Red Sox power-hitting prospect Blaze Jordan continues to stay hot for Low-A Salem

Somewhat fittingly, Red Sox infield prospect Blaze Jordan was included in Baseball America’s latest Hot Sheet for his performance in Low-A Salem’s series against the Delmarva Shorebirds last week.

In six games at Carilion Clinic Field, Jordan went 13-for-26 (.500) at the plate with one triple, three home runs, nine RBIs, six runs scored, one stolen base, one walk, and two strikeouts.

The right-handed hitter is now riding a 10-game hitting streak and, on the 2022 season as a whole, is batting a respectable .291/.343/.467 (124 wRC+) with 18 doubles, two triples, six homers, 37 runs driven in, 34 runs scored, two stolen bases, 16 walks, and 43 strikeouts over 57 games spanning 248 trips to the plate.

Among qualified Carolina League hitters, Jordan currently ranks eighth in strikeout rate (17.3%), 10th in batting average, 12th in slugging percentage, 19th in OPS (.810), 19th in isolated power (.176), and 21st in wRC+, per FanGraphs.

Defensively, Jordan has seen playing time at both corner infield spots so far this season. Coming into play on Tuesday, the 6-foot-2, 220 pounder has logged 297 innings and committed three errors at the hot corner and has logged 136 1/3 innings at first while committing four errors there.

Still just a teenager who does not turn 20 until late December, Jordan is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 8 prospect — as well as the best power hitter — in Boston’s farm system. The Mississippi native was originally taken by the Sox in the third round of the 2020 amateur draft out of DeSoto Central High School. He forewent his commitment to Mississippi State University by signing with the club for $1.75 million.

While Jordan has the potential to emerge as a top-100 prospect for years to come, the Red Sox are likely to take their time when it comes to his development given his age. With that, it would not be surprising if he were to spend the rest of the 2022 campaign in Salem, though a late-season promotion to High-A Greenville certainly cannot be ruled out.

In addition to Jordan, fellow Red Sox prospects Niko Kavadas and Eddinson Paulino were also named to Baseball America’s Hot Sheet since they, too, had monster series against Delmarva.

(Picture of Blaze Jordan: Gary Streiffer/Flickr)

Red Sox’ Eddinson Paulino named to MLB Pipeline’s Prospect Team of the Week

Not to be overshadowed by the likes of Niko Kavadas or Blaze Jordan, Red Sox infield prospect Eddinson Paulino was named to MLB Pipeline’s Prospect Team of the Week on Monday.

Representing second-base prospects across Minor League Baseball, Paulino went 12-for-25 (.480) with two doubles, two triples, two home runs, seven RBIs, eight runs scored, five stolen bases, six walks, and two strikeouts in Low-A Salem’s latest six-game series against the Delmarva Shorebirds at Carilion Clinic Field.

Paulino, 19, is currently regarded by MLB Pipeline as the No. 19 prospect in Boston’s farm system. The Red Sox originally signed the Dominican-born infielder as an international free-agent for $205,000 on his 16th birthday in 2018.

With 2022 marking his first full season in pro ball, Paulino got off to a rocky start with Salem by posting a wRC+ of 77 in the month of April. Since the calendar flipped to May, however, the left-handed hitter has turned a corner offensively by slashing a stout .299/.399/.518 (154 wRC+) with 14 doubles, three triples, four homers, 21 runs driven in, 37 runs scored, 12 stolen bases, 26 walks, and 28 strikeouts over his last 41 games and 193 trips to the plate.

Among qualified Carolina League hitters this season, Paulino now ranks first in doubles (18), second in triples (8), second in runs scored (48), 14th in RBIs (32), ninth in walks drawn (32), 16th in strikeout rate (18.5%), 21st in stolen bases (13), 21st in batting average (.267), 27th in on-base percentage (.360), 11th in slugging percentage (.475), 13th in OPS (.835), 10th in isolated power (.208), eighth in speed score (8.7), and 15th in wRC+ (131), per FanGraphs.

On the other side of the ball, Paulino has understandably seen the majority of his playing time this year come at second base. But the 5-foot-10, 155 pounder has also played some third base and shortstop while logging a total of 46 defensive innings between left and center field.

