Chaim Bloom has prioritized building a strong farm system since taking over as Boston Red Sox chief baseball officer in 2019. According to recent MLB prospect rankings, those efforts haven't gone unnoticed.
The Red Sox have three prospects listed in Baseball America's most recent Top 100 and five in MLB Pipeline's latest rankings. The Athletic's MLB prospects expert Keith Law unveiled his top 60 ranking on Friday, and Boston was well represented.
Law listed shortstop Marcelo Mayer as the No. 3 ranked prospect in baseball. The 20-year-old was 11th in Law's previous rankings.
"He’s a true shortstop who’s a plus defender there already and could end up more than that depending on how his body develops," Law wrote on Mayer. ... Wherever he plays, Mayer can hit and already is showing close to plus power, with everything better this year now that the wrist injuries from 2022 are in the rearview mirror.
"It’s a beautiful left-handed swing with excellent bat speed, and he is driving the ball better to all fields this year as well. He projects as a 25-30 homer guy with strong OBPs, which will play regardless of where he is on the dirt."
MORE RED SOX
The next Sox prospect listed was 19-year-old outfielder Roman Anthony, who came in at No. 45 and has been soaring up prospect rankings as of late.
"The Red Sox took Anthony in the second round in 2022 out of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, moving him to Low A to start 2023. He hit just .220/.376/.317 at that level, but the Red Sox were so pleased with his batted-ball data that they promoted him to High A, where he’s hitting .338/.484/.770 in 21 games with 8 homers already, so I’m going to say that promotion was probably a good call," Law wrote.
"Anthony has a great baseball body and a powerful swing that, as you might have inferred, produces strong exit velocities even though he hasn’t filled out physically yet, and he’s shown much better pitch recognition and zone awareness in pro ball than it seemed like he had in showcases and tournaments as an amateur. I wrote in January that “if he’s that much more advanced a hitter than the industry thought, the Red Sox got a steal.” Guess what? The Red Sox got a steal."
Ceddanne Rafaela, a tremendous defensive outfielder with some pop at the plate, landed just behind Anthony at No. 48.
"Rafaela is one of the best defensive center fielders anywhere in the minors, a plus runner with superb instincts who continues to show sneaky 55 power even though he’s pretty slight for a 22-year-old. He’s overly aggressive at the plate, and that’s burned him in his brief time so far this year in Triple A, where he’s walked once with 18 Ks in 72 plate appearances because he’s chasing stuff out of the zone that he could hit at lower levels but not there.
"There’s such a high floor here with the defense and power; Kevin Kiermaier has played 11 years and been worth over 30 rWAR with a career .310 OBP because of his defense and has no more power than Rafaela does. If the Curaçao native can focus on swinging at strikes, that kind of career is within reach."
The Red Sox' 2023 first-round draft pick, catcher Kyle Teel, debuted on Law's list at No. 50.
"Teel was the best catcher in this year’s loaded draft class, a very athletic backstop who caught and hit well for UVA this spring in one of the best conferences in college baseball," Law wrote. "He has outstanding bat speed and pitch recognition, rarely striking out for the Cavs in 2023 (12 percent), making line-drive contact and hitting for power against right-handers. He’s very agile behind the plate with a 60 arm and good hands, needing work on framing and handling pitches below the zone, although there’s no doubt he stays at catcher for the long term.
"He doesn’t hit lefties for any power, at least not so far in a small sample, which is probably his one area for work as a hitter. I think he’s at least a regular with a chance to be a Jason Kendall type of hitter, with high contact rates and some value from speed along with modest power."
Teel officially signed with the Red Sox on Friday. Mayer earned a promotion to Double-A Portland in late May, Anthony has been on fire with High-A Greenville, and Rafaela has raked at Triple-A Worcester.