Wondering how the Red Sox missed out on the Marlins fire sale, and why they’re rarely linked to any significant trade speculation this winter? Look no further than Baseball America’s Top 10 prospects list for the team. The annual ranking was released last week, and it’s a snapshot of a depleted farm system marked by low ceilings, high risks and limited value. It’s hard to compete for top trade targets with such a depleted system. Jay Groome and Tanner Houck, the Red Sox’ top picks in the last two drafts, rank first and third on Baseball America’s list. Third baseman Michael Chavis ranks second after a breakout season that saw him hit 31 home runs between High A and Double A. Beyond that, the Red Sox have significant uncertainty and limited upside. Chavis is one of only three top-10 choices who have any experience above A-ball, and the other two are Sam Travis (No. 7) and Marco Hernandez (No. 10), both of whom have been part-time players in their limited major league exposure. They might never be everyday guys, yet they’re still among the best of the bunch in this system. “The Red Sox lack for up-the-middle position players,” Baseball America wrote in its evaluation. “Boston might not have a future regular at catcher, second base, shortstop or center field in the system.” As recently as 2015, Baseball America wrote that the Red Sox had the second-best minor league system. The Cubs ranked first at that time with Kris Bryant, Addison Russell and Kyle Schwarber. Since 2015, though, the Red Sox have traded Yoan Moncada, Manuel Margot, Michael Kopech and Anderson Espinoza. They’ve also found big league roles for Rafael Devers, Andrew Benintendi, Eduardo Rodriguez and Matt Barnes. Losing minor league talent that way is a net positive: The minors suffer so that the big league club can thrive. That’s the way it’s supposed to work. But three other Red Sox prospects, Henry Owens, Blake Swihart and Rusney Castillo — each ranked as organizational top-5 prospects heading into 2015 — have flamed out or failed to reach their potential. In August, when the publication last ranked minor league talent stockpiles throughout baseball, the Red Sox ranked 20th.
Prospects not good for Red Sox’ bargaining position
Boston Herald | Dec 25