Ranking the top 33 prospects in the Red Sox farm system

Using information from four different publications (Baseball America, FanGraphs, MLB Pipeline, and SoxProspects.com), BloggingtheRedSox.com has ranked the top 33 prospects in the Red Sox farm system heading into the 2022 season.

To nobody’s surprise, this group is headlined by the infield trio of Marcelo Mayer, Triston Casas, and Nick Yorke. This is certainly interesting when you consider the fact that Mayer (2021), Yorke (2020), and Casas (2018) were the last three players the Red Sox selected in the first round of the amateur draft.

Mayer is regarded by Baseball America and MLB Pipeline as Boston’s top overall prospect, while FanGraphs and SoxProspects have him at No. 2. Casas, on the other hand, is ranked No. 1 by FanGraphs and SoxProspects but No. 2 by Baseball America and MLB Pipeline. Yorke is ranked No. 3 by all four.

This is how the order was determined. For instance, the average of Casas’ four rankings and Mayer’s four rankings comes out to 1.5 [(1+1+2+2)/4)]. The tiebreaker went to Mayer since he is younger then Casas. From there, Yorke and 30 additional Red Sox prospects were ranked, with left-hander Jeremy Wu-Yelland rounding things out at No. 33.

With that, here is the full list of 33 beginning with Mayer and ending with Wu-Yelland. Let’s get to it.

1. Marcelo Mayer, SS

Baseball America organizational rank: 1
FanGraphs organizational rank: 2
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 1
SoxProspects organizational rank: 2

Average: 1.5

2. Triston Casas, 1B

Baseball America organizational rank: 2
FanGraphs organizational rank: 1
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 2
SoxProspects organizational rank: 1

Average: 1.5

3. Nick Yorke, 2B

Baseball America organizational rank: 3
FanGraphs organizational rank: 3
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 3
SoxProspects organizational rank: 3

Average: 3

4. Jarren Duran, OF

Baseball America organizational rank: 4
FanGraphs organizational rank: Not Ranked
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 4
SoxProspects organizational rank: 4

Average: 4

5. Brayan Bello, RHP

Baseball America organizational rank: 5
FanGraphs organizational rank: 8
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 5
SoxProspects organizational rank: 6

Average: 6

6. Jeter Downs, 2B

Baseball America organizational rank: 6
FanGraphs organizational rank: 11
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 6
SoxProspects organizational rank: 5

Average: 7

7. Blaze Jordan, 3B

Baseball America organizational rank: 7
FanGraphs organizational rank: 16
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 7
SoxProspects organizational rank: 7

Average: 9.25

8. Bryan Mata, RHP

Baseball America organizational rank: 8
FanGraphs organizational rank: 12
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 8
SoxProspects organizational rank: 10

Average: 9.5

9. Wilkelman Gonzalez, RHP

Baseball America organizational rank: 13
FanGraphs organizational rank: 4
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 10
SoxProspects organizational rank: 12

Average: 9.75

10. Jay Groome, LHP

Baseball America organizational rank: 10
FanGraphs organizational rank: 13
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 12
SoxProspects organizational rank: 8

Average: 10.75

11. Brandon Walter, LHP

Baseball America organizational rank: 11
FanGraphs organizational rank: 10
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 9
SoxProspects organizational rank: 17

Average: 11.75

12. Connor Seabold, RHP

Baseball America organizational rank: 21
FanGraphs organizational rank: 7
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 15
SoxProspects organizational rank: 11

Average: 13.5

13. Gilberto Jimenez, OF

Baseball America organizational rank: 23
FanGraphs organizational rank: 5
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 18
SoxProspects organizational rank: 9

Average: 13.75

14. Miguel Bleis, OF

Baseball America organizational rank: 20
FanGraphs organizational rank: 6
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 17
SoxProspects organizational rank: 15

Average: 14.5

15. Josh Winckowski, RHP

Baseball America organizational rank: 9
FanGraphs organizational rank: 27
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 14
SoxProspects organizational rank: 13

Average: 15.75

16. Tyler McDonough, 2B/OF

Baseball America organizational rank: 16
FanGraphs organizational rank: 14
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 19
SoxProspects organizational rank: 21

Average: 17.5

17. Thaddeus Ward, RHP

Baseball America organizational rank: 19
FanGraphs organizational rank: 18
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 16
SoxProspects organizational rank: 20

Average: 18.25

Ward underwent Tommy John surgery last June and will not be ready for the start of the 2022 season. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

18. Alex Binelas, 3B

Baseball America organizational rank: 17
FanGraphs organizational rank: 17
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 22
SoxProspects organizational rank: 18

