Red Sox infield prospect Christian Koss celebrated his 24th birthday on Thursday. He was among 28 minor-leaguers who spent the week participating in the team’s Winter Warmup program in Fort Myers.
One of nine infielders on the Sox’ minicamp roster, Koss was acquired from the Rockies in exchange for pitching prospect Yoan Aybar in December 2020.
That move was primarily made so that the Sox could clear a spot on their 40-man roster, but it also provided the club with an intriguing, versatile infielder.
Upon acclimating himself to a new organization, Koss spent the entirety of the 2021 minor-league season with Low-A Greenville, where he batted .271/.325/.451 (106 wRC+) with 18 doubles, seven triples, 15 home runs, 55 RBIs, 65 runs scored, 10 stolen bases, 31 walks, and 100 strikeouts over 104 games spanning 468 plate appearances.
On the surface, it would appear that Koss had a solid, above-average year at the plate. However, it is worth mentioning that the right-handed hitter actually got off to a slow start before picking things up over the summer.
From July 1 on, in fact, Koss slashed a more impressive .297/.340/.529 (127 wRC+) while cutting his strikeout rate down from 25.7% to 18.6% over the final 64 games (285 plate appearances) he played in.
SoxProspects.com’s director of scouting Ian Cundall had the chance to see Koss during this stretch, and observed that the then-23-year-old “may not have the highest ceiling, but he was solid enough at shortstop and should add positional versatility as he moves up the system. He does not have a standout tool, but has a bunch of average tools in his locker.”
Defensively, Koss saw the majority of his playing time with the Drive come at shortstop. The 6-foot-1, 182 pounder logged 842 1/3 innings and committed 15 errors at that position while accruing 73 innings and committing no errors as a second baseman.
Following the conclusion of the regular minor-league season, Koss spent his fall in the Arizona Fall League after replacing catcher Connor Wong on the Scottsdale Scorpions’ roster.
Appearing in 14 games for Scottsdale, Koss posted a .525 OPS and swiped a pair of bags while playing every infield position besides first base.
Originally selected by the Rockies in the 12th round of the 2019 amateur draft out of University of California, Irvine, Koss’ most appealing tool is undoubtedly his speed. He was named the Red Sox’ minor-league Baserunner of the Year for 2021, after all.
A native of Riverside, Calif. who spent two summers (2017, 2018) playing for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox of the Cape Cod Baseball League, Koss ended the 2021 season ranked by SoxProspects.com as the No. 31 prospect in Boston’s farm system. He is projected by the publication to begin the 2022 campaign with Double-A Portland.
Given his ability to play multiple defensive positions, Koss could provide the Sea Dogs with a shifty, utility infielder who has the ability to play three different positions on any given night.
As is the case with many Red Sox minor-leaguers heading into the 2022 season, Koss can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in his career come December. Boston would need to add the 24-year-old to their 40-man roster by late November in order to prevent that from happening.
(Picture of Christian Koss: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox)