Red Sox infield prospect Cam Cannon off to strong start (.917 OPS, 158 wRC+) with High-A Greenville

For as much talk as there has been about what top Red Sox prospects Triston Casas and Nick Yorke have done since the start of the 2021 minor-league season, it’s easy to look past what another Sox infield prospect — Cam Cannon — is doing this month.

Like Casas and Yorke, Cannon was the first player the Red Sox selected in his respective draft. Unlike Casas and Yorke, though, Cannon was taken in the second round of the 2019 amateur draft, while Casas and Yorke were taken in the first rounds of the 2018 and 2020 amateur drafts.

The reason the Sox had to wait until the second round of the 2019 first-year player draft to make their first selection was due to the fact that they were penalized for exceeding the luxury tax threshold by more than $40 million the previous year.

Had they not incurred such a harsh penalty, Boston would have made their first pick in 2019 at No. 33 overall, but the luxury tax violation resulted in that pick falling 10 spots to No. 43 overall.

At that point, the Red Sox took Cannon, then a 21-year-old junior at the University of Arizona, off the board and ultimately signed him for $1.3 million that June.

After three games in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League, Cannon was called up to short-season Lowell, where he slashed .205/.289/.335 with three home runs, 21 RBI, 17 runs scored, 12 walks, and 37 strikeouts over 42 games to close out his first summer as a pro.

Like all 2019 draft picks, the Arizona native’s ongoing development was suddenly halted when the 2020 minor-league season was cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

With no minor-league season and no invitation to the Sox’ alternate training site, Cannon was limited to the fall instructional league last year, where he “garnered generally tepid reviews from scouts who saw him” there, according to FanGraphs‘ Eric Longenhagen.

Coming into 2021, Cannon — unlike Casas and Yorke — also did not receive an invite to major-league spring training, so he had to wait until minor-league camp began in April to get back into the swing of things.

Despite the long layoff, the 23-year-old was assigned to High-A Greenville at the beginning of May and has gotten his 2021 campaign off to a strong start.

Through 17 games with the Drive, Cannon — who has primarily been batting out of the leadoff spot — is hitting a solid .313/.365/.552 to go along with three home runs, seven doubles, eight RBI, 12 runs scored, two stolen bases, five walks, and 12 strikeouts over 74 plate appearances thus far.

Among the top qualified hitters in the High-A East, the right-handed hitter ranks first in doubles, first in extra-base hits (10), third in total hits (21), 11th in runs scored, ninth in batting average, 24th in on-base percentage, eighth in slugging percentage, 10th in OPS (.917), 14th in weighted on-base average (.405), and 14th in wRC+ (158), per FanGraphs.

Defensively, Cannon was drafted as a shortstop. But questions about his arm strength have resulted in him making the shift over to the right side of the infield, as he has played 11 games at second base compared to just three at shortstop for Greenville so far this season.

In those 14 games between second base and shortstop, the 5-foot-10, 196 pound infielder has committed a total of two errors over 114 total defensive innings.

There also seems to be some speculation that he could see playing time in left field if he were to make the move to the outfield down the line.

Back in March, SoxProspects.com’s director of scouting Ian Cundall wrote of Cannon: “Early returns from 2021 will tell a lot about where his development is going.”

Just under three weeks into the 2021 minor-league season, and early returns on Cannon’s performance in Greenville appear to indicate that the young infielder is trending in the right direction.

(Picture of Cam Cannon: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox top prospect Triston Casas has homered 3 times in his last 2 games for Double-A Portland

Red Sox top prospect Triston Casas followed up one of the best performances of his young career with another impressive showing for Double-A Portland on Thursday.

After crushing two home runs as part of a four-hit, six-RBI night at Dunkin’ Donuts Park in Hartford, Conn. on Wednesday, Casas belted a three-run homer — his third big fly in his last two games — while going 2-for-4 with three runs driven in.

Matched up against Rockies minor-league left-hander Nick Kennedy, the left-handed hitting first baseman came to the plate with runners at the corners in what at the time was a 3-2 game in favor of Portland.

On the fifth pitch he saw from Kennedy, Casas unloaded on a 93 mph fastball and deposited it to deep right-center field to clear the bases and put the Sea Dogs up 6-2.

He had previously singled in the first inning and also struck out twice to finish the night with two hits in four trips to the plate in what would go down as a narrow 6-5 victory for Portland.

