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Boston Red Sox Top MLB Prospects for 2018 Dynasty Leagues


This is a farm system that a year ago looked loaded and now looks depleted. But that was expected. The top three prospects last offseason were Yoan Moncada, Andrew Benintendi and Rafael Devers. Most figured that all three would graduate in 2017, and even if not Devers, at least Benintendi and Moncada looked like locks to leave the farm.

Still, this is not the most depleted farm system out there. There are still some high-upside arms and some close-to-the-majors bats. The farm has seen better days, but it is better to have been able to harvest the crops rather than watch them all wilt up on the way to full development.

Let's continue our trip through the AL East with a look at the top prospects for the Boston Red Sox in 2018. When you're done, check out our review of the Baltimore Orioles' farm system.

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Boston Red Sox Top Prospects for Dynasty Leagues

Top Overall Talent: Michael Chavis

Top Prospect to Debut in 2018: Michael Chavis

No longer does this organization have Yoan Moncada, Rafael Devers or Andrew Benintendi to represent the top spot on the list. Now that spot belongs to Chavis. That is not to say that Chavis belongs in that upper echelon of prospects. Chavis is a solid prospect with 30-homer pop and a likely major-league role ahead of him. He does not make enough contact to be considered a true top-tier prospect in baseball, but dynasty owners will have plenty of value in owning a bat like Chavis who would benefit greatly from the Big Green Monster. Don’t own Chavis expecting him to become the next Devers. But instead, be satisfied with a solid, slugging corner infielder who could be headed to second base if third doesn’t work out for him.

Top Prospect who won’t debut in 2018: Jayson Groome

A confluence of issues plagued Groome in 2017. He was unable to stay healthy for much of the season, he dealt with some off-field issues and struggled with command. The result was a season that probably had some dynasty owners nervous about his future. But it is far too early to give up on Groome. He has an arm that many scouts still view as among the most electric in the minors and believe he has what it takes to develop into a front-of-the-rotation starting pitcher. Scouts believe his control will develop into a plus attribute for him and his stuff is more than electric enough to dominate hitters in the majors. Given time, Groome could climb up prospect lists and emerge as one of the top left-handed pitching prospects in baseball.

Biggest Boom or Bust: Travis Lakins

Lakins struggled in 2016, but got off to a hot start in 2017. He dominated Advanced Class-A, posting a 2.61 ERA and 2.84 FIP with a 27.7 percent strikeout rate and 8.4 percent walk rate in 38 innings. Then he was promoted to Double-A, struggled to stay healthy and walked 15.2 percent of batters to only a 13.8 percent strikeout rate with a 6.23 ERA and 5.01 FIP over 30.1 innings. He has overpowering stuff. Lakins touches the upper-90s with the fastball and mixes in an above-average changeup and curveball that helps him generate plenty of whiffs. He could be a No. 3 starter in the big leagues, but with his control and injury history, it could prove difficult for him to reach that upside.

Biggest Sleeper: Jake Thompson

Thompson was part of one of the most dominant pitching staffs in all of college baseball when he along with Luke Heimlich became a dominant one-two punch. Thompson finished the college baseball season with a 1.96 ERA over 128.2 innings with 119 strikeouts, an opposing batting average of .189 and just 40 walks. He only had 11.1 innings at Low Class-A so the stats should be taken with a grain of salt, but he did look strong there with a 3.18 ERA and 3.08 FIP. Scouts love the fastball/slider combination and could develop a nice changeup to add to the mix. There is concern that he could be headed to the bullpen, but he should make quick work of the minors and could be contributing in the majors in just a few seasons.

 

Top Prospect Hitters

Best Power Hitter: Michael Chavis

The power with Chavis has never been deniable. Since he was drafted, scouts knew Chavis would hit for power. He mashed 16 home runs in his first full pro season. He hit eight the following year (only played in 81 games). Then he hit 31 this season. But what has made Chavis’ stock rise has been his ability to now make more contact than he has in the past and cut down on the strikeouts. He is a legit slugger, and even if he is not a high batting average guy, Chavis will become a reliable source of home runs for dynasty owners.

Most Likely to Hit over .300: Sam Travis

Travis is a consistent hitter, taking his walks, making plenty of contact and avoiding strikeouts. He drives the ball to the gaps with relative ease thanks to a quick swing and contact-oriented approach. So dynasty owners who own Travis can rest easy at least knowing Travis will hit for a decent average. The problem is that he is limited to first base and lacks much game power. At this point, Travis is probably a Martin Prado-type player with slightly less power limited to first base.

