Red Sox infield prospect Lyonell James off to hot start in Florida Complex League

Red Sox infield prospect Lyonell James had a productive day at the plate while leading the club’s Florida Complex League affiliate to an 8-6 win over the FCL Orioles at JetBlue Park on Monday afternoon.

Batting ninth and starting at first base, James went 2-for-3 with a three-run double, a walk, and one run scored. The right-handed hitter is now batting .429/.529/.595 to go along with five doubles, one triple, 11 RBIs, seven runs scored, eight walks, and four strikeouts through 14 games (51 plate appearances) this season.

Among FCL hitters who have made at least 50 trips to the plate this year, James ranks first in batting average, second in on-base percentage, fifth in slugging percentage, third in OPS (1.125), fifth in strikeout rate (7.8%), 25th in walk rate (15.7%), and first in wRC+ (207), per FanGraphs.

The younger brother of prospect Axel James, Lyonell is currently regarded by SoxProspects.com as the 56th-ranked prospect in Boston’s farm system. The Red Sox originally signed the 19-year-old for $440,000 as an international free-agent coming out of the Dominican Republic in July 2019.

At that time, Baseball America’s Ben Badler noted that James “stood out for his offensive upside. He uses his hands well at the plate, whipping his barrel through the zone with quick, snappy wrists to generate fast bat speed. Those wrists and hand-eye coordination help him put the ball in play with doubles power that should tick up given his hand speed and physical projection. James is an offensive-minded player with a chance to play third base, where he has solid hands and an average arm.”

That being said, James has seen the majority of his playing time this season come at third base. The 6-foot-3, 165 pounder has logged 99 innings at the hot corner and just 17 innings at first base following Monday’s action.

Considering that he does not turn 20 until October and has plenty of projection left, it’s certainly possible James spends the majority — if not the entirety — of the 2022 season at the complex in Fort Myers. Of course, there is always a chance he could earn a promotion to Low-A Salem at some point this year, particularly on the other side of the draft later this month.

In the meantime, though, James and the FCL Red Sox will take on the FCL Orioles squad in Sarasota beginning at noon on Tuesday.

(Picture of Lyonell James: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Author: Brendan Campbell

Blogging about the Boston Red Sox since April '17. Also support Tottenham Hotspur.

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