Average: 18.5

19. Chris Murphy, LHP

Baseball America organizational rank: 12
FanGraphs organizational rank: 38
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 11
SoxProspects organizational rank: 14

Average: 18.75

20. Brainer Bonaci, SS

Baseball America organizational rank: 18
FanGraphs organizational rank: 20
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 21
SoxProspects organizational rank: 22

Average: 20.25

21. Ronaldo Hernandez, C

Baseball America organizational rank: 27
FanGraphs organizational rank: 9
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 24
SoxProspects organizational rank: 23

Average: 20.75

22. Matthew Lugo, SS

Baseball America organizational rank: 14
FanGraphs organizational rank: 31
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 13
SoxProspects organizational rank: 28

Average: 21.5

23. Kutter Crawford, RHP

Baseball America organizational rank: 15
FanGraphs organizational rank: 21
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 25
SoxProspects organizational rank: 27

Average: 22

24. David Hamilton, INF

Baseball America organizational rank: 25
FanGraphs organizational rank: 15
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: Not Ranked
SoxProspects organizational rank: 26

Average: 22

25. Connor Wong, C

Baseball America organizational rank: 29
FanGraphs organizational rank: 23
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: Not Ranked
SoxProspects organizational rank: 16

Average: 22.67

26. Noah Song, RHP

Baseball America organizational rank: 30
FanGraphs organizational rank: 19
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: Not Ranked
SoxProspects organizational rank: 19

Average: 22.67

27. Ceddanne Rafaela, IF/OF

Baseball America organizational rank: 22
FanGraphs organizational rank: Not Ranked
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 28
SoxProspects organizational rank: 24

Average: 24.67

28. Nathan Hickey, C

Baseball America organizational rank: 24
FanGraphs organizational rank: Not Ranked
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 23
SoxProspects organizational rank: 29

Average: 25.33

29. Eddinson Paulino, INF

Baseball America organizational rank: 28
FanGraphs organizational rank: 34
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 20
SoxProspects organizational rank: 25

Average: 26.75

30. Christian Koss, INF

Baseball America organizational rank: 26
FanGraphs organizational rank: Not Ranked
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 27
SoxProspects organizational rank: 31

Average: 28

31. Nick Decker, OF

Baseball America organizational rank: 39
FanGraphs organizational rank: 29
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 29
SoxProspects organizational rank: 30

Average: 31.75

32. Chih-Jung Liu, RHP

Baseball America organizational rank: 32
FanGraphs organizational rank: 30
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 30
SoxProspects organizational rank: 39

Average: 32.75

33. Jeremy Wu-Yelland, LHP

Baseball America organizational rank: 31
FanGraphs organizational rank: 41
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: Not Ranked
SoxProspects organizational rank: 35

Average: 35.67

Other prospects who missed the cut but are still worth monitoring this season include pitchers Eduard Bazardo, Durbin Feltman, Luis Perales, and Jacob Wallace as well as position players like Cameron Cannon, Tyler Dearden, Ryan Fitzgerald, Niko Kavadas, Enderso Lira, and Stephen Scott, among others.

(Picture of Marcelo Mayer and Chaim Bloom: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Marcelo Mayer identified by MLB Pipeline as Red Sox’ best defensive prospect

Marcelo Mayer was recently identified by MLB Pipeline as the top defensive prospect in the Red Sox’ farm system.

A pure-hitting shortstop out of Eastlake High School in Chula Vista, Calif., Mayer was selected by the Sox with the fourth overall pick in last summer’s draft.

Upon signing with Boston for a lucrative $6.664 million, Mayer was assigned to the rookie-level Florida Complex League Red Sox to begin his professional career. He debuted for the affiliate on August 5 and appeared in a total of 26 games.

In addition to posting a .275/.377/.440 clip (121 wRC+) over that stretch, Mayer also saw all of his playing time on the field come at shortstop. While logging 177 2/3 innings at the position, the 6-foot-3, 188 pounder turned three double plays and committed a team-high 10 errors.

Despite the high number of miscues, there does not seem to be too much concern surrounding Mayer’s defensive abilities considering the fact that last year only served as the 19-year-old’s introductory course to pro ball.

As noted by the MLB Pipeline staff, “the California high school product possesses just fringy speed but makes up for it with a quick first step, and he also displays smooth actions, quick hands and a finely tuned internal clock at shortstop.”

Mayer himself was bothered by the amount of errors he made, as he explained to The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey last month that improving defensively has “been a focal point of his offseason work.”

