Red Sox top-30 prospect rankings after the 2018 season
By Hunter Noll
28. Austin Rei
“Hunter Noll Guy” number two.
Catching is the position most will say is weakest for the Red Sox when it comes to prospects. The tragic passing of Daniel Flores at 17 last November really put a damper on the position. For what it’s worth, I studied Flores and he’d probably be in my top-3. He was that good.
Personally, there are a few I’m pretty high on but Austin Rei is the only one that makes the top-30 cut.
The Red Sox also have Roldani Baldwin and Jhon Nunez have plenty of potential, and Kole Cottam has plenty of power.
This is Rei’s time though. The defense is a work in progress at the moment. Personally, I think there’s a lot of potential there as he’s got a good arm and is athletic enough to make plays behind the plate.
Rei’s offense is where the damage can be done. Injuries had slowed down his growth but these last two years have been great for the 24-year-old. 2017 saw Rei hit a career-best 30 doubles and drive in a career-high 38 runs. 2018 posted career-highs in average (.249) and homers (7), but most importantly OBP (.355).
Rei’s been great at working the count his whole career and posts solid OBPs due to it. This makes him an extremely intriguing prospect because he can always find a way to get on base.
The fact that 2018 was arguably his best season despite being his first Double-A service time is encouraging. He’s growing as a player at the right time as the Red Sox catching situation is a little confusing at the moment.
Rei’s offensive upside is elite-level. If the rest of his game can catch up with that, he’ll skyrocket up this list.