It was a busy week across the system with new SoxProspects.com the leaderboards to start the week, the upcoming trade deadline midweek, and some of the best prospects in the system being promoted.
Marcelo Mayer and Blaze Jordan promoted
As SoxPropects.comChris Hatfield editor reported first, shortstop and top-ranked prospect Marcelo Mayer (photo, right) was promoted from Low-A Salem to High-A Greenville. Mayer was narrowly beaten for this week’s game SoxProspects.com Player of the Week after posting a .607 OBP with a home run and two doubles, and that kind of outstanding performance was emblematic of his first full season as a professional. His last line with Salem is .286/.406/.504 with 16 interceptions without being caught, 36 extra hits including nine home runs and 51 walks for 78 strikeouts. He was 1.8 years younger than the average position player in the Carolina League and only 11 of his 308 plate appearances came against an under-19 pitcher.
New SoxProspects ranking
Enmanuel Valdez and Wilyer Abreu acquired for Christian Vazquez
It was expected that with the Red Sox in a deep crisis, the organization would consider moving some of their veterans to free agency. The one who ended up being distributed was receiver Christian Vazquez who was a ninth-round pick by the Red Sox in 2008 and finished his career with the Red Sox with a .700 OPS and good defense.
In exchange, the Red Sox brought back two interesting prospects from the Astros. Emmanuel Valdez is in the midst of an incredible season starting with a 1.112 OPS for Double-A Corpus Christi before being promoted to Triple-A Sugar Land and finishing with a .907 OPS with 21 homers and 48 extra hits. He’s got some defensive versatility but unfortunately he’s below par everywhere so he’ll have to wear it and he’s certainly done so so far in 2022. They’ve also acquired an outfield.r Wilyer Abreu who spent his entire 2022 season at Double-A, hitting .249/.399/.459 with 15 homers and 23 interceptions with an incredible 19% walk rate.
San Diego’s Corey Rosier and Max Ferguson
The Red Sox also acquired two other prospects at the deadline as part of a larger deal, although those two are less likely than Valdez or Abreu to make a major league impact. Red Sox acquire veteran major league first baseman Eric Hosmer with prospects Corey Rosier and Max Ferguson in exchange for Married Jay. Groom was rumored to make the first two selections in the 2016 MLB Draft, but he surprisingly fell to the Red Sox with the 12th pick. Groom ended up having surgery at Tommy John in 2017 and reached Triple-A level in the Sox system. In 2017 and 2018, he was among the top 100 consensus prospects.
Rosier and Ferguson are similar prospects, albeit at different positions. Both have very good pace with 33 and 55 interceptions respectively for the Astros system in 2022. They also both have great plate discipline, each walking at a pace greater than 14% in 2022. However, they all land both have questions about their contact ability, especially with Fergeson who is a career .220 hitter, and it’s their hitting tool that bothers them as organizational players unless they can show real development with the bat.
Brayan Bello hits the IL
Brayan Bello left his August 3 start after pitching only 2/3 of an inning and allowing two hits while striking out two. It was later revealed that the reason for the quick exit was a groin strain which eventually landed him on the IL. Bello, ranked 3rd in August SoxProspcets.com standings, topped the minors with a 2.35 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 12.1 K/9s this year hasn’t had the same success in the majors, allowing 16 earned runs and 41 base runners in 17 innings in five appearances.
It’s been a busy week on the farm and luckily Chris and Ian have turned on the SoxProspects.com podcast to discuss all the buy/sell/trade news in Episode #257.
There has been a substantial shift in the farming system with players entering and leaving around the trading deadline. The Boston GlobeAlex Speier examines some of the ramifications of the farm following what happened earlier in the week.
This week, Kiley McDaniel of ESPN released an update to its pre-season farming system rankings. After developing the current system, adding new draft picks, and very few promotions, the Red Sox saw a progression in the standings, rising from 16th place in the preseason standings to 13th in this edition.
Not to be outdone, Baseball America also updated its Top 100 prospect list with four Red Sox making the cut: Mayer (13), Bello (23), first baseman Triston Casas (30), and outfielder Ceddanne Rafaela (87).
Players of the week
Miguel Bleis, DE, Florida Complex League
5 G, 20 AB, 9 H, 3 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 8 R, 6 RBI, 5 SB, .450/.542/.950
The 18-year-old has had what is probably his best week as a professional. Twice this week he’s been in games with three hits and six or more total bases, 3-for-4 on Tuesday with a double, home run and stolen base and 3-for-5 on Saturday with a double and a triple. Since July 11, Blies (photo, left) has been on fire, hitting .323/.380/.662 in 16 games.
We weren’t the only ones to notice the center player’s stellar week, as he was also named Florida Complex League Player of the Week for the week of August 1-7. This week’s success continues the 6-foot-3 center’s positive trend. He had a .751 OPS last season in the Dominican Summer League, his first action as a professional. This year, it has improved every month, posting an OPS of 0.737, 0.779, and 1.492 in June, July, and August respectively. It hasn’t been without its flaws with the center back carrying a 27.7% strikeout rate, but Bleis might have the highest ceiling in the organization and he really showed it last week.
1 G, 0-0, 6 IP, 1.50 ERA, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 10 K
Winning back-to-back Player of the Week honors isn’t something that happens frequently, but it’s the situation Keller has gotten himself into for the past two weeks. Although he didn’t pick up a win this week, he pitched one more inning, allowed one less hit and struck out three more than his award-winning week last week. The 28-year-old journeyman has been the model of consistency since May 21, a time when he hasn’t given up more than two runs in any appearance and has a 2.06 ERA with 67 strikeouts in 52 and 1/3 sleeves.
Keller was selected to the Yankees in the Rule 5 draft last offseason. He was coming off a successful year at Triple-A where he started in and out of the bullpen, posting a 2.77 ERA but with a 1.61 WHIP mostly due to a walk rate of 7.48. This season, he’s down to 3.54 this year while maintaining his strikeout rate of 10.5+%. His age and background suggest he has more organizational depth than anything else, but that shouldn’t detract from his incredible two-week run.
Photo credit: Marcelo Mayer and Miguel Bleis by Kelly O’Connor