Red Sox Signing Concerns: What we should know about Nick Longhi

BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 03: Snow falls at Fenway Park as the first winter storm of the season impacts the region on December 3, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 03: Snow falls at Fenway Park as the first winter storm of the season impacts the region on December 3, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images) /

The Boston Red Sox re-acquired Nick Longhi, a player they originally drafted in 2013. What should we know about him and what should we be concerned about?

The Boston Red Sox are staying busy with their roster moves this offseason. New Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom is making a lot of low costs, short contract deals. Just what the Red Sox need, but some of the decisions rightfully allow for a bit of an eyebrow raise. My next concern comes from the signing of newly acquired Nick Longhi.

The Red Sox signed a minor-league contract with Longhi that includes an invitation to Spring Training. The 24-year-old was originally drafted by the Red Sox in 2013 out of high school, and the 6’2” Longhi plays both first base and outfield. Over 7-seasons in the minors, he has a .275 BA, .333 OBP, .430 SLG with 440 strikeouts, 31 HRS, and 280 RBIs over 555 games.

The good news about Longhi?

As BoSox Injection’s Hunter Noll points out in the Red Sox system back in 2017. 2019 was a career season for Nick. He had a .283 BA, .336 OBPs, and .463 SLG, 28 doubles, 12 HRs over 111 games. Noll, who follows the minors in-depth, favors watching Nick, he likes that he’s a promising defensive player with a strong arm, is a value batter, and has speed behind him.

Longhi is a relatively low-risk signing: a minor league, low-cost deal.

The so-so news about Longhi?

From a scouting perspective, he is a player with mixed offensive abilities. While he has a strong vision and can use the entire field, with his approach he’s a ground ball heavy hitter. This could go either way: if he’s able to change his batting approach, he has the power potential to be a strong hitter.

He made some mechanics changes going into 2017, which did help improve his batting abilities. Even with his alterations, he struggles to get the ball over the fence in games.

In my opinion, it’s not the biggest deal if he’s able to consistently get on base. His running was considered average, so his potential to beat those ground balls are mediocre. If he can’t find a new swing stride then he’ll likely remain an average batter.

The bad news about Longhi?

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He was considered a No. 9 prospect in the system by MLB but has underperformed since then. Longhi has already had Tommy John surgery, and in 2014 his season ended in July with a torn UCL in his thumb. Two big injuries in a short career.

This causes concern for his health, abilities to gain back his full range and stay healthy in the future. As a result of the injuries, he hasn’t played that much in the last few years. Again, an area of concern for me because of the extensive work that needs to go into working on the mechanics with him.

He’s still early in his career (assuming he can remain healthy). My concerns about Longhi’s future are around his ability to stay healthy, his mechanics and the alterations that he still needs to make, and his ground ball heavy batting approach.

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He has defensive talents where he could become a player like Blake Swihart or Brock Holt. Okay, let’s be honest here, I don’t think he’ll be as talented as Holt. For a low-risk signing, Nick Longhi makes sense. Do I think he’ll be a problem-solving signing? No. That being said, there’s still lots of time for him to prove me wrong.