Allow me to give you a bit of a view into my life really quick. Of course, I am an extremely passionate sports fan, mainly Boston sports (otherwise I wouldn't be writing for this site), but I am also an avid card collector. My dad got me and my brother into the hobby at a young age, and I have spent many weekends traveling around Massachusetts, going into different event halls, hotel conference spaces, pretty much anywhere that would allow dealers to set up their display cases and sell whatever little pieces of card stock with pictures of professional athletes on them they had in their collection.
One of the largest subsects of the card collecting world is "prospecting", which is probably self-explanatory, but I'll give a brief rundown to those not well-versed in the card world. When players are first drafted or signed as prospects by a team in the majors, Topps will come along and start to add them into their Bowman trading card sets. There are three major sets from Bowman each year: Bowman Draft, Bowman, and Bowman Chrome (you may or may not have heard about the bounty placed on the 1/1 superfractor auto of Diamondbacks prospect Druw Jones being offered), with each new player added to these sets receiving their "1st Bowman" card. It's the first chance for collectors and investors to buy and sell cards with these prospects on them, hoping that they can play the hype machine well enough to make some money, or that they happen to get in on the next MLB superstar at the ground floor and be able to gain some astronomical return on their initial investment later down the road (like this Mike Trout sale that set the record for most expensive baseball card ever at the time of its sale).
For all of these releases, I like to look through the checklists and pretty much see what Red Sox players are getting their first Bowman cards, and see if I can buy some at a decent price or happen to pull some myself out of boxes (side note: do not take this article as any form of financial/investment advice, prospect in cards at your own risk). As I looked through the checklist for the 2023 Bowman release, I spotted card No. 71 as a player to look out for. Currently, players like Marcelo Mayer and Miguel Bleis are a couple of the more sought-after Red Sox prospects in the card world, but there's a new guy working his way in the prospect rankings whose prices are going to start reaching their levels, and he's someone non-card collecting Red Sox fans should be excited for, as well.
Roman Anthony's stock is rising quick in the Red Sox organization
Roman Anthony, the third pick made by the Red Sox in the 2022 Draft, has just been called up to High-A Greenville, joining players like Blaze Jordan and Eddinson Paulino in their quests toward the majors. Anthony tore up rookie ball last year, earning the call-up to Salem before the end of 2022, and got off to a good enough start to warrant a call-up the other day. His stats may seem unremarkable this year (.229/.374/.336 in 2023 so far), but a lot of Anthony's talent is showcased in his eye at the dish.
With a lot of prospects, especially ones as young as Anthony (he is only 19 years old), an untrained batter's eye is a common issue, leading to high strikeout numbers for batters and low on-base percentages. Anthony, meanwhile, has been praised for his eye at the plate, walking just as often as he strikes out in the minors, showcasing an extremely high level of plate discipline for his age. He's already shown that he can showcase some pop from the left side of the plate as well, ripping a center-field shot to lead things off the other night in Greenville.
Now, there is a downside to Anthony as a prospect right now, and that is there's a lot of talent ahead of him in the Red Sox farm system at all levels, which may hinder his immediate ability to continue moving up within the farm system. With players like Ceddanne Rafaela, Phillip Sikes, and Wilyer Abreu (among plenty of others) in higher levels, Anthony is going to have to wait for some moves to be made regarding these prospects, be it further call-ups or as potential trade pieces for the Red Sox.
Of course, these questions of where to put Anthony aren't questions for right now. He just got to Greenville, and the organization wants to see some of his raw ability become further refined, and the MLB Pipeline currently has Anthony's ETA for the majors set for 2026. At this point, who knows what the 2026 Red Sox are going to look like, which prospects are going to have made their way into the team, whether or not Shohei Ohtani has been signed and is crushing balls out of Fenway on a nightly basis, et cetera. However, if we are to believe the things are being said about Roman Anthony, and trust the organization to further develop someone with an advanced batting eye and help him further realize his skill sets, it's going to be very fun to follow his journey towards the majors.