Per his MLB Pipeline scouting report, Paulino possesses 50-grade speed “and displays good instincts on the bases. He has reliable hands and some twitchy athleticism but his quickness and average arm strength are a bit stretched at shortstop.”

Paulino, who turns 20 next month, can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in his career this winter unless he is otherwise added to Boston’s 40-man roster before then. As of now, it looks like the Red Sox would be taking a risk if they were to leave the Santiago native unprotected come late November.

That being said, there is still plenty of time left before the 2022 season comes to a close. Perhaps Paulino can use it to his advantage like he has already been doing in recent weeks.

(Picture of Eddinson Paulino: Gary Streiffer/Flickr)

Red Sox’ Pedro Castellanos, Niko Kavadas earn Eastern League, Carolina League Player of the Week honors

A pair of Red Sox first-base prospects took home weekly honors from the respective leagues they play in. Earlier Monday afternoon, Minor League Baseball announced that Double-A Portland’s Pedro Castellanos and Low-A Salem’s Niko Kavadas were named Eastern League and Carolina League Players of the Week for the week of June 13-19.

Castellanos appeared in all six games of Portland’s most-recent series against the Reading Fightin Phils. In those six contests at FirstEnergy Stadium, the right-handed hitter went 12-for-28 (.429) at the plate with two doubles, one home run, five RBIs, two runs scored, zero walks, and four strikeouts.

By recording at least one hit in all six of those games, Castellanos extended his hitting streak to 16 consecutive games. On the 2022 campaign as a whole, the 24-year-old is batting .283/.307/.465 (109 wRC+) with 16 doubles, one triple, eight homers, 42 RBIs, 22 runs scored, seven walks, and 52 strikeouts over 58 games (244 plate appearances) for the Sea Dogs.

Among qualified Eastern League hitters this season, Castellanos ranks eighth in doubles, fourth in RBIs, ninth in batting average, 22nd in slugging percentage, 29th in OPS (.773), and 34th in wRC+, per FanGraphs.

Defensively, the 6-foot-3, 195 pounder has seen playing time at first base and both corner outfield positions this season. He has logged 257 1/3 innings at first, 26 innings in left, and 113 innings in right.

The Red Sox originally signed Castellanos for just $5,000 as an international free agent coming out of Venezuela in July 2015. Always known for his ability to hit for average, the Carora native is eligible to become a free agent again this winter.

Castellanos, who turns 25 in December, becomes the first member of the 2022 Portland Sea Dogs to earn Eastern League Player of the Week honors this year.

Kavadas, meanwhile, had a monster week for Salem in its series against the Delmarva Shorebirds at Carillion Clinic Field. Over the course of six games, the left-handed hitting slugger went 9-for-17 (.529) with three doubles, four homers, 11 RBIs, 10 runs scored, nine walks, and just seven punchouts.

Selected by Boston in the 11th round of last year’s draft out of the University of Notre Dame, Kavadas has enjoyed a moderate amount of success in his first full professional season. Following a 2-for-3 performance on Sunday, the 24-year-old is now slashing a stout .279/.456/.570 (182 wRC+) to go along with 17 doubles, one triple, 11 home runs, 42 RBIs, 31 runs scored, one stolen base, 54 walks, and 68 strikeouts across 56 games (241 plate appearances) for the Salem Sox.

Among qualified hitters in the Carolina League this season, Kavadas ranks 15th in batting average, first in on-base percentage, second in slugging percentage, second in OPS (1.026), first in isolated power (.291), first in walk rate (22.4%), and first in wRC+, per FanGraphs.

On the other side of the ball, Kavadas has logged 343 innings at first base this year and has otherwise served as Salem’s designated hitter. The 6-foot-1, 235 pounder out of Granger, Ind. is currently regarded by SoxProspects.com as the No. 44 prospect in Boston’s farm system.

Given what he has done at the Low-A level this season, it seems like Kavadas could be on the verge of a promotion to High-A Greenville. He becomes the second member of the 2022 Salem Red Sox to earn Carolina League Player of the Week honors and joins fellow infielder Blaze Jordan by doing so.

