Marcelo Mayer, arguably the top prospect in the Red Sox farm system and one of the brightest young talents in all of baseball, wrapped up his first full professional season last month.
Originally selected by Boston with the fourth overall pick in last summer’s amateur draft out of Eastlake High School in Chula Vista, Calif., Mayer appeared in four Grapefruit League games earlier this spring before breaking minor-league camp with Low-A Salem.
With the Salem Red Sox, the 19-year-old infielder batted .286/.406/.504 with 26 doubles, one triple, nine home runs, 40 RBIs, 46 runs scored, 16 stolen bases, 51 walks, and 78 strikeouts over 66 games (308 plate appearances). Despite missing a significant chunk of time with a sprained right wrist in late April and most of May, Mayer earned a promotion to High-A Greenville in early August.
Making the jump from Salem to Greenville alongside fellow top prospect Blaze Jordan, Mayer initially got off to a rough start with the Drive and was batting just .179 in his first 17 games as the calendar flipped to September. But the left-handed hitter ended the year on a strong note by registering multiple hits in six of the eight games he played in.
All told, Mayer slashed .265/.379/.449 with four doubles, one triple, four homers, 13 runs driven in, 15 runs scored, one stolen base, 17 walks, and 29 strikeouts in 25 games (116 plate appearances) with Greenville. Between the two Class-A affiliates, he hit a respectable .280/.399/.489 to go along with 30 doubles, two triples, 13 home runs, 53 RBIs, 61 runs scored, 17 stolen bases, 68 walks, and 107 strikeouts across 91 games spanning 424 total trips to the plate.
As a result of such a productive season, Mayer was recently named to Baseball America’s Age 19 Prospect All-Star Team. He and fellow 2021 draftees Harry Ford, Jordan Lawlar, and James Wood were all recognized for what they did during their age-19 seasons.
On the other side of the ball, Mayer was coming off a debut season in the Florida Complex League in which he committed 10 errors in just 177 2/3 innings at shortstop. He later told The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey that improving defensively had “been a focal point of his offseason work” and he put that on display this year.
In Salem, Mayer made 10 errors over 505 1/3 innings at his primary position and was named the best defensive shortstop in the Carolina League. In Greenville, the 6-foot-3, 188-pounder logged 189 innings at short and committed just two errors there. While defensive metrics for minor-leaguers are not made public, Mayer did see his fielding percentage rise from .956 with the Red Sox to .974 with the Drive.
Mayer, who turns 20 in December, is currently regarded by Baseball America, MLB Pipeline, and SoxProspects.com as the No. 1 prospect in Boston’s farm system. In terms of top-100 prospect rankings, Baseball America has him at No. 12, MLB Pipeline has him at No. 7, and FanGraphs has him at No. 19.
It goes without saying that Mayer is an exciting player who possesses All-Star potential. While the native Californian is still a ways away from making it to the major-leagues, he is projected to return to Greenville next spring. Depending on how things go there, he could make it up to Double-A Portland by the end of the 2023 campaign.
(Picture of Marcelo Mayer: Gwinn Davis/Greenville Drive)