Baseball America Top 100 ‘23: 5 Red Sox

Mr. Stinky Esq.

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I'm looking forward to seeing them play, but this will look much less impressive soon as Casas and Yoshida won't be considered prospects much longer.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I'm looking forward to seeing them play, but this will look much less impressive soon as Casas and Yoshida won't be considered prospects much longer.
Plenty of the top 100 will graduate and the Sox have a few that will take their place- obviously pending their ‘23 performance- but Yorke and Mata is the most likely
 

geoflin

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Not sure what their definition of a prospect is but Yoshida has played the last 6 full years in the Japanese major leagues. I understand he's never played here and maybe that's the definition but there should at least be some kind of asterisk.
 

jon abbey

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Not sure what their definition of a prospect is but Yoshida has played the last 6 full years in the Japanese major leagues. I understand he's never played here and maybe that's the definition but there should at least be some kind of asterisk.
He turns 30 this summer and already has a giant MLB contract, whatever rule keeps him eligible for BA's rankings should be fixed.
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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Not sure what their definition of a prospect is but Yoshida has played the last 6 full years in the Japanese major leagues. I understand he's never played here and maybe that's the definition but there should at least be some kind of asterisk.
Nonetheless, seeing him ranked that low seems kind of surprising.
 

SouthernBoSox

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I'm looking forward to seeing them play, but this will look much less impressive soon as Casas and Yoshida won't be considered prospects much longer.
My man, having prospects graduate to be successful major leaguers is quite literally the point.
 

Yo La Tengo

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Curious about the timeline for potentially seeing these guys in Fenway?

Here's a rough stab at it:

2023: Bello and Casas start the season with the Sox, maybe Valdez, Walter, German, Mata throughout the year, Rafaela at the end of the summer?
2024: Ideally, Rafaela takes over as full time CF, not sure where Lugo would fit, but he could be a part of the plan. Maybe Meyer and Yorke in the late summer? Maybe Hickey gets a look?
2025: Meyer at SS, Yorke, Gonzalez, Paulino, Hickey
2026: Bleis, Jordan, Romero, Bonaci.
 

GlucoDoc

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You can argue about the ranking order or timeline, but it should be exciting to see these players graduate into the big leagues over the next couple of years. I have agreed with Chaim's approach (X notwithstanding) of not sacrificing the pipeline for a short-term fix. Not all will pan out, but likely enough will to make it interesting. It will be fun to watch these players develop and hopefully there is a pot of gold (WS win) at the end of this process.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Seems possible but is obviously best case scenario. Yorke, for example, hit 232/303/365 in high A, so him ending up in Boston in a year and a half is pretty optimistic.
 

Mantush

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BA also ranked Dice-K as the #1 prospect back in the day…

I’m guessing that the prospect rankings are reflective of overall value and not necessarily present ability. Yoshida’s contract likely makes him less valuable (in BAs eyes) than a prospect with a full 6 years of cost controlled production. That said, I don’t agree with that methodology. I’d rather have Yoshida than Casas.
 

Mr. Stinky Esq.

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My man, having prospects graduate to be successful major leaguers is quite literally the point.
Yes, obviously, and I think that's implicitly acknowledged in my post. We're not actually in disagreement. Like I said, I'm looking forward to seeing them play. All I'm really saying is that this ranking of our top prospects among the league's isn't terribly exciting to me (as a ranking of prospects) when 40% of our guys on the list are not really prospects in the way we commonly think of them given that they're anticipated to break camp as starters on the ML club this year.
 

AlNipper49

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Curious about the timeline for potentially seeing these guys in Fenway?

Here's a rough stab at it:

2023: Bello and Casas start the season with the Sox, maybe Valdez, Walter, German, Mata throughout the year, Rafaela at the end of the summer?
2024: Ideally, Rafaela takes over as full time CF, not sure where Lugo would fit, but he could be a part of the plan. Maybe Meyer and Yorke in the late summer? Maybe Hickey gets a look?
2025: Meyer at SS, Yorke, Gonzalez, Paulino, Hickey
2026: Bleis, Jordan, Romero, Bonaci.
Yorke looked like absolute and complete dogshit last year. He's a $5 scratch-off ticket at this point. Definitely should not be penciled into any major league lineup, even in a fever dream, unless he shows and sustains something different in 2023.
 

