He may no longer be regarded by Baseball America as one of the game’s top 100 prospects (for now), but it appears as though Red Sox infield prospect Nick Yorke is starting to find his groove again.
In High-A Greenville’s last series against the Hickory Crawdads at Fluor Field, Yorke appeared in all six games and went 8-for-24 (.333) with two doubles, two home runs, eight RBIs, five runs scored, three walks, and five strikeouts. Those two homers were just his second and third since the beginning of July.
The 2022 season has been a tough one for Yorke from both a performance-related and physical perspective. After being named the organization’s Minor League Offensive Player of the Year in 2021, the 20-year-old has been limited to just 63 games so far this season due to a plethora of injuries — including turf toe, back stiffness, and left wrist soreness.
Over the course of those 63 games, the right-handed hitting Yorke has batted .237/.306/.376 (85 wRC+) to go along with eight doubles, one triple, nine home runs, 38 runs driven in, 39 runs scored, five stolen bases, 26 walks, and 68 strikeouts across 294 plate appearances.
Defensively, Yorke has unsurprisingly seen all his playing time on the field come at second base. The 6-foot, 200-pounder has logged 453 innings at the keystone position and has yet to commit an error of any sort.
Despite all of the struggles he has endured this season, Yorke is still ranked by Baseball America as the No. 5 prospect in Boston’s farm system. The Red Sox originally selected the native Californian with the 17th overall pick in the 2020 amateur draft out of Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose.
Yorke, who does not turn 21 until next April, does not seem like a candidate to get promoted to Double-A Portland at the moment. That could potentially change if he continues to stay hot at the plate for Greenville.
Casas, 22, has spent the last two months on Worcester’s injured list after suffering a high right ankle sprain while running the basepaths in a game on May 17.
At that time, the Red Sox were optimistic that Casas would not be sidelined for long and would be able to return to action in a matter of weeks. But due to the nature of his injury, the 6-foot-4, 252-pound left-handed hitter struggled to put weight on his landing foot.
In four games — the last of which came on Saturday — with the FCL Red Sox, Casas went 6-for-14 (.429) with three doubles, one home run, three RBIs, three runs scored, three walks, and two strikeouts. As noted by Speier, he tested his ankle by playing three straight days.
With the WooSox this season, Casas is batting .248/.359/.457 (115 wRC+) to go along with nine doubles, six homers, 22 RBIs, 22 runs scored, 23 walks, and 25 strikeouts over 36 games and 156 plate appearances. Beyond those numbers, he was hitting the ball hard and playing solid defense at first base.
Were it not for his ankle injury, the hulking first baseman very well could have been on the verge of making his major-league debut right about now. Instead, his two-month absence has all but certainly pushed back his call-up window.
That being said, the Red Sox have struggled to find consistent production from their first basemen throughout the 2022 season. In the month of July alone, Franchy Cordero has posted a .446 OPS in his last 15 games while Bobby Dalbec has an OPS of .689 in his last 13 contests.
Per MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, Boston is going to look for upgrades at first base ahead of the August 2 trade deadline. While trade candidates such as Washington’s Josh Bell or Kansas City’s Hunter Dozier are possibilities, Casas could emerge as a possible solution for the Sox’ first-base woes now that he is healthy.
Like right-hander Luis Perales, Red Sox outfield prospect Miguel Bleis has also been opening eyes and turning heads in the Florida Complex League this summer.
Last week, Bleis appeared in four games for Boston’s rookie-level affiliate and went 8-for-17 (.471) at the plate with two doubles, two home runs, four RBIs, three runs scored, four stolen bases, zero walks, and four strikeouts. Both of those homers came in the same game against the FCL Rays in Port Charlotte on July 11.
“One of the top young talents in Boston’s system, Bleis started a little slow out of the gate this season but has been on fire in July,” Baseball America’s Geoff Pontes wrote. “He’s a speedy center fielder with a knack for the barrel and solid plate approach considering his age and level. His in-game power is starting to show, with strong exit velocity numbers that would compare well against a majority of major-league hitters.”
After batting just .156 through the first two weeks of the FCL season, the right-handed-hitting 18-year-old has since turned things around and is now slashing .298/.337/.511 (124 wRC+) with seven doubles, two triples, three homers, 15 RBIs, 15 runs scored, 11 stolen bases, five walks, and 25 strikeouts over 24 games spanning 101 trips to the plate.
Among qualified FCL hitters, Bleis ranks 13th in batting average, 10th in slugging percentage, 12th in OPS (.847), ninth in isolated power (.213), fourth in speed score (9.2), fifth in line-drive rate (29.2%), and 18th in wRC+, per FanGraphs.