(Picture of Pedro Castellanos: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox prospect Nick Northcut named South Atlantic League Player of the Week

Red Sox infield prospect Nick Northcut has been named South Atlantic League Player of the Week for the week of June 6-12, Minor League Baseball announced on Monday.

In High-A Greenville’s latest series against the Asheville Tourists at Fluor Field, Northcut went 7-for-22 (.318) with two doubles, four home runs, 11 RBIs, seven runs scored, three walks, and nine strikeouts over six games. All four of those homers were hit within a two-day stretch on Friday and Saturday.

On the 2022 campaign as a whole, the right-handed hitter is batting .231/.286/.574 with seven doubles, a team-high 20 home runs and 46 RBIs, 30 runs scored, 12 walks, and 79 strikeouts over 50 games (210 plate appearances) for the Drive. He has put up those numbers while primarily playing both corner infield positions.

Among qualified South Atlantic League hitters, Northcut ranks first in home runs, second in slugging percentage, ninth in OPS (.860), first in isolated power (.344), and 17th in wRC+ (124), per FanGraphs.

Northcut, who is celebrating his 23rd birthday on Monday, is currently regarded by SoxProspects.com as the 60th-ranked prospect in Boston’s farm system. The Ohio native was originally selected by the Red Sox in the 11th round of the 2018 amateur draft out of Mason High School.

While power has been his standout tool this season, Northcut is working to become more selective at the plate. His 37.6% strikeout rate and 5.7% walk rate are among the worst marks in the Sally League, but the Red Sox have otherwise been pleased with what they have seen from the young slugger.

As he inches closer towards setting a new single-season home run record in Greenville, Northcut becomes the first member of the Drive to earn South Atlantic League Player of the Week honors since Ceddanne Rafaela did so on April 18.

Rafaela has since been promoted to Double-A Portland. Perhaps Northcut is not too far behind him.

(Picture of Nick Northcut: Gwinn Davis/Greenville Drive)

Red Sox prospect Nick Northcut has homered 4 times in last 2 games as he approaches High-A Greenville’s single-season record

Nick Northcut became the first Red Sox minor-leaguer to reach the 20 home run plateau this season in High-A Greenville’s 3-2 win over the Asheville Tourists at Fluor Field on Saturday night.

After going deep three times on Friday, Northcut went 1-for-3 on Saturday with two RBIs, one scored, and one strikeout while batting third and starting at first base for the Drive.

His latest homer came with one out and one runner on in the sixth inning. Matched up against Tourists starter Rhett Kouba, Northcut took the right-hander deep over everything in left field to give the Drive a 3-2 lead.

Prior to Friday’s outburst, Northcut was in the midst of a 12-for-77 (.156) slump over his last 20 games dating back to May 15. Following Saturday’s performance, the right-handed-hitting slugger is now batting .229/.278/.573 with six doubles, those 20 home runs, 45 RBIs, 29 runs scored, 10 walks, and 77 strikeouts across 49 games (205 plate appearances) this season.

Among qualified South Atlantic League hitters, Northcut ranks first in home runs, tied for first in RBIs, second in slugging percentage, eighth in OPS (.851), first in isolated power (.344), and first in at-bats per home run (9.6), per MiLB.com’s leaderboards.

Defensively, the 6-foot-1, 205 pound infielder has logged 190 innings at first base (9 of which came on Saturday), 200 1/3 innings at third base, and six innings at shortstop for the first time in his professional career.

Northcut, who turns 23 on Monday, is currently regarded by SoxProspects.com as the 60th-ranked prospect in Boston’s farm system. The Red Sox originally selected the Ohio native in the 11th round of the 2018 amateur draft out of Mason High School and swayed him away from his commitment to Vanderbilt University by signing him for $565,000.

In addition to the power he possesses from the right side of the plate, there is a fair amount of swing-and-miss in Northcut’s game as indicated by his 38.1% strikeout rate (fifth-highest in the Sally League) and 4.9% walk rate (third-lowest in the Sally League).

According to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, however, the Red Sox are not too concerned about Northcut’s strikeout tendencies since he is generally doing a quality job of swinging at the right pitches and staying away from the ones out of the zone.