DJnVa

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I'm looking forward to seeing them play, but this will look much less impressive soon as Casas and Yoshida won't be considered prospects much longer.
It can "look much less impressive" but there are degrees there--if it looks that way because the players suck, it's one thing. If it looks that way because they are graduating to Boston, that's a good thing.
 

Pablo's TB Lover

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Yes, obviously, and I think that's implicitly acknowledged in my post. We're not actually in disagreement. Like I said, I'm looking forward to seeing them play. All I'm really saying is that this ranking of our top prospects among the league's isn't terribly exciting to me (as a ranking of prospects) when 40% of our guys on the list are not really prospects in the way we commonly think of them given that they're anticipated to break camp as starters on the ML club this year.
I'd rather have less guys listed with MiL players being promoted to contribute with the big club OR being used in trades to get other good players, as opposed to having 10 of the top 100 with the front office allowing the big club to languish in mediocrity with veterans. There's a balance to be had.
 

Yo La Tengo

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Yorke looked like absolute and complete dogshit last year. He's a $5 scratch-off ticket at this point. Definitely should not be penciled into any major league lineup, even in a fever dream, unless he shows and sustains something different in 2023.
I guess I should have said the implied part out loud: "if these players perform well, what is the timeline for potentially seeing them in Fenway?"

If any of them fail to perform and develop, they won't be a part of a major league lineup.

As for Yorke, he missed time last year with back, toe, and wrist injuries. He put up good numbers over the last few weeks of the season (.320, .414, .480 in September) and played really well over 20 games in Arizona (.342, .424, .526). Considering his fantastic 2021 season, his injuries, and his strong end to the season last year, I'm still hopeful that he can be contributor on the major league team. He's only 20 years old. This will be a big year for him.
 

grimshaw

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Yorke looked like absolute and complete dogshit last year. He's a $5 scratch-off ticket at this point. Definitely should not be penciled into any major league lineup, even in a fever dream, unless he shows and sustains something different in 2023.
He tore up the AFL as a 20 year old FWIW .342/.424/.526
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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A year ago we were drooling over Jeter Downs 880 ops in the AFL. It’s great to see Yorke do well, certainly better than him not, but league OPS was 771, and the league ERA was 5.49 so definitely need to take it with a grain of salt.
 

BigSoxFan

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A year ago we were drooling over Jeter Downs 880 ops in the AFL. It’s great to see Yorke do well, certainly better than him not, but league OPS was 771, and the league ERA was 5.49 so definitely need to take it with a grain of salt.
I certainly hope Yorke pans out but I do find myself following Jordan Walker quite a bit. Know we went Yorke to save money and sign other guys but he looks like a potential masher, exactly what we need.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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A year ago we were drooling over Jeter Downs 880 ops in the AFL. It’s great to see Yorke do well, certainly better than him not, but league OPS was 771, and the league ERA was 5.49 so definitely need to take it with a grain of salt.
I don't recall anyone drooling over Downs performance there. It was more like it got everyone who was really down on him after his first season in Pawtucket to be a little more optimistic that he MAY have figured things out. It was cautious hope, from my recollection, with lots of naysayers (correctly) and a few full on optimists.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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Come stateside as a teenager and post a .900 OPS as a plus defensive CF.
Bleis's numbers in rookie ball compare favorably to Devers' 2014 performance at the same level, although Devers was a year younger. Raffy was BA's #99 prospect pre-2015 so it's a pretty similar situation and without the defensive question marks.
 

Jimbodandy

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He tore up the AFL as a 20 year old FWIW .342/.424/.526
Yes. Yorke had a fantastic 19yo season in high A, followed by a blah, injury-plagued season at high A at 20, followed by hitting the crap out of the AFL.

