Red Sox prospect Triston Casas bashes a massive home run.
Hitters generally prefer to hit the ball rather than be hit by it but at least the lingering soreness that comes with getting drilled is rewarded with a free pass to first base. Triston Casas wants nothing handed to him for free. The highly-touted prospect in the Boston Red Sox system wanted to earn his way on base.
Casas stepped in the box to face Tanner Houck during a simulated game at the alternate site in Pawtucket on Monday. Houck unleashed a slider that dove too far inside and caught the hitter below the knee. You can find the hit by pitch at about the 1:09:00 mark of the game broadcast on the PawSox Twitter account but it’s what happens shortly after that you’ll want to stay tuned for.
There was clearly no intent on the part of the pitcher – you don’t throw a breaking ball when you’re trying to plunk someone. This was simply a pitch that got away.
Casas wasn’t done though. He refused to take first base, staying in the box to finish his at-bat. This would never happen in a major league game. You get hit, you take your base. That’s the rule. Apparently, those rules are a bit loose in simulated games. Casas is in the game to get his swings in and accepting first base on a hit by pitch does nothing for his development.
Nobody argued with him so Casas was allowed to take some more hacks at Houck. It’s interesting to note that the runner on first walked over to take second base in the middle of this at-bat. Did he steal second without the pitcher or catcher noticing? The announcers seemed to believe that the runner was allowed to move up as some sort of compromise since he should have advanced on the hit by pitch. So, I guess we’re making up rules as we go along in these simulated games.
The pitcher was careful to stay away from the hitter, getting him to chase the next pitch away. Houck’s third pitch was too far outside to tempt Casas. The right-hander may have overcompensated on his attempt to correct his location because his next fastball hung over the middle of the plate and Casas absolutely obliterated the ball to deep right field for a towering home run.
What an incredibly savage move by one of the organization’s top prospects. Don’t let me have first base when I can get all four bags with one swing.
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This was the third home run for Casas in these simulated games. He’s been very impressive in Pawtucket, showcasing raw power and plate discipline that are fairly advanced for a 20-year-old.
Casas played the majority of last season for Low-A Greenville. He spent two games at the end of the year with High-A Salem and that’s where he would probably be right now if the minor league season hadn’t been cancelled. Instead, he’s in Pawtucket facing prospects from various levels and he’s more than holding his own. That includes facing Houck, one of the top pitching prospects in the Red Sox system, a 24-year-old who logged time in Triple-A last season. He’s well ahead of Casas in his development yet the young slugger still took him deep.
Assuming the baseball world is back to a normal schedule with a full minor league season in 2021, Casas should be able to advance quickly to Double-A. He might even start the year in Portland. If he can thrive at that level then it’s only a matter of time before he reaches Boston. A brief stint in Triple-A might not even be necessary unless the Red Sox don’t have a clear path for him on the major league roster.
If Casas proves he’s ready by next year, Boston needs to find room for him. They have plenty of first base options already but none of them have the upside of Casas. It might take a September call-up to get him to this level but Casas has the ability to be a difference-maker in the near future.