Red Sox: Jason Groome, Michael Chavis among Top 100 prospects
By Sean Penney
Baseball America ranked only two players from the Boston Red Sox farm system in their Top 100 prospect list – Jason Groome and Michael Chavis.
The Boston Red Sox farm system is as bare as we’ve seen it in quite some time. Baseball America released their annual Top 100 prospects rankings, which includes only two players from the Red Sox organization.
Buried near the bottom of the list we find left-handed pitcher Jason Groome (No. 83) and third baseman Michael Chavis (No. 85).
Groome was the first-round pick of the Red Sox in 2016. He struggled through an injury-plagued season in his first year as a pro, posting a 3-9 record and 5.39 ERA in time spent with Single-A Lowell and Greenville. His 11.7 strikeout rate was encouraging and he still has a bright future but is years away from making his way to Fenway.
Chavis is coming off a breakout season that earned him an invitation to big league camp this spring as a non-roster invitee. He mashed 31 home runs and posted a .910 OPS in time split between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland.
That’s it in terms of blue-chip prospects in the Red Sox system.
Many will blame president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski for this poor representation but that’s not entirely fair. It’s true that Dealin’ Dave hasn’t been shy about emptying the cupboard in the interest of acquiring talent that can help the team win now. Yet those same fans that complain about Dombrowski ravaging the farm system are also the first to complain that he’s not doing enough to put the Red Sox in position to contend. You can’t have it both ways.
While trades have been a factor in depleting the farm system, the Red Sox have also graduated several top prospects in recent years. Andrew Benintendi and Rafael Devers were both rated highly in the past by Baseball America and similar publications but are no longer considered prospects after accruing enough time in the majors for 2017 to have counted as their rookie year.
The Red Sox may not have much on the farm but they do have a solid core of young players, most of whom remain under team control for several more seasons. In addition to the aforementioned rookies, Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts are both only 25 years old. Boston’s bench could include Marco Hernandez, Blake Swihart, and Sam Travis, all of whom are 25 or younger. The starting rotation will include 24-year old Eduardo Rodriguez once he recovers from knee surgery.
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While Boston has coughed up a large bounty of prospects under the reign of Dombrowski, none of them have had a significant impact in the majors or project to in the near future.
Michael Kopech, ranked No. 11, is the only prospect Dombrowski has traded to appear on Baseball America’s list. Yoan Moncada, the most high profile asset dealt away by Dombrowski, no longer qualifies as a prospect. It’s far too early to pass judgment on Moncada’s potential but he’s off to a rough start. He owns a .229 average, .730 OPS and a staggering 39.4 percent strikeout rate in 62 career games splits between Boston and the Chicago White Sox.
Remember when fans were up in arms when the team traded away top pitching prospect Anderson Espinoza? He was supposed to be the next Pedro Martinez but his stock has fallen to the point where he no longer cracks this Top 100 list.
Perhaps those young players will come back to haunt the Red Sox someday but is anyone really going to complain that we have Chris Sale and Craig Kimbrel on the team now? Boston gave up a number of assets who could develop into stars someday for proven commodities who played a key role in guiding the Red Sox to the postseason in 2017.
Next: Spring training non-roster invitee snubs
Teams that aren’t ready to contend need to cling to the hope that a strong farm system can provide someday. Boston doesn’t have much to look forward to from their farm system but they have plenty of young talent who will be sticking around for a while. This team is ready to contend now and for the foreseeable future.