With spring fast approaching, Mayer is currently regarded by MLB.com as the top prospect in Boston’s farm system and the No. 9 prospect in all of baseball. The left-handed hitting infielder is projected to start the 2022 minor-league season (also his first full season) at Low-A Salem and is understandably excited for it to get underway.

(Picture of Marcelo Mayer: John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Red Sox have No. 11 farm system in baseball, per Baseball America’s latest rankings

The Red Sox have the No. 11 farm system in baseball heading into the 2022 season, according to Baseball America’s latest organizational talent rankings.

At this time last year, the Sox had Baseball America’s 21st-ranked farm system going into the 2021 campaign. They then jumped all the way up to ninth in BA’s midseason rankings.

Now, Boston’s farm system falls just outside of Baseball America’s top 10. Ahead of the Red Sox are the Mariners, Rays, Pirates, Orioles, Royals, Tigers, Reds, Dodgers, Rangers, and Diamondbacks, and just behind them are the Guardians, Yankees, Twins, and Cubs to make up the top 15.

As recently as last month, the Sox placed four prospects in BA’s top 100 preseason rankings with shortstop Marcelo Mayer coming in at No. 15, first baseman Triston Casas coming in at No. 19, second baseman Nick Yorke coming in at No. 31 and outfielder Jarren Duran coming in at No. 91. Right-handed pitching prospect Brayan Bello also finished just outside the top 100.

Casas and Yorke were among the 28 Red Sox minor-leaguers who took part in the team’s Winter Warmup program in Fort Myers, Fla. last week. Bello and Duran were unable to participate since they are on the club’s 40-man roster.

In their brief assessment of the Red Sox’ minor-league pipeline, Baseball America notes that “Boston’s system isn’t the deepest, but its opening trio of shortstop Marcelo Mayer, first baseman Triston Casas and second baseman Nick Yorke is one of the most enticing. Right-hander Brayan Bello took steps forward in 2021, including an appearance in Denver at the Futures Game.”

By placing two prospects in BA’s top 20 and three in their top 35, the Sox have shown that they are serious about improving their farm system as well as their minor-league depth as a whole. Chaim Bloom has made that very clear since he took over as the club’s chief baseball officer in October 2019.

Under Bloom, the Red Sox have tapped into just about every market to bolster the organization from the ground up. Whether it be through the draft, the Rule 5 Draft, international scouting, pro scouting, or the trade market, Bloom has thus far made good on his promise to revamp Boston’s farm system while still maintaining a competitive team at the major-league level.

(Picture of Triston Casas: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox)

Red Sox top prospect Marcelo Mayer is ‘eager to take his game to the next level’

He may not be one of the 28 players participating in the team’s Winter Warm-Up program this week, but things are still looking up for top Red Sox prospect Marcelo Mayer heading into the 2022 season.

Last Wednesday, Mayer was recognized by Baseball America the No. 15 prospect in the game. The following day, Baseball Prospectus listed Mayer as their 17th-ranked prospect. He was already identified by MLB Pipeline as the ninth-best prospect in baseball to close out 2021.

Mayer, who turned 19 last month, is coming off his introductory course to pro ball. The Red Sox, of course, selected the Chula Vista, Calif. native with the fourth overall pick in last summer’s draft out of Eastlake High School.

Faced with the pressure of being the highest Boston draft pick in more than 50 years, Mayer very easily could have chosen to honor his commitment to the University of Southern California rather than go pro in 2021. He instead decided to sign with the Sox and received a hefty $6.664 million bonus by doing so.

That Mayer was indeed signing with the Red Sox became significant news. After being paraded around Denver for All-Star Game festivities, he flew into Boston the following week to put pen to paper.

Before taking in a game between the Red Sox and Yankees at Fenway Park on July 22, the then-18-year-old signed his first professional contract and subsequently got his first taste of the big-leagues. He met Alex Cora, took batting practice, fielded groundballs alongside fellow shortstop Xander Bogaerts, and spoke to the Boston media.

“I know it’s going to be a lot of hard work,” he said at the time in regards to the journey ahead. “I’m going to do whatever I can to put myself in the best position and work my butt off.”

After leaving Boston and making the trek down south to Fort Myers, Mayer was officially assigned to and debuted for the Red Sox’ rookie-level Florida Complex League affiliate on August 5.

In the process of notching his first professional hit, home run, and stolen base, the left-handed hitting infielder slashed a solid .275/.377/.440 (121 wRC+) to go along with four doubles, one triple, three homers, 17 RBIs, 25 runs scored, seven stolen bases, 15 walks, and 27 strikeouts over 26 FCL games and 107 plate appearances.

