Red Sox Prospect: Outfielder Danny Mars
By Rick McNair
The Boston Red Sox top prospects are well known, but here is a look at one who fans may not know much about – outfielder Danny Mars.
The name certainly will draw attention since it is not that common and that is what brought me into a look at Danny Mars. The name does offer up several possibilities for a headline or game reports since it is easy to loop his moniker into that of Mars Company. I will avoid any “Snickers” or that he “Skittles” along on the bases. There – that is out of my system.
Mars is a switch-hitter who throws right-handed. His first claim to Red Sox notoriety was being drafted in the sixth round out of Chipola College – that first name offers further opportunities – in 2014 and starting his professional journey at short-season Lowell. Mars hit an impressive .311 for the Spinners and was sent up the food chain to Greenville in the South Atlantic League for 10 games and a .167 average.
The two league slash for Mars was .286/ .345/.385 with a pair of home runs and 17 RBI. Mars also displayed some reasonable base running skills with 16 steals in 22 attempts. The youngster also played a flawless outfield.
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In 2015 Mars career ground to a halt with a hand injury that certainly affected his development. Mars got some recovery time before moving back to Greenville where the slash was .283/.335/.331 with his limited power being displayed with no home runs and 16 RBI.
Mars earned a promotion to the high-A ball in 2016 and the final slash was consistent with his lower minor totals -.293/.358/.401 with just a pair of home runs and 54 RBI. What should be noted, is 18 doubles, ten triples and 31 steals in 44 attempts.
The Red Sox had a surprise for Mars and that was being sent to Surprise in the Arizona Fall League. In 17 games Mars hit .259, but the assignment shows the Red Sox have some interest in his potential development. In 2017 Mars will be the starting right-fielder for Portland in the Eastern League. Another incremental jump.
The 23-year-old Mars is not the gold-plated prospect that gathers all the attention. The lack of power certainly limits his options at the major league level. What Mars has displayed is some plus speed and good glove work, but is hindered by his arm strength.
So what is his future?
Mars has displayed some rather consistent numbers in the farm system. At each level, he has made the necessary adjustments and with Portland that will have to continue. If – and that is certainly a big if – Mars hits he could get a promotion to Pawtucket. Then comes the decision for Boston.
Mars will be a Rule 5 player available in December so Boston will have to make a decision – move him to the 40-man roster or risk Mars being picked up elsewhere. For Mars, the options are quite limited since he is viewed as a reserve outfielder at best. With the bevy of talented young outfielders doing picket duty in Boston his chances of being a regular – even with .300+ average at Pawtucket – is quite limited.
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Mars somewhat reminds me physically of Daniel Nava with the significant difference being Nava’s left-handed throwing. Both are switch-hitters and similar in size. Nava was never considered a top of the line prospect, but proved to be a resilient player and gritty competitor. Maybe the same future awaits Mars?