Red Sox outfield prospect Miguel Bleis shows flashes of his potential in first Grapefruit League start

Red Sox outfield prospect Miguel Bleis made his impact felt on both sides of the ball in what was his first career Grapefruit League start on Monday afternoon.

Though the Red Sox were trounced by the Blue Jays by a final score of 16-3 in Dunedin, Bleis made the most of his opportunity while serving as Boston’s starting right fielder.

Right out of the gate, Bleis was put on the spot with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the first inning. Red Sox starter Chris Murphy had just given up an RBI single to Addison Barger. Alejandro Kirk easily scored from third on the play, but Brandon Belt was also trying to come in from second to triple his side’s lead.

Bleis, who was playing in deep right field, quickly charged at Barger’s 104.4 mph base hit. With his momentum carrying him towards the infield, Bleis collected himself and unleashed an accurate dart to catcher Stephen Scott that arrived in plenty of time to snuff out Belt at home plate and the end inning.

In the top of the second, Bleis found himself coming to the plate with two outs, the bases loaded, and All-Star starter Alek Manoah on the mound for Toronto. Unfazed by the moment, the right-handed hitter took a 1-2 sinker that was in by his hands and promptly slapped it to the opposite field for what was then a game-tying two-run single.

Bleis was able to put his speed on display by going from first to third on an Enmanuel Valdez RBI single. In the latter half of the second, he made a running grab to rob Whit Merrifield of a hit. But the 19-year-old also showed his lack of experience when he allowed another single off the bat of Barger to get under his glove in the third, which led to three more Toronto runs crossing the plate. He then struck out swinging against Manoah in the fourth.

“That’s why I don’t get too excited, especially in the market where we play,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of Bleis when speaking with reporters (including’s Joey Johnston). “He has a lot of great tools, no doubt. It seems like everybody knows everybody … and there’s a passion about the kids. But at the same time, I played with guys who were the second coming of whoever — and they never panned out.

“In my mind, I have to be the one who stays calm and keeps it neutral instead of getting too excited,” he added. “When they become big leaguers, they’re big leaguers. But there’s a process. … Just be patient. You’re going to go through ups and downs. When you’re up high, how will you act? When you’re down [low], how will you act? Be patient.”

Bleis, who just turned 19 earlier this month, originally signed with the Red Sox for $1.05 million as a highly-touted international free agent coming out of the Dominican Republic in January 2021. The San Pedro de Macoris native has been tabbed by outlets such as MLB Pipeline as Boston’s top international prospect since Rafael Devers.

Though he certainly possesses five-tool potential, Bleis has yet to play above the rookie-ball level. He is coming off a 2022 campaign in which he slashed .301/.353/.543 with 14 doubles, four triples, five home runs, 27 RBIs, 28 runs scored, 18 stolen bases, 10 walks, and 45 strikeouts in 40 games (167 plate appearances) for the Florida Complex League Red Sox in Fort Myers. The 6-foot-3, 170-pounder also registered a team-high five outfield assists while seeing the majority of his playing time come in center.

As noted by The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, Bleis will break minor-league camp in April with Low-A Salem, where he will get his first taste of full-season ball. There could be a transition period of sorts as Bleis refines his approach while going up more advanced competition, but his ongoing development will nevertheless be something to monitor moving forward.

Because he is still just 19 years old, Bleis is obviously a ways away from the big-leagues. However, when speaking with Speier on Monday, he indicated that he would like to make his major-league debut by the end of his age-21 season, which is not until 2025.

“I have a goal,” Bleis said through translator Carlos Villoria-Benitez. “In my mind, at the end of my 21­-year old season, that will be a nice thing to do if I make my debut in the big-leagues. “I’m going to play hard and show the team I’m getting ready in all the aspects they want me to.”

(Picture of Miguel Bleis: Bryan Green/Flickr)


Author: Brendan Campbell

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

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