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It’s been a nine-month global whirlwind for Triston Casas.

The 21-year-old Red Sox prospect reported to spring training in February. His home base shifted from Fort Myers, Fla. (spring training), to Portland (Double A), back to Florida (Olympic qualifiers), back to Portland, to North Carolina (preparation for the Olympics), to Tokyo (Olympics), back to Portland, then to Worcester in September (Triple A).

After the minor league season, he headed to Scottsdale in October for the Arizona Fall League, which concluded play last Friday.

After 115 games and more than 500 plate appearances, Casas finally made it back home to South Florida last weekend. Yet as he prepared to head home, he was already looking ahead to kicking off his offseason workout program. His intended date to start readying for 2022?

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“The Friday after Thanksgiving,” Casas said recently in Mesa, Ariz. “I chose that because I figured everyone else would start the following Monday.”

Such an approach comes as little surprise to anyone who has crossed paths with the ginormous first baseman. His pursuit of improvement has been tireless since the Red Sox drafted him out of high school in the first round in 2018.

He is fascinated by the art of hitting and anything he can do to gain further mastery over it. He views baseball less as a profession than a vocation.

“I think about it all the time,” he said. “When I’m not playing baseball, I’m watching baseball. In the offseasons, when I’m not working out or in between my workouts, I usually come home and I play MLB The Show on my monitor and watch MLB Network on the TV on top of the monitor.

“A lot of people tell me that’s not a good way to go about it because I’ll burn myself out. But I feel like I’ve been feeding the obsession as opposed to burning out. The more that I play, the more I love it.

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Casas (left) with chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom at the January 2020 Boston Baseball Writers Dinner. Casas was the Red Sox Minor League Player of the Year for 2019.
Casas (left) with chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom at the January 2020 Boston Baseball Writers Dinner. Casas was the Red Sox Minor League Player of the Year for 2019.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

“Every decision I make is geared towards trying to be the best baseball player that I can be on and off the field, from how much I sleep to what I eat to everything in between. I love the game. It consumes me. It’s a really good obsession to have.”

Steps won’t be skipped

Casas approaches his craft with a burning desire to excel but blends that sentiment with one that seems at odds. He is recognized as one of the top prospects in the game (Baseball America pegged him at No. 15 in mid 2021), and his performance in helping Team USA to a silver medal led to speculation that he could be a late-season callup to Boston, particularly when the Red Sox infield was decimated by COVID in September.

The Sox, however, thought it wasn’t in his interests to skip development steps. Casas, who had played just one full minor league season before 2021, agreed.

“Slowly but surely, I’m getting there, to the point I want to get to, to feel like I’m ready to be a major league contributing baseball player,” said Casas. “I personally didn’t feel like I was ready to play at that level. I know one day I will be.

“For as good as a season as I put together, I feel like I really don’t know myself that well to be able to make those adjustments at the big league level on a consistent basis while also contributing at such a high level for a winning organization.”

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Casas embraces the notion he’s not a finished product, even as he has been able to hold his own at every level at which he’s played. He led all Olympians by driving in eight runs, tied for the lead with three homers, then hit .372/.495/.487 in the AFL, leading the prospect showcase league in on-base percentage.

Casas opened eyes at last summer's Olympics in Tokyo.
Casas opened eyes at last summer's Olympics in Tokyo.Koji Watanabe/Getty

At 6 feet 5 inches and 250 pounds, he is a massive presence in the lefthanded batter’s box, making it easy to foresee 30-homer potential. Yet to this point, he has been more focused on developing as an all-around hitter — something that becomes apparent when watching him hit with two strikes.

While he sets up early in counts with his front foot at the back of the plate in order to incorporate a stride to generate more power, with two strikes, he chokes up on the bat and anchors his front foot at the front of the plate.

With fewer moving parts and a more compact stroke, he is able to focus on contact over driving the ball. He embraces shooting a two-strike single through the infield as a winning at-bat.

The two-strike setup, which shortens the stroke and favors contact over power.
The two-strike setup, which shortens the stroke and favors contact over power.Alex Speier/Globe staff

Yet that approach has led to relatively modest power totals. Casas hit “just” 14 homers between Double A and Triple A this year, posting a .277/.381/.491 line. Solid in its own right, and excellent as one of the youngest players at both levels.

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On the doorstep?

Many evaluators believe that, over time, Casas will trade some of his “hit” tool for power — taking more chances on driving pitches early in counts and perhaps even late in them. Yet he rejects the premise, believing that homers will come simply as an outgrowth of his current approach.

“I like the player that I am right now, and I like the way that I’m trending,” said Casas. “I hope that it doesn’t just come up from up top or from somebody else in the organization that basically says, ‘This is what you’re going to do, and if not, we don’t see you fitting here.’

“I shouldn’t have to try to hit for power to hit home runs. I haven’t put up crazy power numbers in terms of home runs and slug, but this year I hit for average, I was on base a lot, I was taking my walks. I feel like that’s all trending towards becoming a better power hitter.

“As I get stronger, as I get into parks where the ball flies a little more, I feel like the power numbers are going to come with the same amount of on-base and the same amount of batting average. I don’t think I’ll ever change for power.”

He exudes confidence in who he is — or, perhaps more accurately, who he will be. Casas will open next season back in Worcester, suggesting that he is on the doorstep to the big leagues. Yet he expresses less concern about when he’ll get there than he does about the type of player he can be when he gets there.

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“I don’t have any goals,” said Casas. “I just know that I’m one of the most talented players in this organization. I know that I will have a good solid showing at the major league level at a future time, and I know that when I do go up there, I want a one-way ticket. I don’t want to come back down to the minor leagues. That’s why I’m so patient with that process.

“I don’t want to be a fringe major league player. I want to be an impact player from the start and never go back to the minor leagues. I want to contribute to winning World Series, go to All-Star Games, and do all those things right from day one.

“I come to the field with the hunger to get better and strive for greatness every single day. That’s the approach I’m going to take into next year.”

After almost a week without baseball, it is an approach that Casas is ready to begin anew Friday.


Alex Speier can be reached at alex.speier@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @alexspeier.