Red Sox prospect update: Is now the time to call up Casas? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
With the Boston Red Sox ‘2022 season off to a disappointing start, it’s a good time to check in on how the organization’s top prospects are doing.
Triston Casas is the name getting the most attention, and rightfully so. The slugging first baseman is expected to be promoted to the big leagues at some point this year and if Boston’s offense continues to struggle, we could see him in The Show sooner rather than later.
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He’s far from the only name worth keeping tabs on in this farm system though. A couple of other standout prospects may spend time with the big-league club sometime this season, and young guns like Marcelo Mayer and Nick Yorke could star at Fenway Park a few years from now.
With one month of the 2022 campaign in the books, here’s a look at how some of the Red Sox ’top prospects have fared.
Time to call up Triston Casas?
That’s the question currently being debated in Boston right now with the Red Sox off to a 9-14 start. Bobby Dalbec is among those responsible for the offense’s cold streak as he has only one homer, 23 strikeouts, and a .449 OPS through 20 games played. That simply cannot continue.
Dalbec’s awful start could expedite Casas’ promotion to the majors. The 22-year-old is slashing .262 / .388 / .500 with five homers at Triple-A Worcester through 23 games.
There’s a chance Casas experiences some growing pains in The Show like WooSox teammate Jarren Duran did last season. It’s understandable to want to give him more reps in Worcester, but the Red Sox ‘offense is in serious need of a jolt. A few more tallies in the loss column could force their hand.
Marcelo Mayer looks the part
Mayer, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2021 MLB Draft, has fit in seamlessly so far in his first full pro season. The 19-year-old is slashing .333 / .397 / .491 through his first 13 games. He crushed his first home run with Low-A Salem on April 23.
We won’t see Mayer on the big stage for at least another couple of years, but the left-handed-hitting shortstop has already shown why he was considered the top prospect in the 2021 draft. He’s already considered a top-20 prospect in all of baseball. Look for him to pick up where he left off when he recovers from wrist soreness that’s kept him out of the lineup the last few days.
Jarren Duran making case for MLB return
Duran’s first stint in the majors didn’t go as planned. The power he showed in the minor leagues didn’t translate, and he struck out a whopping 40 times with only four walks in 33 games.
So far this season with Triple-A Worcester, Duran has a slash line of .360 / .458 / .560 through 13 games. It appears he’s changed his approach to the plate as he’s only hit one homer, but his plate discipline has improved significantly.
That’s the kind of tweak that could earn him another chance in the big leagues this season. With his elite speed, Duran doesn’t need to try to hit a homer every time he steps up to the plate. And with Jackie Bradley Jr. and Christian Arroyo not getting the job done in their right field platoon, perhaps Duran can give Boston’s offense the spark it so desperately needs.
Ryan Fitzgerald continues to impress
After lighting it up in spring training, Ryan Fitzgerald just continues to rake with Worcester.
The 27-year-old infielder is hitting .303 with six homers and a 1,036 OPS through 21 games. That comes after he hit .313 with a .450 OBP and 1,063 slugging percentage in 11 Grapefruit League games.
Fitzgerald isn’t currently on the Red Sox ’40-man roster, but it’s going to be tough to keep him down in the minors if he keeps up this torrid pace. A promotion to the majors would top what’s been a tremendous story for the undrafted prospect out of Creighton.
Nick Yorke off to slow start
After earning Red Sox Minor League Player of the Year honors in 2021, Yorke has stumbled out of the gate this season with High-A Greenville. The 20-year-old second baseman has yet to hit his first homer of the year and has a .669 OPS through 15 games.
Don’t expect Yorke to be held down for long. The No. 3 ranked prospect in the system, by SoxProspects.com, posted a .928 OPS last year between Salem and Greenville. Brighter days are ahead.
Connor Seabold dominating with WooSox
If and when the Red Sox need another weapon, Seabold should get the call. The 26-year-old, acquired from the Phillies in 2020, has been lights out through four stars with Worcester this season.
Seabold is 2-0 with a 1.74 ERA and 0.97 WHIP in 20.2 innings pitched. If he can stay healthy – and that’s a pretty big “if” since two of his last three seasons have been marred by injuries – he could work his way into a consistent role with the major league club later this year.
Five other pitchers worth monitoring
German could be called up to Triple-A Worcester before we know it. The 24-year-old righty has been nearly unhittable for Portland so far this season. He’s allowed only two hits and zero runs through eight innings (six appearances). He’s struck out 15 batters and walked none.
With a fastball that reaches 99 mph as well as a wipeout slider, German looks like someone who could help out Boston’s bullpen. He isn’t currently on the 40-man, but he deserves serious consideration.
Bello has struck out 38.5% of the batters he’s faced (32 Ks in 20.2 IP) through four starts with Double-A Portland this season. The top pitching prospect in Boston’s system is 2-2 with a 2.61 ERA and 1.02 WHIP. He hasn’t missed a beat since being named the Red Sox Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2021.
Groome, Boston’s No. 12 overall pick in the 2016 draft, is off to a solid start with Portland. The 23-year-old has a 3.60 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP through four starts and is coming off one of the best outings of any Sox minor leaguer so far this year. He struck out 10 and didn’t walk anyone through 5.1 innings in Saturday’s start.
Another arm to be excited about in Portland’s starting rotation, Walter’s Single-A success has carried over into Double-A. The 25-year-old southpaw has allowed only three runs in 23 innings (four starts) with the Sea Dogs so far this season. His 29 strikeouts are the most in affiliated baseball among players who haven’t issued a walk, per SoxProspects.com.
Winckowski was acquired from the Mets in the three-team deal that sent Andrew Benintendi to Kansas City before the 2021 season. The 6-foot-4 right-hander has a 3.55 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in three starts with Triple-A Worcester this year. Like Seabold, he’s on the doorstep to the major leagues and could make his MLB debut later this season.