What Casas has done these last two games against the Hartford Yard Goats is nothing short of a breakthrough considering the start he had gotten off to in his debut season in Double-A.

After making Portland’s Opening Day roster out of minor-league spring training earlier this month, the 21-year-old was slashing a measly .182/.280/.182 with no extra-base hits and just two RBI through his first six games of the year.

By going 6-for-10 with three home runs and nine RBI in his last two games, though, Casas has raised his batting average on the season 131 points to .313 and his OPS on the season 534 points all the way up to .996.

Casas was originally selected by Boston in the first round (26th overall pick) of the 2018 amateur draft out of American Heritage High School (Fla).

Even with no minor-league season last year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Miami-area native was still able to impress Red Sox officials while at the club’s alternate training site in Pawtucket and even received an invitation to big-league camp earlier this spring.

“He’s a good hitter,” Red Sox manager Cora said of Casas before Thursday’s game against the Athletics. “He hasn’t played much baseball since he signed but it’s good to see him putting good swings. He knows the game, he knows his swing and he knows what to do with his swing. This is a guy — the future is bright, the way we see it, and he’s a very important piece of this organization.”

Listed at 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, Casas is currently regarded by Baseball America as the top prospect in Boston’s farm system and the 37th-ranked prospect in all of baseball.

Because he is still so young and has only played a handful of games above Single-A, Casas is still likely a long ways away from making his major-league debut with the Red Sox. He even said that at this point in time, he is not yet major-league ready.

“I’m not putting any expectations on myself this year. I don’t have any specific numbers in mind,”  Casas told MiLB.com’s Michael Avallone on Wednesday. “I just want to stay healthy, go out there every day and play hard to see where it gets me. I’m not Major League ready yet. I have a lot of work to do, but I’m happy to do it and get where I want to go.”

(Picture of Triston Casas: Ben McCanna/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

Triston Casas, top Red Sox prospect, belts 2 homers, drives in 6 runs as part of breakout performance for Double-A Portland

Triston Casas had gotten off to a rough start to begin the 2021 minor-league season.

After the 2020 season was cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Casas made Double-A Portland’s Opening Day roster out of minor-league spring training earlier this month.

Coming into Wednesday night, the 21-year-old was carrying with him a .182/.280/.182 slash line with no extra-base hits and just two RBI through his first six games of the young season.

Wednesday served as somewhat of a springboard for Casas though, as the first baseman put together his best performance with the Sea Dogs to this point in Hartford, Conn.

Matched up against the Hartford Yard Goats, the Double-A affiliate of the Rockies, at Dunkin’ Donuts Park, Casas crushed his first two home runs of the year as part of a 4-for-6 night at the plate.

The first homer came off Rockies minor-league right-hander Will Gaddis in the top of the fourth inning and was an absolute no-doubter to right-center field.

The second homer came off righty Nate Harris with runners at the corners in the top of the sixth and was hit to nearly the same location.

Casas also knocked in two more runs on a two-run double in the seventh to finish the evening with six RBI as part of a commanding 14-3 victory for the Sea Dogs.

After Wednesday’s impressive showing, the left-handed hitting Casas raised his batting average on the season to .286 and now sports an OPS of .891.

“I’m feeling really good physically and mentally,” Casas told MiLB.com’s Michael Avallone following Wednesday’s contest. “Tonight I just shortened up my approach, didn’t go out of the [strike zone] and had some success. Hopefully I’ll keep riding this as long as I can, but I’m really happy to be back out there. I feel good.”

Casas, a native of Miami, was originally selected by the Red Sox with the 26th overall pick in the first round of the 2018 amateur draft.

Since then, the American Heritage High School product has risen through the ranks to the point where he is now regarded by Baseball America as the top prospect in Boston’s farm system and the 39th-ranked prospect in all of baseball.

Listed at 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, Casas is still a ways away from garnering any big-league consideration. But if he shows that Wednesday’s performance was not a fluke and he can start to handle Double-A pitching on a consistent basis, then he might just be knocking on the door sooner rather than later.

“I’m not putting any expectations on myself this year. I don’t have any specific numbers in mind,” Casas said to Avallone. “I just want to stay healthy, go out there every day and play hard to see where it gets me. I’m not Major League ready yet. I have a lot of work to do, but I’m happy to do it and get where I want to go.”

Red Sox manager Alex Cora was among those who was impressed with what Casas did on Wednesday night, as he told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo) Thursday afternoon.

