The Boston Red Sox made plenty of noise in the trade market in 2016 to make quality additions to the roster. While the trade resulted in no subtractions from the starting lineup, the cost in future prospects was high.
To pry left-handed ace Chris Sale from the White Sox, Boston surrendered the top prospect in baseball in Yoan Moncada, their top pitching prospect, Michael Kopech, whose fastball tops 100 MPH, as well as Victor Diaz, and Luis Alexander Basabe.
Earlier in the summer, they acquired Drew Pomeranz for highly regarded pitching prospect Anderson Espinosa, and Travis Shaw was packed off to Milwaukee along with Mauricio Dubon for Tyler Thornburg. Prior to last season, four prospects, including Manuel Margot went to the Padres for Craig Kimbrel.
That’s a lot of minor league talent dropped in a short time span, and cost Boston the top spot in farm systems. Some have written the obituary for Boston, although in reality the team has simply dropped to the middle of the pack.
MLB.com recently re-ranked the Red Sox prospects, but included starting left field Andrew Benintendi as the team’s No. 1.
All is not lost, and the reality is that Boston is in “win now” mode, but a team whose oldest outfielder is 26 doesn’t and only has two infielders over 30 doesn’t leave an open path to the bigs.
Third baseman Rafael Devers, 20, was ranked second, after hitting .282/11 HR/71 RBI at Class A Salem last year. He’s considered to be at least one more season away from the majors. LHP Jason Groome, was the team’s first pick in the 2016 draft and was ranked No. 3 and will still only be 19 at the end of the 2017 season.
1B Sam Travis at No. 4 was on the fast track until he tore his ACL last year. He’s not been a power hitter, but profiles as a high average, contact bat. He may see time with the big league club in 2017. Rounding out the Top 5 is LHP Brian Johnson, a former first round pick who at 26 may be dropping on the list without a solid start to the season.
The next five are 3B Michael Chavis, 1B Josh Ockimey, RHP Travis Lakins, RHP Roniel Raudes and LHP Trey Ball.
When looking at the Red Sox system, it must be remembered that it was deep enough to produce the entire outfield, shortstop and mostly likely, catcher in the last three seasons. It is possible before October arrives, the corner infield positions might be added to that list.
As for the trades, where the team sits the next three Octobers and whether those prospects pan out will determine who made out in the transactions. That story will most likely be written in three years, when Sale’s contract comes up and Moncada and Kopech have had their shots at MLB.