The numbers might not be there quite yet, but Red Sox outfield prospect Roman Anthony is still drawing the attention of talent evaluators in the Carolina League.
To kick off his first full season in affiliated ball, Anthony has batted just .221/.378/.294 with five doubles, nine RBIs, 12 runs scored, seven stolen bases, 17 walks, and 18 strikeouts in 18 games (90 plate appearances) for Low-A Salem. The left-handed hitter broke out of an 0-for-17 rut by doubling twice and driving in three runs as part of a three-hit performance on Sunday.
While a slash line of .221/.378/.294 is not exactly eye-popping, there is a lot to like about Anthony’s offensive approach. Among qualified Carolina League hitters, Anthony currently ranks 15th in walk rate (18.9 percent), 24th in strikeout rate (20 percent), 30th in on-base percentage, 15th in line-drive rate (28.3 percent), and fourth in swinging-strike rate (5.7 percent), per FanGraphs.
To that end, Baseball America’s Josh Norris recently identified Anthony as a prospect who could be on the rise.
“Anthony’s numbers this season might not jump off the page, but scouts who have seen him believe the ingredients are there for a potentially special player,” Norris wrote on Tuesday. “He has a gorgeous swing from the left side, an outstanding knowledge of the strike zone and raw power that belies his meager slugging output this year at Low-A Salem.
“That raw juice also shows up in his 90th percentile exit velocity, which hovers around 108 mph,” added Norris. “For that power to really begin manifesting itself on the stat sheet, he’ll need to get the ball in the air much more often. Nonetheless, the 18-year-old Anthony has shown a lot of positive markers in his first full season as a pro.”
Anthony, who turns 19 this weekend, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 9 prospect in Boston’s farm system. The Red Sox selected the Stoneman Douglas High School (Parkland, Fla.) with the 79th overall pick in last year’s draft. They swayed him away from his commitment to Mississippi by signing him for an over-slot $2.5 million.
After debuting in the rookie-level Florida Complex League last August, Anthony has since compiled a .264/.376/.329 line in 38 minor-league games. He is still in search of his first professional home run. Defensively, the 6-foot-2, 200-pounder has seen playing time at all three outfield positions for Salem this season. He has logged nine innings in left, 45 innings in center, and 64 innings in right.
Considering his youth, it would not be too surprising if Anthony spent the majority — if the not the entirety — of the 2023 campaign with Salem as he continues to mature. That being said, a late-season promotion to High-A Greenville should not be ruled out.
(Picture of Roman Anthony: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)