The Red Sox are hitting their stride in the standings at the big league level, and their top prospects (many of them at least) are hitting stride in the minors.
Always just an injury away from needing to call down to the farm, many of the Red Sox top talents are in the lower levels, with a few solid farmhands excelling in Triple-A Pawtucket.
Here’s a brief look at five of the prospects you should be keeping an eye on this season:
Yoan Moncada(Single-A, Salem)
Moncadawas one of the most hyped Cuban prospects in years as a teenager, and the second baseman will turn 21 in two weeks. He’s been eye-poppingly good in high-A ball, compiling a .328 batting average in 35 games while stealing 25 bags and knocking in 20 runs. One has to wonder if his incredible offensive production will continue when he reaches Double-A.
Rafael Devers(Single-A, Salem)
A highly-touted left-handed bat, the 19-year-old Devershas not had the fast start to his minor league career his fellow infielder Moncada has had. Hailing from the Dominican Republic, the third baseman has struggled a bit, hitting just .190 for the year. But his on base percentage is considerably higher, showing he does have plate discipline and can find ways to get on base.
Andrew Benintendi(Single-A, Salem)
The third member of the Salem Red Sox in Boston’s top 5 prospect list is an overall stud of an athlete, and playing like it in A-ball. Benintendiwas last year’s seventh overall pick in the MLB Draft, and he’s off to an impressive start to his first full professional season. He’s hit .341 with nearly one RBI per game (32 in 34games). He has 15 walks and a .413 on base percentage.
Anderson Espinoza (Single-A Greenville)
The 18-year-old Espinoza is learning his craft in Low-A ball, tantalizing scouts with a 100 mph fastball. In seven starts he has pitched 28.2 innings and compiled an ERA of 4.40. He’s raw, and Boston will likely closely monitor his work load, but he is certainly a bright spot in the minors despite his youthful growing pains.
Sam Travis (Triple-A Pawtucket)
At 22, Travis is the most big-league ready of the Red Sox’ top prospects. But he’s currently blocked at first base by Hanley Ramirez — who is expected to move to DH when David Ortiz retires. In Triple-A, he’s hitting .289 with 23 RBI but is vulnerable to the strike out (he has 32 in 37 games). Boston fans can optimistically expect him to compete for a big league job in 2017.