Top Red Sox prospect Marcelo Mayer earns South Atlantic League Player of the Week honors

Top Red Sox prospect Marcelo Mayer has been named the South Atlantic League Player of the Week for the week of May 1-7, Minor League Baseball announced on Monday.

Mayer went 16-for-31 (.516) at the plate with six doubles, three home runs, 12 RBIs, eight runs scored, one stolen base, zero walks, and four strikeouts in all six of High-A Greenville’s games on the road against the Asheville Tourists last week.

After going 2-for-5 with a pair of singles in Tuesday’s series opener at McCormick Field, Mayer finished a triple shy of the cycle as part of a four-hit effort on Wednesday. The left-handed hitting shortstop then had one hit on Thursday, two hits on Friday and three hits on Saturday before closing out the weekend with another four-hit performance on Sunday afternoon.

As noted by’s Chris Hatfield, McCormick Field is considered to be one of the more hitter-friendly ballparks in all of Minor League Baseball given its favorable dimensions. That being said, it was nonetheless an impressive week of work for Mayer.

Though his first full season in Greenville got off to a slow start, Mayer has picked things up as of late. He is now batting a stout .337/.414/.582 (161 wRC+) with 10 doubles, one triple, four home runs, 23 RBIs, 17 runs scored, four stolen bases, 13 walks, and 24 strikeouts over 23 games (111 plate appearances) with the Drive in 2023.

Among qualified South Atlantic League hitters, Mayer ranks eighth in batting average, 14th in on-base percentage, 10th in slugging percentage, ninth in OPS (.996), 17th in isolated power (.245), 23rd in strikeout rate (21.6 percent), and ninth in wRC+ (161), per FanGraphs.

On the other side of the ball, Mayer has unsurprisingly seen all of his playing time on the field to this point in the season come at shortstop. The 6-foot-2, 188-pounder has logged 193 innings at short thus far and has committed six errors in 72 defensive chances.

Mayer, 20, is regarded by most publications as the No. 1 prospect in Boston’s farm system. As far as top-100 rankings are concerned, Baseball America has him at No. 13 while MLB Pipeline pegs him as the seventh-best prospect in the sport.

A native of Chula Vista, Calif., Mayer was originally selected by the Red Sox with the fourth overall pick in the 2021 amateur draft out of Eastlake High School. Though he grew up a Yankees fan, Mayer forwent his commitment to Southern California and signed with Boston for a lucrative $6.664 million that July

As the Sox’ highest-selected player since 1967, Mayer entered the professional ranks with plenty of hype surrounding him. In a relatively small sample size of 140 minor-league games between the Florida Complex League, Low-A Salem, and Greenville, Mayer has shown why he is worthy of such attention.

Mayer, who does not turn 21 until December, is bilingual and has shown leadership qualities in the clubhouse. He has the ability to connect with both English- and Spanish-speaking teammates on and off the field, which only adds to his value within the organization.

As the Drive prepare to open a 12-game homestand at Fluor Field on Tuesday, more people have begun to wonder when Mayer will make the jump from Greenville to Double-A Portland. For Mayer himself, he is focused on the present as well as the challenge at hand.

“For me, I’m going out there and playing and I’m being where my feet are,” Mayer recently told The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier. “I’m not really going to be thinking about Fenway when I’m in Portland. If I’m in Portland, I’m thinking about being in Portland.

“Obviously, my goal is to be a big leaguer. I want to be there as soon as possible,” he added. “There’s a lot of great players in this organization. So it’s not as easy as just saying, ‘Oh, I want to be in the big-leagues this year.’ But I’m really excited. I worked my tail off in the offseason. I’m super excited for this season.”

Liu named Eastern League Pitcher of the Week

After tossing a seven-inning no hitter in Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Akron RubberDucks on Friday, Portland Sea Dogs right-hander C.J. Liu was named the Eastern League Pitcher of the Week.

Liu, 24, becomes the second Sea Dogs pitcher to earn the honor this season, joining lefty Shane Drohan. You can read more about Liu’s stellar outing — and his 2023 campaign as a whole — by clicking here.

(Picture of Marcelo Mayer: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)


Red Sox announce winners of 2022 minor-league awards: Niko Kavadas, Brayan Bello, Ceddanne Rafaela all recognized

First baseman Niko Kavadas has been named the Red Sox’ 2022 Minor League Offensive Player of the Year, the club announced Monday.

In 120 games between Low-A Salem, High-A Greenville, and Double-A Portland this season, the left-handed hitting Kavadas batted .280/.443/.547 (170 wRC+) with 25 doubles, one triple, 26 home runs, 86 RBIs, 71 runs scored, one stolen base, 102 walks, and 152 strikeouts over 515 plate appearances.

Among qualified Red Sox minor-leaguers, Kavadas ranks second in home runs, second in RBIs, first in walks, second in on-base percentage, first in slugging percentage, first in OPS (.990), second in isolated power (.267), and first in wRC+, per FanGraphs.

Kavadas, who turns 24 next month, was originally selected by the Red Sox in the 11th round of last year’s draft out of the University of Notre Dame. He is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 30 prospect in Boston’s farm system.

For a second consecutive season, Brayan Bello has been named the Red Sox’ Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year. Bello, 23, posted a 2.33 ERA in 15 appearances (14 starts) and 85 innings pitched between Portland and Triple-A Worcester before making his major-league debut in early July.

