Boston Red Sox Prospect Watch: It’s not always the top prospects

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 19: An American flag is dropped from the Green Monster prior to the start of the game between the Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox in honor of Patriots Day at Fenway Park on April 19, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 19: An American flag is dropped from the Green Monster prior to the start of the game between the Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox in honor of Patriots Day at Fenway Park on April 19, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images) /
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Red Sox prospect Kole Cottam
Greenville Drive’s Kole Cottam (39) is safe at first base after a pickoff attempt from West Virginia Power during the game at Flour Field Thursday, April 4, 2019.Ss Drive 04 04 2019 1603 /

Red Sox Advanced-A (Greenville)

Tyler Esplin really does everything right. The outfielder is slashing .277/.419/.386 at the moment. He has six doubles and one home run, to go along with 13 RBI, 21 runs scored, and three steals in three attempts. The 21-year-old plays good defense and most impressively has walked (19) more times than he has struck out (18).

Tyreque Reed has a .292/.432/.662 slash line. The 23-year-old has three doubles and seven home runs already. He’s driven in an impressive 26 runs, while scoring 19 more. Reed has been phenomenal this season and has absolutely been a great find by the Red Sox. He’s already almost halfway to his career-high 18 homers.

Tyler Dearden is slashing .297/.432/.625. Are you seeing a pattern here? Very high OBPs. The 22-year-old has six doubles and five home runs with 17 RBI and 17 runs scored. Dearden struggled in 2019, but proved in 2018 that he can put up good numbers in a full season. It appears he’s taken a few steps forward and is ready to not only have the high average, but produce plenty of runs with it.

Kole Cottam rounds out the great slash lines that feature a .400 OBP. The catcher has a slash line of .275/.406/.431 with two doubles and two home runs. Cottam has driven in six runs and scored eight more. Boston has plenty of catching prospects and Cottam has definitely proven that he deserves just as good of a chance as any of them.

Cameron Cannon has a .286/.340/.495 slash line at the moment. The shortstop has seven doubles and four home runs. Meanwhile, he has 13 RBI and 17 runs scored – even stealing three bases. Cannon is nicely well-rounded offensive and has plenty of potential on defense.

Nick Sogard has been seeing his numbers climb nicely over the last few weeks. He is now up to a .279/.308/.574 slash line. It’s pretty wild to see the power numbers from someone who had a .313 slugging percentage in his last season. The switch-hitter already has four doubles, one triple, and four home runs on the year. He had just five doubles and no other extra-base hits in 2019. Sogard also has eight RBI and nine runs scored. Fantastic season so far.

Brandon Howlett’s average has dipped down to .274. That’s still really solid though and he has picked it up with the run production lately. The right-handed hitter has six doubles and one home run. He’s also driven in 11 runs and scored 11 more. Howlett had two runs scored and four RBI this week. That’s definitely a positive trend.

Brayan Bello is insane. It’s getting ridiculous at this point. The 22-year-old righty has a 2.11 ERA this year. He has made four starts and is 4-0. Bello doesn’t just have a lucky ERA though, he also has a .192 BAA and a 0.84 WHIP. He’s struck out 30 batters compared to just four walks in 21 1/3 innings. Elite prospect.

Chris Murphy had a strong bounce back start this week. The left-handed pitcher allowed two runs over four innings of work. He had a little bit of an issue with allowing men on (five hits and three walks) but did a great job of limiting the damage. Murph has a 4.70 ERA, .261 BAA, and 1.52 WHIP with 26 strikeouts over 23 innings pitched.

Jay Groome had a solid start last week and I mentioned that it could be the start of the upward trend for him. That appeared to be correct. The left-handed pitcher threw five innings allowing one run on just one hit (and one hit batter), while striking out four. He severely lowered his numbers to a 7.88 ERA, .266 BAA, and 1.69 WHIP. As mentioned last week, the numbers still aren’t good but they are improving heavily. Let’s see if he can keep the trend positive.

Alex Scherff had another productive week that saw his ERA drop. That was thanks to three innings pitched that saw him allow just one run. He has a 4.22 at the moment. Not amazing, but solid. His WHIP of 1.33 is also solid, but not great. However, the right-handed pitcher has a .108 BAA. He’s been unhittable, and that’s a massive positive.

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