Sure it's early to practice his Cooperstown speech, but I'd consider it odd to be selling on him right now.
 

billy ashley

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I don't recall anyone drooling over Downs performance there. It was more like it got everyone who was really down on him after his first season in Pawtucket to be a little more optimistic that he MAY have figured things out. It was cautious hope, from my recollection, with lots of naysayers (correctly) and a few full on optimists.

Would also offer up that Downs' status was in far worse shape than Yorke. Yorke had a bad 2022, with some mitigating circumstances (injuries). Downs just flat out forgot to hit. As bad as Yorke might have been last season, he was still far better than Downs in 21.

Nevermind the fact that Downs was seen as close to MLB ready going into that year, and everyone knew that Yorke had (and clearly still has) a lot of development runway ahead of him.
 

ShaneTrot

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Who is Marcel Mayer? His name is Marcelo. I wonder if he finishes the year in Portland that would be fun to see him and Yorke possibly together.
 

jon abbey

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Some context, Red Sox and Yankees are two of the teams with 5:

===================

Most Top 100 prospects in baseball:

Orioles 8
Guardians 7
Dodgers 6
Mets 6
Rays 6
Three teams tied with 5
 

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Bleis's numbers in rookie ball compare favorably to Devers' 2014 performance at the same level, although Devers was a year younger. Raffy was BA's #99 prospect pre-2015 so it's a pretty similar situation and without the defensive question marks.
IIRC the Sox Prospects guys mentioned that he has posted MLB-quality exit velos as an 18 yr old.

Comparing him to Rafaela, he may not be as good (or as versatile) a defender, but he's much more physical (6'3") and with the potential for 5 + tools, and has a better hitting approach already. I'd personally put Bleis ahead of Rafaela despite the latter's closeness to MLB (but I think any idea that Rafaela's in Boston this year are way too optimistic)
 

JM3

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<3 Bleis

141 wRC+ with 0 errors in 310 innings in the Florida Complex League as an 18 y/o (he turns 19 in March), is pretty pretty nice. I probably like him more than I like Mayer, but that's obviously a pretty hot take. Mayer had a 120 wRC+ in the same league as an older 18 y/o in '21, though.
 

tbrown_01923

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Would also offer up that Downs' status was in far worse shape than Yorke. Yorke had a bad 2022, with some mitigating circumstances (injuries). Downs just flat out forgot to hit. As bad as Yorke might have been last season, he was still far better than Downs in 21.

Nevermind the fact that Downs was seen as close to MLB ready going into that year, and everyone knew that Yorke had (and clearly still has) a lot of development runway ahead of him.
Yorke produced better at Greenville in 2021: 333/406/571 in 84 at bats, than in 2022: 232/303/571 in 337 at bats. So there is some (limited) success at the same level a year prior. Combined with the injuries and a change to his stance in the fall pushing for a better AFL performance (made his stance had regressed because of injuries during 2022), i think there is a case for optimisim in regards to Yorke... not that 2022 should be completely ignored.
 

chawson

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<3 Bleis

141 wRC+ with 0 errors in 310 innings in the Florida Complex League as an 18 y/o (he turns 19 in March), is pretty pretty nice. I probably like him more than I like Mayer, but that's obviously a pretty hot take. Mayer had a 120 wRC+ in the same league as an older 18 y/o in '21, though.
I’m with you here. Hardly scientific but the way I see it, it's like Mayer has a 80 percent chance of becoming Dansby Swanson and Bleis has a 20 percent chance of becoming Ronald Acuña, Jr.
 

LogansDad

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He's an incredible talent. Probably the only true "Five Tool" player in the system. If he cuts down on his K rate even a little bit, he could have a meteoric rise this season. He might be more untouchable than Mayer, in my opinion.
 

HangingW/ScottCooper

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He turns 30 this summer and already has a giant MLB contract, whatever rule keeps him eligible for BA's rankings should be fixed.
This has always been the case. They're one of the few outlets that treat the international players as prospects. I think in their mind it's basically that they haven't satisfied Rookie of the Year requirements.
 

bosox188

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So there's one thing about the power projection for Casas that I wonder about, and that Speier tweet about his exit velo jump reminds me of it. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that it's easier to post higher exit velos when you're hitting the ball more on the ground as opposed to in the air. He had around 100 PAs in the MLB last season (admittedly not a great sample size), and while he had a >200 ISO, Savant shows his launch angle was only 2.2 degrees so his expected power was quite low.

