With infielder Alex Binelas and catcher Stephen Scott earning promotions to Double-A Portland on Friday, the Red Sox also promoted first-base prospect Niko Kavadas and catching prospect Nathan Hickey from Low-A Salem to High-A Greenville, per the club’s minor-league transactions log.
Kavadas, 23, was originally selected by the Sox in the 11th round of last year’s amateur draft out of the University of Notre Dame. The Indiana native came into his first full professional season ranked by FanGraphs as the No. 28 prospect in Boston’s farm system.
In 59 games with Salem this year, the left-handed hitting Kavadas batted .286/.453/.609 (188 wRC+) with 18 doubles, one triple, 14 home runs, 48 RBIs, 35 runs scored, one stolen base, 54 walks, and 70 strikeouts over 254 plate appearances. Ten of his 14 homers have come in the month of June.
Among qualified Carolina League hitters this season, Kavadas ranks second in walk rate (21.3%), first in on-base percentage, first in slugging percentage, first in OPS (1.062), first in isolated power (.323), and first in wRC+, per FanGraphs.
Listed at 6-foot-1 and 235 pounds, Kavadas has seen all his playing time as a pro come at first base. He should help fill the gap left behind by Binelas in Greenville.
Hickey, meanwhile, was selected by Boston in the fifth round of last year’s amateur draft out of the University of Florida. The Jacksonville native is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 23 prospect in the Sox’ farm system, which ranks tops among catchers in the organization.
With the Salem Sox this season, the left-handed hitting Hickey slashed .271/.429/.507 (160 wRC+) to go along with 12 doubles, seven home runs, 39 runs driven in, 31 runs scored, 39 walks, and 39 strikeouts across 41 games spanning 182 trips to the plate.
Among qualified catchers at the Low-A level, Hickey ranks first in walk rate (21.4%), first in on-base percentage, second in slugging percentage, first in OPS (.936), second in isolated power (.236), and first in wRC+, according to FanGraphs.
Defensively, the 6-foot, 210 pound backstop has logged 227 2/3 innings behind the plate so far this season and has thrown out three of a possible 34 base stealers. In Greenville, he will join a group of catchers that includes Alex Erro and Jaxx Groshans.
(Picture of Nathan Hickey: Gary Streiffer/Flickr)