Red Sox top prospect Miguel Bleis gained significant weight during surgery rehab

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The Boston Red Sox have a fair few prospects gunning for the same positions on the major league roster of the future.

Six of the Sox's top-15 prospects are natural shortstops and five are outfielders, many of them aspiring center fielders (Ceddanne Rafaela fits into both of these positions.)

Miguel Bleis, Boston's No. 5 prospect and the top outfielder, is among the pack of hopeful center fielders. He made some strides this winter that may set him apart from the crowd on the Red Sox farm.

Bleis had to miss the last few months of the Salem Red Sox season as he needed surgery to repair a subluxation in his left shoulder. The outfielder wasn't having a standout year, possibly due to the shoulder issues he was fighting for most of the campaign — he finished batting just .230/.282/.325 in 31 games.

An MLB scout spoke with Christopher Smith of MassLive about Bleis' potential as a prospect in the Red Sox organization. They stressed that his proclivity toward injury is a cause for concern, but that his athletic ability and hard contact rate are promising.

Bleis shares the same concern about his "injury-proneness," as the scout called it. Bleis knew he had to make a change to stay healthy and get noticed.

"I realized my body wasn’t strong enough. So that’s what I worked on during my rehab and offseason — to prepare my body to be able to compete for a full year here in the U.S. So now I feel like I’m in a better position than I was last year," Bleis said to MassLive through a translator.

Red Sox prospect Miguel Bleis packed on muscle to help him stay healthy

Bleis packed on muscle during his surgery rehab — over 30 pounds worth — and he looks completely different. The 20-year-old also grew two inches in the offseason. The increase in muscle mass should help the young outfielder up his power at the plate. Bleis hasn't noticed a decrease in his speed or explosiveness on the base path that could come with such a dramatic gain in muscle.

The added muscle may help Bleis stand out in Boston's crowded prospect pool — Rafaela and Roman Anthony are also hoping to serve as everyday center fielders for the Red Sox in the near future, and if Bleis hopes to someday overtake them in the race for the job, getting stronger is a great place to start.

Adding muscle is also a good way to ensure he can spend more time on the diamond than on the injured list. Bleis didn't feel like his body was strong enough to endure an entire season of baseball before, but his new look could drastically change his durability for the better.

Bleis is still just 20 years old and is likely to begin his season in Salem. There is plenty of time for him to grow stronger and add to his skillset on both sides of the ball in the process.

His expected MLB debut date isn't until 2026, but if he continues to take big strides like adding over 30 pounds of muscle in one offseason, Bleis could crack the big leagues even sooner.

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