Heading into tonight the organization only has two Top 100 prospects in the system. According to the Fangraphs preseason Top 100 list, Michael Chavis ranked 95th and Jay Groome came in as the 98th rated prospect. Chavis is in the midst of an 80-game suspension for a PED violation while Groome underwent Tommy John surgery this past May 15th and will miss all of his 2018 season.
Twenty-one-year old, RHP Tanner Houck, who was drafted in the 2017 amateur draft is also off to a slow start at High-A Salem. His 1.89 WHIP and 6.04 ERA leave a lot to be desired but Houck is in the process of changing his arm angle as well as his overhauling his repertoire from sinkers and sliders to four-seam fastballs and knuckle-curves. Houck currently sits just behind Chavis and Groome in the Top 3 of the Red Sox system.
The lack of talent in the system can be seen in the Red Sox combined record across all affiliates. The combined winning percentage ranks dead last
— Daren Willman (@darenw) June 2, 2018
It hasn’t been all bad news down in the farm. Left-handed pitcher, Jalen Beeks has an eye-popping 80 strikeouts in just 56.1 innings pitched in AAA Pawtucket. Shortstop, CJ Chatham has battled back from multiple hamstring injuries to post an impressive .846 OPS in HIgh-A Salem while first-baseman, Josh Ockimey has been sizzling down in AA Portland with 7 HRs and a .851 OPS. Bobby Dalbec has also started to get hot with HIgh A Salem.
Along with Ockimey, Dalbec is also sizzling at the plate. 295/413/672 with 5 2B, 6 HR, 12 BB, 18 K (24% K-rate) his last 75 plate appearances.
— Red Sox Stats (@redsoxstats) June 3, 2018
Baseball America and Keith Law both had the Red Sox selecting Clemson 1B, Seth Beer with their 26th pick in round one. Below are some quick thoughts on Beer that I recently posted over on the Knox Sports News facebook page.
Ryan Rolison is another college prospect being linked to the Red Sox in mock drafts but this time it is the Fangraphs mock draft 3.0 that has him as one of two names on the Red Sox radar if he left-hander out of Ole Miss doesn’t get picked in the Top 25. Of course, I tweeted out some thoughts on the southpaw just shy of a week ago.
Potential Red Sox draft pick Ryan Rolison (Ole Miss). 3 good pitches with a + CB. Inconsistent hip rotation which you can see w/back leg follow through inconsistencies, esp. in stretch. That may be causing some of command issues & velo fluctuations. https://t.co/p4pJ6VC3Qj
— JB Knox (@jbknoxie) May 29, 2018
I like the deception Rolison gets from his cross body wind-up. The ball is easy to pick up on the camera angle in the above YouTube videobut the hitter it looks like he hides the ball pretty well. If he can keep the deception and consistently hit 93-95 MPH rather than 89-93 MPH he typically throws, he could be a solid #2-3 starter down the line.
Right-handed pitcher, Jackson Kowar from the Florida Gators baseball program is the third and final college player that I’ve seen gain traction among the MLB draft pundits. The Gator is 6-6, 185 pound starter uses a three pitch mix. He has a fastball with some sinking movement that lives between 92-95 MPH but peaks at 97-98. His second best pitch is his change-up which is considered another plus rated offering and his third pitch is a slider that continues to improve and is on the cusp of being a plus offering.
The lanky righty does seem to rush through his wind-up a bit so he may be a candidate to pitch solely from the stretch. Kowar has been projected as a mid round selection tonight but with a lot of fluidity in the early parts of the draft, the potential for him to slip to the back part of round one is possible.
The last prospect to breakdown is high school first baseman, Triston Casas. The 6’4″, 238 pound left-handed corner infielder hales from American Heritage H.S. in Florida.
Here is part of Jarrid Denney’s scouting report from MLB.com
Casas is one of the streakier hitters in this year’s Draft class, and he was on fire while playing for the 18-and-under U.S. National Team in international competition. The corner infielder was the Most Valuable Player of the World Baseball Confederation U-18 Baseball World Cup, helping Team USA win a gold medal by leading the tournament in home runs and RBIs. He was named the WBSC International Baseball Player of the Year for his efforts.
Casas is all about his bat and the power he can produce with it. In terms of raw pop, he’s up there with just about anyone in the class, registering high exit velocities at times. The only question is whether Casas will make enough contact to tap into that power consistently, as there are some holes in his swing. He loves to hit and does have a solid approach at the plate, something he’ll have to continue to refine at the next level.
Casas is committed to the Univeristy of Miami next year which makes him a little bit of a draft risk but the Red Sox have paid over slot before for a first rounder and may be willing to do so again.
While I certainly like Rolison, I have serious concerns over the Red Sox recent track record with left-handed pitchers they’ve selected in the first round. Between Trey Ball and Jay Groome, I’d feel mucm ore comfortable if Dombrowski chose one of Casas, Beer or Kowar.
I’ve always marvelled at the St. Louis Cardinals ability to churn out atheltic, right-handed power arms and judging by Dombrowski’s track record with Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and Anibal Sanchez, I think he will have his fingers crossed that Jackson Kowar is available when the 26th pick in the draft rolls around.