETA: 2022 

Jason’s Take: Danny Diaz, the third of the trio, has split time between first and third this fall. At first, he has made some goalie-esq blocks on throws in the dirt, showing off good footwork and hands. The one game I saw him at third, he looked passable. However, defense is not his calling card. His value is tethered to the efficacy of his bat. Looking at the swing, I see some length but not an amount I am ready press the panic button over. Hands slot at shoulder length with the bat cocked back above his helmet. His leg kick and raw strength generate substantial power; the ball jumps off his bat. He goes to the plate with a plan of attack, at times hunting fastballs early and at other times patiently picking his spots. Only 17, more strength is coming. At present the body is a little soft, especially the torso. I am dubious at his chances of sticking at third. His quickness and reactions would play there, but the body may become too big as he ages.

13. Nick Decker, OF

Age: 19

Highest Level: Rookie

 .250/.400/.500, 0 HR, .250 ISO, 153 wRC+, 20% K%, 20% Bb%, 0 SB

The 2018 Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of New Jersey, a two-way standout is casting aside his future on the mound in exchange for his bat. The combination of raw power and some feel to hit make Decker an interesting player to follow, as he commits to hitting and outfield full-time. His development got off to a late start following a wrist injury following the draft. He played centerfield in high school, but with just average athleticism, and strong throwing arm he profiles better in an outfield corner. You’re dreaming on an everyday right fielder in the Tront Nixon mold. ETA: 2022

Jason’s Take: A center fielder with a well built, well-proportioned frame. Polished approach and professional at-bats. Slightly open stance. Strong hands and will use all fields.

14. Brandon Howlett, 3B

Age: 19

Highest Level: Short-Season

 .289/.402/.513, 6 HR, .224 ISO, 157 wRC+, 22.3% K%, 15.2% BB%, 1 SB

Howlett scorning a Florida State commitment in favor of a $185,000 signing bonus shocked quite a few draftniks. If the early returns are any indication, it looks like a stroke of genius, by both player and team. Howlett hot the Gulf Coast League like a ton of bricks, displaying plus raw power, and an approach for more advanced than expected. After slaughtering GCL competition for nearly two months Howlett caught a cup of coffee with short-season Lowell where he connected to for one homer in five contests. The standout tool is Howlett’s feel for the barrel. Short to the ball, Howlett stays compact and balanced through the zone. Beyond the raw power and approach, his feel to hit is at least average. The rest of the Howlett’s game is satisfactory, with a solid first step, and average range at the hot corner, as well as an average arm. One of the early favorites for biggest steal of the 2018 draft. ETA: 2022

15. Jarren Duran, 2B/OF

Age: 22

Highest Level: A

 .357/.394/.516, 3 HR, .159 ISO, 163 wRC+, 15.9% K%, 5.3% Bb%, 2 SB

A 7th-rounder out of Cal State - Long Beach Durran is tall and lean with quick-twitch athleticism and wiry strength. When I took in Durran with Lowell earlier this season he stuck out as the best player in the lineup. Blessed with plus-plus speed, a simple swing geared toward contact, and quick hands. Looked decent in the field splitting time between second and center in my handful of looks, with a decent first step, and the speed to cover ground in the outfield. There’s a solid collection of skills, that if Durran continues to hone his approach and defense, a second-division regular is not out of the question. ETA: 2021

16. Josh Ockimey, 1B

Age: 22

Highest Level: AAA

.245/.356/.455, 20 HR, .210 ISO, 126 wRC+, 31% K%, 14.6% Bb%, 1 SB

A three-outcome power hitter with a patient approach, a long stiff swing and a high strikeout rate due to those contributing factors. I run hot and cold on Ockimey’s future projection. In the “pro” column, Ockimey pairs plus raw power with elite on-base skills. While in the “con” column, he’s first-base only, stiff at the plate, and likely to strikeout 30% of the time or more in the majors. What draws me back to Big Ock, is his ability to make adjustments his second year at a level. Additionally, he’s been an above average player according to wRC+ for four straight years. The Philly native fits the first-base-only profile to a tee, with all the concerns of him needing to hit enough to find a pathway to MLB playing time. I’m not saying Ockimey can’t hit MLB pitching, but it’s not something he’ll do with regularity in his current form. ETA: 2019