“He’s missing some pitches that we think he can hit, but he’s doing a fantastic job not chasing,” hitting coordinator Reed Gragnani told Speier last month. “We can coach that. … If he gets better at making contact in the zone, even at an average rate in MLB or even at this level, then you’re talking about a premium power hitter that can hit .270 with the damage.”

With 20 home runs already under his belt, Northcut is fast-approaching Greenville’s single-season home run record of 24, which was set by outfield prospect Tyler Dearden, who is now with Double-A Portland, just last year.

It took Dearden 91 games and until September 12 to accomplish that feat. At the pace he is currently on, it will not take Northcut nearly as long to etch his name into Drive history.

(Picture of Nick Northcut: Gwinn Davis/Greenville Drive)

Red Sox activate top prospect Nick Yorke from High-A Greenville’s injured list

The Red Sox have activated top prospect Nick Yorke from High-A Greenville’s 7-day injured list. In a corresponding move, fellow infielder Ricardo Cubillan was transferred to Greenville’s development list, per the team’s minor-league transactions log.

Yorke had been sidelined because of turf toe and last appeared in a game for the Drive on May 26. He was officially placed on the injured list last Thursday, though the move must have been made retroactively since he was reinstated just five days later.

In 34 games with Greenville this season, the right-handed hitting second baseman is batting .245/.319/.361 (88 wRC+) with five doubles, four home runs, 18 RBIs, 25 runs scored, five stolen bases, 16 walks, and 32 strikeouts over 163 plate appearances.

Boston originally selected Yorke with the 17th overall pick in the 2020 amateur draft out of Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, Calif. In his first full professional season, he took home Red Sox Minor League Offensive Player of the Year honors last September.

Now, the talented 20-year-old is regarded by Baseball America as the No. 3 prospect in the Sox’ farm system and the No. 32 prospect in all of baseball.

(Picture of Nick Yorke: Gwinn Davis/Greenville Drive)

Red Sox demote struggling prospect Brandon Howlett to High-A Greenville

In order to make room for the recently-promoted Ceddanne Rafaela on Double-A Portland’s roster, the Red Sox have demoted infield prospect Brandon Howlett to High-A Greenville, per the team’s minor-league transactions log.

Howlett, 22, has struggled with the Sea Dogs this season. Coming into play on Tuesday, the right-handed hitter was batting just .167/.278/.205 (44 wRC+) with one double, one triple, no home runs, four RBIs, five runs scored, 11 walks, and 42 strikeouts over 27 games (90 plate appearances) for Portland.

Defensively, the 6-foot-1, 205 pounder has unsurprisingly seen the majority of his playing time this year come at third base, though he has also made 10 appearances and logged 70 2/3 innings in right field for the first time in his professional career.

Originally selected by the Red Sox in the 21st round of the 2018 amateur draft out of George Jenkins High School in Lakeland, Fla., Howlett forwent his commitment to Florida State University to sign with Boston for $185,000.

Once regarded by Baseball America as the No. 14 (2019) and No. 20 (2020) prospect in the Sox’ farm system, Howlett will now return to Greenville, where he enjoyed a moderate amount of success last season — particularly in the second half.

In September, for instance, Howlett slashed a stout .289/.373/.533 (140 wRC+) with two home runs and six RBIs over his final 12 games of the year with the Drive.

There is no doubt that Howlett, who turns 23 this September, will look to regain that kind of form and work his way back up to Portland at some point this summer.

(Picture of Brandon Howlett: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox promote versatile prospect Ceddanne Rafaela to Double-A Portland

The Red Sox are promoting versatile prospect Ceddanne Rafaela from High-A Greenville to Double-A Portland, as confirmed by SoxProspects.com’s Chris Hatfield.

Rafaela, 21, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 22 prospect in Boston’s farm system. The right-handed hitter began the 2022 season in Greenville and batted a stout .330/.368/.589 with 16 doubles, four triples, nine home runs, 36 RBIs, 37 runs scored, 14 stolen bases, 10 walks, and 15 strikeouts over 45 games (209 plate appearances) with the Drive.

Among qualified South Atlantic League hitters, Rafaela ranks first in batting average, 23rd in on-base percentage, second in slugging percentage, second in OPS (.957), fourth in isolated power (.259), and ninth in stolen bases, per MiLB.com’s leaderboards.