Defensively, the 6-foot-3, 170-pounder has seen all of his playing time come at center field so far this season. He has logged 195 1/3 innings at the position and has yet to record an error while also registering a team-high of four outfield assists.
The Red Sox originally signed Bleis as an international free-agent out of the Dominican Republic last January. Boston gave the San Pedro de Macoris native a lucrative $1.5 million bonus, making him the highest-paid member of its 2021 signing class.
Since then, Bleis — who does not turn 19 until next March — has played in both the Dominican Summer and Florida Complex Leagues and is currently ranked by Baseball America as the No. 16 prospect in Boston’s farm system.
Bleis is best described by SoxProspects.com as having “the highest upside of any Latin American prospect in the system,” and it’s easy to see why. Between the athleticism, the potential, and the talent, Bleis will more than likely emerge as a top-100 prospect in baseball sooner rather than later.
In the near-term, Bleis could very well earn a promotion to Low-A Salem before long if he continues to impress down in Fort Myers. That would certainly be an exciting development within the Red Sox organization.
Casas sprained his right ankle on the basepaths at Polar Park on May 17 and has not appeared in a game since then. The 22-year-old first baseman was placed on Triple-A Worcester’s injured list on May 22 and has been rehabbing in Fort Myers since early June.
Initially, the Red Sox did not anticipate that Casas would be sidelined for too long. Due to the nature of his injury, however, the left-handed hitter could not swing a bat pain-free on account of the amount of stress he places on his landing foot.
Originally selected by the Red Sox with the 26th overall pick in the 2018 amateur draft out of American Heritage High School (Plantation, Fla.), Casas is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 2 prospect in Boston’s farm system and the No. 18 prospect in all of baseball.
In 36 games with the WooSox this season, Casas has batted .248/.359/.457 (115 wRC+) with nine doubles, six home runs, 22 RBIs, 22 runs scored, 23 walks, and 35 strikeouts across 156 trips to the plate.
As of this moment, there is no definitive timetable for when Casas could return to Worcester’s lineup. That said, the Pembroke Pines native will likely need to complete a brief rehab assignment in the Florida Complex League before he is cleared to suit up for the WooSox again.
When Casas initially suffered the injury, the Red Sox believed the 22-year-old first baseman would only be sidelined for a short period of time. They have since learned it is more serious than originally expected.
As a left-handed hitter, Casas shifts most of his weight onto his right foot when he swings. Because of this sprain, though, the 6-foot-4, 252 pounder has had trouble pushing off his ever-important right ankle.
“In the beginning, we thought it was something minor,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith) on Sunday. “Around the bag, he twisted his ankle. We thought it was going to be day-to-day. But he wasn’t moving well. And as you know, he’s a big dude. He’s a big guy. And he hasn’t been able to actually push off of it. It’s not something that we’re worried about.”
Prior to getting hurt, Casas — Baseball America’s 19th-ranked prospect — was batting .248/.359/.457 (115 wRC+) with nine doubles, six home runs, 22 RBIs, 22 runs scored, 23 walks, and 25 strikeouts over 36 games (156 plate appearances) with the WooSox this season.
Coming into the year, it seemed like Casas was in line to make his major-league debut at some point in 2022 after spending an extended period of time in Worcester. In his tenure as Boston’s chief baseball officer, Chaim Bloom has stressed how important making adjustments in Triple-A is to a prospect’s development.
With this setback, though, Casas has missed out on important development time that could potentially impact his path to the big-leagues.
So that part, he’s missing at-bats and that’s the part that he’s actually disappointed in a sense,” said Cora. “But we expect him to keep moving forward, keep getting better
Given that he has not been able to push off his right ankle, Casas has yet to resume baseball activities but has begun running again, per Smith. That being said, there is still no timetable for when the Miami-area native could return to action.
“It’s just a matter of him being able to push off and move around,” Cora said. “When that happens, we’ll decide what we do. Right now, he’s just down there doing his rehab, moving around, but nothing yet as far as when he starts playing.”
(Picture of Triston Casas: John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
An MRI revealed that Mayer had indeed sustained a sprain, Red Sox director of player development told The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier on Tuesday. While there is no timetable for his return, the shortstop is expected to resume baseball activities in the very near future, per Speier and MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith.
Mayer was selected by Boston with the fourth overall pick in last year’s draft out of Eastlake High School in Chula Vista, Calif. The left-handed hitter has slashed .333/.386/.507 with 10 doubles, one home run, 13 RBIs, nine runs scored, four stolen bases, seven walks, and 23 strikeouts over 17 games (83 plate appearances) in his first full professional season with Salem.
