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Boston Red Sox Top Fantasy Baseball Prospects

Martin previews the Red Sox system led by 19-year-old Roman Anthony!

Things have been a little wonky at 4 Yawkey Way since finishing 2018 as the World Champions. The Sox have three last-place division finishes, traded Mookie Betts and Chris Sale, and recently named their third General Manager/Director of Baseball Ops in that five-year span. The lone bright spot has been the reconstruction of the farm system, which is approaching a Top-10 system in the game. Let’s take a look at the future of Fenway!

 

The Top Tier

1) Roman Anthony, OF, Age: 19

2023 MiLB (A, A+, AA): .272/.403/.466/14 HR/16 SB/30.0 K%/21.7 BB%

Williams, Yaz, Rice, Evans, Betts. The Red Sox have a laundry list of homegrown talent that has patrolled the outfield at Fenway Park since the beginning of time. Is Roman Anthony the next man up? The Sox selected Anthony in the supplemental second round in 2022, giving the prep outfielder from Florida a $2.5M signing bonus, ending the chances he would honor his commitment to Ole Miss. Anthony rewarded the Sox with a fantastic 2023 season, jumping him into Top 25 prospect status.

Anthony is a big-bodied kid (6’2″, 200lbs) and is an elite athlete, moving well on both sides of the ball despite his size. He has an advanced eye at the plate but is still working to refine his approach and manage his aggressiveness. He posted a 30% strikeout rate in ’23, but the bulk of that came late in the season, likely due to the rigors of his first professional season. Anthony has plus power from the left side and can spray the ball line-to-line. On the base paths, Anthony is instinctive and will run, but I don’t anticipate a significant output year-to-year. If he does run, Anthony is a five-category contributor.

The Red Sox have made it clear that Anthony is one of the “untouchables” in their organization, and it’s within reason that he could debut this season. Anthony is a no-doubt Top 15 prospect in my rankings and will surely rise. As a dynasty asset, Anthony ranks among the high-end outfielders in the minors, joining names like Dylan Crews, James Wood, and Chase DeLauter. If you don’t have a share of Anthony, get it now!

2) Kyle Teel, C, Age: 21
2023 MiLB (ROOK, A+, AA): .363/.482/.495/2 HR/3 SB/24.2 K%/23.1 BB%

It can be surprising to see a 2023 Draft pick so highly ranked in an organization regarded as a Top-10 farm system. Now, consider that Kyle Teel is a catcher. The 2023 ACC Player of the Year was the 14th overall selection this July, and early returns indicate the Red Sox got a steal in Teel. At Virginia, Teel started 177 games for the Cavaliers, earning First-Team All-American honors and winning several postseason awards. In his professional debut, he did a little of everything. Playing across three levels, Teel posted a .363 average, walked as much as he struck out, and impressed defensively behind the dish.

At the plate offensively, Teel has an excellent feel for the zone, working deep into the count, often drawing walks. His power plays to all fields, although his contact skills made the most significant improvement this past season at Virginia. Teel is a natural leader with a high baseball IQ, most commonly associated with the catcher position. Defensively, Teel is athletic behind the plate with a good arm, including throwing out nearly 30% of would-be base stealers in his debut this summer.

I’ve said this before, but the Red Sox have been desperate for a franchise catcher dating back to Jason Varitek’s retirement. Teel has played just 26 games in the minors but could make his MLB debut later this season. Teel should provide a solid batting average, high on-base percentage, and consistent counting stats for your fantasy teams. With defensive acumen in consideration, Teel is an everyday MLB catcher upon his arrival.

 

3) Marcelo Mayer, SS, Age: 21
2023 MiLB (A+, AA): .236/.306/.433/13 HR/9 SB/27.4 K%/10.2 BB%

My love/hate relationship with Marcelo Mayer is growing out of control. On the one hand, I love the ability. On the other, I feel his value is inflated by the “what could be” rather than “what is.” Mayer was the 4th overall pick in 2021, beginning the Red Sox’ obsession with prep shortstops in the Draft.

