Jeter Downs, acquired by the Red Sox as part of this week’s blockbuster deal, provides hope for the franchise as a potential future second baseman.
Sunday saw the completion of perhaps the biggest trade in Red Sox history since Babe Ruth‘s departure to New York. 2018 American League MVP and beloved right fielder Mookie Betts‘ move to the Dodgers was made final in a deal which included a revamped package for the Sox.
You could’ve given Boston multiple All-Star caliber players and Red Sox Nation still would’ve been upset, and rightly so in. Betts is a generational talent who’ll probably go on to be a Hall of Famer, but him staying put in Boston seemed extremely unlikely as time went on this offseason.
This eventual package is seemingly much better for the Red Sox. It provides them with a ready outfielder to replace Betts for now in Verdugo – someone who still has a ways to go in terms of his ceiling. You then have Wong adding to the catcher prospects that the Sox already have. But the most intriguing piece looks to be Downs.
Downs, a 21-year-old shortstop, will slot into the Sox’s farm system as a top prospect – something that this franchise definitely requires as they look to rebuild strongly. He’s a player with great potential and scouts have him able to play short, second and center field. His arm strength right now suits him as more of a major league second baseman.
He appears to be a player with a lot of tools, hitting well from the plate and with power. In 2019, over Single-A and Double-A, Downs put that ability on display as he produced 86 RBI and 24 home runs with a .888 slugging percentage.
The only thing for Red Sox fans not to like about this guy might just be his forename, but even we can let that slide if he turns into a stud. Hopefully major league ready by 2021, Downs will give the Sox that hope they need for the future at the second base position. It’s a position which there has been plenty of talk over the past couple of years with the long-term injuries to Dustin Pedroia and now with Brock Holt still unsigned, offseason acquisition José Peraza remains the obvious option there.
With Michael Chavis furthering his development as a major leaguer, there’ll be opportunities for his to play second again this year and then you’ve got another prospect in Bobby Dalbec likely to come up and play in the infield this year. Right now it’s uncertain if these players will be a long-term project in this Red Sox line-up. You’d like to think Chavis would become a huge part of this team for years to come, but who knows?
Downs is as young now as Xander Bogaerts was when he first made noise at the major league level. If he becomes half as good a player as Xander, then at least that’s something to be pleased by. Downs is a shortstop in the minors and can learn from the likes of Bogaerts and develop his defensive side of the game as well as get more consistent and dominate at the plate.
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There are players in this organization to help others thrive and that’s what Downs will need when he makes the step up. For now, he remains a high-level prospect for this franchise and brings plenty to be excited about for the future in what is a very trying time to be a Red Sox fan.