For the first time in six years, the Red Sox placed four players among Baseball America’s Top 100 prospects list as well as three in the top third of that select group.
Shortstop Marcelo Mayer (No. 15), first baseman Triston Casas (19), second baseman Nick Yorke (31), and center fielder Jarren Duran (91) all made the list.
Mayer, the team’s 2021 first-round selection out of Eastlake (Calif.) High, topped the list thanks to a combination of tremendous defensive talent at a premium defensive position along with a pure lefthanded swing that suggests future two-way impact. The 19-year-old hit .275/.377/.440 in his pro debut in the rookie level Florida Complex League this year.
Casas, who turned 22 last week, hit .279/.394/.484 with 14 homers in 86 games between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Worcester before posting a .372/.495/.487 line in the Arizona Fall League, with the OBP leading the prospect league. He also thoroughly impressed both the coaches and veteran players of Team USA in the Olympics.
Yorke, 19, dominated in his first full professional season, hitting .325/.412/.516 with 14 homers in 97 games between Low-A Salem and High-A Greenville. The 2020 first-rounder joined a very small, elite group of players to post at least a .300 average, .400 OBP, and .500 slugging mark in at least 300 plate appearances of full-season ball as a teenager.
Duran, 25, got off to a blistering start in 2021, earning a promotion to the big leagues by hitting .270/.365/.561 with 15 homers in 219 plate appearances through mid-July in Triple-A. But he struggled in the big leagues, hitting .215/.241/.336 and proving vulnerable to fastballs at the top of the strike zone. That said, his combination of speed and strength along with a track record as a successful hitter in the minors suggests a potential near-term everyday center fielder.
Casas is in the preseason top-100 for the third straight year, while Mayer, Yorke, and Duran are newcomers to Baseball America’s list. The quartet is the first in the publication’s preseason top-100 since Yoan Moncada, Andrew Benintendi, Rafael Devers, Anderson Espinoza, and Michael Kopech were among the top 100 entering the 2016 season.
|2022||Marcelo Mayer (15), Triston Casas (19), Nick Yorke (31), Jarren Duran (91)|
|2021||Triston Casas (47), Jeter Downs (71), Bobby Dalbec (90)|
|2020||Triston Casas (70), Bobby Dalbec (75), Jeter Downs (86)|
|2018||Jay Groome (83), Michael Chavis (85)|
|2017||Andrew Benintendi (1), Rafael Devers (18), Jay Groome (43)|
|2016||Yoan Moncada (3), Andrew Benintendi (15), Rafael Devers (18), Anderson Espinoza (19), Michael Kopech (89)|
Come on down
The Red Sox announced they have signed righthanded reliever Taylor Cole and invited him to spring training as a non-roster invitee. The 32-year-old has appeared in 57 big league games with the Angels and Blue Jays, most recently in 2019 with the Angels. He has a 4.97 ERA with a 23.9 percent strikeout rate in the big leagues, and has generally avoided the most damaging contact (five homers allowed in 88 2/3 innings).
Cole underwent shoulder surgery in 2020 and did not pitch for a minor league affiliate in 2021, but over eight appearances in the Dominican Winter League, he allowed two runs in 8 2/3 innings while striking out eight and walking six.
Maverick Carter, a business partner of Lakers star LeBron James who became a member of Fenway Sports Group’s ownership in March of 2021, was named to the Board of Directors of the Red Sox Foundation. The Red Sox Foundation provides assistance throughout New England in the areas of health, recreation, and education. Carter joins Tom Werner, Linda Henry, Chad Gifford, Sean McGrail, Linda Whitlock, Jill Shah, and Bridget Long on the foundation’s board.
Alex Speier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @alexspeier.