On May 17, Rafaela became the first player in Drive history to hit for the natural cycle, as he went 4-for-5 with a first-inning single, third-inning double, seventh-inning triple, and eighth-inning home run in an 11-6 win over the Hickory Crawdads at Fluor Field.

Originally signed for just $10,000 as an international free agent coming out of Curacao in July 2017, Rafaela began to open eyes with Low-A Salem last year because of his defense. After playing six different positions (second base, third base, shortstop, left, right, and center field) in 2021, the Willemstad native was named the Red Sox’ Minor League Defensive Player of the Year in September.

So far this season, Rafaela has gotten playing time at second base, shortstop, and center field. To be exact, the 5-foot-8, 150 pounder has logged 270 1/3 innings in center while impressing the Red Sox with his defensive ability there, according to The Athletic’s Chad Jennings.

Rafaela, who turns 22 in September, will join the Sea Dogs before they open a six-game series against the Hartford Yard Goats at Hadlock Field on Tuesday night.

That the Red Sox are promoting Rafaela has deeper meaning when you consider the fact that he can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft in December. By allowing him to face stiffer competition in Portland, Boston gets the chance to further evaluate Rafaela before deciding if he will be added to the 40-man roster by the deadline in late November.

(Picture of Ceddanne Rafaela: Gwinn Davis/Greenville Drive)

Red Sox top prospect Triston Casas set to begin rehab assignment in Fort Myers as he continues to recover from ankle sprain

As he continues to work his way back from a right ankle sprain, Red Sox top prospect Triston Casas is set to begin a rehab assignment in Fort Myers, Fla. on Friday, per The Worcester Telegram & Gazette’s Joe McDonald.

Casas, Boston’s second-ranked prospect according to Baseball America, initially tweaked his ankle in Triple-A Worcester’s 4-3 win over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on May 17.

The 22-year-old first baseman has not appeared in a game for the WooSox since then and was placed on the 7-day injured list on May 22, but he was seen doing some work on the field at Polar Park on Thursday afternoon.

According to McDonald, Casas asked the team to have a second MRI of his ankle taken for precautionary reasons. Results of that MRI once again came back negative, revealing only some swelling as opposed to a fracture or tear.

Since he hits from the left side of the plate, Casas shifts most of his weight onto his right foot when he swings. As a result of this latest injury, Casas — as of Tuesday — had yet to swing a bat, according to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

Prior to getting hurt, Casas was batting .248/.359/.457 with nine doubles, six home runs, 22 RBIs, 22 runs scored, 23 walks, and 35 strikeouts through his first 36 games (156 plate appearances) of the season with the WooSox.

Given that he is headed down to Fort Myers, it seems likely that Casas will get into some Florida Complex League games (season starts on Monday) before returning to Worcester’s lineup.

(Picture of Triston Casas: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox top prospect Triston Casas has yet to swing a bat since suffering ankle sprain on May 17

Top Red Sox prospect Triston Casas is not expected to be back in Triple-A Worcester’s lineup anytime soon, according to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

Casas suffered a high right ankle sprain at Polar Park on May 17 after tweaking that particular ankle on at least two separate occasions. He was placed on the 7-day injured list five days later and has yet to swing a bat since then.

As noted by Speier, Casas hits from the left side of the plate, which means he “transfers most of his weight onto his right foot on his swing.” This is the primary reason why the first baseman has not been able hit in any capacity over the last two-plus weeks.

Originally selected by the Red Sox with the 26th overall pick in the 2018 draft out of American Heritage High School (Plantation, Fla.), Casas is currently regarded by Baseball America as the second-ranked prospect in Boston’s farm system.

Prior to injuring his ankle, the 22-year-old was batting .248/.359/.457 with nine doubles, six home runs, 22 RBIs, 22 runs scored, 23 walks, and 35 strikeouts through his first 36 games (156 plate appearances) of the season with the WooSox.

Given his standing as one of the top prospects in the organization, it is easy to see why the Red Sox are in no hurry to rush Casas back to action in Worcester. Speier reports that Casas is unlikely to return for the WooSox’ series against the Syracuse Mets this week. But perhaps things will change by this time next week when the WooSox are in Buffalo.

(Picture of Triston Casas: John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)