“He’s a good hitter,” Cora said. “He hasn’t played much baseball since he signed but it’s good to see him putting good swings. He knows the game, he knows his swing and he knows what to do with his swing. This is a guy — the future is bright, the way we see it, and he’s a very important piece of this organization.”

(Picture of Triston Casas: Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Top Red Sox pitching prospect Bryan Mata returns to throwing program after suffering slight UCL tear in early March

After suffering a slight tear of his ulnar collateral ligament in early March, Red Sox top pitching prospect Bryan Mata has recently restarted his throwing program, manager Alex Cora said earlier Sunday morning.

Mata, who experienced soreness behind his right triceps during the early stages of spring training, underwent an MRI last month that revealed a slight tear in his UCL.

At that time, the right-hander was to be shut down for at least three weeks as the Sox opted for rest and treatment as opposed to surgery.

Since then, Mata has apparently been progressing at a steady pace. On March 24, Red Sox pitching coach Dave Bush revealed that the young hurler would “get back into a throwing program before too long” to test out his elbow.

On April 4, Cora revealed that Mata had indeed restarted his throwing program.

“He started his throwing program towards the end [of camp],” Cora said Sunday. “I’m not sure where he’s at right now as far as [distance], but I know he started his throwing program when we left camp.”

Mata, who turns 22 in May, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No.4 prospect in Boston’s farm system, ranking tops among pitchers in the organization.

The 6-foot-3, 227 pounder out of Venezuela was added to the Sox’ 40-man roster in November 2019. With no minor-league season in 2020, the righty spent his year developing at the club’s alternate training site — where his fastball reached 97 mph — and fall instructional league and was viewed as arguably the top starting rotation depth option the Red Sox had to offer at the minor-league level.

With this recent setback, though, it would seem to be in the Sox’ best interest to not rush Mata back and instead see how he responds to the throwing program he has recently started again before determining the next steps in this rehab process.

(Picture of Bryan Mata: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Jeter Downs, top Red Sox prospect, is a ‘workaholic,’ Alex Cora says; ‘His bat is going to play’

Jeter Downs collected his second home run of the spring in the Red Sox’ 7-3 loss to the Rays in Port Charlotte on Friday afternoon.

Starting at shortstop and batting out of the seven-hole, the 22-year-old infielder went 1-for-3 at the plate with a walk, a strikeout, and that aforementioned home run.

Downs’ homer came in the top half of the second, when with one out and a runner on first he took a 2-2 changeup at the bottom of the zone from Rays starter David Hess and clobbered it well over the left-center field wall.

Though the wind was blowing hard in that particular direction at Charlotte Sports Park, Downs’ display of power was impressive nonetheless.

“He does a good job of controlling the strike zone,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of Downs’ plate discipline. “He knows what he wants to do at the plate. Even in the last at-bat when he chased a pitch up, he knew right away he was out of the zone. “That’s something that we’ve been impressed [by].

Following Friday’s showing, Downs is now slashing .357/.500/.786 with a pair of homers and five RBI through his first 15 games and 18 plate appearances of Grapefruit League play while primarily playing shortstop.

A bruise to his left side suffered during a game against the Twins on March 14 resulted in Downs being held out of in-game action for a little more than week, but the Colombian-born prospect returned to action this past Monday and has gotten back into the swing of things.

Throughout the spring, Cora has not shied away from commending some of the organization’s top prospects — like Downs, catcher Connor Wong, and infielder Nick Yorke — for their ability to seemingly slow down what’s going on around them. He did more of the same while praising Downs on Friday.

“The bat will play,” said the Sox skipper. “He’s a good defender. I know he had that tough game the second game of spring training, but he’s a workaholic. One thing is for sure: He has a very slow pulse, and that helps him out. People might see him and they’ll be like, ‘Oh, low-energy guy. He’s not into it.’ That’s not the case.

“Offensively, he understands what he wants to do,” Cora added. “He understands the strike zone, and that’s why his bat is going to play.”

Downs, who like Cora has connections to the city of Miami, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 2 prospect in the Sox’ farm system behind only Triston Casas.

Listed at 5-foot-11 and 193 pounds, the right-handed hitter was reassigned to the minor-leagues on March 12. He is projected to begin the year at the Red Sox’ alternate training site in Worcester.

Downs, of course, was one of three players the Sox acquired from the Dodgers in the blockbuster trade that sent Mookie Betts and David Price to Los Angeles last February — with Wong and outfielder Alex Verdugo being the other two.