Over the past two seasons, Mayer has battled injuries and performance issues to underwhelm Red Sox Nation and leave fans wondering what Mayer is. In 2022, Mayer lost time due to wrist and back injuries. In ’23, it was a shoulder impingement. When he was healthy, Mayer struggled mightily following his promotion to Double-A, batting just .189 with six homers in a 43-game span.

Mayer is undoubtedly talented, a combination of an elite defender with above-average offensive tools. When he’s going well, Mayer hits the ball to all fields, draws walks, and has raw power that could translate to 20+ homers annually. The big wart for Mayer is his inability to hit the breaking pitch. As he continues his ascension in the minors, Mayer has to learn to adjust and find a way to drive the ball consistently. As a defender, Mayer is outstanding. Despite his build as a taller shortstop (6’3″), Mayer has fluid movements, good instincts, and an above-average arm. Mayer will likely stick at shortstop long-term.

On the surface, Mayer is an elite baseball talent with all the tools needed to become a star. My thought on Mayer is that he’s not an elite fantasy asset, meaning he’s a better real-life player than he will be in fantasy. I liken his profile to former Red Sox Xander Bogaerts, an outstanding real-life player who will be a solid fantasy contributor but lacks the skills to be highly impactful.

 

4) Ceddanne Rafaela, SS/OF, Age: 23
2023 MLB: .241/.281/.386/2 HR/3 SB/33.7 K%/4.8 BB%
2023 MiLB (AA, AAA): .302/.349/.520/20 HR/36 SB/23.2 K%/6.1 BB%

The arrival of Ceddanne Rafaela to the MLB club in late August of 2023 felt like the culmination of an eternity of waiting. After all, Rafaela has been in the Sox organization since 2017, when he signed as a 16-year-old from Curaçao. As a teenager, Rafaela started making waves in the DSL and Rookie ball, showing off his elite defensive work while his bat came along slowly. Fast forward to 2023, and Rafaela has arrived. The bat has advanced some, but Rafaela is still very much defense first.

Rafaela has a slight frame (5’9″, 170lbs) with above-average speed and surprising strength. As a hitter, Rafaela is aggressive and often chases outside the zone, as evidenced by his elevated strikeout rate and minimal walk rate. When he makes contact, he can drive the ball to his pull side and spray into opposite field gaps. His speed is plus, and he uses it to take extra bases out of the box and to run at will. Rafaela offers a solid floor of double-digit steals, but you can’t steal first. To be impactful as a fantasy asset, he must refine his approach and learn to be more patient. Defensively, he is an elite player at both SS and CF. His glove will keep him in the lineup, and multi-position versatility is valuable to the Red Sox and your fantasy rosters.

The Red Sox are in limbo between rebuilding and reloading, and Rafaela projects to be a beneficiary. By the time Opening Day rolls around, I feel Rafaela will be close to an everyday player, most likely in an outfield spot. Use caution when rostering Rafaela, as his batting average will be harmful, but his power and speed should give you a nice spark off your bench. In the long term, Rafaela projects as a fourth outfielder/utility type with intriguing offensive upside, assuming he can improve his approach.

 

5) Wikelman Gonzalez, RHP, Age: 21
2023 MiLB (A+, AA): 111.1 IP/3.96 ERA/1.31 WHIP/35.2 K%/14.7 BB%

Gonzalez has emerged as one of the top arms in the Red Sox rebuilding farm system. He signed at 16 out of Venezuela and has impressed since coming stateside in 2021. Gonzalez has produced elite strikeout rates, averaging well over 10 Ks per nine, but has struggled to command his high-powered arsenal. As he matures, the Red Sox will look to capitalize on his bat-missing ability, and with improved command, Gonzalez has top-of-the-rotation upside.

Gonzalez is on the smaller side, standing just 6 feet tall at a thin 165 lbs. Despite no prior injuries, his slight frame could pose durability concerns over time. His arsenal plays like he’s 6’5″. With a fastball that sits mid-90s, a sweeping curveball, and a hard fading changeup, Gonzalez has a legit three-pitch mix with plus upside. The fastball works to both sides of the plate and has promising carry in the zone. The curveball has outstanding depth and runs away from hitters. Gonzalez uses the changeup as a true finisher with its depth and fade, playing up off the fastball.