17. Nick Northcut, 3B

Age: 19

Highest Level: Short-Season

Another talented prep player the Red Sox were able to pluck from a strong commitment, this time paying Northcut $565,000, well above his slotted value in the 11th. A power hitting third baseman, with a raw, underdeveloped, approach at the plate. Northcut flashes plus raw power with his natural uppercut swing, but still has a ways to go in regards to his picking up spin. Right now Northcut is a fastball hitter with big natural pop. He’s an average defender at third, displaying solid footwork, and an above average throwing arm. Another prep player to dream on. ETA: 2022

18. Esteban Quiroz

Age: 26

Highest Level: AA

.283/.406/.547, 7 HR, .264 ISO, 162 wRC+, 16.5% K%, 14.3% Bb%, 1 SB

Quiroz honed his craft over seven seasons in the Mexican League, before signing with Boston in November of last year. Earning an assignment to Double-A Portland out of camp, Quiroz hit the ground running, slashing .302/.413/.604 with 5 homers in the first 15 games of the frigid Eastern League in April. Following game 15, Quiroz was shutdown with a hernia injury that required surgery, leaving the 26 year old on the shelf until mid-August. He was solid upon his return slashing .294/.415/.588 with 3 homers over Portland’s final nine games.

Quiroz is making up for lost time by participating in both Fall Instructional League and the Arizona Fall League. With a short and stocky pitbull-like build (timber!!!), Quiroz generates loads of hard contact with a combination of strength and above average barrel control. His years of professional experience shine through in his advanced plate approach, grinding out at-bats, and showing a knack for getting on base. His power is about average, but he can tap into his pull-side pop when given the opportunity. In the field Quiroz split time between second, third, short, and the outfield during his Mexican League stint. Here in the states he’s likely locked in as a second baseman. Overall I could see an under-the-radar, everyday regular, but I’m going to have to see some sustained success in the higher levels over a few months consecutively before diving in. Potential deep sleeper for fantasy leagues in 2019. ETA: 2019

Jason’s Take: Short, thick body. Patient approach and good eye for zone. Loud contact when he connects. Controls the zone and did not swing and miss much in my looks. Aggression on base paths gets him in trouble. Below average defender.

19. Gilberto Jimenez, OF

Age: 18

Highest Level: Rookie 

.319/.384/.420, 0 HR, .101 ISO, 133 wRC+, 14.1% K%, 6.7% Bb%, 16 SB

I haven’t seen Jimenez, you haven’t seen Jimenez, no one has seen Jimenez! What’s that?!? Can you hear it?!? IS THAT JASON PENNINI’S MUSIC

Jason Take: Another position player who impressed was Gilberto Jimenez, someone I had not heard of coming into instructs. The speedy outfielder glides down the line, as fast as 3.80-second home-to-first time from the left side, an easy 80 time. His first-step quickness is excellent, and he reaches top speed by the second step. The swing is generally short, linear and geared for contact over power, but he has shown the ability to elevate at times too. The front foot can get down too early, limiting effectiveness of his lower half. In the outfield I liked his reads off the bat and first-step quickness, but his arm was below average. Jimenez looked raw in some facets of the game: utilizing his speed on the base paths and booting a ball in right field. Don’t let the rawness dampen your enthusiasm, it’s time to get excited for this kid.


20. Alex Scherff, RHP

Age: 20

Highest Level: A

70 IP, 4.76 ERA, 4.36 FIP, 18.7% K%, 8.3% Bb%, .278 BAA

Development of pitchers is long haul. In many ways it’s a multi-year apprenticeship, where one learns the “ins and outs” of the art and science of pitching. This is only magnified for high schoolers, as their development curve is far steeper with so much to learn. Enter Alex Scherff, flame-throwing Texas prep star, another Gatorade State Player of the Year his senior season, a player with a record of success as an amateur. All this pedigree and he’s struggled. At this point in a player’s development it’s easy to check the stat line on his B-Ref page and jump ship, but it’s when you look deeper do you find the reasons for the struggles and a nucleus for hope.

