Red Sox Prospect Watch: Tyler Esplin and Brandon Howlett are on fire

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 31: The Boston Red Sox 2018 World Series Championship banner hangs outside Fenway Park on October 31, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 31: The Boston Red Sox 2018 World Series Championship banner hangs outside Fenway Park on October 31, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images) /
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BOSTON, MA – JUNE 23: J.D. Martinez #28 of the Boston Red Sox and Triston Casas #20 of the Boston Red Sox talk after batting practice before the game against the Seattle Mariners at Fenway Park on June 23, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images) /

Full-A (Greenville Drive)

I usually try to stick to one person to headline each week but Tyler Esplin and Brandon Howlett have both been awesome lately – so I went with two cover-athletes.

Esplin has probably officially shut up every doubter. The right fielder just turned 20 this month and a lot of people definitely gave up on him faster than they should have. He’s now up to a .254 batting average and has four multi-hit outings in his last six games. Esplin has two triples and that’s where the stats that aren’t career-highs ends for him. He’s tied his mark in homers with three and has new highs in doubles (20), RBI (34), runs scored (44) and steals (6). Esplin will only continue to get better.

Howlett’s just as hot – rocking a five-game hitting streak at the moment. The third baseman is up to .261 on the season and is now starting to really round out his offensive game. Howlett has 21 doubles, one triple, and six home runs so far. He’s also driven in 28 runs and scored 39 more. The 19-year-old is showing better plate discipline as well, walking nine times in his last 10 games.

Okay if we’re being honest – a lot of players in this Greenville lineup could’ve been the headline name this week.

Triston Casas hit another homer (17) and had a ridiculous game his last time out, going 3-for-3 with three walks. That’s right, he was on-base six times. This is incredibly encouraging because if he starts drawing more walks the Casas train’s going to start kicking into hyper gear. The Red Sox could start moving him up as soon as this year.

Oh, he also has 68 RBI this season.

Everlouis Lozada is one of my favorite prospects to watch. He just seems like the definition of a spark plug. The 20-year-old is also a switch-hitting second baseman that stands at 5’7″, so that’s fun. Lozada joined Casas in the “monster game” category their last time out. He went 4-for-6 with two homers, four RBI and four runs scored.

Lozada is up to a .284 average on the year and has eight doubles, one triple, and five home runs in 35 games. He’s driven in 18 runs and scored 25 more as well. The pop is exciting to see as he really could become an all-around monster. Already a fun glove to watch as well.

Devlin Granberg is hitting .299 (.394 OBP) with 18 doubles, five triples, and seven homers. He’s driven in 41 runs and scored 52 more. He’s also 23 and clearly needs a new challenge. It’s not like he’s ridiculously young and just needs more time. So why is he in Full-A still?

Grant Williams is hitting .280 with 14 doubles, five triples, and one home run. The outfielder has 39 RBI and 35 runs scored to add onto those already solid numbers. Most importantly though, he’s been nutty-hot lately. Williams has a .447 average over his last 10 games and is seeing his numbers (and stock) rise quickly.

Kole Cottam is at a .254 average after a quick flurry of great games. The 22-year-old might be the most offensively-inclined catcher the Red Sox have in their system. He’s hit 17 doubles and five home runs this year, driving in 30 runs and scoring 34 more.

Tyler Dearden is hitting .239 at the moment but definitely brings major excitement factor. The 21-year-old outfielder has all the tools to be a great all-around hitter and has the athleticism to make a strong defender.

Cole Brannen is only at .206 when it comes to batting average. That speed is hard to find though. The outfielder has 23 steals in 28 attempts so far.

Chase Shugart isn’t human. He might be some robot-human hybrid but he’s not 100% human. The 22-year-old pitcher went five innings in his last outing, giving up no earned runs. In 11 starts this season, the righty has a 1.59 ERA. He’s struck out 52 batters over 62 1/3 innings, walking just 15.

Okay, so Alex Scherff has a 5.14 ERA on the year. Chalk a lot of that damage to two recent starts though. On July 3, Scherff went just 2/3 of an inning, allowing seven earned runs. Then in his next start went 5 2/3 innings, allowing another seven earned runs. The 21-year-old looked great in his last outing though, allowing just one earned run over six innings. In his last two starts, he’s struck out 12 batters and walked just two.

There’s a lot to like about Brayan Bello‘s game. You can look at the 6.42 ERA the 20-year-old has and quickly be turned off – but don’t let it distract you too much. Bello gives up a lot of hits, but also Ks at a high rate (79 in 75 2/3 innings). Most important, he’s looked fantastic recently. The righty went six shutout innings two starts ago, allowing five hits and no walks while striking out 13. Then he followed it up with another six-inning outing, allowing one run on six hits and no walks – striking out six. He could develop into a front-end starter given time.

Logan Browning has a 1.86 ERA over 31 outings this year. The lefty has 68 strikeouts and just nine walks in 53 1/3 innings. He’s 8-for-9 in save opportunities and has a .191 BAA and 0.84 WHIP. It’s time to start talking about the 23-year-old more.

Obligatory Yoan Aybar paragraph anyone? The lefty’s looked great recently and I love it. He made two appearances this week. In that time he threw three innings without allowing a hit or walk, striking out five. I’m telling you this guy’s stuff is stupid electric. He has a 5.40 ERA and 1.41 WHIP. However, he has a .147 BAA and 51 strikeouts in 38 1/3 innings.