Boston Red Sox: 5 Portland Sea Dogs storylines to follow in 2024

The minor leagues are always filled with intriguing storylines to follow as prospects try to make their way to the Majors. Here are a few you should keep up with for the Boston Red Sox Double-A team in Portland.

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Marcelo Mayer's return from injury for Red Sox in 2024

Marcelo Mayer entered the 2023 season with incredible hype as the top prospect for the Red Sox. He fed into the hype by dominating High-A for the first two months of the season. That led to a promotion to Double-A at the end of May.

As luck would have it, I saw Marcelo Mayer's debut in Somerset. The shortstop started slow, hitting the ball hard a few times but not finding any luck. In the fifth game, things started falling. Mayer collected three hits, and the fever was right back to burning hot.

Mayer then hit a prolonged cold spell. Suddenly, he was striking out at a high rate, and some fans were questioning if something was wrong or if he had just hit a wall.

We soon found out something was wrong. Mayer went on the IL with a shoulder injury at the beginning of August and didn't play another game the rest of the season.

Then, we learned something during an interview with Rob Bradford after the season that confirmed something we were guessing. Mayer hurt his shoulder towards the end of his High-A tenure (which caused him to miss some time), and it never actually recovered. His entire time in Double-A was hampered by a bad shoulder.

Mayer hit .236/.306/.433 with 19 doubles, two triples, and 13 home runs between High-A and Double-A. The left-handed hitter drove in 54 runs, scored 43 more, and stole nine bases. Mayer drew 54 walks (15.3%) in 354 plate appearances and struck out 86 times (24.3%).

The walk rate is fantastic, and while the strikeout rate is high, a lot of that can be attributed to the end of his season when the shoulder was very clearly hurting his production.

Mayer now has some Double-A time under his belt and presumably should start the 2024 season healthy. Will he return to the dominance we saw before the injury and remind everyone why he's one of the top prospects in all of baseball?

It seems downright stupid to bet against him. Marcelo Mayer has impressed every step of the way in his minor league career, and the 21-year-old is poised for big things in 2024.