One of Chaim Bloom’s marching orders when he became the Red Sox’ chief baseball officer was to improve the farm system and organizational depth.
That’s exactly what he’s done.
Four Red Sox prospects are part of Baseball America’s new top 100 list, marking the first time since 2016 more than three Red Sox farmhands are part of the venerated rankings.
Impressively, two of the four players, shortstop Marcelo Mayer (15) and second baseman Nick Yorke (31) were drafted within the last two years. Mayer, 19, was the No. 4 overall pick and is widely considered one of the best middle infield prospects in baseball. He slashed .275/.377/.440 in the rookie-level Florida Complex League and is smooth on defense.
Though Mayer is probably a couple years away from the pros, his progress could play a role in upcoming negotiations with Xander Bogaerts, who will be a free agent in 2022.
Triston Casas, who is the No. 19 prospect on the list, is the Red Sox’ most well-known prospect. The 22-year-old slugger smashed 14 home runs and accumulated an .877 OPS in the minors last year, and opened eyes when he slugged three home runs for the U.S. Olympic team at last summer’s Olympic Games. Notably, Casas was not thrilled about taking home the silver medal. “I don’t want it,” he said.
Yorke, Boston’s first-round pick in 2020, hit .325 with a .928 OPS in the minors last season. He is also 19.
Finally, speedy outfielder Jarren Duran is slotted at No. 91. The only prospect with big league experience, he struggled in 112 plate appearance with the Red Sox in 2021. At 25 years old, this upcoming season will be vital for his playing future.
Years ago, Theo Epstein famously declared he wanted to turn the Red Sox into a player developmental machine. Though the Red Sox have withstood some ebbs and flows, they’ve consistently produced All-Star caliber players over the last two decades.
Who will break through out of this group?