The Boston Red Sox farm system produces position players and Triston Casas may be the next left-handed power hitter extraordinaire.
In 1961 Newton Minow was named Director of the Federal Communications Commission and in his first public speech declared television “A vast wasteland.” When I look at the state of the Red Sox depleted farm system I think back to Minow and how his statement can be translated into describing the tattered developmental system. Are there any nuggets to be found?
The Red Sox minor league system needs an injection of good news and that means an injection of prospect talent that is projected to impact. The minor league development gurus have demonstrated a consistent ability to root out position players like a pig on a truffle hunt, but pitching is an area that remains a barren wasteland in regards to those genetically predisposed to hurl that white sphere.
Alas, this will focus on yet again another position player.
The Red Sox 2019 Minor League Player of The Year is Triston Casas, a first-round choice in the 2018 draft. Casas a lefty swatter immediately fell upon a curse and injury interrupted his inaugural season. He returned with flair in 2019 slamming 20 home runs while constructing a scouting resume that dripped with power and hitting superlatives.
Since I have a negative first attitude the name Lars Anderson surfaces, but the positive is I see Casas as an exception to my ingrained negativity on prospects.
While Casas has as much raw power as anyone in the 2018 Draft class, he’s more than just a masher. His 6-foot-4 frame comes with a naturally long swing, but he has no difficulty making repeated contact because his feel for hitting and his plate discipline are very advanced for a teenager. And that contact is loud contact, the product of bat speed, strength and leverage from the left side of the plate. – MLB Pipeline
The latest news on Casas is excellent in that the lad is still growing. If Red Sox ownership is considering the development of a sumo team Triston is on the right track as he is approaching the physical dimensions of Aaron Judge.
Is this a bad thing? Casas’s scouting profile mentions a multitude of positives such as “soft hands,” “moves well,” and “ confident” that all are directed towards his defensive acumen at first base – his now locked in position.
The hype is important is baseball and provides a receptive audience for the fans and media as they await the next great production from player development. But for every Mookie Betts, there is the downside such as the litany of first-round pitchers who found obscurity after a series of unproductive seasons.
With prospects, I become Mr. Skeptical simply over disappointments that have dashed, dented, spindle, folder, and mutilated my high hopes over not the years, but the decades.
Maybe it is age? For some insane reason – and projecting the potential glories of prospects is insane – I have put that attitude in a hiding box and now will sing the praises of Casas as a physical and hitting replacement that may rival David Ortiz in the Red Sox history books.
Why the change of direction?
Casas did not develop in a vacuum. In the days of yore when scouting relied on bird dogs whistling the praises of a local corn feed hero, there has been a seismic change. He was a known quality – scout inspected and pronounced a keeper of the highest magnitude. And scouting goes beyond the physical and migrates into the personal. Triston became a solid citizen on and off the baseball field. In the world of today that is a significant asset chip.
The Judge connection is an indicator on another level besides the physical but the professional and it revolves around patience. Judge never exceeded 20 home runs in the minors and the development track for Judge was often disappointing and frustrating before a breakout season of all breakout seasons.
Casas may just follow a similar trajectory. Patience becomes an optimum word as Casas climbs the development ladder.
So I have laid waste and cleansed my now less entrenched bias’s with prospects – especially Red Sox prospects – and will get a seat on the Casas bandwagon. Just where Casas will enjoy the comforts of Minor League Baseball this season is to be yet determined, but historically the Red Sox do have some noted rapid advancement among their blue-chip position players. Salem may just be the starting block for 2020.
One guilty pleasure this spring will be watching Triston Casas and just where he may eventually fit into the system. The Red Sox will move slowly since youth can disappoint if pressure is applied too quickly, but it also can be rewarded. Maybe we’ll be looking at the starting first baseman for 2021 or 2022?