When thinking of the more highly-touted infield prospects in the Red Sox farm system, Nick Northcut may not be the first name you come up with since he is not ranked by any major publications.
That being said, Northcut was actually one of the better hitting minor-leaguers in the organization last year, and he may have put together a productive 2021 season while flying under the radar a bit.
Coming out of minor-league spring training, Northcut began the year with Low-A Salem and remained there throughout what was his just his second full professional season.
Across 96 games for the Salem Red Sox, the 22-year-old slashed a sturdy .261/.352/.513 to go along with 32 doubles, two triples, 17 home runs, 77 RBIs, 68 runs scored, 46 walks, and 91 strikeouts over 402 plate appearances en route to being named a Low-A East Postseason All-Star.
Among qualified hitters in the Low-A East, Northcut ranked first in doubles, third in home runs, second in RBIs, ninth in runs scored, 16th in on-base percentage, first in slugging percentage, fourth in OPS (.865), first in isolated power (.252), and sixth in wRC+ (129), per FanGraphs.
Defensively, the right-handed hitting corner infielder appeared in a total of 38 games at first base and 47 games at third base with Salem. He committed three errors in 329 innings at first base and 11 errors in 383 innings at the hot corner.
Well before the 2021 season began, the Red Sox selected Northcut in the 11th round of the 2018 amateur draft out of Mason High School. At that time, the Ohio native was a well-regarded two-way prep prospect (ranked 69th overall by Baseball America) and was committed to play college baseball at Vanderbilt University.
With the help of then-area scout John Pyle, however, Boston was able to land Northcut by signing him to an over-slot deal of $565,000 in June 2018. He made his pro debut in the Gulf Coast League (now the Florida Complex League) shortly thereafter.
After spending the entirety of the 2019 campaign in Lowell, Northcut suffered the same fate as many minor-leaguers when the 2020 season was wiped out of the COVID-19 pandemic. He did not receive an invite to the Sox’ alternate training site that summer, but seemingly took advantage of his time at fall instructs later in the year in Fort Myers.
On the heels of such an impressive year at the plate in 2021, the 6-foot-1, 206 pounder is projected by SoxProspects.com to begin the upcoming season at High-A Greenville, though he will likely face plenty of competition for playing time there.
Northcut, who turns 23 in June, can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in his career next winter. In other words, he could be added to Boston’s 40-man roster by November depending on the type of year he has and/or how the team feels about him.
(Picture of Nick Northcut: Gary Streiffer/Flickr)