The Boston Red Sox farm system wasn’t strong enough to withstand this year’s avalanche of big-league injuries, but that doesn’t mean it’s weak.
When Baseball America (subscription required) ranked the Sox farm system as the 11th best in the league back in February, it was a sign of significant improvement. They’d been 21st, 22nd, and 30th in the years since their historic 2018 season. Rankings aren’t everything, but by Baseball America’s standards, the Sox are currently in a better position prospect-wise than they were in 2017 (14th), when the organization was on the precipice of greatness.
One of the biggest signs of turnaround is that the farm system is reaching a point at which stellar prospects are flying under the radar, rather than standing out as the lone beacons of hope in a blighted organization. This week, Red Sox assistant GM Eddie Romero raved about Eddinson Paulino, the “dynamic” 20-year-old lefty-hitter who’s quietly collected the second-most extra-base hits in the system, behind this summer’s breakout star, Ceddanne Rafaela:
"“He can impact the game in several ways. He can get on base. He can launch one if needed. He’s just become a good hitter… He hits the ball hard in all quadrants. He’s another guy who jumps on fastballs but I think has really increased his recognition skills. He’s made a big jump in that. He’s got a good number of walks. The on-base percentage is good.And also the speed element of the game. He’s got 26, 27 stolen bases. All that makes him a very dynamic player.”"
Over 114 games with Low-A Salem this season, Paulino is hitting .266/.359/.469 for a .827 OPS, with 123 hits, including 35 doubles, 10 triples, and 13 home runs. He’s scored 96 times and driven in 66 runs. And as Romero noted, he’s stolen 27 bases in 33 attempts.
The longtime Sox exec also pointed out that Paulino is hitting in the hitter-unfriendly Salem Memorial Ballpark, where centerfield is 401 feet away.
While Paulino has primarily played the left side of the infield, he’s also seen time at second base and in the outfield. That kind of versatility only ups his potential, especially in the midst of a Red Sox season in which the injury-laden big-league club needed help pretty much everywhere.
The Sox signed Paulino on his 16th birthday, which coincided with the first day of the 2018 international signing period. He’s now MLB Pipeline‘s No. 14 prospect in the Sox system.
Seeing a farm system turn around is always encouraging, but especially when the big-league season is as disappointing as this one. New talent gives fans hope for the future, and Paulino looks like he’ll be a big part of the seasons ahead.