Boston Red Sox top-30 prospect rankings after the 2021 season
No. 28: Red Sox third base prospect Brandon Howlett
Brandon Howlett has had the unfortunate position of being a third base prospect in the Red Sox system for the last few seasons. Why is that unfortunate, you ask? Well, Rafael Devers is at the position in the Majors. And he’s still younger than some people on this list. Then there was Michael Chavis at one point, Bobby Dalbec, and Triston Casas. Chavis is gone, Dalbec and Casas have moved to first base. So then the path is a little more clear, right? Well here comes Blaze Jordan.
Through it all though, Howlett has carved out a strong start to his MiLB career and deserves some recognition for his serious potential. 2019 was his first full season (spent in Low-A), and he had moments of brilliance in it. The right-handed hitter showed some pop but not very much. That was a little worrisome as it was supposed to be a big part of his game.
However, then came 2021. In a new level (High-A), Howlett flourished. Despite having less plate-appearances by a decently healthy 51 (465 to 414), he set a lot of new career-highs. The 19 doubles didn’t set a mark, but his four triples and 17 home runs did. And there’s the power they were expecting.
Meanwhile, Howlett drove in 57 runs and scored 62 more (both new career-highs as well). He even set a new mark in all his slash line numbers, with a .253/.345/.469. Oh, and what was most impressive about all this? Howlett just turned 22 in mid-September. He’s still growing and clearly his game is catching on quickly, which could mean he’s in for a massive 2022. Could that see him shoot up the boards even more?
The bat is the main attraction. It will be interesting to see how he grows there. Howlett needs to cut back on the strikeouts but the spike in average is very promising. There’s no reason to believe he can’t keep getting that up and become a legit .280 guy. Meanwhile, the power potential was shining in 2021. 25-30 homers is definitely obtainable and he could even find himself hitting 35-plus in a season.
He doesn’t have much speed, so don’t expect him to bring anything to the table there. But he’s fast improving on defense, which is great to see. I don’t think he’ll even become a Gold Glove defender, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a consistently solid glove at first base. He’ll make the right play and has a solid arm to match the glove.
Howlett’s biggest problem is the current landscape of the Red Sox. Devers isn’t going anywhere and Casas is clearly the future at first base. Howlett’s got a lot of potential but right now is still very raw. So predicting a spot for him is really tough. If he continues to build on his game though, the Red Sox might need to figure something out.