High-A Greenville will be Red Sox MiLB team to watch in 2022

The Greenville Drive could be the Red Sox MiLB team to watch

The Boston Red Sox have been making some moves this offseason. Maybe they aren’t the massive blockbuster signings that fans were hoping for, but they have still made some headlines. One of those moves was a surprising trade that saw Boston send Hunter Renfroe to the Milwaukee Brewers following his career-year. In return, Jackie Bradley Jr. has made his way back.

Perhaps the reason the Red Sox made the deal was for the prospects though. Shortstop David Hamilton is a speed-demon and third baseman Alex Binelas is an exciting all-around prospect with great power. Hamilton has already been to Double-A, so will likely 2022 there. However, Binelas has topped-out at Low-A. With that in mind, some are expecting him to start the year in High-A, with the Greenville Drive.

This thought made the popular twitter account Red Sox Stats tweet out an idea of what the Greenville lineup could look like to start the 2022 season.

This is the “The Album About Nothing” of lineups. Absolutely zero skips.

And that got me thinking. We really could see something special from Boston’s High-A team in the upcoming season. They could have an absolutely insanely stacked lineup. And even with players likely getting called-up to Double-A during the year, there will be players in Low-A waiting in the wings to take their spots.

With that in mind, let’s take a deeper look into this potential “Dream Team” (please don’t curse me ghosts of that 2011 Philadelphia Eagles team).

We’ll start from the top on down there. So it all starts with Nathan Hickey at catcher. The defense needs work from the Red Sox 2021 draft pick, but expect a good bat and tons of power.

Niko Kavadas is also a 2021 draft pick of the Red Sox and mirrors Hickey in a lot of ways. The first baseman isn’t a stud defender, but he’s going to hit the ball – and he’ll hit them hard.

Nick Yorke doesn’t really need to be talked about here. He’s one of the Red Sox top prospects for a reason. We all saw what the second baseman can do last year. Not only that, but he managed to impress in Low-A and High-A last year. He’s going to tear the cover off the ball, great average and solid pop. His stay in Greenville might not be that long. But we’ll discuss that in a bit.

In comes Binelas at third base. The 21-year-old is seen as someone that can do a little bit of everything, with power being the one thing that might shine through more than the rest for the left-handed hitter.

Shortstop Matthew Lugo struggled defensively last year and the power was pretty non-existent. However, he has a good amount of speed and can hit for a high average. A perfect guy to have near the top of the lineup to let all the power bats bring home.

In left field they have Ceddanne Rafaela. I’ve never needed an excuse to talk about how much I love him. He brings flexibility too, as he can play elite defense in all three outfield spots, second base, third base, and shortstop. Rafaela is a speed-demon with a quickly improving bat that’s showing a little bit of pop. They can put him anywhere in the order and he’ll produce nicely.

Gilberto Jimenez didn’t get the power some were expecting from him last season but he still has all that speed and hits over .300. A perfect old-school type leadoff hitter. And he has a great glove in center field.

Tyler McDonough is another utility-man like Rafaela. He isn’t as talented defensively, but still a very reliable glove wherever you put him. He’s playing right field in this scenario and brings great speed and a really good bat.

Finally, Stephen Scott is playing DH. He absolutely lit it up last season, especially after being promoted to High-A. He managed a .338/.430/.606 slash line with 29 RBI in just 39 games for Greenville. If he keeps hitting like that in the new year, he probably won’t stay at the level all that long.

So Yorke and Scott were the two I mentioned as possibly not staying in High-A for too long. But luckily there are some obvious replacements. Nick Decker and Nicholas Northcut both fit in perfectly.

Decker can slide into the outfield, while Rafaela moves to second. Decker has a bit of everything, good bad, decent speed, nice glove, solid pop. He really started to turn it on at the end of last season.

Northcut would move to DH and he has underrated power. Could hit at a decent clip, and will drive in a ton of runs while racking up the doubles and home runs with ease.

Let’s throw in another two names though. If players are getting called up from High-A, others will be getting called up to High-A. Blaze Jordan. This is a tough one because he didn’t get to play much in Low-A last year due to injury. In his short time though, he showed a lot of power. It’s not crazy to think that by mid-season it might already be time for a new challenge for the slugger. Then you can look at the other trade piece in Hamilton. He’s got the speed and looked good last year for Milwaukee. So let’s throw them into the mix here too.

With all this mapped out, what are we looking at from this lineup? I see a good amount of speed, a lot of players that can get on base, and a ridiculous amount of players that can bring them home, with excessive force.

This lineup has the potential to be putting up football numbers at a decent regularity. I mean, are you going to go over to Hickey, Kavadas, and Scott and tell them to stop hitting homers? What about when Yorke and Jimenez decide they aren’t going to record many outs for a month straight?

Hickey, Kavadas, Yorke, Binelas, and Scott all have the potential to hit 20-plus homers in a season. Jimenez and Rafaela have 50-plus steal potential. McDonough and Lugo could hit .300 with 15 homers and 15 steals and no one would think that’s crazy for either of them.

This is what we like to call a “death lineup”. Pitchers will need to let someone kill them, because you can’t just pitch around everyone. The biggest question seems to be, how long will we be gifted with this insane situation?

It might be severely limited sadly, as promotions are bound to happen. But that just means some of these elite prospects will be getting closer to the Majors. Oh, and Scott is the elder statesmen here at 24. So this is a young group that could be getting a lot better as we move along here.

The Boston Red Sox have a lot of exciting prospects in their minor league system right now. We might be seeing a lineup of the ages to start the 2022 season though. So be on the lookout and try to catch a few games (MiLB.tv is worth it, I promise). And buckle up, because this could be a wild ride.