The Boston Red Sox focus has been on the immediate, but the farm system has seen a diaspora of talent that needs rejuvenation.
Where did I put my truck keys? That is usually matched by where did I park my truck? Sometimes things seem to just vanish around the house. Socks are eaten by the washing machine. Stamps, pencils and silverware need an internal APB to be located. But the latest missing list is the Red Sox farm system.
We do know where the once great system went since Chris Sale, Drew Pomeranz and Craig Kimbrel can be linked to the exodus, but what remains is equal to the hair for on Kojack’s head. Talk about the depletion of resources. Seems a real rebuilding project is a farm that now looks like something out of the farms in the Grapes of Wrath. But the good news is what the Red Sox got in return.
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Looking at Prospect Watch and their top 100 prospects I see two (count ‘em) – two prospects. Jason Groome at 43rd and Michael Chavis at 93rd. Both are listed first and second on the Red Sox top ten. Neither appears to be ready to contribute to the Big Club in the immediate future.
Groome – a 19-year-old lefty – was a twelfth overall pick in the 2016 draft, but circumstances have not gone well. Injuries, family issues, and spotty performance have slowed development of the possible prize left-hander of that draft class.
Chavis is another far more promising story. A 22-year-old right-handed hitter who oozes power with 31 home runs banged out between Double-A Portland a High-A Salem in 2017. That and a .282 average earned Chavis the Red Sox Minor League Offensive Player of the Year Award.
The only player in the system who may make an impact in 2018 is Sam Travis. Travis can pump drives into the gap, but despite a linebacker type physique Travis is not view as a home run threat of any significance. Travis could ultimately impact 2018 as trading fodder for Dave Dombrowski as another talent is sought out.
Scanning the rest of the farm system it looks really sparse for the short-term, but the long-term may offer more promise. Young talent does have a way of moving rapidly in either direction – up or down. For every Mookie Betts there is a Lars Anderson. Climbing the baseball system ladder weens out many a formerly promising talent.
Now the Red Sox could take the exceptionally risky move of trading for promising talent elsewhere. The Yankees and Brian Cashman showed rather convincingly that it can be done while not gutting the team. That may be a detail to watch as the season unfolds and if the Red Sox start to fade. Even a Hanley Ramirez could have some value.
The Red Sox also have the international market if they do not attempt any more shenanigans with money manipulation. Their double secret probation is now kaput, so Boston can sour the hinterlands for talent.
Drafting in sports and especially baseball is an excruciatingly inaccurate adventure in projections. Boston – as with all MLB teams – has noted successes and failures. Depending on who they sign as a free agent the drafting could take a hit, but that is the most significant way to replenish.
The farm system will produce and hopefully, Groome could be the first impact starter they produce in the last 12 or so years. The reality is this is a long process and don’t expect much in the foreseeable future. We may in for an extended farm system drought.