Red Sox shortstop prospect Matthew Lugo has few limits at the plate
The Boston Red Sox minor league system maybe didn’t exactly get the best press this week. That would be thanks to a certain now-former prospect who decided to go off the rails and post a racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, transphobic tirade on Twitter. It included personal attacks at Red Sox GM Chaim Bloom.
We’re not going to talk about it here. Not even mention his name. Let’s just hope he gets whatever help he needs because clearly, something is wrong.
The good news for the Red Sox is, they have a lot of talent in their system that can get them going in the right direction. Shortstop Matthew Lugo is one of their top-ranked prospects, and there’s good reason for that.
Lugo spent the 2021 season in Low-A. There, he had some ups and downs. The downs included a power shortage (.364 slugging percentage) and a whole lot of errors (33 at shortstop and another two at second base).
However, you can also point to something that makes those numbers not nearly as bad. Lugo was 20 for the 2021 season. He’ll turn 21 on May 9th.
It’s understandable for a 20-year-old to still be improving. His body might not even be 100% developed at that age. Throw in the fact that the right-handed hitter had only minor league 144 at-bats before last season (and they were in 2019 due to the 2020 MiLB season being canceled) and you can forgive the struggles in those areas.
There’s definite potential defensively. Lugo has a lot of the characteristics you look for when it comes to that side of the ball. He’s just raw and needs to put it all together. Even if he never becomes a Gold Glover, he can be very solid.
That being said, it’s the offense where you have to get excited. In 2021 Lugo had just 28 extra-base hits in 418 at-bats (21 doubles, three triples, and four home runs). The power potential is there though. Maybe nothing crazy. But 35-plus doubles, a couple of triples, and 20ish home runs could be in the cards.
Meanwhile, he hit .270 last season with strong run production (50 RBI, 61 runs scored, and 15 steals). He’s going to hit for a strong average and has a solid eye so could put up really good OBP numbers – great for the top of the order.
Lugo will get on base, and be able to steal some extra bags as well (something the Red Sox are severely lacking in their current offense). This will lead to a lot of runs.
Now being just 21 for the 2022 season, Lugo’s still pretty far away from the Majors. He’ll likely spend this year in High-A. If he plays good enough, 2023 would see him in Double-A with a chance to go up to Triple-A. Maybe a trip to the Majors if he really progresses.
But 2024 seems like a much more realistic goal. So we’re still a few years away from seeing Lugo in the Majors. That’s not a bad thing though. This gives him time to put his game together.
I understand sometimes it’s hard to keep your interest in a prospect when they are still so far away from the Majors. And it’s even easier to write someone off when you can point to things such as a terrible slugging percentage or poor defense. But at just 20, Lugo has already shown plenty of promise and those negative areas have more-than-enough potential to be improved upon.
The Boston Red Sox has a lot of exciting prospects. Few have the type of offensive potential that Matthew Lugo has though. We could see .300-plus averages regularly. High OBPs, more-than-enough extra-base hits, and lots of run production with some steals thrown in. Be patient with Lugo, and he could reward you nicely.