Verdugo, the only one of the three with any major-league experience to this point, seemed impressed with what he has seen from both Downs and Wong at camp thus far when speaking with reporters earlier this week.

“They’re great players. Obviously, Downs, a middle infielder, and I love his swing,” Verdugo said this past Tuesday. “I think his swing is really good. I think it’s going to play in the big leagues. The same goes with Wong. Wong is a really good catcher and has a really good arm back there. He can fire it and he can swing it, too.

“With those guys, it’s obviously tough because last year we didn’t have a minor leagues,” he added. “They weren’t able to go to Pawtucket and put up big numbers or whatever it may be. It kind of hurts them a little bit but these are guys who are professionals. They’re working in the cage, talking to guys and trying to learn more and more so in the next two years — maybe this year, we never know — we’ll start seeing them come up.”

(Picture of Jeter Downs: Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Garrett Richards impressed by the way 18-year-old prospect Nick Yorke carries himself: ‘You don’t see that very often’

Red Sox infield prospect Nick Yorke was just nine years old when Garrett Richards made his major-league debut for the Angels in August 2011.

Now 18, Yorke — the youngest player at Red Sox camp in Fort Myers — was one of a handful of hitters to face off against the veteran right-hander during a live batting practice session inside JetBlue Park on Thursday morning.

“Pretty impressed,” Richards said when asked about his thoughts on Yorke. “Not only with the talent, but with the way he carries himself. I just found out probably a few days ago that he was 18 years old. And I happened to just be walking by and that was the only sentence that I heard. He was talking to somebody and mentioned that he was 18 years old.

“Me being an older guy, it made me stop in my tracks a little bit,” added the 32-year-old hurler. “Because I had no idea this kid was that young. But very, very impressive with the maturity level and how he carries himself. You don’t see that very often. He’s obviously young and he’s going to be in this game for a lot of years. So I’m excited to watch him develop and adjust to this level of baseball.”

The Red Sox selected Yorke with their top pick in the first round the 2020 amateur draft out of Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, Calif.

The right-handed hitting second baseman — listed at 6-foot and 200 pounds — was one of 22 non-roster invitees to receive an invite to big-league spring training last month before being reassigned to minor-league camp last Friday.

Through his first four Grapefruit League contests of 2021, Yorke is 1-for-5 at the plate with a single, three walks, and two strikeouts.

Despite being the youngest player at the Fenway South complex, Yorke is holding his own, and he is impressing the likes of Red Sox manager Alex Cora while doing so.

“He’s in a better place physically,” Cora said of the California native last month. “He’s a tall, strong kid. That was impressive. I look and I’m like, ‘Who’s this kid?’ They told me and I was like, ‘Wow, he’s impressive.’”

Yorke, who turns 19 next month, is projected to begin the 2021 minor-league season at Low-A Salem. He is currently regarded by Baseball America as the Sox’ No. 9 prospect.

(Picture of Nick Yorke: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Alex Cora on top prospect Triston Casas: ‘For him to be around us, it’s beneficial for us’

He may have gone hitless in his first start of the spring on Monday afternoon, but it was still encouraging to see top Red Sox prospect Triston Casas back on the field.

The 21-year-old infielder made his spring debut against the Twins on Sunday and went 0-for-2 after pinch-hitting for Xander Bogaerts in the sixth inning of an eventual 5-5 draw with the Twins.

On Monday, he started at designated hitter and eventually moved to first base while going 0-for-3 at the plate with a walk and a strikeout batting out of the nine-hole.

Again, even while not getting into the hit column against the Rays on Monday, Casas still put some of his tools on full display by drawing a six-pitch walk off Hunter Strickland in the second inning and by smoking a line-drive flyout to right field off left-hander Josh Fleming in the fourth.

Before making his Grapefruit League debut over the weekend, Casas had missed some time at Red Sox camp in Fort Myers after being evaluated for a non-baseball-related medical issue in Boston earlier this month.

Now that he is back at camp, it appears that the 2018 first-round draft pick will have the chance to get more in-game at-bats through the end of spring training.

“We know the hitter. I’m starting to know the player,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of Casas earlier Monday morning. “He’s a guy that asks a lot of questions. He’s always checking where he’s at, what he needs to do. Yesterday, we had to move him to third base, and you could see he was prepared. He’s looking around, he’s looking at Carlos [Febles] pre-pitch. For him to get at-bats, it’s good. But just for him to be around us, it’s beneficial for us.”