Defensively, Mayer logged 177 2/3 innings at shortstop. The 6-foot-3, 188 pounder committed a total of 10 errors over that stretch while also recording 18 putouts and 42 assists and turning three double plays.

Off the field, Mayer made his impact felt by being a clubhouse leader who was fluent in both English and Spanish. The son of of a Mexican-born mother and Southern Californian-born father, the bilingual Mayer became someone international and domestic prospects could lean on.

“I’m able to get along with both of them and kind of unite them in a sense because there are kids that speak zero English and kids that speak zero Spanish,” Mayer told The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey. “Being able to help them get along and interact with each other is pretty cool.”

Mayer continued to show the kind of person he is during the Red Sox’ fall instructional league program. There, in the JetBlue Park clubhouse, he could be seen chatting with fellow prospect and Dominican-born outfielder Miguel Bleis, among others.

“There are a lot guys that are bilingual, but not everybody gravitates toward them,” minor-league hitting coordinator Lance Zawadzki said. “So I think a big thing with him is character.”

Brian Abraham, the Sox’ director of player development, echoed the same sort of sentiment in a separate conversation with McCaffrey.

“He’s a natural leader,” stated Abraham. “Guys naturally gravitate to him, some of the young Latin American players who were there during instructional league as well as some of our domestic players, which is really special.”

Since fall instructs ended late last year, Mayer has been staying plenty busy this off-season. Between frequent visits to Fort Myers and check-ins from different Red Sox instructors regarding a variety of topics (including nutrition and strength and conditioning), the 19-year-old is ready to take 2022 head on.

“With how good he’s been, it’d be a whole lot easier to say, ‘I don’t need it or we’ll see what happens,’” Zawadzki said. “But he’s really been eager to take his game to the next level.”

Mayer is projected by SoxProspects.com to start the 2022 campaign out with Low-A Salem. The Red Sox will surely exhibit patience when it comes to managing development, but one thing is for certain: Mayer is looking forward to embarking upon his first full professional season.

“I’m super excited to finally get my first full season in,” he told McCaffrey. “I’m curious how it’s going to be because I honestly have no clue. I know it’s going to be like what I experienced (in the FCL), but probably at a different facility. I know night games, so that will be cool. I’m looking forward to starting my professional career.”

(Picture of Marcelo Mayer: Bryan Green/Flickr)

4 Red Sox prospects recognized in Baseball America’s top 100 rankings heading into 2022 season

The Red Sox have four of the top 100 prospects in baseball, according to the preseason rankings Baseball America released on Wednesday.

Of the 100 players who were selected, Red Sox prospects such as shortstop Marcelo Mayer (No. 15), first baseman Triston Casas (No. 19), second baseman Nick Yorke (No. 31), and outfielder Jarren Duran (No. 91) all made the cut.

Mayer, 19, was Boston’s top selection in last summer’s draft. The Eastlake High School (Chula Vista, Calif.) product was taken with the fourth overall pick and ultimately signed with the Sox for $6.64 million as opposed to honoring his commitment to the University of Southern California.

After being assigned to the rookie-level Florida Complex League Red Sox out of the gate, Mayer got his pro career off to a solid start. The right-handed hitting infielder slashed .275/.377/.440 with four doubles, one triple, three home runs, 17 RBIs, 25 runs scored, seven stolen bases, 15 walks, and 27 strikeouts over 26 games (107 plate appearances) in the FCL.

Casas, 22, became Boston’s top selection in the 2018 draft when the club took him with the 26th overall pick out of American Heritage High School (Plantation, Fla.).

The 2021 season proved to be an eventful one for Casas, who played at two different minor-league levels, for Team USA in the Tokyo Olympics, and for the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League.

Between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Worcester last year, the left-handed slugger batted a stout .279/.394/.484 to go along with 15 doubles, three triples, 14 home runs, 59 RBIs, 63 runs scored, seven stolen bases, 57 walks, and 71 strikeouts over 86 games spanning 371 trips to the plate. Elsewhere, he was recognized as the top first baseman in the Summer Games as well as an Arizona Fall League All-Star.

This is not the first time Casas has been recognized by Baseball America as one of the game’s top prospect. In fact, the 6-foot-4, 252 pounder has effectively been one of — if not the best prospect in the Sox’ farm system since joining the organization and could very well make his big-league debut at some point in 2022.

The same cannot be said for Yorke, who is fresh off his first full season in pro ball after being taken by the Red Sox with the 17th overall selection in the shortened 2020 draft out of Archbishop Mitty High School (San Jose, Calif).

