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September 23, 2021 at 3:00 PM

Scout Chatter: Miguel Bleis, Enderso Lira and more DSL prospects

The Red Sox Florida Coast League has wrapped up, but the Dominican Summer League teams are still playing and it's time for the final 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 players from the Red Sox Dominican Summer League teams. 

The early returns on outfielder Miguel Bleis—who signed in January for $1.5 million, making him the Red Sox’ most expensive international signee since 2017-2018—have been very encouraging even though he has only played 15 games. In 41 plate appearances, he is hitting .262/.341/.449 with four home runs and seven steals. Obviously, he is still early in his career, but one scout told me, “he’s the real deal.” 

Catcher Enderso Lira has been the most intriguing position player prospect in the DSL other than Bleis. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Venezuelan signed for $850,000 in January, the second-highest bonus in the Red Sox’ international class. Still only 17, Lira has a great frame for a catcher, with projection remaining, and is athletic enough that one scout suggested to me he could even handle third base if he outgrows catcher. He has looked good behind the plate though and has an above-average arm already. Offensively, he has a very advanced approach for his age, with more walks (31) than strikeouts (18) this year. His swing is short and direct, and he has quick hands. Right now, he mostly hits hard line drives, but he should grow into some power in the future, especially given his frame. Lira has a long way to go developmentally, but is a very intriguing prospect at a position the Red Sox have really struggled to develop. He has shown promise both offensively and defensively, and given how low the bar is for catching at the big league level right now, adding a player with his potential warranted the jump from unranked to 35th in the system that Lira has made this year. 

Outfielder Juan Chacon received the highest bonus of the Red Sox 2019-20 international class at $900,000, but he has had an inconsistent season at the plate, hitting for decent contact but showing little power. Overall, Chacon is hitting .307/.423/.380 with 8 extra-base hits and 11 steals, but 7 caught steals, in 196 plate appearances. Scout feedback on Chacon has been tepid, with scouts praising the looseness in his swing but worried about a lack of physical projection and power potential. 

Coming into the season, Curaçaoan right-hander Yizreel Burnet was identified as one of the more intriguing pitchers on the DSL roster. Scout feedback on Burnett has been promising even though his present stuff is on the light side. Burnet’s fastball sat 87-90 mph in a recent look and he mixed in a slider at 76-78 mph. He needs to add strength, but he has projection in his frame to support added muscle and is very young for the level, playing the entire year at 17 years old. It does appear, however, the Burnet may be hurt, as he has pitched just once since August 7, throwing one inning on August 18th.

Save for a recent slump, shortstop Johnfrank Salazar has been one of the Red Sox’ top DSL performers. Through August 19, Salazar was hitting .303/.400/.434 in 90 plate appearances, although he's struggled since then and his line is down to .268/.346/.370. He has shown an advanced approach for his age and strong contact skills with 12 walks and 16 strikeouts in 157 plate appearances. He lacks a standout tool right now, but everything other than speed shows solid potential. He looks athletic and has some quick-twitch ability in the field, but foot speed-wise, he is below-average. 

Right-fielder Allan Castro was recently named the Red Sox Latin program position player of the year and is one of the Red Sox’ most promising hitters in the DSL, showing the potential to hit for average and power. For the year, he is hitting .232/.345/.442 with 16 extra-base hits in 165 plate appearances. He has some swing-and-miss in his game, but could get to above-average raw power eventually and an average defensive profile in right field, including a potential above-average arm. Scouts identified Castro as having one of the best pure bats in the Red Sox’ DSL program and as one to watch when he makes the jump stateside. 

Venezuelan right-hander Jedixson Paez is all projection at this point, but has put together a solid season and was recently named Red Sox Latin program pitcher of the year. For the season, he has a 3.04 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 47.1 innings with 46 strikeouts and 9 walks. He has a thin frame and throws from a three-quarters arm slot with a short arm action. His fastball only sits 84-86 mph, but he has solid feel for his age and a pretty good curveball at 69-71 mph with good shape and depth. He is loose on the mound, and if he can add strength and improve the velocity on his pitches, he has the potential to be an interesting long-term prospect. 

Venezuelan right-hander Cesar Ruiz showed some of the best present stuff of any arm on the DSL Red Sox while still possessing plenty of projection. Ruiz is only 18 years old, but is listed at 6-foot-3, 170 pounds already. His delivery is on the stiff side, but his fastball already gets up to 93 mph and sits 89-92 mph. He also throws a slider at 81-83 mph and changeup at 80-83 mph. 

17-year-old Dominican right-hander Jean Carlos Reyes has struggled to throw strikes this year, walking 15 hitters in 27 innings, but he has intrigued scouts. His fastball sits 87-89 mph with natural cut and he already has three secondary pitches. His best secondary right now is his curveball which flashes average and he will also mix in a slider that is fringy at best and a poor changeup.

Outfielder Armando Sierra signed for $150,000 in January 2021 and though his numbers do not yet show it, his power potential is impressive. He is a below-average athlete and does not project to add much defensive value, but he has big-time raw power. He gets his whole body into his swing, but there are significant questions with his hit tool that could limit his power utility against more advanced pitching. 

Center fielder Kelvin Diaz, who received a modest bonus of $300,000 in July 2019, has struggled to put it together at the plate. His athleticism really stands out and scouts think he can really go get it in center. At the plate, he lacks feel and bat speed and just needs consistent at-bats. He really needs to add strength to his 6-foot-0, 150-pound frame, but if he can develop into anything at the plate, he has a chance to move up the ladder given that he could be a plus defender in center field. 

Outfielder Jhostynxon (pronounced “jo-STINKS-on”) Garcia will show some of the loudest tools on the DSL Red Sox, but he is raw at present with strikeout potential. Garcia is hitting .286/.424/.476 on the year with a 18.4% strikeout rate and 19.6% walk rate. He is passive at the plate and his swing is pull-heavy, but when he makes contact, he hits the ball hard and has power potential. In the outfield, he has decent instincts, which he needs to make up for his lack of pure speed.  

Photo Credit: Miguel Bleis by Baseball America.

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