Listed at 6-foot-3 and 188 pounds, Mayer first began experiencing wrist soreness in late April, which led to him being sidelined for more than two weeks after playing against the Charleston RiverDogs on April 23.
Upon returning to Salem’s lineup on May 10, the soreness persisted and Mayer was limited to just four games before officially being placed on the injured list on May 20.
The 19-year-old is currently regarded by Baseball America as the top prospect in Boston’s farm system as well as the 12th-ranked prospect in all of baseball.
(Picture of Marcelo Mayer: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
The Salem Red Sox have placed shortstop Marcelo Mayer on the 7-day injured list due to a sprained right wrist, per SoxProspects.com’s Chris Hatfield. As noted by Hatfield, Mayer shared on his Instagram story that he is currently in Boston to undergo further testing on his wrist.
Mayer has been dealing with a recurring wrist issue since late last month. After playing against the Charleston RiverDogs on April 23, the 19-year-old did not appear in another game for Low-A Salem until May 10.
Upon returning to Salem’s lineup as designated hitter on May 10, the left-handed hitting infielder went 6-for-18 (.333) at the plate with four doubles, three RBIs, one stolen base, one walk, and six strikeouts over four games. His last appearance came against the Lynchburg Hillcats this past Thursday.
On Sunday, Speier confirmed that Mayer is indeed in Boston to undergo testing on his wrist while also noting that he has “experienced ongoing soreness- no increase in severity – but the fact that it hasn’t gone away led to the decision to put him on the injured list and re-evaluate.”
Mayer, the fourth overall pick in last year’s draft out of Eastlake High School in Chula Vista, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the top prospect in Boston’s farm system.
It has been an eventful first full season in pro ball for the California native, who is batting .333/.386/.507 (147 wRC+) with one home run, 13 RBIs, and four stolen bases across 17 games (83 plate appearances) on the 2022 campaign as a whole.
(Picture of Marcelo Mayer: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
Per Speier, Mayer’s absence initially came as a result of team-implemented workload management, but has since developed soreness in his right wrist that will keep him sidelined through the end of the weekend.
Boston’s director of player development, Brian Abraham, told Speier that the club is hopeful Mayer will not land on the injured list and will instead be able to return to action for Salem’s next series against Myrtle Beach that begins on Tuesday. He also said that Mayer has still been able to participate in baseball activities, including swinging the bat, despite his wrist ailment.
Mayer, 19, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the top prospect in Boston’s farm system and the No. 15 prospect in all of baseball. The Red Sox originally selected the California-born shortstop with the fourth overall pick in last summer’s amateur draft.
After signing with the Sox for $6.664 million, Mayer made his professional debut in the rookie-level Florida Complex League and stood out there. To begin his first full season as a pro, the left-handed hitter has batted .333/.397/.491 (148 wRC+) with six doubles, one home run, 10 RBIs, nine runs scored, three stolen bases, six walks, and 17 strikeouts over 13 games (63 plate appearances) with Salem.
(Picture of Marcelo Mayer: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
Marcelo Mayer’s first full season in pro ball is off to a promising start.
With the first weekend of the 2022 minor-league season in the books, Mayer finds himself batting .538 (7-for-13)/.538/.692 with two doubles, six RBIs, one run scored, no walks, and one strikeout over his first three games (13 plate appearances) with Low-A Salem.
Donning the No. 10 with the Salem Red Sox, the left-handed hitter collected two hits on Friday, three hits on Saturday, and two hits in Sunday’s series finale against the Lynchburg Hillcats (Guardians affiliate) at Haley Toyota Field in Virginia.
Through the first weekend of the Low-A season, Mayer ranks first among qualified Carolina League hitters in hits, tied for second in RBIs, third in batting average, ninth in on-base percentage, 19th in slugging percentage, 14th in OPS (1.231), and seventh in wRC+ (209), per FanGraphs.
The Red Sox figure to take things slowly when it comes to the development of their top prospect, who does not turn 20 until December. Based off the kind of start he has gotten off to in Low-A, though, it would not be too surprising if Mayer winds up finishing the season with High-A Greenville.
Boston does have a recent history of doing this sort of thing with its first-round picks. In 2019, 2018 first-rounder Triston Casas spent the majority of the year at Low-A but played two games at High-A to end the season. In 2021, 2020 first-rounder Nick Yorke earned a promotion from Salem to Greenville in late August and appeared in 21 games for the Drive.
Will Mayer follow suit and make the jump at some point in 2022? Only time will tell.
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.
Baseball America organizational rank: 31 FanGraphs organizational rank: 41 MLB Pipeline organizational rank: Not Ranked SoxProspects organizational rank: 35
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)