At that time, Boston’s selection of Yorke was met with much surprise since the infielder was not regarded as one of the country’s top draft-eligible prospects. It now appears as though the Red Sox made a smart decision by drafting Yorke when they did.

After drawing praise from the likes of Alex Cora throughout spring training, Yorke initially got off to a slow start with Low-A Salem, but he turned things around and wound up tearing the cover off the ball across both Class-A levels in 2021.

In 97 total games between Salem and High-A Greenville, the right-handed hitting 19-year-old slashed a scorching .325/.412/.516 with 20 doubles, five triples, 14 homers, 62 runs driven in, 76 runs scored, 13 stolen bases, 52 walks, and 69 strikeouts over 442 plate appearances.

Finally, we arrive at Duran, the lone Red Sox prospect on this last who was not selected by the club in the first round of his respective draft. He was instead taken in the seventh round of the 2018 draft and opened the 2021 season in Worcester.

Duran got off to a hot start with the WooSox as he batted .270/.365/.561 (144 wRC+) through his first 46 games (219 plate appearances at the Triple-A level. That impressive stretch resulted in his first big-league call-up in mid-July, though he struggled to make the most of that opportunity.

In his two stints with the Red Sox, the speedy 25-year-old hit an underwhelming .215/.241/.336 with three doubles, two triples, two home runs, 10 RBI, 17 runs scored, two stolen bases, four walks, and 40 strikeouts over 33 games and 112 plate appearances. He was placed on the COVID-19 related injured list on September 3 after testing positive for the virus and did not appear in another major-league contest.

Despite the disappointing debut, there is still plenty of upside with Duran, and his speed has plenty to do with that. With that being said though, the Red Sox’ outfield picture is already quite crowded at the moment, so it may be difficult for the left-handed hitter to find consistent playing time in Boston to begin the 2022 season.

According to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, this is the first time since 2016 in which Baseball America has included at least four Red Sox prospects in its preseason top-100 list. Heading into the 2016 season, the likes of Yoan Moncada, Andrew Benintendi, Rafael Devers, Anderson Espinoza, and Michael Kopech were among the publication’s top 100.

The fact that the Red Sox have as many as four prospects featured in Baseball America’s top-100 list speaks to how much the team’s farm system has improved since Chaim Bloom was named chief baseball officer in October 2019.

Given how all four of Mayer, Casas, Yorke, and Duran were drafted by the Sox, it also speaks to how well-run the club’s amateur scouting department is run. Vice president of scouting Mike Rikard can be credited with the selections of Casas and Duran, while director of amateur scouting Paul Toboni can be credited with the selections of Mayer and Yorke.

Of course, the area scouts who initially scouted these prospects when they were still amateurs deserve recognition as well. J.J. Altobelli is credited with signing Mayer, Willie Romay is credited with signing Casas, Josh Labandeira is credited with signing Yorke, and Justin Horowitz is credited with signing Duran.

(Picture of Marcelo Mayer: John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Marcelo Mayer takes over top spot in Baseball America’s latest Red Sox prospect rankings

Baseball America unveiled its top 10 prospects within the Red Sox farm system heading into the 2022 season on Wednesday morning. Most notably, there is a new No. 1 in the ranks.

Previously occupied by Triston Casas, infielder Marcelo Mayer has taken over as the top prospect in Boston’s farm system going into 2022.

The Red Sox selected Mayer with the fourth overall pick in this year’s amateur draft out of Eastlake High School (Chula Vista, Calif.).

A University of Southern California commit, Mayer — with some help from area scout J.J. Altobelli — signed with the Sox for $6.64 million in late July and was subsequently assigned to the club’s rookie-level Florida Complex League affiliate in Fort Myers.

With the FCL Red Sox, the left-handed hitting shortstop slashed .275/.377/.440 (121 wRC+) with four doubles, one triple, three home runs, 17 RBIs, 25 runs scored, seven stolen bases, 15 walks, and 27 strikeouts over 26 games spanning 107 plate appearances.

Going into this summer’s draft, Mayer was regarded as perhaps the best prep prospect available, and the Red Sox were able to capitalize on that after finishing with the fourth-worst record in baseball (24-36) in 2020 and thus receiving the No. 4 pick in the 2021 draft.

Mayer, who turns 19 next month, joins an exceptional list of Red Sox prospects to be regarded by Baseball America as the top minor-leaguer in Boston’s farm system, such as Xander Bogaerts, Yoan Moncada, Andrew Benintendi, and Bobby Dalbec.