As detailed here by the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, the Red Sox, much like with the aforementioned Tanner Houck, looked to adjust Scherff’s arm slot. This led to an awkward period of mechanical limbo for Scherff losing the very stuff he rode to stardom in his native Texas. Working with Greenville pitching coach Bob Kipper, Scherff regained his mechanics and timing, and the stuff crept back up to his pre-draft levels. Those pre-draft levels are a fastball that sits 93-95, a changeup he’s shown feel for with fade, and an average curveball. This led to a run of six strong starts from May 3 to June 7, where he compiled a 2.60 ERA, 22.2% strikeout rate, 7.4% walk rate, and a 1.12 WHIP. This came to an end in his June 12 start where he got tagged for 7 runs in 2 innings of work and sustained an intercostal injury in the process.

The injury kept Scherff in the shelf for seven weeks, finally returning on August 8. Over his final five appearances the righty enjoyed the most successful stretch of his career. Allowing just four earned runs over his final 23 innings, striking out 19 while issuing just three walks. Scherff headed to Instructs where our very own Jason Pennini caught him, more in that below. There’s a wide range of outcomes for Scherff, but I’m comfortable saying there’s still a starter ceiling. ETA: 2022

Jason’s Take: Alex Scherff started for the Red Sox. He has three viable pitches, but the fastball is straight and hittable. His changeup has moderate depth and some fade. The three-pitch mix is quality but his upright finish eats into his extension. He looked better in his second outing on 9/27, which made me conflicted about his long-term future. Allow me to state the obvious: the Sox should let him start until he proves he can’t. He profiles as a back-end starter for me.

21. Travis Lakins, RHP

Age: 24

Highest Level: AAA 

54.1 IP, 2.32 ERA, 3.16 FIP, 9.44 K/9, 2.98 Bb/9, .189 BAA

A move to the pen early in 2018 rejuvenated Lakins’ career. A slightly undersized, but athletic righty, Lakins mixes a mid-90’s fastball, a high-80’s cutter, and a curveball that sits 78-81. What his fastball lacks in life movement, he makes up for it with plus velocity. Showing the ability to touch 97-98 out of the pen. His cutter is a reworked slider giving him the ability to adjust its shape at times. The combination of his premium velocity and a feel for two off-speed pitches gives Lakins a shot to make the jump to the big league pen in 2019. Congrats to the new father, and best of luck Travis. Shoot me, his wife is one of the nicest people on Twitter. ETA: 2019

22. Devlin Granberg, OF

Age: 23

Highest Level: Short-Season

.300/.383/.435, 4 HR, .135 ISO, 142 wRC+, 19.1% K%, 9.8% Bb%, 9 SB

Considered one the better senior signs in the draft, Granberg, a 6th-rounder out of Dallas Baptist, showed well in his debut. Flashing some polish at the plate, feel to hit, gap power and sneaky athleticism for his size. He has good instincts in all facets of the game, allowing him to max out his abilities. He made lots of hard contact to the gaps when I caught him in Lowell, and caught my eye with some smart base-running, a rarity at times in the NYPL. Looks like a corner outfield-first base type in the field, will need to find more power to carve out a starting role in that niche. ETA: 2021

23. Tzu-Wei Lin, SS

Age: 24

Highest Level: MLB

Just snuck under his limits with 123 at bats, Lin has seen time in Boston in parts of two seasons now, hitting at a standard level for a utility guy. That’s exactly how I see Lin, a Swiss Army knife with the ability to play ball over the dirt, and provide enough offensive to justify some playing time every week. He’s primarily a shortstop, but could easily handle third or second. His bat has improved as he adjusted his launch angle to transition from a straight slap hitter. Now has gap power, and the wheels to stretch long singles to doubles. Low ceiling player born for a utility role. ETA: 2019

