The hot commodity at this position will be Sam Travis. Travis is a line drive machine who hit .300 in 2015 with some good gap numbers (32 doubles). In the Fall League, Travis hit .344 and had 10 doubles in 93 at-bats. The home run power has not developed and may never, despite his size. Travis will be planted at first in Pawtucket and if he continues to impress the 22-year-old right-hand hitter may even take a late season journey to Fenway. But he’s not my All-Star.
Nick Longhi is a 30th round pick and in baseball that usually means produce or be sent packing. The 20-year-old right-hand hitter and left-hand arm hit .281 at Greenville with seven home runs in 115 games. This is a pure hunch, but I look for Longhi to move up to Portland by half season and continue to develop in the power department.
A yawn for sure on this selection of Yoan Moncada. The positive numbers grew exponentially during the 2015 season and Moncada is now top ranked for Boston and among the top ranked in MLB. The interesting aspect is the athletic Moncada could shift positions and is not necessarily locked into second. Expect Moncada to start at Salem and then advance to Portland and eventually to Pawtucket. A three league leap is something special for any prospect.
Where the Red Sox utility player of the future may be located is at Pawtucket and that is a former PTBNL – Marco Hernandez.
Hernandez impressed enough to be added to the 40-man roster and advance during the season from Portland, where he was an All-Star and hit .326, to Pawtucket. The 23-year-old left-hand hitter has most of his games played at short, but has played other infield positions as he will with the PawSox.
If this was wagering the smart money would be on Rafael Devers, the 19-year-old left-hand hitting Dominican. The projections on Devers are either spot on or inflationary and only time will tell. The swing is smooth and the power is evident with 11 home runs in 2015. I have read comparisons to Gregory Polanco.
Since I am in a full hunch mode I will go with Michael Chavis. If it is strikeouts you like then Chavis fits right in with 144 at Greenville in 2015. If it is home runs, then Chavis belted 16. If it is average then Chavis’ .223 is somewhere between pitiful and pathetic – “P” words and not “F” words. Chavis is a solid defender with the skills to move to the outfield or first base. What I am looking for is the proverbial make or break for the 20-year-old right-hander who was a 2014 first round pick. He will “make it” in 2016 with more power and significant average improvement.
This would be a lock for former first-round pick Deven Marrero – if he had not played in Boston, but I see Marrero either spending time in Boston and/or being packaged elsewhere. If Marrero moves on expect Hernandez to move to short. So that changes the dynamics a bit and my pick for 2016 would be Mauricio Dubon.
Dubon has the potential to be the first MLB player that was born in Honduras, but played high school baseball in California. Doubon is a 21-year-old right-hander who is a very light hitter. Expect very little in the power department What Dubon does have is some excellent speed with 30 steals in 37 attempts in 2015 and some developing defensive skills.
Dubon will start at Salem, but if I was Tzu-Wei Lin at Portland I would scan the box scores since Dubon may be moving up during the season.