While Mayer is likely going to start the 2022 minor-league season at Low-A Salem, him moving up to the top spot in Baseball America’s Red Sox prospect rankings means Casas has dropped to No. 2 spot.

Here is how the rest of Baseball America’s top-10 rankings for the Red Sox shake out.

3. Nick Yorke, 2B

4. Jarren Duran, OF

5. Brayan Bello, RHP

6. Jeter Downs, IF

7. Blaze Jordan, 1B

8. Bryan Mata, RHP

9. Josh Winckowski, RHP

10. Jay Groome, LHP

It should be noted that The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, who also serves as a contributor for Baseball America, was responsible for compiling this list. You can read more about his choices by clicking here and here.

(Picture of Marcelo Mayer: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox prospects Marcelo Mayer, Niko Kavadas hit first home runs of professional careers in Florida Complex League action

A pair of Red Sox prospects and 2021 draft picks each belted the first home runs of their professional careers down in Fort Myers earlier Saturday morning.

Marcelo Mayer, Boston’s first-round selection, and Niko Kavadas, Boston’s 11th-round selection, both homered for the Florida Complex League Red Sox as part of their 11-5 victory over the Florida Complex League Twins at JetBlue Park.

Mayer’s homer came as part of a productive day at the plate, as the 18-year-old went 2-for-6 with his first home run, two runs scored, and four RBI.

It was Mayer who got the Red Sox on the board first on Saturday, with Eddinson Paulino kicking things off in the bottom of the first inning with a leadoff double off Twins starter Develson Laria and Mayer following with an RBI single to center field.

In the bottom of the third, Kavadas got his solid day at the plate started out of the cleanup spot by taking Twins reliever Elpidio Perez extremely deep to right field for his first home run of the season, which put his side up 3-0.

Fast forward to the fifth, and Mayer came through with a big fly of his own, this time clubbing a three-run shot off left-hander John Wilson for what was also his first home run of the year.

After a double off the bat of Nathan Hickey, Kavadas — who led off the bottom of the fifth by drawing a walk — drove in the former University of Florida catcher by drilling an RBI double to right field and giving the Red Sox a commanding 10-0 lead in the process of doing so.

All told, Kavadas finished his day having gone 2-for-2 with a double, two walks, two RBI, and two runs scored before being replaced at first base by Cuba Bess in the seventh inning.

Kavadas, who signed with Boston for $250,000 earlier this month, made his professional debut on August 10.

Including Saturday’s solid showing, the 22-year-old first baseman out of the University of Notre Dame is now slashing .286 (4-for-14)/.500/.643 with one home run, two doubles, two RBI, four runs scored, six walks, and four strikeouts through his first five games (20 plate appearances) in the Florida Complex League.

Mayer, meanwhile, signed with the Sox for $6.664 million after becoming the club’s highest draft pick (fourth overall) in more than 50 years last month.

Regarded by many as the top prep prospect coming into this summer’s draft, the left-handed hitting shortstop out of Eastlake High School (Calif.) is currently ranked by Baseball America as the No. 3 prospect in Boston’s farm system, trailing only Triston Casas and Jarren Duran.

By notching two hits in his six trips to the plate on Saturday, Mayer — who does not turn 19 until December — raised his batting line on the season with the FCL Red Sox to .214/.313/.357 to go along with one double, one home run, five RBI, five runs scored, four walks, and seven strikeouts over his first seven games (32 plate appearances) as a pro.

(Picture of Marcelo Mayer: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Blogging the Red Sox presents: A conversation about the Florida Complex League with Ben Crockett

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to exchange emails with Red Sox senior vice president of baseball operations Ben Crockett.

Crockett, who is in the midst of his 15th season with the Red Sox organization after starting out as an intern, was promoted to his current role back in January after serving as the club’s vice president of player development the previous four years.

A native of Topsfield, Mass., Crockett was originally selected by Boston in the 10th round of the 2001 amateur draft as a right-handed pitcher out of Harvard University.

After returning to Harvard for his senior season, Crockett was taken by the Colorado Rockies in the third round of the 2002 draft and spent four seasons in their system before calling it a playing career in 2006.

In his time with the Red Sox as an executive, Crockett — now 41 — has undertaken a variety of roles that primarily revolves around player development. As the club’s senior vice president of baseball operations, Crockett “assists in all areas of baseball operations, with a focus on player development, performance, and baseball systems.”

One area in particular that Crockett assists in would be how Red Sox minor-leaguers are doing in the rookie-level Florida Complex League (formerly the Gulf Coast League) down at the team’s spring training facility in Fort Myers.

