After crushing two home runs as part of a four-hit, six-RBI night at Dunkin’ Donuts Park in Hartford, Conn. on Wednesday, Casas belted a three-run homer — his third big fly in his last two games — while going 2-for-4 with three runs driven in.
Matched up against Rockies minor-league left-hander Nick Kennedy, the left-handed hitting first baseman came to the plate with runners at the corners in what at the time was a 3-2 game in favor of Portland.
On the fifth pitch he saw from Kennedy, Casas unloaded on a 93 mph fastball and deposited it to deep right-center field to clear the bases and put the Sea Dogs up 6-2.
He had previously singled in the first inning and also struck out twice to finish the night with two hits in four trips to the plate in what would go down as a narrow 6-5 victory for Portland.
What Casas has done these last two games against the Hartford Yard Goats is nothing short of a breakthrough considering the start he had gotten off to in his debut season in Double-A.
After making Portland’s Opening Day roster out of minor-league spring training earlier this month, the 21-year-old was slashing a measly .182/.280/.182 with no extra-base hits and just two RBI through his first six games of the year.
By going 6-for-10 with three home runs and nine RBI in his last two games, though, Casas has raised his batting average on the season 131 points to .313 and his OPS on the season 534 points all the way up to .996.
Casas was originally selected by Boston in the first round (26th overall pick) of the 2018 amateur draft out of American Heritage High School (Fla).
Even with no minor-league season last year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Miami-area native was still able to impress Red Sox officials while at the club’s alternate training site in Pawtucket and even received an invitation to big-league camp earlier this spring.
“He’s a good hitter,” Red Sox manager Cora said of Casas before Thursday’s game against the Athletics. “He hasn’t played much baseball since he signed but it’s good to see him putting good swings. He knows the game, he knows his swing and he knows what to do with his swing. This is a guy — the future is bright, the way we see it, and he’s a very important piece of this organization.”
Listed at 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, Casas is currently regarded by Baseball America as the top prospect in Boston’s farm system and the 37th-ranked prospect in all of baseball.
Because he is still so young and has only played a handful of games above Single-A, Casas is still likely a long ways away from making his major-league debut with the Red Sox. He even said that at this point in time, he is not yet major-league ready.
“I’m not putting any expectations on myself this year. I don’t have any specific numbers in mind,” Casas told MiLB.com’s Michael Avallone on Wednesday. “I just want to stay healthy, go out there every day and play hard to see where it gets me. I’m not Major League ready yet. I have a lot of work to do, but I’m happy to do it and get where I want to go.”
(Picture of Triston Casas: Ben McCanna/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)