Red Sox need to replace Enmanuel Valdez with this red-hot top prospect at Triple-A

Pittsburgh Pirates v Boston Red Sox
Pittsburgh Pirates v Boston Red Sox / Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

The Boston Red Sox's middle infield defense has been inconsistent for much of the campaign. Injuries to Trevor Story and Vaughn Grissom revealed a serious lack of capable defensive depth at the major league level.

Ceddanne Rafaela and David Hamilton have stepped up in Boston's time of need. Hamilton's defense was disastrous at first, but months of work have shaped him into a more reliable player. Rafaela's versatility as a rookie is nearly unmatched.

While Enmanuel Valdez has performed better at the plate since he was recalled from Triple-A on May 29, his defense is still questionable. He can't field a routine ground ball with any degree of consistency and Red Sox Nation holds its breath every time a ball is hit to him.

Valdez's performance against the Yankees on June 5 was particularly troubling. He threw away what could have been an inning-ending double play in the fourth inning and conceded an unearned run to Boston's rival. The Red Sox eventually overcame his error, but it was after he had been taken out of the game.

Red Sox should swap Enmanuel Valdez for Nick Yorke at second base

Manager Alex Cora said Boston determines who will get the start at second base according to who is on the bump for the opposing team. But Valdez's defense is too inconsistent to justify using him for his offense, which still isn't great, anyway.

The Red Sox have a slew of up-and-coming infield talent in their farm system. Second baseman Nick Yorke has posted particularly outstanding numbers since his promotion to Triple-A on June 5.

Yorke wields a right-handed bat and would bring diversity to Boston's heavily left-handed lineup. The Red Sox started seven lefties against Gerrit Cole on July 6, and Triston Casas' impending return will add another staple lefty back to the squad. Yorke's right-handedness is a necessary switch-up for the Sox's order.

His offense has also only improved since his promotion to Worcester. Yorke opened his age-22 campaign in Portland and slashed .251/.325/.366 with a .691 OPS in 45 games. He's batting .320/.414/.500 with a .914 OPS in 25 Triple-A appearances.

Yorke has only made one error at second base since his WooSox debut. He would bring more consistent defense and a different offensive skillset to the Red Sox's roster — two things Valdez hasn't routinely managed in his 56 games in the big leagues.

It's time for the Red Sox to dip into their farm once again and give Yorke a chance in the big leagues. His play in Worcester deserves recognition, and Valdez could use the reps in the minors.

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