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SoxProspects News

July 10, 2024 at 5:30 PM

Minor Notes: The SoxProspects.com-to-All-Star pipeline

July's first full week saw the official SoxProspects.com midseason rankings released, as well as the announcement of All-Star selections of four graduated prospects. 

Four All-Stars, including two first timers

The rosters for the 2024 All-Star Game were released this weekend, and the list includes four players who came up through the Red Sox system, including three current members of the team. 

All-Star honors are yet another accolade in a breakout season for Jarren Duran (pictured). Drafted as a singles-hitting second baseman out of Long Beach State in the seventh round of the 2018 draft, the Red Sox saw potential in Duran's natural power and worked with him on putting more loft on the ball. The results were immediate, with a slugging percentage at Lowell over .150 points higher than during his Junior season in college. He rose quickly through both the systems and the rankings, moving across three levels during his 2019 season and getting recognized as the third-ranked player in the system. After two uneven trips to the majors in 2021 and 2022, Duran solidified himself as a major leaguer with a solid 2023 season and has broken out this year. He leads the American League in triples with 10, and is the fourth-ranked position player in the circuit in Wins Above Replacement (via Baseball-Reference) at 4.7. He also ranks in the top ten in the AL in hits (3rd), doubles (2nd) runs (6th), steals (5th), and total bases (5th). 

Tanner Houck is also making his first trip to the All-Star Game. The 24th overall pick in 2017 spent the first three years of his career in a swingman role, moving between the rotation, long relief, and high-leverage short relief to fill in the current staff needs. He moved to the rotation full-time for the 2023 season with mixed results, posting a 5.01 ERA, but has joined Duran as a breakout player on the surprising 2024 squad. Houck has been the hardest pitcher in the American League to homer against, having surrendered just five in 111 innings. He's struck out 106 against only 23 walks on his way to a 2.68 ERA (ranking 5th in the AL), and matching 2.68 FIP (3rd).

Scorching-hot third baseman Rafael Devers will be joining Duran and Houck in Arlington. It is the third selection for Devers, having previously been honored in 2021 and 2022. Already one of the most dangerous hitters in the league, increased patience has made him even more of a force at the plate, as he currently sits sixth in the American League with a .381 on-base percentage to go with a .595 slugging (3rd in the AL), and .296 batting average (8th). Devers has put on a recent surge to quell any doubt about his All-Star merits, cracking seven home runs in his last 11 games. Still only 27, he needs only seven more homers to reach 200 for his career, and he ranks in the top 40 among active hitters in runs batted in.

Another former Red Sox prospect has earned selection to the team, though he will not participate in the game due to injury. It has been a remarkable story of perseverance: Markus Lynn "Mookie" Betts was drafted as a shortstop in the fifth round of the 2011 draft, and after taking13 years to secure a major league starting role at the position, he was honored with an All-Star pick. Betts, readers may remember, was part of the package that went to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2020 deal that brought starting catcher Connor Wong to the Red Sox.


July rankings update

The new Top 60 was released on Friday July 5th. While it was not nearly as major a shakeup as the June update, there were some key movers:
  • Kristian Campbell is now ranked 5th in the system as he has not missed a beat upon his promotion from Greenville to Portland.
  • Nick Yorke had fallen to 17th after a lackluster two months at Portland, but a resurgence with the WooSox has him back up to 12th.
  • Jhostynxon Garcia jumped 10 spots, from 33 to 23. Like Campbell and Yorke, Garcia has seemed to take a step forward after his promotion, with a .321/.383/.679 line in 28 games since joining Greenville. He is tied with the system lead with 16 home runs.
  • Left-handed pitcher Bailey Horn jumped from 49 to 32 after a strong month that saw him earn a promotion to the major league club.
  • Shane Drohan returned from the White Sox after having been selected last December in the Rule 5 draft, re-enters the rankings at #47.
  • Four players debuted in the rankings, all from the complex leagues. FCL right-handers Juan Valera and Yeferson Vargas enter at 42 and 54, respectively. Right-hander Dalvinson Reyes has generated the most positive buzz of any Sox player in the DSL, and he joins the rankings at 43rd. Justin Gonzales, the lone position player of the quartet, debuts at 55th. An outfielder and first baseman, the 17-year old has been one of the top hitters in the DSL with a .313/.394/.530 line. 
Chris, Ian, and Mike got together to discuss the updates, as well as several other topics, on the latest edition of the SoxProspects.com Podcast



The biggest move of the week was the acquisition of right-hander Trey Wingenter from the Tigers in exchange for CJ Weins. Wingenter has 90 major league appearances, 73 with the Padres in 2018 and 2019 along with 17 last year with Detroit. He was with the Tigers on a minor league contract this season, posting a 3.31 ERA and 48 strikeouts against 17 walks in 32 2/3 innings with the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens. An optional assignment clause in his contract meant he needed to be added to the 40-man roster, so Boston was able to pick up the veteran reliever. Weins was a 2023 6th-round pick out of Western Kentucky, and had a 4.81 ERA in 19 appearances for Salem.

  • In order to add Wingenter to the 40-man roster, Naoyuki Uwasawa was designated for assignment, and Cam Booser was optioned to Triple-A the previous day.
  • The team also swapped infielders, optioning Enmanuel Valdez to Worcester and recalling Jamie Westbrook
  • The team released Elvis Soto, who had shown some promise in 2023 with the FCL Red Sox and Salem but had yet to pitch in 2024 due to shoulder issues. 

Players of the Week July 1-7

Kleyver Salazar, C, FCL Red Sox
6 G, 7-16, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 5 R, .438/.500/.938

Known as a glove-first catcher, Salazar had a monster week at the plate. He had twice as many extra-base hits (four) as strikeouts (two) and raised his OPS on the season from .583 at the start of the week to .709. The 18-year-old catcher out of Venezuela is the younger brother of former Red Sox minor leaguer Johnfrank Salazar, now a member of the Cardinals' organization.

Blake Wehunt, RHP, Greenville
1 GS, 5 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 BB, 9 K

It was a nearly-perfect start by Wehunt on Friday, as the 23-year-old righty did not surrender a hit or walk in his five innings of work. Only two runners reached base: one on an error, the other on a dropped third strike. He struck out 9 of the 17 batters he faced and threw 46 of 61 pitches for strikes. Wehunt is ranked 39th in the system after last week's update.

Photo Credit: Jarren Duran, in 2018 with Lowell Spinners, by Kelly O'Connor