January 30, 2023

Red Sox Place Four Prospects In The Athletic's Top 100 List (11, 37, 40, 72)

The Red Sox have four players on Keith Law's (The Athletic) Top 100 Prospects list.

Tristin Casas is already in Boston. He put up a solid 113 OPS+ (as did Giancarlo Stanton) in 95 plate appearances last season (.197/.358/.408). Sox Prospects currently estimates Ceddanne Rafaela could arrive in Boston late in 2023, with Marcelo Mayer in late 2024, and Miguel Bleis in 2026.

Age: 20 | 6-3 | 188 pounds | BL TR | Drafted: No. 4 in 2021
Mayer had a tough full-season debut in 2022, as he missed a month with a sprained wrist in the first half and struggled to drive the ball for four or five weeks after he returned, and then fought through some back tightness in July that may also have hurt his power. . . . The good news is despite the injury troubles, he still showed an extremely advanced approach at the plate, even when he wasn't at full strength, and finished strongly in Low A and after an early August promotion to High A, hitting .287/.435/.492 from July 1 through the end of the season. Mayer has a smooth left-handed swing that should get him to plus power when he fills out, with loft in his finish and evident hand strength already.  . . . I haven't seen great bat speed from him . . . he might be a high-OBP, 25+ homer guy who doesn't hit for high averages if that's the case. He's a no-doubt shortstop with great actions and quick hands . . . and a plus arm. . . . [I] think he's going to be a star.
37. Ceddanne Rafaela, CF/SS
Age: 22 | 5-8 | 152 pounds | BR TR | Drafted: International signing in 2017
Rafaela is one of the smallest players on this ranking . . . but he was the big breakout guy in Boston's system this year after he started driving the ball a lot more often and emerged as a potential 70 or 80 defender in center. Rafaela, who was born in CuraƧao, swings first and asks questions later, with a very fast bat and excellent bat control that helps him make contact even on pitches out of the zone, although it also leads to a lot of weaker contact on those same pitches. He doesn't miss fastballs and actually hangs in there (pun intended) well on curveballs, but given how high he starts his hands, he doesn't always have time to adjust on other pitches . . . His defense is elite and he's a 70 runner as well, so he doesn't have to hit that much to be a solid big leaguer, and he could be an above-average regular as a low-OBP, 20+ homer guy.
Age: 23 | 6-4 | 252 pounds | BL TR | Drafted: No. 26 in 2018
Casas is a boring prospect, but not in a bad way; he projects as an above-average or better regular at first base and he's ready to take over in Fenway right now, but he doesn't have a huge tool, no 80 power or elite defense and definitely not big speed. He's patient, disciplined, and has very good feel to hit, with hard contact that so far has produced a ton of doubles although there's no real reason to think he can't put more of those balls over the fence. Casas is big and very strong; his swing makes excellent use of his upper and lower half as he rotates his hips to get more power from his legs. . .. He's a first baseman who rakes, and should be the traditional slugger for that position, hitting for some average with a ton of walks and either 40-odd doubles or 25-plus homers.
72. Miguel Bleis, OF
Age: 19 | 6-3 | 170 pounds | BR TR | International signing in 2021
Bleis is still growing into his frame, but shows exceptional ability to handle the bat, with the potential for huge power and lots of hard contact, and has a chance for every tool to end up above-average. He's an outstanding athlete who could stay in center depending on how he fills out and whether he stays an above-average runner. Right now he'll show big raw power, less in games, but it's clearly coming once he gets stronger and perhaps if he cuts down on some of the extra hand movement he has before he gets the barrel moving towards the zone. He needs to be more selective at the plate, with a little more swing and miss and a little less ball/strike recognition than you'd like, but it also comes with the enormous upside. He actually would be a perfect guy for short-season ball this year if that still existed, and I won't be shocked or too dismayed if he struggles early in Low A as an inexperienced 19-year-old. The high-average/25 homer upside is still there.
A commenter on the article provided a helpful list of how many players each team has on the list, along with where its highest prospect ranks. The Dodgers have eight players on the list. Here are the AL East teams:
Baltimore - 6 (top prospect # 2)
New York - 6 (top prospect # 8)
Boston - 4 (top prospect #11)
Tampa Bay - 4 (top prospect #24)
Toronto - 1 (top prospect #47)

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