Without the benefit of seeing things like launch angles & barrels from his minor league numbers, I see his flyball rate was around 40% up until last season, where he cut it closer to 30%, and most of the difference went into line drives rather than grounders, but so far the opposite has been true in the majors. So I guess one concern I have is if he needs to retool his swing to get more lift against major league pitching, is it possible that the cited 92mph average exit velo in the minors isn't as projectible as we might assume it is. I think part of my concern is I'm remembering how Duran got a lot of power in AAA and then his swing just didn't work in the majors (albeit, Casas is a much better all around hitter).

I still think Casas is going to be a great hitting 1B and his plate discipline is already elite, and it's not wise to put too much stock in his first 100 PAs. But I do think it's an interesting part of the conversation with those exit velos BA posted, it would be really nice if we could see launch angles and barrel rates to accompany those numbers.
 

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He's an incredible talent. Probably the only true "Five Tool" player in the system. If he cuts down on his K rate even a little bit, he could have a meteoric rise this season. He might be more untouchable than Mayer, in my opinion.
SoxProspects: one non-Sox scout said Bleis was the best player in the FCL last year. Comps of Soto and Acuña thrown around. Best Sox OF prospect since Westmoreland. Yes, he’s only 18, but he dazzles.
 

AlNipper49

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Yorke produced better at Greenville in 2021: 333/406/571 in 84 at bats, than in 2022: 232/303/571 in 337 at bats. So there is some (limited) success at the same level a year prior. Combined with the injuries and a change to his stance in the fall pushing for a better AFL performance (made his stance had regressed because of injuries during 2022), i think there is a case for optimisim in regards to Yorke... not that 2022 should be completely ignored.
He did. Stats aside, he looked completely fucking lost at the plate last year. My pee pee felt funny like in going down a big hill on a roller coaster sort of way every time I watched him hit. Whatever he had before last year he did not have last year. I hope that he figures it out. It was really, really, really bad.
 

johnlos

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Nonetheless, seeing him ranked that low seems kind of surprising.
Kiley McDaniel, Keith Law, and these dorks all seem to hate Yoshida. Either the Red Sox scouting and analytics department are a bunch of dupes or the team did their due diligence and knew exactly what they wanted to spend for him once he became available (https://theathletic.com/4029222/2022/12/24/red-sox-pursuit-masataka-yoshida/)
Not saying there's 100% chance he earns this contract but there's a reasonable chance we're seeing this as a great signing in 3-4 years. I'd also like to know how many 87th overall prospects have projections like this: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/a-contact-wizard-is-here-to-help-the-red-sox-and-their-outfield/
 

tbrown_01923

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He did. Stats aside, he looked completely fucking lost at the plate last year. My pee pee felt funny like in going down a big hill on a roller coaster sort of way every time I watched him hit. Whatever he had before last year he did not have last year. I hope that he figures it out. It was really, really, really bad.
Completely fair, 2022 was not good. But comparing him to an older and more experienced and fading Downs isn't as straightforward as original poster insinuated. He might be blowing up - but I think we need more than one down year.
 

BornToRun

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He did. Stats aside, he looked completely fucking lost at the plate last year. My pee pee felt funny like in going down a big hill on a roller coaster sort of way every time I watched him hit. Whatever he had before last year he did not have last year. I hope that he figures it out. It was really, really, really bad.
How does your pee pee feel heading into this year? In general.
 

