Boston Red Sox Prospects: Marcelo Mayer talks journey back from injury in interview

Red Sox prospect Marcelo Mayer dealt with an injury last season that led to some fans souring on him. He's come out hot in 2024 and silenced many of his doubters.
Atlanta Braves v Boston Red Sox
Atlanta Braves v Boston Red Sox / Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

The Boston Red Sox got a nice surprise in the 2021 MLB draft when Marcelo Mayer magically fell to them at number four overall. Boston wasted no time snatching him up.

Mayer quickly became the top prospect in the system and one of the best in baseball.

Mayer's 2022 season highlighted why his drop to the fourth pick was such a shock to everyone. The left-handed hitter slashed .280/.399/.489 with 30 doubles, two triples, and 13 home runs in 424 plate appearances. He drove in 53 runs, scored 61 more, and stole 17 bases in 91 games between Single-A and High-A.

2023 gave fans more Mayer magic to start the season. It took just 35 games in High-A to start the year before he was promoted to Double-A. There, Mayer flashed some brilliance, but an injury hampered his development. After 43 games with Portland, he was shut down for the rest of the season.

Mayer slashed .236/.306/.433 with 19 doubles, two triples, and 13 home runs in 354 plate appearances. He drove in 54 runs, scored 43 more, and stole nine bases in 78 games between High-A and Double-A.

While the slash line dipped, Mayer kept up the home runs and drove in more runs despite fewer games played. Most importantly, Mayer has proven time and time again that he's got the talent to be a quality shortstop.

Now healthy, the 21-year-old has started hot in Double-A. April 12, Mayer hit his first home run of the season, a towering 427-foot blast. Through seven games, the left-handed hitter is slashing .357/.387/.500 with one double and one home run. He's driven in five runs, scored seven more, and stolen two bases (on two attempts). Oh, and he's hit safely in all seven games.

BoSox Injection sat down with the Red Sox top prospect to talk about his injury, the social media hype, and his short hair.

Boston Red Sox prospect Marcelo Mayer discusses his hot start

Q: You were playing through injuries when you got to Double-A. A lot of fans and media started souring on you a bit for struggling. How frustrating was that for you knowing you were playing through an injury and that people didn't know about it at the time?

"I'm not worried about what the people had to say, but it was frustrating playing with an injury. I didn't do my part, making it clear to the training staff, so that's kind of a lesson learned. But I think I learned a lot of good things from it, like when to play through an injury versus when to play when you're just sore.

The important thing is to take the positives out of it. It's a new year, and I feel good. So, it's just going out there and playing my game now."

Q: What was the breaking point last year with that injury? Was it something you realized or a coach coming up to you?

"I think both parties knew towards the end. I could barely swing during BP and practice. I kind of wised up and told them what was going on, and we made the group decision to shut it down."

Q: Was this a different type of offseason for you? Did the injury and rehab alter things, or were you ready to go by the time the offseason rolled around?

"100% I didn't start swinging until January 25th, I think was the first day. The first day I swung was in Boston during that camp. That was the first time I swung all offseason. I didn't swing the bat until then. So it was a different offseason. With that being said, I did a lot of good work in the gym. That's the only thing I could do, that and defense. So I took the time to get after it in the weight room and defensively."

Q: This year Portland's lineup is ridiculously stacked, but the hype has been around the "big three" which are you, Roman Anthony, and Kyle Teel. Has the social media hype leaked into the locker room at all, and what's it like playing with those guys?

"Not really. We have fun dude. It's a really good time in that locker room. Not only with us three but the whole team. So far, it's definitely been one of the most fun years I've had playing baseball, so I think we just feed off each other's energy and off each other's talents and go out there, have fun, and play our game."

Q: I don't know how much you're on social media, but this year the hype has sky-rocketed right back up. Is that something that you notice at all? Do you see that or do you try to stay off it during the season?

"You do your best to stay off of it. Sometimes your friends are going to send you stuff, or you're going to see yourself on Twitter. But like I said, I just try to go out there, play my game, play hard, try to win the game, and then I think everything else just takes care of itself."

Q: Double play duos with Nick Yorke and Eddinson Paulino. What's it like to get a full season with them? You've had moments with both in the past, but now you're starting the year with both of them. Is it good to build that chemistry and do you feel like you have good chemistry with both?

"It's really good. You said it yourself, I've played with them in the past. I haven't started with Nick Yorke in a season, which has been cool, and then I've played with Pauli. So I think I've played with them like two or three seasons now. And yeah, they're really good ball players, really talented. It's been fun, it's really fun sharing the field and sharing the clubhouse with them, they're great guys."

Q: Last year, you were promoted to Double-A with CT (Christopher Troye). Was it positive for you to have a friend to be promoted with and go through that probably slightly awkward first week?

"Yeah, 100%. CT's a really good buddy of mine. He has experience, he went to College, he's older than me. We both got called up at the same time, and we were roommates, so it's nice to have someone around like that. He's someone to learn from. He handles his business the right way. So seeing how he works and how he handles his stuff is cool."

Q: You've had a little time to get accustomed to it now. Thoughts on the short hair, and are you going to go back to the long hair?

"I don't mind it. I knew it was gonna piss some people off because it's my look having long hair. I've had long hair my entire life. But I just kind of said 'f it I'm gonna cut my hair short'. I'm for sure gonna grow it back. I'm not gonna touch it the rest of the year, I'll probably shape it up. Long hair's me. I love having long hair, but I think I just needed a little bit of a change to start the year fresh."

Q: Something about you that you want Red Sox fans to know?

"I'm gonna go out there every day and play as hard as I possibly can. I want to win more than anyone. I think the guys in that locker room want to win more than anyone. We want to make it to the Big Leagues, and we want to bring championships to the Red Sox, probably more than what the fans want. Because I know we have a really passionate fanbase, and we want to win just as badly as they do."

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