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Red Sox prospect Triston Casas is only 21, but he takes an old-school approach to hitting, and it’s working

Triston Casas has been gobbling up whatever he can during spring training, especially info about hitting.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Triston Casas took a 1-and-1 slider for a ball Monday afternoon that just missed the outer part of the plate. The Red Sox’ top prospect found himself in the midst of battle with Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Hunter Strickland in the top of the second inning.

That pitch, in part, helped define the at-bat, one that ultimately led to Casas negotiating a walk against the veteran reliever. It was a pitch that would have enticed even some of the league’s elite hitters. But Casas sat on it without even thinking. It was a credit to his refined approach.

“You get to see him in the cage — you know we talked about J.D. Martinez and everything he does — this guy is right there with him,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said Tuesday in regards to Casas’s ability to work the strike zone. “It’s impressive.”


Casas, who drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the Sox’ 5-3 win Tuesday against the visiting Atlanta Braves, said its not so much of an approach he has in the cage. It’s intent. That intent then lends itself to an approach during the game.

“I’m just trying to be engaged into every swing,” Casas said. “That’s really where it kind of stems from. It’s just a matter of being disciplined in my work. Everybody’s working on something. And hitting, nothing’s cookie-cutter. So everybody’s got a little different outlook about how you could go about the swing.”

Casas is just 21 years old, but he carries somewhat of an old-school approach at the plate. He chokes up on the bat. He employs an early toe tap as part of his load. But once he has two strikes, he spreads out in an effort to decrease his chances of striking out.

He has yet to play above Single A, but much like Jarren Duran, Casas made an impression at the team’s alternate site last spring. His approach was on display, as was his power with tape-measure homers that went beyond Pawtucket’s light pole in right field.


Those early impressions have carried over to this spring, and Casas remains a sponge, picking the minds of the more proven players, which, of course, includes Martinez.

“Any time that I could get in there, take a few peeks at what he’s trying to do, see if I can pick anything from his swing and bring it into my game I will do that,” Casas said. “But you know, just learning from all the guys. Like I said, hitting is not a one cookie-cutter way. But definitely learning from players, I feel like it’s always been a better alternative as to learning from coaches.”

Casas missed the beginning of spring training after having to travel to Boston for undisclosed medical reasons. The first baseman wouldn’t go into detail Tuesday as to what that particular medical reason was, however, he did intimate that he’s 100 percent and that the trip was, mostly, for precautionary reasons.

Tristan Casas (left) and Jarren Duran stretch before a recent workout in Ft. Myers.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

On the field, Casas admitted that he’s seen a significant jump in how pitchers attack him, noting that they tend to have more command of their stuff, putting more pressure on Casas to not miss his pitch when he gets it.

Casas’s road to the big leagues is still taking form. Casas, meanwhile, has to gain more reps at the minor league level, refining his toolkit. Nevertheless, his preparation and intent is evident to the Sox.


“He’s always on balance and knows what he wants to do for such a young guy,” Cora said. “So it’s been fun to watch him perform.”

Julian McWilliams can be reached at julian.mcwilliams@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @byJulianMack.