To this point in the season, the Florida Complex League Red Sox are 20-11 and owners of the fourth-best record in the FCL.

Among those within Boston’s farm system who have played for the club’s FCL affiliate so far this summer include include a number of the organization’s top prospects, such as 2021 first-round draft pick Marcelo Mayer, Wilkelman Gonzalez, and Brainer Bonaci.

I made sure to ask Crockett about the Sox’ premier prospects, but I wanted to ask about some under-the-radar-type players as well. So, without further ado, here is a quote-unquote transcript of the conversation we had through email.

Has the loss of the New York-Penn League changed the way the organization looks at how prospects just out of college are performing in the Florida Complex League? For instance, do you take [2021 18th-round pick] Philip Sikes batting .438/.500/.625 or [2021 ninth-round pick] Tyler Miller batting .409/500/.545 thus far with a grain of salt based off the level of pitching they faced while at Texas Christian University and Auburn University?

Ben Crockett: We try not to put too much stock in small samples of performance, especially in a player’s first year with a mid-July draft, but are happy with the debuts of many guys, including those you mentioned like Miller and Sikes.

The following question has to do with the players to be named later the Red Sox acquired from the Royals and Mets in June as part of the three-team trade that sent Andrew Benintendi to Kansas City back in February:

With Josh Winckowski and Grant Gambrell pitching at more advanced levels, what have you made of the way right-hander Luis De La Rosa and outfielder Freddy Valdez have acclimated to a new organization after coming over mid-season?

Crockett: Both Luis and Freddy have made positive first impressions. They’ve worked hard, been willing to communicate, and shown the positive physical qualities our scouts identified prior to acquiring them.

What makes infielder Eddinson Paulino and right-hander Wilkelman Gonzalez stand out and what did they do during the COVID shutdown last year to get off to such a strong start this season? Paulino is hitting .377/.476/.609 while Gonzalez has posted a 3.90 ERA through seven starts.

Crockett: Both have taken steps forward in 2021, taking full advantage of their time with us and during their preparation at home. We’ve been really pleased with the underlying qualities that have led to the success they’ve seen on the field.

How has the organization gone about evaluating those prospects who had lost seasons last year because of the pandemic, such as former international signee Brainer Bonaci or former 2019 25th-round draft pick Karson Simas? Both Bonaci and Simas are infielders.

Crockett: Simas has done great work physically and has matured into his body, allowing some of his actions to translate into performance on the field. He’s shown great athleticism and versatility.

Bonaci has built on a positive 2020 at the academy, and has made some positive adjustments from his time in instructs last fall. He’s controlled the zone, made good contact from both sides, and continues to improve his defense at shortstop.

Has the addition of Marcelo Mayer to the Florida Complex League roster created any buzz around the Fenway South complex? What about when 2020 third-round pick Blaze Jordan was there prior to his promotion to Salem?

Crockett: The FCL group has done a great job keeping the energy high throughout the season, transitioning well from extended spring when their game reps were limited at times. I think they are really excited to be playing well and realize they have a very talented group of players.

The following question has to do with right-handed pitching prospect Eduard Bazardo, who made his major-league debut for Boston back in April, but had been sidelined with a right lat strain since late May. The 25-year-old was sent out on a rehab assignment with the FCL Red Sox last Friday:

How goes Eduard Bazardo’s rehab and would you expect him to get any more big-league consideration before season’s end?

Crockett: His rehab is going well, getting back into games now and bouncing back well.

Thank you to Ben Crockett for taking time out of his busy in-season schedule to answer these questions and for also making this possible in the first place.

(Picture of Marcelo Mayer: Bryan Green/Flickr)

Red Sox have No. 9 farm system in baseball, per Baseball America

The Red Sox now have one of the more prominent farm systems in baseball, according to Baseball America.

In their latest midseason organizational talent rankings, Baseball America ranks Boston’s farm system as the ninth-best in Major League Baseball as things stand today.

Ranking behind the Mariners, Orioles, Royals, Pirates, Giants, Tigers, Rays, and Reds and ahead of the Blue Jays to round out the top 10, the Sox’ minor-league pipeline at present includes three of Baseball America’s top 100 prospects in first baseman Triston Casas (No. 20), outfielder Jarren Duran (No. 22), and shortstop Marcelo Mayer (No. 32).

“First baseman Triston Casas looks like a potential middle-of-the-order cornerstone who can hit for average and power,” BA noted of Boston’s farm system on Monday. “The addition of shortstop Marcelo Mayer with the fourth pick in the draft gave the Red Sox an immediate jolt of impact talent.”

