Red Sox Prospect Watch: Tanner Houck now in Triple-A bullpen
By Hunter Noll
Full-A (Greenville Drive)
Tyler Esplin is heating up and showing the potential that made him so intriguing when he was first drafted. I know I’ve said it a few times but it’s important to remember how young Esplin is. He just turned 20 on July 6.
The right fielder is working with a four-game hitting streak and now has a .250 batting average. Esplin has a career-high 20 doubles to go along with two triples and two home runs. He’s also set career-bests in RBI (30), runs scored (39) and steals (6). The left-handed hitter is quickly reminding everyone how much potential he truly has.
Triston Casas is hitting .254 with 18 doubles, four triples, and 15 home runs. The 19-year-old has an absolutely ridiculous 63 RBI, scoring 45 runs as well. It’s easy to tell people not to get too excited but it’s really hard to not actually ride the hype train when watching him play.
Brandon Howlett is at a .252 batting average after going 4-for-21 this week. Something great did happen though. The 19-year-old drew six walks this week, five in his last three games. Howlett is a great offensive player but something he’s needed to work on is his plate discipline. If he can figure that out a whole new level could be unlocked for him. Maybe it’s starting to happen.
Kole Cottam is hitting .242 on the year and hit his fifth homer of the season this week. The catcher has 15 doubles to go along with the homers and has 28 RBI so far. He’s one of the main reasons I think Boston has an extremely underrated group of catching prospects.
Everlouis Lozada is up to .270 on the season and has a hit in five-of-his-last-six games. The 20-year-old second baseman should bring a lot to the table offensively. Although he probably won’t ever be a power guy, he could surprise many and sneak 15-20 homers in a few seasons.
Devlin Granberg is on an absolute tear right now and celebrated by picking up three hits and five RBI in his last game. The first baseman is hitting .291 on the year and has 18 doubles, five triples, and seven home runs. He’s driven in 39 runs and scored 47 more. He does everything well but isn’t phenomenal at anything which sadly means he probably won’t get the recognition he deserves – reminds me of DLG in that sense.
Chase Shugart made two starts this week. He combined to allow two earned runs in 11 1/3 innings, striking out seven. The 22-year-old right-hander has a 1.73 ERA over 57 1/3 innings pitched in Full-A this season. We could definitely see him sky-rocket up prospect rankings.
Logan Browning is an intriguing name. The left-handed reliever has a 1.93 ERA on the year and a whopping 66 strikeouts in 51 1/3 innings pitched. Browning has a .198 BAA and 0.88 WHIP so far. He’s still just in Full-A so he’s not close to the Majors yet, but the Red Sox should definitely give him a look at a higher level this year. The 23-year-old could move up the minor league ladder fairly quickly.
Yoan Aybar is doing that thing where he’s getting me all excited again. The lefty allowed a run in his last outing but has looked really good all month. He’s down to a 5.86 ERA and has 46 strikeouts (but 34 walks) in 35 1/3 innings. Opponents are hitting .159 against him. If he finds some command Aybar will be an elite bullpen arm.