Red Sox Analysis

How Red Sox' Top 10 prospects fared in 2023

It was another strong year for Boston's improved farm system.

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The future appears bright in Boston.

Since 2019, the Red Sox farm system has gone from one of the worst in MLB to arguably a top-five collection of talent. We've recently gotten a glimpse of the talent in the pipeline with young outfielders Wilyer Abreu and Ceddanne Rafaela making an impact for the big-league club.

Meanwhile, recent draft picks Kyle Teel and Roman Anthony finished up monster seasons in the minors. Although Marcelo Mayer still leads the pack of promising Red Sox prospects, it looks like he'll have competition for that No. 1 ranking in 2024.

Here's a closer look at how the Red Sox' Top 10 prospects fared in 2023 (prospect rankings via MLB Pipeline).

1. Marcelo Mayer, SS

Age: 20

MLB ETA: 2025

This wasn't the developmental year the Red Sox hoped they would get out of their No.1 prospect Marcelo Mayer. The No. 4 overall pick in the 2021 MLB Draft earned a promotion to Double-A Portland in late May, but it turns out he probably shouldn't have been playing at all at that point in time.

Mayer admitted that for most of the 2023 campaign, he played through a shoulder injury he sustained during a game on May 7. His splits before and after that date are staggering:

April 6 - May 7: 111 plate appearances, .337/.414/.582, 15 extra-base hits, 21.6 strikeout percentage.
May 14 - August 2: 243 plate appearances, .190/.256/.366, 19 extra-base hits, 25.5 strikeout percentage.

Mayer was shut down in August for the remainder of the season due to the nagging injury. He is expected to be ready to return to the field when the Red Sox begin spring training.

2. Roman Anthony, OF

Age: 19

MLB ETA: 2025

Anthony was named the Red Sox Minor League Player of the Year by Baseball America after a sensational 2023 season. The 79th pick in the 2022 draft quickly rose through the minor-league ranks and finished the year at Double-A Portland, where he continued to see success. In 106 games played between Portland, Low-A Salem and High-A Greenville, he slashed .272/.403/.466 with 14 home runs and 64 RBIs.

We'll likely see Anthony begin the 2024 season alongside Mayer on the Sea Dogs. If he continues at this pace, there's no reason he shouldn't finish the year at Triple-A Worcester and flirt with the possibility of a big-league call-up sometime in 2025.

3. Ceddanne Rafaela, OF/SS

Age: 23

MLB ETA: Debuted Aug. 28, 2023.

Rafaela, the 2022 Red Sox Minor League Player of the Year, saw continued success in 2023. The Curaçao native started the season in Portland and earned a promotion to Worcester in late June. After posting a .988 OPS through 48 games with the WooSox, he was called up to The Show on Aug. 28.

Already considered an elite defender, Rafaela has also looked the part at the plate early in his big-league career. Through 23 games, he has six doubles and two homers with a .799 OPS. He'll likely be a candidate for a starting MLB outfield spot next spring.

4. Kyle Teel, C

Age: 21

MLB ETA: 2025

Teel wasted no time making his presence felt after being selected 14th overall in the 2023 MLB Draft. The University of Virginia product rocketed through the Red Sox' minor-league system, starting his pro career at the Florida Complex League and finishing the season at Double-A Portland.

It's already easy to see why Teel compares himself to San Francisco Giants great Buster Posey. Teel already looks like a natural behind-the-plate with his lightning-quick pop time and is no slouch at the plate either. In 26 total games this year, he hit .363/.483/.495 with six doubles, two homers, and 22 RBIs. It might not even be a stretch at this point to say we could see him debut in the majors by the end of next year.

5. Miguel Bleis, OF

Age: 19

MLB ETA: 2026

Bleis played in 31 games for Low-A Salem before being shut down for the season with a left shoulder subluxation that required surgery. The injury could significantly slow down Bleis' development timeline, which is a major bummer considering his legitimate five-tool talent.

6. Nick Yorke, 2B

Age: 21

MLB ETA: 2025

Yorke, the 2021 Red Sox Minor League Player of the Year, enjoyed a strong bounce-back season after a down 2022 campaign. The 17th overall pick in the 2020 draft spent the entire year with the Sea Dogs, posting a .268/.350/.435 slash line with 25 doubles, 13 homers and 61 RBIs.

If Yorke stays hot in Worcester next season, it shouldn't be long before we see him make his Boston debut.

7. Mikey Romero, SS/2B

Age: 19

MLB ETA: 2026

Romero, the 24th overall pick in the 2022 draft, missed most of the 2023 season due to a nagging lower-back injury. Through 34 games between rookie ball, Low-A and High-A, he slashed .214/.294/.286.

8. Nazzan Zanetello, SS

Age: 18

MLB ETA: 2027

Zanetello played in only 12 games with the FCL Red Sox and one with Low-A Salem after being selected in the second round of the 2023 draft. He went 6-for-38 at the plate with three doubles.

9. Wikelman Gonzalez, RHP

Age: 21

MLB ETA: 2025

Gonzalez started the 2023 season at High-A Greenville and finished at Double-A Portland. The Venezuela native made 25 starts altogether, posting a 3.96 ERA and 1.31 WHIP with 168 strikeouts and 70 walks through 111 innings pitched. He was named the Red Sox' Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year.

10. Luis Perales, RHP

Age: 20

MLB ETA: 2026

Perales started the season at Low-A Salem and ended it at High-A Greenville. The Venezuelan right-hander experienced some growing pains following his promotion. In 21 starts between the two levels, he amassed a 3.91 ERA and 1.42 WHIP with 115 strikeouts and 50 walks in 89.2 innings.

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