Red Sox Prospect Watch: The final week of the 2018 season
By Hunter Noll
Bobby Dalbec started off scorching-hot when he was promoted to Double-A, but cooled off towards the end (although he was picking it back up in the last few games). Still, the power is definitely real. The third baseman had eight doubles and six home runs in 111 Double-A at-bats, driving in 24 runs as well. His entire season saw Dalbec hit a combined .257 with 35 doubles and 32 home runs. He drove in a ridiculous 109 runs and scored 73 more.
Esteban Quiroz only played in 24 games this year due to injury. He managed a fantastic stat line however, hitting .299 with seven home runs and 24, as well as five doubles and 19 runs scored. The 26-year-old is someone I feel could make a massive impact in the Majors if given the chance. I’m interested to see how 2019 shapes up for him.
Chad De La Guerra hit .266 in Double-A this year and .242 combined between Portland and Pawtucket. DLG did manage a career-high in home runs with 16 (15 in Double-A). His 58 RBI were also one behind his career-best of 59. The 25-year-old may not be as highly-regarded in the system as he was at this time last year, but there’s still plenty to love.
Austin Rei slumped slightly at the end of the year, but still put together his best season in the minors. The catcher had career-highs in average (.249) and homers (7). His two triples were also a new career-mark as was his .355 OBP. That’s what I want to talk about right now. The 24-year-old has always been great at getting on-base despite low averages. This makes him a fantastic prospect because if the bat continues to improve he’ll become a legitimate offensive threat.
Danny Mars flashed the clutch-factor near the end of the year. That includes the last at-bat of the year for the outfielder, which was a go-ahead RBI-single in the 11th inning. The .255 average was a drop-off from .293 two seasons ago and .304 last year. He did manage to tie a career-high in doubles (21) and runs scored (62) though – and was a fantastic 19-for-24 in steal attempts. Mars also shattered his old career-high for walks in a season. It was 36, but he took a base-on-balls 45 times in 2018. His already-solid defense took a step forward in 2018 as well.
More from Red Sox Prospects
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- Predicting Red Sox top prospect Marcelo Mayer’s timeline to the majors
- Red Sox risk repeating rookie mistake with Eric Hosmer release
- Red Sox invited group of players you’ve probably never heard of to Spring Training
- Jeter Downs’ official departure will continue to haunt Red Sox
Now let’s get into two hitters I didn’t show enough love to this year. In fact, I don’t know if I ever mentioned Luke Tendler or Jeremy Rivera.
Tendler can mash, and led the team in home runs (15) and RBI (62). He also hit at a solid clip of .272. The outfielder was a rule-5 draft selection of the Red Sox in 2018 and definitely made his presence felt in Double-A.
Rivera hit .262 as the primary leadoff hitter. The shortstop had 16 doubles and five home runs and led the team with 70 runs scored. He also drove in 42 runs and stole 12 bases. The 23-year-old improved in basically every category this year compared to last despite moving up from Advanced-A to Double-A.
Dedgar Jimenez had a 4.39 ERA in Double-A this season which doesn’t seem that superb. The left-hander was lights-out post-All-Star break though (2.47 ERA). He also had a strong start in his only Triple-A appearance this year. The 22-year-old also posted the best BAA of his career, as opponents hit .242 against him. If I were the Red Sox, I’d pay attention to Baby Bartolo.
Teddy Stankiewicz is a workhorse. I know I’ve said it before but it deserves being said again. The right-hander threw at least five innings in every Double-A appearance he made since April 11. Even when he doesn’t have his best stuff, Stank finds a way to eat innings. The 24-year-old has quite a few things going for him, but his ability to go deep into games is the biggest.
Matthew Kent had the best season of his career despite being in Double-A for the first time. The lefty posted a 3.58 ERA while opponents hit .257 against him. He managed to work out of a lot of tough situations and was probably Portland’s most consistent pitcher.
Kyle Hart is up there too when it comes to consistency. The 25-year-old had a 3.57 ERA in 138 2/3 innings pitched this season. Like Kent, this was his first season in Double-A. Every other stop on the way saw Hart dominant. While his numbers were great, they weren’t exactly dominant this year.
That’s not a bad thing though. There’s a lot to build off of, and you can’t expect a prospect to just breeze through every level. Hart was great despite having no prior Double-A experience. It will be interesting to see how he performs in 2019.
Daniel McGrath got no love from me this year. The 24-year-old deserved some though. McGrath posted a 3.63 ERA in 89 1/3 innings for Portland this year. He made 11 starts in 33 appearances and even picked up a save. The lefty struck out 79 batters while only allowing one home run.
Darwinzon Hernandez spent most of his season in Advanced-A, but after dominating in one start off the DL – he was sent to Double-A to end the year. The 21-year-old threw six innings and allowed two earned runs in that time. He struck out 10 but walked six. The left-hander wasn’t perfect but definitely looked ready for Double-A. He should start there next year as a starting pitcher – and could make another level jump by the end of 2019.