According to Baseball America, the left-handed hitting Casas — listed at 6-foot-4 and 252 pounds — is the No. 1 prospect in Boston’s farm system going into the 2021 season.

The Miami-area native is projected to begin the 2021 season with Double-A Portland, but, as previously mentioned, he will presumably get the chance to get into some more Grapefruit League games these next few weeks.

“He had a big smile,” said Cora in regards to Casas’ first game back on Sunday. “For everything he went through the last few weeks, it was refreshing to see him out there.”

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

Red Sox top prospect Jeter Downs suffers injury to left side in Sunday’s game against Twins, will be evaluated on Monday

After coming on as a defensive replacement at shortstop for Marwin Gonzalez in the sixth inning of Sunday’s 5-5 draw against the Twins, Red Sox infield prospect Jeter Downs would have to leave the game an inning later.

Fielding a ground ball off the bat of Jose Miranda to lead off the bottom half of the seventh, the 22-year-old dove to his left, landed hard on his side, and as NESN’s Jerry Remy put it, “never got a handle on the baseball” as Miranda reached first base safely without a throw.

Upon getting back on his feet, it appeared that Downs was a bit shaken up as he crouched down in front of second base, leading to Red Sox manager Alex Cora and associate head athletic trainer Brandon Henry coming out to check up on the young infielder.

Following a brief conversation between the three, Downs exited the game and was replaced by Chad De La Guerra at shortstop while fellow top prospect Triston Casas took over at third base.

During his postgame media availability, Cora couldn’t get into the specifics about what was hampering Downs, only assuring that more information will be revealed on Monday.

“They checked him and it seems like he’s OK,” Cora said via Zoom. “They’re going to obviously wait for him tomorrow, see how he feels at night, and we’ll have more tomorrow.

“It was his left side,” he added. “We can’t say it’s an oblique injury or just a bruise. We’ll wait until tomorrow.”

Downs, who was one of three players the Red Sox acquired from the Dodgers in the Mookie Betts/David Price trade last February, is currently regarded by Baseball America as Boston’s No. 2 prospect behind only Casas.

The right-handed hitting middle infielder out of Colombia was reassigned to minor-league camp on Friday and is projected to begin the 2021 season at the Sox’ alternate training site in Worcester.

(Picture of Alex Cora, Jeter Downs, and Brandon Henry: Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Ranking the top 37 prospects in the Red Sox farm system heading into the 2021 season

The Red Sox are heading into the 2021 season with the 20th-ranked farm system in baseball according to Baseball America. That’s the same ranking they received going into the 2020 campaign as well.

Despite finishing with the fourth-worst record in baseball last year at 24-36, the 2020 season did net some positives for the Sox in terms of producing new, young, and controllable talent.

Just in terms of prospects, Boston acquired the likes of right-hander Connor Seabold from the Phillies, right-hander Jacob Wallace from the Rockies, and infielder Hudson Potts and outfielder Jeisson Rosario from the Padres.

They also drafted infielders Nick Yorke and Blaze Jordan and righties Shane Drohan and Jeremy Wu-Yelland with their four picks in last year’s amateur draft.

From the time the 2021 season ended until now, the Sox have added the likes of catcher Ronaldo Hernandez, infielders Christian Koss and Nick Sogard, right-handers Garrett Whitlock, Frank German, Josh Winckowski, and Zach Bryant.

To put it simply, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom has not only addressed his club’s depth at the major-league level; he’s done it on the minor-league side of things as well.

Taking that point into consideration, it would not be too shocking to see Boston rise through the farm system rankings this year, especially with someone like Yorke getting to play in actual, organized minor-league games at some point.

Having written all that, I would like to present to you who the experts believe are the top prospects in the Red Sox organization at the moment.

To compile this list of Boston’s brightest and youngest talent, I took prospect lists from four baseball or Red Sox-centered publications — Baseball America, SoxProspects.com, FanGraphs, MLB Pipeline — and took the averages of where each of these sites had particular prospects ranked.

For example, Triston Casas was regarded as the Sox’ top prospect by three sites, but the other had him as their No. 2 prospect in the system.

With those numbers in mind, I added 1+1+1+2 to get 5, then divided that number by the total number of sources (4) to get Casas’ average ranking: 1.25, which rounds down to 1.

I hope that makes sense, because here are the top 37 prospects in the Red Sox farm system based off that math heading into the 2021 season.

