Red Sox’ Triston Casas on fellow top prospect Nick Yorke: ‘I know we’ll be teammates soon. He’ll catch up to me soon’

Despite being born and raised on opposite sides of the country, Triston Casas and Nick Yorke share something in common in that they are both former first-round draft picks of the Red Sox.

Casas, a Florida native, was selected by Boston in the first round of the 2018 amateur draft while Yorke, a California native, was selected by Boston in the first round of the 2020 amateur draft.

Both highly-touted prospects coming out of their respective high schools, the pair of young infielders first got to know each other at the Red Sox’ alternate training site in Pawtucket during the final weeks of the compressed 2020 season.

Last year, each of Casas and Yorke received an invite to major-league spring training and the two became roommates in Fort Myers as a result.

While the duo went their separate ways and were assigned to different affiliates once minor-league camp broke in May, they both enjoyed great success on an individual level in 2021.

Casas, in what his his third professional season, split the year between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Worcester, though he needed to step away from affiliated ball for a few weeks over the summer to help Team USA win a silver medal in the Tokyo Olympics.

Across 86 games with the Sea Dogs and WooSox, Casas batted a respectable .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 371 total plate appearances. The left-handed hitting first baseman also posted a .982 OPS in 21 games for the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League.

Yorke, getting his first true taste of pro ball, initially got off to a slow start with Low-A Salem, but performed exceptionally enough there to earn a promotion to High-A Greenville in late August. Between the two Class-A levels, the right-handed hitting second baseman slashed an astounding .325/.412/.516 with 20 doubles, five triples, 14 homers, 62 RBIs, 76 runs scored, 13 stolen bases, 52 walks, and 69 strikeouts over 97 total games spanning 442 trips to the plate.

While receiving plenty of attention for what they did on the field over the course of the 2021 campaign, Casas and Yorke were both recently recognized by Baseball America as two of the top-40 prospects in the game heading into the 2022 season.

Subsequently, the Red Sox kicked off a weeklong minicamp at their Fenway South complex on Monday. This “Winter Warm-Up” program was implemented with the idea of getting a larger group of prospects and minor-leaguers into a warmer climate.

Of the 28 players who were invited to participate in this minicamp, Casas and Yorke obviously stick out as the headliners given their standing as two of the top prospects in Boston’s farm system.

With the opportunity to further their development, though, also comes the opportunity to build upon previously established relationships. Casas and Yorke are clearly close already, but are once again rooming up down in Southwest Florida.

Casas was among those who spoke with reporters on Wednesday. He seems to like playing with Yorke, noting that the two have “gravitated toward each other.”

There is a chance that Casas and Yorke are among those who stick around in Fort Myers until minor-league camp begins in full around mid-March.

While Casas, who turned 22 this month, is projected to begin the 2022 season with Worcester and Yorke, who turns 20 in April, is projected to begin the 2022 season with Greenville, the former is hopeful that he will be sharing the same infield with the latter before long.

“I know we’ll be teammates soon,” Casas said of Yorke. “He’ll catch up to me soon.”

(Picture of Triston Casas: Chris Bernacchi/Diamond Images via Getty Images)

Red Sox pitching prospect Chase Shugart ‘had a lot of success in Puerto Rico’ this winter, Brian Abraham says; ‘It was a really good experience for him’

Chase Shugart was one of several Red Sox minor-leaguers who spent part of their off-season playing winter ball outside of the United States.

Suiting up for Indios de Mayaguez of the Puerto Rican Winter League, Shugart posted a 2.84 ERA and 1.11 WHIP with nine strikeouts to two walks over five relief appearances spanning 6 1/3 innings of work during the regular season.

In the postseason, Shugart’s star shined even brighter. The right-handed pitching prospect allowed a total of one run on five hits, two walks, and nine strikeouts across six outings (6 1/3 innings pitched) out of the bullpen for Mayaguez. That’s good for an ERA of 1.42.

Prior to making the trek to Puerto Rico in December, Shugart had only been used as a starter since being drafted by the Red Sox in the 12th round of the 2018 amateur draft out of the University of Texas.

Last season alone, the 25-year-old pitched to the tune of a 4.78 ERA and 4.34 FIP to go along with 93 strikeouts to 24 walks over 22 starts (105 1/3 innings) for High-A Greenville.

Upon returning from Puerto Rico earlier this month, Shugart was one of 28 Red Sox minor-leaguers to receive an invite to the team’s weeklong Winter Warm-Up minicamp in Fort Myers.

That minicamp commenced at the Fenway South complex on Monday, and it also gave reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith) an opportunity to speak with Sox director of player development Brian Abraham.