Best Burner on the Bases: Cole Brannen

Brannen stood out as one of the more athletic high-school outfielders in the 2017 draft class, and Boston was fortunate to have him fall in their lap in the second round due to surgery he had during his senior year of high school. He is extremely fast, receiving 70-plus grades from evaluators for his speed. It plays well both on the bases and in the field, allowing him to not only man center field, but steal 25-plus bases per season. Scouts also buy into his ability to make contact, believing he could eventually be a high-average hitter, which should allow him to put his speed to good use on the bases. Dynasty owners will need to be patient, but the product could be a future speedy leadoff hitter.

 

Top Prospect Pitchers

Strikeout Machine: Jayson Groome

The 2017 season was not kind to Groome, but that did not stop him from missing plenty of bats with his electric stuff. He struck out 29.6 percent of opposing batters over his 55.1 innings pitched. Scouts praise Groome for his already advanced array of pitches, complete with a plus curveball and plus fastball, the latter of which is expected to become faster as he develops more. He also mixes in an average, but inconsistent changeup and a cutter that is fast becoming another plus pitch for him. If he can stay healthy and better control his pitches, he has the chance to consistently strike out 25-plus percent of batters faced.

Best Command: Tanner Houck

Houck is one of the more interesting pitching prospects in the Red Sox organization. He has the stuff to make it in the rotation, yet questions persist about his move to the bullpen. But if his control last season that he showed between Mizzou and Low Class-A is any indication, he should be able to stick in a rotation. He walked only 8.2 percent of batters in professional baseball and only walked 24 batters in 94.2 innings of work at Missouri. Though his mechanics have some scouts nervous about his consistency, he has been able to avoid many walks to this point and should be able to moving forward.

 

Top 10 Dynasty Prospects for the Boston Red Sox

1. Michael Chavis (3B, AA)
ETA: 2018
Chavis’ future home might be at first base or second base with Rafael Devers at third base, but his power is potent enough to play anywhere.

2. Jayson Groome (SP, A)
ETA: 2020
Groome struggled through 2017, but he still has more upside than any other pitcher in this system and could wind up as a No. 2 starter in Boston when it’s all said and done.

3. Tanner Houck (SP, A-)
ETA: 2019
Some see Houck in the bullpen, but those who don’t see a pitcher with electric stuff who has the chance to miss plenty of bats as a No. 3 starter.

4. Cole Brannen (OF, A-)
ETA: 2021
It is also projection with Brannen who already has plus-plus speed and could develop the bat needed to place him at the top of Boston’s lineup.

5. Josh Ockimey (1B, AA)
ETA: 2019
No one takes more walks in this system than Ockimey, who also boasts some of the best power in the organization. But he will need to make more contact to reach his upside.

6. Bryan Mata (SP, A)
ETA: 2020
Only 18 years old, Mata has impressed at a young age, and as he develops, he could become a future No. 3 or 4 starter in the rotation with strikeout upside.

7. Bobby Dalbec (3B, A)
ETA: 2020
Plenty of power, plenty of strikeouts. Dalbec could be at the top of this list in a few seasons if he is able to cut down on the whiffs.

8. Lorenzo Cedroia (OF, A)
ETA: 2020
Cedroia lacks the upside of Brannen, but has a very similar profile: future leadoff-hitting speedster. His ability right now to already make plenty of contact gives him a higher floor than Brannen.

9. Darwinzon Hernandez (SP, A)
ETA: 2020
Hernandez has swing-and-miss stuff, but control issues and a lack of a true secondary pitch could send him to the bullpen.

10. Sam Travis (1B, MLB)
ETA: 2018
A powerless first baseman can only have so much value, even with a great batting average. Unless Travis can hit 15-plus home runs, his value is going to be as a bench bat at best for dynasty owners.

 

Conclusion

This farm system has seen better days. It has a handful of promising players at the top of the list, but the depth falls off quickly. Unlike in past years, Boston does not have a top-notch prospect like a Moncada, Devers or Benintendi. There are players who could be solid role players closer to the majors with the only high-upside players far away from the majors. But as long as the Red Sox have a talented major-league roster like it does right now, fans will be fine with a less-than-stellar farm system.

 

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