Boston Red Sox Prospect Watch: New season, new headline names

BOSTON, MA - JULY 22: Boston Red Sox 2021 first round draft pick Marcelo Mayer poses for a portrait as he is signed with the club on July 22, 2021 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JULY 22: Boston Red Sox 2021 first round draft pick Marcelo Mayer poses for a portrait as he is signed with the club on July 22, 2021 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) /
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Boston Red Sox Nick Yorke
FT. MYERS, FL – FEBRUARY 24: Nick Yorke #80 of the Boston Red Sox looks on during the MGM Sox at Sundown spring training team night workout on February 24, 2021 at jetBlue Park at Fenway South in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) /

Red Sox High-A (Greenville)

The Greenville Drive might have the most exciting lineup in the minors. Not just in the Boston Red Sox organization, but in the entirety of the minors.

Ceddanne Rafaela is legit. I talked about it all last year, and I’m going to be even more annoying about it this year, so buckle up. Rafaela just snapped a 10-game hitting streak, but don’t worry he’s still slashing .355/.412/.726 on the year. The elite defender had a fun year offensively last year but had clear room for improvement. Well, it’s safe to say he’s improved.

Last season saw him hit 10 home runs as some surprising pop started to show later in the season. This year he already has five doubles and six home runs. The right-handed hitter has driven in 14 runs and scored 17 more, stealing five bases. Elite speed, ridiculously fun to watch in the field (plays everywhere but first and catcher), and now he’s got this bat. Get on board now people.

Matthew Lugo? More like “Ludacris in the in the mid-2000s”, because he just produces hits. Am I right? Oh, that was a good one that definitely didn’t date me at all. The shortstop is slashing .397/.426/.655 with eight doubles, two triples, and one home run. Aside from being a doubles machine, the right-handed hitter has nine RBI, nine runs scored, and two steals. Limiting strikeouts is doing wonders. Oh, and he’s 20.

Nick Yorke had an insane season in 2021. So how is he following it up, you ask? So far pretty phenomenally. The right-handed hitting 20-year-old is slashing .310/.396/.357 with two doubles, six RBI, and 11 runs scored. Yorke has also stolen one base early in the season. Now, the second baseman started last year extremely slow. And so far the power isn’t there. So if this is his “slow start” it’s scary to imagine what could be coming.

Alex Binelas was brought over in the same trade as David Hamilton. Wow, talk about a return. Binelas is just smoking the ball. The left-handed hitting third baseman is slashing .306/.435/.714 with two doubles and six home runs so far. He’s driven in 14 runs and scored 14 more, stealing two bases. The 21-year-old has great power potential and in his first year in the Red Sox organization is showing that off.

Tyler Esplin had a breakout year in 2019. But 2021 saw him regress at the plate. However, it looks like the 22-year-old outfielder is back with a vengeance in 2022. The left-handed hitter is slashing .323/.400/.581 with four doubles and two triples. He hasn’t brought in any runs yet, but he’s crossed the plate himself seven times already. Esplin can rack up the doubles and draw walks and if he’s finding himself at the plate again, can be seriously dangerous.

Gilberto Jimenez is fun and it’s wild to me how overlooked he gets despite being a highly-touted prospect. The switch-hitting outfielder is a good defender with a strong arm. He’s also hit over .300 every year in the minors so far.

Right now, the 21-year-old is slashing .273/.289/.477 with three doubles and two home runs. Okay, so the average needs to get boosted if he wants to keep the run going. It’s early though, one big game and he’s back over .300. He’s also showing some extra power and has 9 RBI, five runs scored, and three steals already.

Tyler McDonough started the year slow but is finding his swing pretty quickly. The switch-hitting 23-year-old can play multiple positions. And a .237/.286/.475 line that is climbing fast is nice. He’s smacked five doubles and three home runs already. Meanwhile, McDonough has 12 RBI and eight runs scored, as well as three steals.

Nicholas Northcut also started the season on a cold streak. He’s worked out of that fast though. The right-handed hitter has two doubles and four home runs already. Northcut has done that while slashing at a .245/.315/.531 clip. He’s scored five runs and driven in 10 more.

Antoni Flores is a great defender who has flashed some potential at the plate. This year, the right-handed hitter is hitting just .222 but has a strong .440 OBP thanks to six walks in just 25 plate appearances. The shortstop has just one double and one RBI, scoring four runs. If he can get some production at the plate though, that glove could take him places.

Joe Davis has only appeared in five games this year, and one of them was as a pitcher. In that time, he’s hit two home runs and driven in four runs in just 12 at-bats though. Oh, and he has a 0.00 ERA in 2/3 of an inning.

Chih-Jung Liu has shown some of his electric stuff this year. The right-handed pitcher has a 3.65 ERA in 12 1/3 innings pitched this year. In that time, he’s racked up 18 strikeouts. Meanwhile, his 1.22 WHIP is solid but it’s his .191 BAA that shows how dominant Liu can be.

Michael Gettys is insanely interesting. The 26-year-old joined the Red Sox organization last year and was in Triple-A. “Oh wow why was he in Triple-A last year but in High-A this year, Hunter?” I hear you asking. Well, he joined the organization as an outfielder. One that hit .256 with 31 homers in Triple-A in 2019.

However, he struggled hard last year. And by the end of the year was in Rookie Ball working on pitching. And now he’s in High-A, pitching. It’s going well too. The righty has a 3.38 ERA, .273 BAA, and 1.50 WHIP in 5 1/3 innings. He’s also struck out six batters so far.

Ryan Fernandez looked phenomenal last year, and it’s good to see he’s starting off 2022 strong. The right-handed reliever has thrown 7 2/3 innings so far this season. He’s posted a 3.52 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, and .214 BAA in that time. The 23-year-old has six strikeouts but the five walks aren’t great, especially considering he had 14 in 52 2/3 innings all of last year. At the same time though, that should tell you that it’s probably not going to be a major issue.

Devon Roedahl wasn’t letting people on-base last year (0.99 WHIP). This year is more of the same. In eight innings the 25-year-old righty has a 1.13 ERA, .161 BAA, and 0.88 WHIP. He’s struck out 10 batters compared to just five hits and two walks.

Jacinto Arredondo has tossed 8 1/3 innings so far in the 2022 season. The 24-year-old right-hander has just three strikeouts in that time. However, he also holds a 2.16 ERA to go with a 1.32 WHIP and .219 BAA.

Shane Drohan would get hot-and-cold last year. It all led to a really strong season though. So far, he’s been more “hot” than anything. The 23-year-old lefty has a 3.77 ERA in 14 1/3 innings. He’s posted a 1.40 WHIP and .222 BAA with that. While he has already walked eight batters, he’s also struck out 19.