Following a season after which he finished third in American League Rookie of the Year voting, Triston Casas ranked 97th on MLB Network's top 100 players list.
The ranking comes somewhat as a surprise to Red Sox Nation and MLB fans. The top 100 list is based both on how the players fared following the '23 season and projects how they will perform in the upcoming season.
Although the 6-foot-5 first baseman was one of the best hitters in baseball for the last three months of the season — the rookie boasted the fourth-highest OPS in the league from the All-Star break on — there is still much to prove before Casas is cemented as a bona fide star.
Theoretically, Casas' rookie year should be the worst of his career. However, it seems like a stretch to believe his torrid second half will extend across a season-wide campaign.
The Red Sox's Triston Casas ranks 97th on MLB Network's top 100 players list
Alex Cora showedreluctance to play Casas against left-handed pitching for much of last season. There is not a player on the current roster who would supplant Casas against a left-handed starter (Bobby Dalbec seems unlikely to earn an everyday role,) but Casas has only faced a small sample size of lefty pitchers at this point in his career. Casas has 122 plate appearances against LHPs and sports a middling .214/.369/.408/.777 slash line.
Casas' defense leaves much to be desired and it is yet to be seen if he can cement himself as an above-average defender at first base. Among first basemen who logged at least 50 innings last season, Casas ranked 99th in terms of Total Defensive Runs Saved and 45th in UZR. Many scouts regarded Casas as a gold glove-level defender while he was still a MiLB prospect, but there is still a lot of work to be done to achieve more notoriety as a defender.
These are the types of nitpicks that will follow Casas during his career, as the expectations are already sky-high for the 24-year-old. Casas will need to break out as a genuine two-way impact star for the Red Sox to have a good shot at competing for the postseason, but a spot MLBN's top 100 list should bode well for his individual accolades for years to come.