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SoxProspects News

August 9, 2022 at 8:00 AM

Minor Notes: Mayer & Jordan promoted and Bleis wins first POTW


It was a busy week throughout the system with new SoxProspects.com rankings to start the week, the trade deadline coming mid-week, and some of the system's top prospects promoted. 

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Marcelo Mayer and Blaze Jordan promoted

As SoxPropects.com's Executive Editor Chris Hatfield first reported, shortstop and top-ranked prospect Marcelo Mayer (pictured, right) was promoted from Low-A Salem to High-A Greenville. Mayer was narrowly beaten out for this week's SoxProspects.com Player of the Week after posting a .607 OBP with a home run and two doubles, and that type of outstanding performance has been emblematic of his first full season as a professional. His final line with Salem is .286/..406/.504 with 16 steals without being caught, 36 extra-base hits including nine home runs, and 51 walks to 78 strikeouts. He was 1.8 years younger than the average position player in the Carolina League and only 11 of his 308 plate appearances came against a pitcher younger than his age of 19. 

Mayer's Salem teammate, infielder Blaze Jordan, will be making the trip with him up to Greenville after he was promoted as well. Jordan is currently ranked 18th in the system in the latest SoxProspects.com rankings after hitting .287/.357/.446 for Salem. The 2020 third-rounder raked to start the season, hitting .310/.372/.498 with eight home runs through the end of June, but since then he has yet to hit a home run and has slugged only .321 over those 29 games.

New SoxProspects rankings

With the calendar turning to August, the SoxProspects.com brass issued their monthly in-season update to the rankings. Much of the movement surrounded players newly added to the system including Mikey Romero (10th in August SoxProspects.com rankings), Roman Anthony (14), Enmanuel Valdez (16), Cutter Coffey (20), Wilier Abreu (26), Brooks Brannon (33), Noah Dean (48), Corey Rosier (56), and Max Ferguson (57).

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Transactions

Enmanuel Valdez and Wilyer Abreu acquired for Christian Vazquez
It was expected that with the Red Sox in a deep slump, the organization would consider moving some of their veterans approaching free agency. The one who ended up getting dealt was catcher Christian Vazquez who was a ninth-round pick by the Red Sox back in 2008 and finished his Red Sox career with a .700 OPS and good defense. 

In exchange, the Red Sox brought back two interesting Astros prospects. Enmanuel Valdez is in the midst of an amazing season starting with a 1.112 OPS for Double-A Corpus Christi before being promoted to Triple-A Sugar Land and finishing with a .907 OPS with 21 home runs and 48 extra-base hits. He has some defensive versatility but unfortunately is below average everywhere so hit bat will have to carry him and certainly has thus far in 2022. They also acquired outfielder Wilyer Abreu who has spent all of his 2022 at Double-A, hitting .249/.399/.459 with 15 home runs and 23 steals with an amazing 19% walk rate. 

Corey Rosier and Max Ferguson from San Diego
The Red Sox also acquired two other prospects at the deadline as part of a larger deal, though these two are less likely than Valdez or Abreu to have major league impact. The Red Sox acquired major league veteran first baseman Eric Hosmer along with prospects Corey Rosier and Max Ferguson in exchange for Jay Groom. Groom was rumored to go in the first couple of selections in the 2016 MLB Draft but surprisingly fell to the Red Sox with the 12th pick. Groom ended up having Tommy John surgery in 2017 and made it as far as Triple-A in the Sox system and in 2017 and 2018 was a consensus top 100 prospect.

Rosier and Ferguson are similar prospects, albeit at different positions. Both have very good speed with 33 and 55 steals respectively for the Astros system in 2022. They both also have great plate discipline, each walking at a rate greater than 14% in 2022. However, they both have questions about their contact ability, especially with Fergeson who is a career .220 hitter, and it is their hit tool that has them bother projected as organizational players unless they can show real development with the bat. 

Brayan Bello hits the IL
Brayan Bello left his start on August 3rd after only throwing 2/3 of an inning and giving up two hits while striking out two. It was later revealed that the reason for the quick exit was a groin strain that has ultimately landed him on the IL. Bello, ranked 3rd on the August SoxProspcets.com rankings, dominated the minors with a 2.35 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and 12.1 K/9 this year has not seen the same success while in the majors, allowing 16 earned runs and 41 baserunners in 17 innings over five appearances. 

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Key Links

It was a busy week down at the farm, and thankfully Chris and Ian fired up the SoxProspects.com podcast to discuss all the buy/sell/trade news in Episode #257.

There was a substantial shift in the farm system with players moving in and out around the trading deadline. The Boston Globe's Alex Speier takes a look at some of the ramifications up and down the farm as a result of what happened earlier in the week.

This week, Kiley McDaniel of ESPN issued an update to his pre-season farm system rankings. After the development of the current system, additions of new draft picks, and very few promotions, the Red Sox saw a move up in the rankings, rising from 16th in the pre-season rankings to 13th in this edition.

Not to be outdone, Baseball America also updated their Top 100 Prospects list with four Red Sox making the cut: Mayer (13), Bello (23), first baseman Triston Casas (30), and outfielder Ceddanne Rafaela (87).

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Players of the Week

Miguel Bleis, OF, Florida Complex League

5 G, 20 AB, 9 H, 3 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 8 R, 6 RBI, 5 SB, .450/.542/.950

The 18-year-old had what is likely his best week as a professional. Twice this week he had games with three hits and six or more total bases going 3-for-4 on Tuesday with a double, home run, and a stolen base and 3-for-5 on Saturday with a double and a triple. Since July 11th, Blies (pictured, left) has been on fire, hitting .323/.380/.662 over 16 games. 

We were not the only ones to notice the outstanding week from the centerfielder, as he was also named the Florida Complex League Player of the Week for the week of August 1-7. This week's success continues the positive trend for the 6-foot-3 centerfielder. He had a .751 OPS last season in the Dominican Summer League, his first action as a professional. This year he has improved each month, posting an OPS of .737, .779, and 1.492 in June, July, and August respectively. It has not been without any flaws with the centerfielder carrying a 27.7% strikeout rate, but Bleis might have the highest ceiling in the organization and he really showed it this past week. 


Brian Keller, RHP, Worcester Red Sox
1 G, 0-0, 6 IP, 1.50 ERA, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 10 K

Winning back-to-back Player of the Week honors is not something that happens frequently but that is the situation Keller has pitched himself into over the last couple of weeks. While he didn't get a win this week, he threw an inning more, gave up a hit less, and struck out three more than his award-winning week last week. The 28-year-old journeyman has been the model of consistency since May 21st, a period where he has not given up more than two runs in any appearance and has a 2.06 ERA with 67 strikeouts over 52 and 1/3 innings.

Keller was selected from the Yankees in the Rule 5 Draft this past offseason. He was coming off a successful year at Triple-A where he both started and came out of the bullpen, putting up a 2.77 ERA but with a 1.61 WHIP mostly due to a 7.48 walk rate. This season it has come way down to 3.54 this year while maintaining his 10.5+% strikeout rate. His age and track record suggest that he is more organizational depth than anything but that shouldn't take away from his amazing two-week run.

Photo Credit: Marcelo Mayer and Miguel Bleis by Kelly O'Connor 

Will Woodward is a Co-Owner and Senior Staff Writer for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @SPWill.