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SoxProspects News

February 7, 2020 at 7:00 PM

Minor Notes: Casas leads Red Sox on national rankings as Betts trade looms

Here are January's minor league notes:

  • It has been a busy month for the SoxProspects podcast team, who have recorded three episodes since the beginning of January. Episode 171 featured the now annual appearance of Alex Speier (Boston Globe) on the pod, and the group went over a number of topics including the offseasons transactions and Speier's new book, Homegrown
  • Prior to the news breaking late Tuesday night Chris (@SPChrisHatfield) and Ian (@IanCundall) discussed what a then theoretical Mookie Betts trade would look like in the 172nd episode of the podcast. They further recapped the Red Sox offseason transactions and offered condolences to the families of Kobe Bryant and Red Sox scout J.J. Altobelli. Immediately following the news of the Betts trade breaking the team hopped in the studio for the 173rd episode to go over the reported terms of the deal and discuss what this means for the Red Sox going forward.
  • Earlier in the month, the Red Sox kicked off their annual rookie development program after a brief hiatus in 2019. In addition to daily workouts, the Red Sox announced that the participants made several appearances around the city as well as hearing from members of the Red Sox front office. This year's group was highlighted by Bobby Dalbec, Jarren Duran, and Bryan Mata. You can find a full list of participants as well as information regarding previous years of the program on SoxProspects.com's rookie development page.
  • As part of the buildup to Spring Trainings Sox Prospects has begun its countdown of the system's Top 60 prospects. You can follow along with the countdown by following @SoxProspects on twitter. 
  • One player who is sure to be near the top of the Top 60 list is corner infielder Triston Casas, who has garnered a lot of attention this offseason. Chris Smith of MassLive.com profiled Casas who shared his admiration of Reds star Joey Votto. Casas, who is aiming to lower his strikeout totals in 2020, told Smith that he strives to emulate Votto at any chance he can, going as far as to choke up on his bat during his at-bats. 
  • Casas further garnered attention following an interview with John Tomase of NBCSports Boston in which the young slugger revealed that he had grown during the offseason. The Red Sox top prospect according to SoxProspects was already large when he was drafted out of American Heritage High School, but now the massive infielder stands at a towering 6-foot-5 while weighing in at 255 pounds. While Casas hopes to cut down on his strikeouts this season, the added muscle will no doubt help him maintain or even surpass his power output. 
  • Another corner infielder near the top of the Red Sox prospect charts, Bobby Dalbec was recently listed by Mike Rosenbaum of MLB.com as the seventh best third base prospect in baseball. Rosenbaum was especially complimentary of Dalbec's power and arm, which he graded as a 60 and 65 respectively. Additionally, Rosenbaum cited Dalbec's proximity to the majors and impact potential as reasons to name him as the third base prospect most likely to earn Rookie of the Year honors in 2020. 
  • With Spring Training approaching, national outlets have begun publishing their various prospect rankings and the Red Sox were once again lightly represented. Boston had the best showing on Baseball America's Top 100 list, where Triston Casas and Bobby Dalbec finished 70th and 75th respectively. 
  • In an additional piece by Josh Norris, Bryan Mata and Jarren Duran were listed as players who could potentially appear on the Top 100 list in 2021. Mata and Duran were each listed as notable prospects who just missed out on the 2020 BA Top 100 by JJ Cooper and were joined in this regard by Jay Groome, Darwinzon Hernandez, and Gilberto Jimenez.
  • Casas was the lone Red Sox representative on MLB.com's Top 100 list at number 77, while no current Red Sox were represented on Baseball Prospectus' annual Top 100 prospects list. However Brusdar Graterol, part of the potential return for the stalled-out Mookie Betts trade, received top marks by coming in at 32 for BP and 83 for MLB.com.
  • On MLB.com the prospect team of Mike Rosenbaum, Jim Callis, and Jonathan Mayo teamed up to determine the best prospect from each team not to make the Top 100 list, with Bobby Dalbec chosen for the Red Sox. Callis wrote an additional article about the best defensive prospects in each organization and selected Gilberto Jimenez to represent the Red Sox farm system. 
  • Although the Red sox farm system has once again graded poorly among national outlets, Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com opines that the addition of Chaim Bloom and his unique approach to roster building can get the most out of what many see as a weak pool of minor league talent. Cotillo emphasizes Bloom's unsentimental approach to the Red Sox existing depth options and willingness to rely on youth and players from other team's scrap heaps as reasons to be optimistic about the Red Sox depth in 2020.
  • One of the primary concerns for the Red Sox headed into 2020 is their pitching depth, which generally let the team down in a disappointing 2019 campaign. Matt Collins of Over the Monster analyzed some of the internal options available to the team in 2020, with Kyle Hart, Tanner Houck, and Daniel McGrath listed as the top prospect depth options available to the Red Sox. 
  • While it is generally difficult to predict how a team's depth options will perform in any given season, Dan Szymborski once again attempted to do so in his annual ZiPS predictions for Fangraphs. While this projection includes the major league roster, it will be of interest to fans of SoxProspects as it projects what a full season could look like for many minor leaguers. 
  • Coming off of a season in which he made his debut as a relief pitcher, Tanner Houck will be a vital depth piece for the Red Sox pitching staff. In an interview with Chris Smith of MassLive.com Houck discussed his changed delivery and improved pitch mix, and revealed that the Red Sox want him to attack hitters in a similar way to Rick Porcello.  Houck further discussed his evolution as a pitcher since turning pro, and his willingness to fill any role the Red Sox need him to. 
  • Earlier this month the Red Sox announced that they had added thirteen non-roster invitees to their Spring Training roster, with Tanner Houck, Jarren Duran, and Bryan Mata headlining the group selected.
  • In transactional news, Ben Badler of Baseball America reported that the Red sox have reached an agreement with Dominican outfielder Miguel Bleis for an estimated fee of $2 million. Chris Hatfield noted on Twitter that this would represent the largest bonus given to an international amateur by the Red Sox since Daniel Flores.
  • On the non-playing side of things former Sox prospect Kyri Washington announced on his Instagram that he will be joining the Red Sox as a pro scout, returning to the organization for the first time since retiring in 2019.  
Photo Credit: Triston Casas and Bobby Dalbec by Kelly O'Connor