Boston Red Sox prospect watch: The 2023 MiLB season has begun

Atlanta Braves v Boston Red Sox
Atlanta Braves v Boston Red Sox / Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages
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It's Monday, and you know what that means! Oh boy, that felt good. The Boston Red Sox prospect watch is back, and I get to say those beautiful words again.

Minor league baseball is back, with the 2024 season in full swing. Portland hasn't had the best luck when it's come to weather (two games legitimately got snowed out), but we've gotten to see everyone playing again, so who cares?

After a hot start to the season, the Red Sox have gone cold. It's led to fans worrying about another long and difficult-to-watch campaign. Luckily, minor league baseball always brings some positives.

The MLB roster is pretty stacked with young talent, which should make this fun. Usually, there are one or two players to talk about who are close to prospect status. This year, thanks to a combination of strategy and injuries, Boston could boast a few of the organization's top prospects throughout the season.

Ceddanne Rafaela got a contract, which is incredible. Fenway Park is getting more Ceddanne Chipper Nicasio Marte Rafaela highlights in center field (and who knows where else). Rafaela's slashing .170/.226/.277 with one double and two triples, but the right-handed hitting centerfielder has driven in six runs, scored six more, and stolen one base. He can get going in bursts, so don't worry.

Wilyer Abreu's bat got hot in a hurry. The outfielder looked lost for the first few games, but has found a rhythm recently. Abreu is slashing .231/.310/.308 with two doubles. The left-handed hitting outfielder has driven in two runs, scored four more, and stolen one base.

David Hamilton has been getting a lot of hate from fans for his defense at shortstop, but he's looked better in the last two games. The left-handed hitter is 4-for-21 with a home run. He's driven in one run, scored three more, and stolen two bases.

Enmanuel Valdez is also not known for his defense but can be downright terrifying with the bat. Right now, the bat is cold. Luckily, it doesn't take much to get him going. The left-handed hitting second baseman is slashing .128/.182/.231 with one double and one home run. He's driven in six runs and scored six more.

Justin Slaten might be disgusting. The Rule 5 Draft selection already looks like the best pitcher in the Boston bullpen, and it might not be particularly close (especially with Chris Martin's recent struggles). Slaten has a 0.87 ERA, .094 BAA, and 0.39 WHIP in six appearances. The right-handed reliever has eight strikeouts compared to one walk in 10 1/3 innings. He's already picked up three holds and one save.