Coming into the 2021 season, the Sox were in possession of the No. 20 farm system in baseball, which is the same exact ranking they received in the spring of 2020 as well.

What can be attributed to Boston’s rise from No. 20 to No. 9 in the span of just a little more than six months?

Well, as previously noted, selecting Mayer, who was regarded as arguably the top prep prospect going into this summer’s draft, with the fourth overall pick certainly helps.

Casas, meanwhile, made a name for himself at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, as he slashed .217/.308/.652 with a team-leading three home runs and eight RBI over six games while helping Team USA win a silver medal and being named the tournament’s best first baseman in the process of doing so.

As for Duran, the speedy outfielder came into the season as one of Boston’s more exciting prospects after what he did in spring training, then — like Casas — gained more notoriety as he helped Team USA qualify for the Olympics, but was not named to the United States’ final roster.

That being the case because the Red Sox would call up Duran from Triple-A Worcester on July 16. The 24-year-old has since hit .215/.232/.367/.599 through his first 23 games in the majors, though he is batting .282 (11-for-39) since August 3.

In addition to what Mayer, Casas, and Duran have done, the contributions from 2020 first-round pick Nick Yorke, 2017 first-round pick Tanner Houck, and international signees such as Brayan Bello, Miguel Bleis, and Wilkelman Gonzalez cannot be forgotten about, either.

All in all, as the Red Sox look to contend for an American League East title this year, they are also putting in the necessary work to ensure a promising future for the organization by bolstering an ever-improving farm system.

That is something chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom has hammered home since he joined the Sox in 2019, and it appears as though his vision has netted some encouraging results less than two full years into his tenure in Boston.

(Picture of Triston Casas: KAZUHIRO FUJIHARA/AFP via Getty Images)

Red Sox sign first-round pick Marcelo Mayer

The Red Sox have signed first-round draft pick Marcelo Mayer, the team announced Thursday evening.

Per The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, Mayer — a shortstop — has signed with the Sox for $6.664 million. He is currently at Fenway Park with his family for Thursday night’s game against the Yankees.

Mayer, 18, was selected by Boston out Eastlake High School (Chula Vista, Calif.) with the fourth overall pick in the 2021 MLB first-year player draft earlier this month.

The recommended slot value for the fourth overall selection in this year’s draft was $6.664 million, meaning the Red Sox are signing Mayer to an at-slot deal.

Listed at 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds, the left-handed hitting, right-handed throwing infielder had been committed to play college baseball at the University of Southern California, but will instead unsurprisingly go pro out of high school.

Going into this summer’s draft, Mayer was regarded by many as the top prep prospect, if not the top overall prospect in a class that included the likes of Louisville catcher Henry Davis and Vanderbilt right-hander Jack Leiter.

With that sort of reputation, it seemed as though Mayer could land with the Pittsburgh Pirates, who had the top overall pick but instead took Davis. The Texas Rangers followed by selecting Leiter, and the Detroit Tigers took high school right-hander Jackson Jobe, allowing the Red Sox to draft Mayer at No. 4.

In his senior season with the Eastlake Titans this spring, the Southern California native slashed .392/.555/.886 along with six doubles, 14 home runs, 45 RBI, 46 runs scored, and 18 stolen bases over 34 games and 137 plate appearances, per MaxPreps.

By selecting Mayer with the fourth overall pick in this year’s draft, the Red Sox made — and have now signed — their earliest selection in a draft since 1967, when they used the third overall pick on right-hander Mike Garman.

Mayer, who does not turn 19 until December, will already be one of the top prospects in Boston’s farm system as soon as he reports to the club’s spring training complex in Fort Myers within the coming days.

Earlier Thursday, in his midseason top-50 prospects list, The Athletic’s Keith Law ranked Mayer as his No. 14 prospect in baseball, writing that “there was no runaway top prospect in this year’s draft class, but Mayer was the closest thing we had to a consensus No. 1, bringing the mix of floor and upside that tends to separate the best high school prospects from the rest.

“Mayer, who went fourth overall to the Red Sox, is a true shortstop who should develop into a plus defender there,” Law added, “and has the potential to hit for both average and power once he fills out.”

With Mayer signed and set for pro ball, the Red Sox have now signed five of their 20 draft picks, according to SoxProspects.com. Mayer joins the likes of Tyler McDonough, Daniel McElveny, Matt Litwicki, and Jacob Webb.

The deadline for clubs to sign their draft picks — as well as undrafted free agents — is August 1 at approximately 5 p.m. eastern time.

(Picture of Marcelo Mayer: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)