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August 26, 2021 at 9:00 AM

Scout Chatter: Blaze Jordan, Brainer Bonaci, Eddinson Paulino and Karson Simas

The Red Sox Florida Coast League and Dominican Summer League teams are in full swing and it's time for another Scout Chatter with reports we've received on those affiliates. The data we’ve collected will be up on the News Page for your reading pleasure before we use it to update player page scouting reports, so forgive any inconsistencies until that point. Today, we focus on the infielders from the Red Sox Florida Coast League team. 

Red Sox 2020 third-round pick Blaze Jordan has done exactly what the Red Sox hoped he would when they drafted him, earning a quick promotion to Salem. In 76 plate appearances over 19 games in the FCL, he hit .362/.408/.667 with 12 extra-base hits, including 4 home runs, and had a 17.1% strikeout rate and 7.9% walk rate. While the overall stat line is very impressive, scout feedback from Fort Myers has been more cautious. Likely to move from third base to first base based on reports on his defense, Jordan is going to have to hit at every level. His raw power is obvious, and he performed exactly how you would want, but his approach is still a work in progress and he needs to develop a plan at the plate. Too often, he was reaching for pitches and getting himself out, and would get caught off balance. Given his offensive potential when he stays back and drives the ball, it would serve him well to take those pitches, rather than cheat himself out of an at-bat. He is still very young though, not turning 19 until December, and he has plenty of time to develop.

Though his stat line may not stand out, scouts still see infielder Brainer Bonaci as one of the top prospects on the FCL Red Sox. For the year, Bonaci is hitting .239/.360/.385 in 139 plate appearances with 2 home runs and 8 stolen bases. He has a 14.7% walk rate and 23.9% strikeout rate. He has shown advanced pitch recognition skills for his age, but has the tendency to be passive at the plate. A switch-hitter, he has shown strong feel for hit and contact ability for his age. Although his batting average and slugging from each side of the plate are similar and he has a significantly higher OBP from the left side, scouts were more bullish about his right-handed swing, which is quicker and more direct to the ball while he is longer and slower from the left. Bonaci does not have the most projectable body, but he has a strong arm and shows the defensive ability to stick at shortstop, even though he makes too many mistakes there at present.

At the start of the FCL season, infielder Eddinson Paulino was not even an everyday player, but he
quickly played his way into an everyday role and has been the biggest riser on the squad in the SoxProspects rankings, moving from unranked to 29th this month. For the year, the 19-year-old Dominican is hitting .378/.469/.598 with 15 extra-base hits in 128 plate appearances. The scouting backs up that stat line, as scouts think Paulino can really hit. He has been hitting hard line drives all over the field this year and made impressive exit velocity gains, hitting the ball much harder this year than he did in 2019 in the DSL. The one knock on Paulino so far has been that it is unclear how much over-the-fence power Paulino will develop. He is listed at 5-foot-10, 155 pounds, and while he has projection in his frame, he is unlikely to grow into a major power threat. Regardless, with athleticism, defensive versatility, and a smooth swing with the potential to hit, Paulino is one of the more intriguing prospects on the FCL Red Sox and one of the most intriguing young position players in the system.  

Another player who just missed being ranked was middle infielder Karson Simas. Simas was a 25th-round pick in 2019 and signed for $175,000, $50,000 over slot for picks after the tenth round. He only got 42 plate appearances in 2019 in the GCL and is now back in the FCL this year where he is showing off intriguing contact skills and defensive profile. Simas is hitting .310/.385/.397 in 66 plate appearances and scout feedback on his glove has been very encouraging. Simas is athletic and is loose at the plate. He has a good approach and his swing works, but scouts doubt he  will hit for much power. 

Photo Credit: Blaze Jordan and Eddinson Paulino by Bryan Green; Brainer Bonaci by Kelly O'Connor.

Ian Cundall is Director of Scouting for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @IanCundall.