The Red Sox are always pitching starved. Gonzalez is a pitcher. It’s a match made in fantasy heaven. I love Gonzalez, and I love the arsenal. Gonzalez must show improved and consistent command of all three pitches before he can jump into “MLB-ready” territory. As a fantasy asset, Gonzalez is a mid-tier pitching prospect with the upside to reach elite levels. Keep an eye on his continued growth in 2024, and buy now in your dynasty leagues.

6) Yoeilin Cespedes, SS, Age: 18
2023 MiLB (DSL): .346/.392/.560/6 HR/1 SB/12.6 K%/7.3 BB%

Cespedes is the youngest player to make this list, having just turned 18 in November. He signed with the club in January 2023, fresh off his 17th birthday. Cespedes excelled in the Dominican Summer League this season, showing his elite offensive tools en route to being named an All-Star. According to Red Sox assistant GM Eddie Romero, “[Cespedes] definitely stands out offensively,” he added, “He’s one of the better offensive players we’ve had there in a while.” 

Cespedes has a wiry build, standing 5 feet 9 inches and barely 175 lbs. Despite his size, he’s produced plenty of power and hard contact while limiting his whiffs. With physical growth coming, I can see him reaching 20 home runs. Cespedes admitted he needs to work on his swing decisions, which will come with maturity and experience, but early returns have been encouraging. There are so many things left to uncover with players this young, but the tools Cespedes has displayed are promising.

I’m high on Cespedes and will be closely monitoring his 2024 season, which should be in Complex ball. By this time next year, I think Cespedes is pushing towards the top 150, possibly higher. 

 

7) Blaze Jordan, 1B/3B, Age: 21
2023 MiLB (A+, AA): .296/.350/.481/18 HR/2 SB/15.8 K%/9.0 BB%

It wasn’t long ago that Jordan was hitting massive 500-foot tanks on YouTube as a high school senior. That same kid has morphed into a well-rounded hitter just three years after his selection in the 2020 Draft. As a pro, Jordan has a .296 average with 36 homers and eight steals in three seasons. His developmental trajectory has not maintained the big slugger path the Red Sox anticipated, but Jordan is still a solid prospect overall.

His approach at the plate has transformed from a hyper-aggressive free swinger selling out for power to a patient, calculated hitter who drives the ball gap-to-gap and improved his walk rate. The raw power is still apparent, but his in-game power has not shown as much as expected. It’s possible that Jordan’s power peaked early, but with a body that’s 6-foot-2, 220 lbs., I’m hoping to see 20+ homers from Jordan soon. The underlying issue for him at this point is where he fits defensively. Originally a third baseman, Jordan has physically outgrown the position and is a below-average defender, prompting a move to first base. Can Jordan develop enough at first to avoid a long-term future as a DH?

Jordan is a prospect that’s tough to get a firm grasp on. Being a defensive liability pushes him towards a DH-only role, and as teams have utilized the DH role as a hybrid position, his offensive profile doesn’t necessarily fit. Jordan could play 1B but is blocked internally by Triston Casas at the position. It could be a case where Jordan is flipped in a trade to acquire other needs, resulting in a change of scenery and possibly more opportunity.

 

Prospects Every Dynasty Manager Should Know

8) Luis Perales, RHP, Age: 20
2023 MiLB (A, A+): 89.2 IP/3.91 ERA/1.42 WHIP/ 29.3 K%/12.7 BB%

Perales is a Venezuelan-born right-hander with electric stuff, similar to Gonzalez. He offers a mid-to-upper 90s heater with a dynamic slider. The lack of a third offering is a concern and points toward a reliever risk. If his changeup comes along, Perales has intriguing back-end rotation upside.

9) Nazzan Zanetello, SS, Age: 18
2023 MiLB (ROOK, A): .158/.319/.237/0 HR/5 SB/39.5 K%/23.7 BB%

Zanetello is your prototypical, tooled-out teenager with a projectable body. He’s 6’2″ with above-average speed and quick hands. The 2023 2nd round pick of the Red Sox is an intriguing player to keep tabs on this season.

