5. Esteban Quiroz
Let’s start with the dark-horse candidate. Esteban Quiroz isn’t exactly a household name when it comes to minor leaguers. He’s not in the Red Sox official top-30 prospects and only played 24 games in Double-A last season.
Despite that, there are quite a few reasons to put Quiroz on the short-list of potential ROY winners.
First off, the 26-year-old came over from the Mexican League last year. That means he might not need the same MiLB time as others (i.e. Hector Velazquez).
Second, he was absolutely dominant in his short time last season. Quiroz slashed .299/.413/.598 with Portland. Not only does he have plenty of power for his size (5’7″, 175 lbs), he’s just got power in general. The left-handed hitter smoked five doubles and seven home runs in just 87 at-bats. He also managed ridiculous run production, driving in 24 runs and scoring 19 more.
Then there’s his position. Quiroz is a second baseman – which just so happened to be the least stable position for the Red Sox last year. It could be similar in 2019 as Ian Kinsler likely won’t be returning. The health of Dustin Pedroia is always a question mark, as is Eduardo Nunez‘s. Marco Hernandez missed all of last season as well. What I’m getting at here is that at some point the Red Sox could run extremely thin of second baseman, giving Quiroz an opening. If given that chance, he won’t disappoint.
Finally, there’s his defense. Quiroz flashed the leather plenty last season, proving he’s more than just a bat. He has solid range and phenomenal glove work, as well as quick hands and feet. All this combines to create an above-average second baseman who can contribute even if his bat is struggling. Due to that, if Quiroz does find himself inserted into the lineup but his bat falters for a stretch – there’s reason to keep playing him.
Quiroz has all the tools to be successful in the Majors. He might not be the most obvious ROY candidate when looking at the Red Sox prospects, but the potential is there.
2019 seems unlikely however, as Quiroz will probably get a call to the Majors but only as an injury replacement. A 2020 run at ROY is possible though as he could do enough to earn an everyday spot on that team.