ProspectBaseball AmericaSoxProspectsFanGraphsMLB PipelineAverage Rank
Triston Casas11211
Jeter Downs22122
Bryan Mata43353
Jarren Duran54744
Bobby Dalbec36935
Gilberto Jimenez75466
Tanner Houck87677
Jay Groome6121288
Thaddeus Ward10813109
Noah Song121151410
Connor Seabold11981511
Nick Yorke91315912
Ronaldo HernandezN/A14N/A1213
Brainer Bonaci1815171614
Aldo Ramirez2210142015
Blaze Jordan1620211116
Matthew Lugo1417281317
Brayan Bello1923111918
Connor Wong1522191719
Jeisson Rosario2016162220
Hudson Potts2418182421
Eduard Bazardo2827102822
Chris Murphy1319431823
Jonathan Arauz2126N/AN/A24
Nick Decker2921242325
Jacob Wallace2524262926
Frank GermanN/A2825N/A27
Garrett Whitlock 1732303028
Chih-Jung Liu2334332129
Durbin FeltmanN/A3031N/A30
Cameron CannonN/A43232631
Ryan ZeferjahnN/A2538N/A32
Jorge RodriguezN/A2934N/A33
Juan ChaconN/A52222534
A.J. Politi2749372735
Ceddanne Rafaela2645N/AN/A36
Jeremy Wu-Yelland30N/A47N/A37
*The N/A you see next to some of these names means that that particular prospect was not included on a specific site’s list.

All in all, it’s not too shocking to see Casas, Jeter Downs, Bryan Mata, Jarren Duran, and Bobby Dalbec come in as the Red Sox’ top five prospects, though Dalbec is surely going to graduate from his prospect status this year.

The same can be said about right-hander Tanner Houck, who comes in at No. 7 on this list.

Other names worth mentioning include outfielder Gilberto Jimenez (No. 6), right-hander Noah Song (No. 10), infielder Brainer Bonaci (No. 14), catcher Connor Wong (No. 19), right-hander Eduard Bazardo (No. 22), right-hander Chih-Jung Liu (No. 29), and outfielder Juan Chacon (No. 34).

One notable snub on here would be 17-year-old outfielder Miguel Bleis, who the Red Sox recently signed out of the Dominican Republic for $1.5 million back in January.

Because I made this list myself, I cannot say with certainty that it is perfect. But, I enjoyed compiling the information to create it, and I hope it can serve as some use to those who find this sort of thing interesting.

(Picture of Jarren Duran: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox top prospect Triston Casas back in Fort Myers: ‘The fact that he’s here already is a positive step,’ Alex Cora says

Red Sox infield prospect Triston Casas returned to Fort Myers on Thursday night and is currently undergoing the intake process before reporting back to the Fenway South complex.

Casas, the top prospect in Boston’s farm system according to Baseball America, had been in Boston for a non-baseball-related medical issue.

“With Casas, we’re getting closer,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters Saturday morning. “He’s actually here in Fort Myers. He’s not here in the facility, still going through intake and all that stuff. But we feel confident that, hopefully, he can join the team over the course of the week. So things are trending in the right direction.”

Casas, who turned 21 in January, is currently one of 34 non-roster invitees at major-league spring training. The left-handed hitting, right-handed throwing corner infielder was originally selected by Boston in the first round of the 2018 amateur draft out of American Heritage High School in Plantation, Fla.

The specific reason as to why Casas was in Boston is unclear, but the fact that he was there to be evaluated for a non-baseball medical issue caused quite the stir in regards to thinking about the Florida native’s long-term outlook.

“As of now, there’s a lot of people involved in this situation,” said Cora. “And people are feeling better the last few days. So hopefully, like I said, if you see him joining the team, that’s a good sign. The fact that he’s here already is a positive step and hoping that he can join us. I think a lot of people are feeling better the last few days.”

With no minor-league baseball last year, Casas is coming off a 2020 season in which he spent time at both the Red Sox’ alternate training site in Pawtucket and fall instructional league in Fort Myers, where he was one of the more impressive position players in attendance.

The last time he saw any organized minor-league action, the 6-foot-4, 252 lb. infielder slashed .256/.350/.480 with 20 home runs and 81 RBI over 120 total games between Class-A Greenville and High-A Salem en route to being named Boston’s 2019 minor league offensive Player of the Year.

Casas is slated to begin the 2021 minor-league season with Double-A Portland, but the hope is he will have the opportunity to get into some Grapefruit League games before then.

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