The Dominican-born right-hander has since pitched to a 4.39 ERA and 2.97 FIP in 12 outings (10 starts) spanning 53 1/3 innings of work with Boston. That includes a 1.65 ERA and 2.72 FIP with 27 strikeouts to 10 walks in his last five starts (27 1/3 innings) dating back to the beginning of September. Since Bello surpassed the 50-inning mark on Sunday, he has technically graduated from his prospect status.

Like Bello, the versatile Ceddanne Rafaela was also named the Red Sox’ Minor League Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. The 22-year-old broke out in a big way in 2022 and is now considered a top-100 prospect in all of baseball.

In 116 games between Greenville and Portland this season, Rafaela saw playing time at second base, shortstop, and center field and proved capable of making highlight plays at each position. He was named Baseball America’s 2022 Red Sox Minor League Player of the Year last week.

“I truly believe this: You put him in the big leagues right now, he wins the Gold Glove as an outfielder,” Red Sox infield coordinator Darren Fenster told The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier recently. “He’s not there yet as an infielder, but talent-wise and with some more reps and some more polish, he has Gold Glove potential as a shortstop as well. It’s wild the talent that this kid has.”

Speaking of speedy prospects, David Hamilton has been named the Red Sox’ Baserunner of the Year. Acquired from the Brewers in the December trade that sent Hunter Renfroe to Milwaukee and Jackie Bradley Jr. to Boston, Hamilton stole 70 bases in 119 games with Portland this season. The 24-year-old’s 70 steals set a new franchise record for Portland and were tied for third most in the minors.

Franklin German, who began the season with Hamilton in Portland, has been named the organization’s Relief Pitcher of the Year. The 25-year-old righty posted a 2.72 ERA and 3.04 FIP with 64 strikeouts to 19 walks over 43 relief appearances (49 2/3 innings) between Portland and Worcester, prompting a big-league call-up earlier this month.

Fellow reliever Zack Kelly was the recipient of the Lou Gorman Award, given annually to “a Red Sox minor-league player who has demonstrated dedication and perseverance in overcoming obstacles while working his way to the Major League team.” Since being recalled on August 29, Kelly has allowed just three runs over 9 2/3 innings.

Finally, infielder/outfielder Andy Lugo and right-hander Eybersson Polanco have been named the Latin Program Position Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively.

Lugo, 18, batted .318/.368/.414 (114 wRC+) while leading the Dominican Summer League Red Sox Blue in total bases (91) and stolen bases (21). Polanco, 19, produced a 1.78 ERA and 2.96 FIP in 12 starts (50 2/3 innings) for the Dominican Summer League Red Sox Red. The right-hander held opponents to a .179 batting average against and did not give up a single home run.

Each of these eight award winners were selected by the Red Sox baseball operations department and minor-league roving instructors. The recipients will be honored during a pre-game ceremony at Fenway Park prior to Monday’s series opener against the Orioles.

(Picture of Niko Kavadas: Kelly O’Connor/

Red Sox’ Kyle Hart, Brayan Bello earn International League, Eastern League Pitcher of the Week honors

A pair of Red Sox minor-league pitchers have received weekly honors from the respective leagues they pitch in. On Monday, Triple-A Worcester left-hander Kyle Hart was named the International League’s Pitcher of the Week while Double-A Portland right-hander Brayan Bello was named the Eastern League’s Pitcher of the Week.

Hart made his second start and seventh overall appearance of the season for Worcester on the road against the Toledo Mud Hens on Saturday. The lefty did not give up a hit and scattered three walks to go along with a season-high eight strikeouts over six scoreless innings of work. 53 of the 81 pitches he threw went for strikes.

With the WooSox this year, Hart — who pitched in the majors in 2020 — has posted a 5.88 ERA and 5.83 FIP with 26 strikeouts to 15 walks across his seven outings that span a total of 26 innings pitched. The 29-year-old southpaw has put up these numbers while holding opposing left-handed hitters to a .237/.268/.500 slash line and opposing right-handed hitters to a .258/.390/.436 slash line against.

Bello, on the other hand, is four days removed from tossing a seven-inning no hitter against the Reading Fightin Phils in the night cap of a doubleheader at Hadlock Field on May 5.

Making his fifth start of the season for the Sea Dogs this past Thursday, Bello allowed one unearned run to score on three walks and five strikeouts in the process of recording the fifth no-hitter in team history. He finished the night having thrown 96 pitches — 55 of which went for strikes.

Through his first five starts of 2022, Bello has produced a 1.95 ERA and 3.37 FIP with 37 strikeouts to 11 walks over 27 2/3 innings pitched. Among qualified Eastern League pitchers, the Dominican-born righty ranks sixth in strikeout rate (34.3%), second in swinging strike rate (20.3%), 24th in walk rate (10.2%), third in batting average against (.134), fifth in WHIP (0.87), fifth in ERA, 10th in FIP, and fourth in xFIP (2.62), per FanGraphs.

Bello, who turns 23 next week, is the reigning Red Sox Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year. Equipped with a high-octane fastball, the 6-foot-1, 170 pound hurler is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 5 prospect in Boston’s farm system, which ranks first among pitchers in the organization.

(Picture of Kyle Hart: Kelly O’Connor/