When asked about the long-term role of certain pitchers in the organization such as Shugart, Abraham seemed to indicate that Boston will attempt to maintain as much flexibility as they can moving forward.

“I think there’s still an opportunity to start, but I think ultimately we see him more as a bulk reliever type role,” Abraham said of Shugart. “He had a lot of success in Puerto Rico in the short amount of time he had down there. It was a really good experience for him based on the conversations we had with him today.”

Shugart, who is listed at 5-foot-10 and 198 pounds, is a four-pitch pitcher who operates with a fastball that hovers around 93-95 mph and tops out at 97 mph, a 74-80 mph curveball, an 81-84 mph slider, and an 84-87 mph changeup, per his SoxProspects.com scouting report.

While he may have only been used as a starter to this point in his professional career, Shugart does have experience in the bullpen that goes beyond what he did in Puerto Rico.

To begin his career at Texas, the Bridge City native pitched out of the bullpen during both his freshman and sophomore seasons before moving to the Longhorns’ starting rotation in 2018.

As Abraham alluded to in his conversation with the media on Monday, the Red Sox value relievers who can provide the club with multiple innings out of the bullpen when needed.

Given his history as a starting pitcher, Shugart could potentially fit that mold if he is going to become a reliever on a full-time basis. With that being said, Shugart is projected by SoxProspects.com to begin the 2022 minor-league season in Double-A Portland’s bullpen.

(Picture of Chase Shugart via his Instagram)

Red Sox unveil roster for Winter Warm-Up minicamp in Fort Myers; Triston Casas and Nick Yorke among prospects who will be in attendance

Beginning next week, the Red Sox will be running a minicamp for minor-leaguers who are not currently on the club’s 40-man roster.

This mini-camp, which is otherwise known as the Winter Warm-Up, essentially serves as precursor to spring training. It will consist of strength training, conditioning, and on- and off-field instruction and will be held at the Fenway South complex in Fort Myers.

On Thursday evening, the Sox revealed who will be attending this mini-camp. The contingent heading down to Southwest Florida consists of 28 players — 12 pitchers, four catchers, nine infielders, and three outfielders.

Breaking down the 28-man pool even further, the pitchers who will be participating include left-handers Brendan Cellucci, Austin Lambright, Chris Murphy, Brandon Walter, and Jeremy Wu-Yelland, and right-handers Michael Feliz, Franklin German, Brian Keller, Zack Kelly, A.J. Politi, Chase Shugart, and Thaddeus Ward.

The group of catchers attending includes Kole Cottam, Jaxx Groshans, Nathan Hickey, and Stephen Scott. The infielders who will be going are Alex Binelas, Brainer Bonaci, Triston Casas, David Hamilton, Blaze Jordan, Christian Koss, Matthew Lugo, Ceddanne Rafaela, and Nick Yorke.

The outfield composition, on the other hand, will be made up of the likes of Tyler Dearden, Nick Decker, and Gilberto Jimenez.

Of these 28 players, Feliz is the only one with prior major-league experience. The Red Sox re-signed the right-handed reliever to a minor-league deal back in December and invited him to big-league spring training. The same can be said for a fellow righty in Kelly as well.

Additionally, four of the players identified above (excluding Feliz) were acquired by the Red Sox just last month. Binelas and Hamilton were the two prospects Boston picked up alongside Jackie Bradley Jr. in the trade that sent Hunter Renfroe to the Brewers, and Lambright and Keller were the two pitchers they selected in the minor-league phase of the Rule 5 Draft.

Besides that, the likes of Casas, Jordan, Yorke, and Jimenez represent just a few of the well-regarded prospects in the Red Sox farm system who will be at this minicamp.

As noted by SoxProspects.com’s Chris Hatfield, the idea of the Winter Warm-up is to include players who have already made it to full-season ball, which is why someone like Marcelo Mayer — who only played in the Florida Complex League last year — was not included.

On top of that, prospects on Boston’s 40-man roster — such as Brayan Bello, Kutter Crawford, Jay Groome, Bryan Mata, Connor Seabold, Josh Winckowski, Ronaldo Hernandez, Connor Wong, Jeter Downs, Hudson Potts, Jarren Duran, and Jeisson Rosario — cannot attend on account of the MLB lockout.

With that being said, The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey writes that the group of players who will be in Fort Myers will be receiving on-hand instruction from the Red Sox’ minor-league coaching and player development staff.

Katie Krall, who was recently hired as a development coach for the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs, will be among the staff members in attendance as they plan ahead for the 2022 season.

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