jon abbey

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Kiley McDaniel, Keith Law, and these dorks all seem to hate Yoshida. Either the Red Sox scouting and analytics department are a bunch of dupes or the team did their due diligence and knew exactly what they wanted to spend for him once he became available (https://theathletic.com/4029222/2022/12/24/red-sox-pursuit-masataka-yoshida/)
Not saying there's 100% chance he earns this contract but there's a reasonable chance we're seeing this as a great signing in 3-4 years. I'd also like to know how many 87th overall prospects have projections like this: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/a-contact-wizard-is-here-to-help-the-red-sox-and-their-outfield/
This is a good post, Yoshida will likely end up as very strong evidence one way or the other on Bloom's BOS career in the end, not just Yoshida in a vacuum but Yoshida at 5/90 vs Benintendi at 5/75. Both fulltime LFers, Benintendi is 13 months younger, better defensively and coming off repeated wrist injuries, Yoshida is healthy. I definitely think the Benintendi deal is going to blow up on CHW quickly, I have no idea on Yoshida.
 

Wingack

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Some context, Red Sox and Yankees are two of the teams with 5:

===================

Most Top 100 prospects in baseball:

Orioles 8
Guardians 7
Dodgers 6
Mets 6
Rays 6
Three teams tied with 5
That's 48 players of the top 100 are on just 8 teams with 52 players spread among 22 teams. That feels like an unusually high concentration of the best prospects on a small number of organizations.
 

Niastri

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141 wRC+ with 0 errors in 310 innings in the Florida Complex League as an 18 y/o (he turns 19 in March), is pretty pretty nice. I probably like him more than I like Mayer, but that's obviously a pretty hot take. Mayer had a 120 wRC+ in the same league as an older 18 y/o in '21, though.
Middle of the order bats at two of the the most important defensive positions makes roster construction a lot easier.

It's an absolute cinch to have a decent roster if they're also pre arbitration players at the same time.

Maybe they can afford Juan Soto if some more of these young guys pan out.
 

nvalvo

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Kiley McDaniel, Keith Law, and these dorks all seem to hate Yoshida. Either the Red Sox scouting and analytics department are a bunch of dupes or the team did their due diligence and knew exactly what they wanted to spend for him once he became available (https://theathletic.com/4029222/2022/12/24/red-sox-pursuit-masataka-yoshida/)
Not saying there's 100% chance he earns this contract but there's a reasonable chance we're seeing this as a great signing in 3-4 years. I'd also like to know how many 87th overall prospects have projections like this: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/a-contact-wizard-is-here-to-help-the-red-sox-and-their-outfield/
This is a good post, Yoshida will likely end up as very strong evidence one way or the other on Bloom's BOS career in the end, not just Yoshida in a vacuum but Yoshida at 5/90 vs Benintendi at 5/75. Both fulltime LFers, Benintendi is 13 months younger, better defensively and coming off repeated wrist injuries, Yoshida is healthy. I definitely think the Benintendi deal is going to blow up on CHW quickly, I have no idea on Yoshida.
Yup. This is a really interesting conversation.

I think a ton of the questions about Yoshida are a Rorschach test about the state of Japanese baseball writ large. Because he's more of a statistical monster than an obvious scouting play.

Any moron could see that Ohtani had a damn good chance to be special: just look at the dude. Seiya Suzuki, similarly, has obvious, standout light-tower power and impressive athleticism. The tools are undeniable. That's not everything, but it's a lot.

But Yoshida is a little dude with a great eye and a good swing — not wildly different from recent Red Sox' standouts Pedroia and Betts. Great swing decisions, elite contact skills, average-to-plus pop. Deciding what you think of Yoshida means deciding how those peripherals are likely to translate, which means basically, deciding what he'd look like against the kinds of pitchers he'll see over here. Will he still be able to make those same kinds of swing decisions when he has to decide to lay off a Josh Hader slider or whatever? That's a trickier projection to make.

My own view is that Japanese baseball is pretty high-quality nowadays, and that Yoshida will be a great value. There are stylistic differences, but they aren't as stark as they were twenty years ago. Just like over here, the pitching has taken huge strides in terms of velocity and just overall sophistication. People used to say that the NPB was between AAA and MLB, but I think it's most of the way to MLB caliber.

If you moved the the Yakult Swallows from Tokyo to Toledo and installed them in the National League Central, they would come in... third, probably — maybe second? I'm not taking the Cubs, Reds, or Pirates over them.