10) Nick Yorke, 2B, Age: 21
2023 MiLB (AA): .268/.350/.435/13 HR/18 SB/27.5 K%/11.7 BB%

It seems like Yorke has been around forever in the Sox system, especially after his 2021 debut/breakout season that saw him hit .325 with 14 homers. Since then, his hype has slowed down as his skills point to a utility infielder more than a lineup regular. Yorke is commonly mentioned in trade discussions and may need to leave the organization to get a full-time role.

11) Mikey Romero, SS, Age: 19
2023 MiLB (ROOKIE, A, A+): .214/.294/.286/0 HR/2 SB/19.8 K%/11.1 BB%

Remember when I said the Red Sox loved first-round shortstops? Romero was a first-rounder in 2022, going at pick 24 overall. His first season was a huge disappointment, but he was among the top prep bats in the ’22 Draft.

12) Richard Fitts, RHP, Age: 24
2023 MiLB (AA): 152.2 IP/3.48 ERA/1.14 WHIP/25.9 K%/6.8 BB%

Fitts was acquired from the rival Yankees in December in exchange for Alex Verdugo. He posted outstanding strikeout to walk rates, but fell victim to 22 long balls this season. Fitts has two plus pitches but lacks consistent command, leaving him susceptible to damage. Fitts should be a contributor in 2024, possibly in a significant role.

13) Yordanny Monegro, RHP, Age: 21
2023 MiLB (ROOKIE, A, A+): 65.2 IP/2.06 ERA/1.10 WHIP/34.6 K%/9.7%

Monegro is the fastest riser in the Sox system following his 2023 breakout. The 6’4″ righty has a devastating curveball that buckles hitters with ease and helps his mid-90s fastball play up even more. Monegro could rocket up prospect boards by mid-season.

14) Wilyer Abreu, OF, Age: 24
2023 MLB: .316/.388/.862/2 HR/3 SB/30.3 K%/11.8 BB%
2023 MiLB (AAA): .274/.391/.538/22 HR/8 SB/24.7 K%/20.1 BB%

The 24-year-old outfielder held his own in a 28-game MLB sample, posting two homers and three steals. Strikeouts were an issue, but he produced a 91.3 mph average EV and a 49.1% HardHit rate, both well above league average. Abreu is likely a fourth outfielder for the Sox entering 2024, but given full playing time has 20-20 potential.

15) Miguel Bleis, OF, Age: 19
2023 MiLB (A): .230/.282/.325/1 HR/11 SB/30.2 K%/7.9 BB%

Bleis was a top-five organizational prospect entering last season but played in just 31 games due to a shoulder injury. Bleis has a ton of raw talent, but there are questions about his maturity and plate discipline. The 2024 season is a proving ground for Bleis to restore his value in prospect circles.

The Next Five

16) Angel Bastardo (Age: 21): Bastardo has a four-pitch mix that produces plenty of whiffs, headlined by his changeup. If the command holds up (<10% walk rate), he is another exciting arm in the Sox system.

17) Chase Meidroth (Age: 22): Meidroth was a 4th-round pick in 2020 and has been a steady producer in the Minors. His plate discipline is outstanding, but a lack of power limits his offensive upside.

18) Antonio Anderson (Age: 18): Anderson was a third-round pick in 2023 out of high school. The switch-hitting SS is physically mature (6’3″, 205lbs) and packs plenty of raw power and bat speed. Based on his size, it’s unlikely Anderson stays at shortstop, but with his strong arm, a move to third base could be on the horizon.

19) Justin Slaten (Age: 26): The Sox acquired Slaten from the Mets following the Rule 5 Draft. Last season, he pitched to a 2.87 ERA with a 36.6% K rate out of the bullpen in Triple-A. As a Rule 5 player, Slaten must stay on the 40-man roster and figures to play a prominent role in the Sox ‘pen.

20) Bryan Mata (Age: 24): Numerous injuries have stunted the growth of Mata, who was once considered the Sox top pitching prospect. At his best, Mata offers a triple-digit fastball and two plus off-speed pitches. If he can stay healthy, Mata will contribute to the MLB club in 2024.

Martin Sekulski

Martin is a Dynasty writer for PitcherList. He is a lifelong member of Red Sox Nation and contributes his love of baseball to his father, Marty. As a father and a husband, Martin now loves sharing his love of America's pastime with his family. You can find his work on Twitter and SubStack

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