24. Denyi Reyes, RHP

Age: 21

Highest Level: A+

155.2 IP, 1.97 ERA, 3.13 FIP, 8.38 K/9, 1.10 Bb/9, .209 BAA

To say Reyes has a great year is an understatement. A pitcher that lacks premium stuff, but makes up for it with deception and movement. Reyes mixes a fastball at 90-92 with cut and sink, an average changeup that sits 81-84, and a curveball with 11-5 break. His plus command and control of his pitches allow him to dominate lower level competition. The true test for Reyes will come in the Carolina and Eastern Leagues, where better hitters may not be as easily fooled. ETA: 2021

25. Chase Shugart, RHP

Age: 21

Highest Level: Short-Season

8 IP, 1.13 ERA, 1.72 FIP, 10.13 K/9, 1.13 Bb/9, .138 BAA

A short right-hander that bounced between the pen and rotation for College World Series runner-up Texas. Shugart has a four-pitch mix consisting of a mid-90’s fastball, two different breaking balls and a change. He lacked bat-missing stuff at times in college, but it wasn’t an issue early in his professional career. Has a middle-relief ceiling. ETA: 2021

26. Zach Schellenger, RHP

Age: 22

Highest Level: A

During his time at Seton Hall Schellenger sat mid-90’s with his fastball, touching 100 on occasion. Following a bicep injury his stuff has never returned. A big 6-foot-6 frame gives him plane to his fastball and a low-three-quarters arm slot adds to the deception on both his fastball and slide-piece.  If he can regain his premium velocity a future pen ace ceiling is possible. ETA: 2020

Jason’s Take: Short arm action. Deceptive. Lots of effort with some head whack. FB93-95. Hard CB 82-84 with late break. Goes to the CB often and uses it to both sides.

27. Brayan Bello, RHP

Age: 19

Highest Level: Rookie

67.1 IP, 1.60 ERA, 1.84 FIP, 9.89 K/9, 1.34 Bb/9, .162 BAA

I admittedly don’t know a ton about Bello, but was bullied into adding him in here by the Jason’s. Kidding, but Jason Pennini really sold me on the pod. Jason take it away...

Jason’s Take: Surprising velo for his frame, looks smaller than listed 6’1” 170. Some effort in the delivery, which is choppy. Below average momentum home. Special arm. 93-95 with some sink/life. Arm speed slows slightly for CHG and SL. Works CHG inside to LHH. Pitch features some depth, little to no run with burgeoning feel: better command than movement. CHG 83-85.

28. Bobby Poyner, LHP

Age: 25

Highest Level: MLB

MLB Stats: 22.1 IP, 3.22 ERA, 4.01 FIP, 9.67 K/9, 1.21 Bb/9, .250 BAA

A control and deception lefty that gave Boston some solid innings when called upon. Likely the final arm in a major league pen, Poyner should fill that role for many years in MLB, bouncing between the big leagues and Triple-A roster. He mixes four pitches, but primarily relies on his fastball-changeup combo. ETA: 2019

29.  Sam Travis, 1B

Age: 25

Highest Level: MLB

.258/.317/.360, 8 HR, .102 ISO, 92 wRC+, 22.4% K%, 7.3% Bb%, 1 SB

Another player who just snuck under his rookie limits, Travis has all the attributes of a power hitter except power. The promising bat that teamed with Kyle Schwarber at Indiana is now looking to shed the AAAA tag. Following his knee injury in early 2016, Travis has never been the same. If he’s ever to get back his average power, Travis might be able to catch on as a second division regular. However, based on the returns of the past few seasons that’s a big if. ETA: 2019

30. Eduardo Lopez, OF

Age: 16

Highest Level: Has Not Played Professionally

A centerfielder signed for $1,150,000 out of the Dominican Republic. Lopez is a switch-hitter with feel to hit and power projection. Considered a future centerfielder with smooth actions and plus athleticism. ETA: 2023


Next Five: Pedro Castellanos, Tyler Dearden, Jhonathan Diaz, Kutter Crawford, Jake Thompson

Photo credit: Scott Greene, @Scotty_Ballgame