Top 10 Prospects: #6 Michael Chavis

bos_a_chavis_400x600Michael Chavis is a young 19 year old infielder who was drafted by the Red Sox with their first round pick last season. Baseball America had him ranked as the #26th best prospect in his draft class and the Red Sox signed him with a $1,870,500 bonus. He put up incredible stats in high school, with a .580/.663/1.197 slash and 13 home runs, 9 doubles, and a triple. Chavis hit a home run in 5 different Perfect Game tournaments and won the Perfect Game home run derby.

He struggled quite a bit in his first foray into pro ball, starting 2 for 36. But he improved greatly as the season wore on, hitting .356/.426/.556 in his last 26 games. And he got on base every game of the championship series against the GCL Yankees. He ended the season with a 0.269/0.347/0.425 triple slash with a home run, 12 doubles, and 3 triples.

Although he is not a pitcher, his fastball was recorded at 88 MPH so his arm is a plus tool. He is definitely suited to play 3rd base or shortstop with an arm like that.  Some have suggested outfield or 2nd base but only time will tell at this point.

Perfect Game had this to say about Chavis:

Strong compact athletic build. Right handed hitter, simple swing mechanics, spread stance, quiet load, very quick twitch hands, good hand path to the ball, very fast bat, swings hard and looks to drive the ball, explosive contact with big pull power, back spins the ball and puts it in the air for a long time, sees the ball and handles the barrel, very consistent performer. Underrated physical tools, 6.68 runner, has quick feet at third base, plenty of arm strength, can quicken up release and polish footwork but has all the tools to be a solid defender, also plays the outfield. Compares in many ways to Cubs prospect Javier Baez.

 


Top 10 Prospects: #7 Brian Johnson

Brian Johnson is a lefty starting pitcher who was drafted by the Red Sox in 2012 out of Florida. He was a two way player but decided he wanted to be a pitcher which looks like a very wise choice now.

He has done nothing but impress since starting his career as a Red Sox. In his first short season he only pitched 5.2 innings but didn’t allow a run and showed off the prowess he exhibited at Florida. In 2013 between his time with the Greenville Drive and the Salem Red Sox he was lights out, pitching 85 innings and starting 19 games. His ERA was 2.54 with a 1.12 WHIP, with 84 strikeouts. His BABIP was a little low but his stats were impressive nonetheless.

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Photo by Kelly O’Connor

 

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Top 10 Prospects: #8 Michael Kopech

Michael Kopech was the Red Sox first round draft pick last season. He’s a right handed pitcher out of Mount Pleasant High School with a lot of upside potential.

In limited playing time last season for the GCL Red Sox, Kopech went 0-1 with a 4.61 ERA, a 1.46 WHIP, and an impressive 16 strikeouts in only 13 innings. Baseball_Michael_Kopech

He has a great pitchers frame at 6-3 and SoxProspects projects him as a potential #2 starter if things go right for him. Kopech features a 93-96 MPH fastball that has been clocked up to 98 MPH. He also has an 80 MPH curveball with average potential, a slider that has high strikeout potential, and an average potential changeup.

According to SoxProspects, he has issues with consistency with his delivery and needs to work on refining his secondary pitches. He has a long skinny low waisted build and has very flexible actions in his delivery but it has a tendency to be wild right now.

Kopech was 3-0 with a 0.44 ERA and two strikeouts an inning as a senior at Mt. Pleasant High in Texas.  He’ll likely start out the season for the Greenville Drive, if not them then he’ll start for Lowell in June.

Projection: #3 starter


Top 10 prospects: #9 Matt Barnes

Matt Barnes was drafted by the Red Sox in 2011 and had a lot of hype coming in, but has had up and down results throughout his minor league career. In his first season of pro ball, he did nothing but impress, going 7-5 with a 2.86 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP along with 133 strikeouts in 119.2 innings. Since then his stats have been less than stellar.

barnes1In 2013 he put up a 4.33 ERA in Portland and in 2014 his ERA for Pawtucket was 3.95. To say the least, his recent performance has been less than stellar and far less than what Red Sox brass expected out of him when they drafted him. I initially thought of him as a potential top 3 starter in the AL East but now it’s looking like his ceiling is back end of the rotation or a top bullpen arm. He turns 25 this season so the Red Sox will have to make a decision sooner rather than later.

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Top 10 prospects: #10 Garin Cecchini

red_sox_garin_cecchini_011813After a very promising 2013 season where Cecchini posted spectacular stats (.322/.443/.471 with 7 home runs, 33 doubles, and 7 triples), Cecchini struggled to keep up with AAA pitching. He put up a triple slash of .263/.341/.371 and hit 7 home runs but only 21 doubles.

While he put up pretty decent stats when he was called up to the Red Sox for a limited time, his future is very uncertain. His potential is pretty high but the Red Sox infield is very competitive and it’s hard to see him breaking in anytime soon.

His fielding is very good and he has good plate patience, but struggles mightily against lefties. He put up an ugly .664 OPS against lefties last season so that will be a key area to improve upon.

With Xander Bogaerts and Pablo Sandoval holding down the right side of the infield, it’s hard to see Cecchini playing much this season. But it will be very interesting to see how he develops this season. He had a rough season last year so hopefully he bounces back.

He’s always had the talent to be a major league regular and he has a lot of tools and the fact he’s rated the #10 prospect in the system says a lot about how deep the Red Sox farm system is. It is unclear what his future is but he’s likely to be used as a trade chip as of right now.

Projection: Trade bait


Red Sox sign Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada

MoncadaAccording to Gordon Edes at ESPN, the Red Sox have finalized a deal with highly regarded prospect Yoan Moncada. Moncada is a 19 year old switch hitting infielder out of Cuba.

Although nothing has been confirmed yet by the Red Sox organization, the deal reportedly will net Moncada a bonus of $31.5 million. Another $31.5 million will be paid out to Major League Baseball because the Red Sox have exceeded their allotment of bonus money for international players.

Moncada is 6 foot 2 inches tall and weighs 205 pounds. There were many teams like the Yankees that were interested but the Red Sox deal ended up being the most lucrative.

The Red Sox tried him out at second base, third base, shortstop, and in the outfield. The Red Sox infield is stacked with talent so it is unclear what position he will stick at but having too much talent is a problem a lot of teams would love to have.

It will be very interesting to see what level he ends up starting out the 2015 season at. Moncada expects his stay in the minors to be short but the Red Sox tend to take it slow with high risk high reward type players. He is only 19 after all and it would be a shame if his confidence took a hit going up against major league pitching. I predict he’ll start off the season in Portland but it all depends on organizational need and how he performs. Either way, it’s an exciting time to be a Red Sox fan.