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red sox spring training

Dispatches from the back fields at Red Sox spring training: A closer look at Marcelo Mayer and Miguel Bleis

Marcelo Mayer was a first-round draft pick (No. 4 overall) in 2021.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Field 6 of Fenway South offered a glimpse of the Red Sox’ potential future Thursday.

With a minor league mini-camp under way, a half-dozen young prospects congregated behind the plate for live batting practice. Of particular note, shortstop Marcelo Mayer, 20, was joined by 18-year-old outfielders Miguel Bleis and Roman Anthony behind an L-screen while waiting to jump into the box against a revolving cast of minor league pitchers.

Mayer is the organization’s top prospect, the first-round selection (No. 4 overall) in the 2021 draft who demonstrates a remarkable ease in all of his on-field actions. The native of Southern California, who is likely to start the year in High A Greenville (the level at which he finished the 2022 season), appears effortlessly comfortable around a diamond.


Bleis, meanwhile, has a chance to emerge as the organization’s first true five-tool talent since Mookie Betts. He signed with the Sox out of the Dominican Republic for $1.5 million in 2021. In his US debut last year, scouts marveled at the show he put on in the Florida Complex League, identifying a player with elite bat speed and dynamic speed and athleticism. He is likely to open 2023 in Single A Salem.

Anthony, a second-round selection in 2022 who signed with the Sox for a $2.5 million bonus commensurate with a first-round talent, looks the part of a future power hitter, standing at 6 feet 3 inches and 200 pounds with a chance to add considerable strength. His power potential, combined with impressive plate discipline in the earliest stages of his career, suggests a player with a chance to be a big league regular, perhaps an above-average one. He is a strong candidate to open the season with Bleis in Salem.

The trio represents part of an impressive group of young players who have a chance to transform the big league roster a few years down the road. The most noteworthy part of the afternoon was not what the players did on the field in a practice setting but how they interacted with each other.


Since the moment Mayer entered the Red Sox system, team officials and players have raved about his interactions with peers. He is bilingual, having grown up in a Spanish-speaking household (his mother is from Mexico), and uses his fluency in two languages to connect with a large circle of teammates.

Miguel Bleis (left) was signed as an international free agent, while Marcelo Mayer was drafted in 2021.Alex Speier/Globe Staff

On Thursday, he happily pinballed between Anthony and a small group of English-speaking teammates and Bleis and other Spanish-speaking teammates, breaking down pitch types in English in one moment and then playfully turning around to take some righthanded dry swings (Mayer is a lefthanded hitter) while coaxing Bleis (a righthanded hitter) to show off his lefthanded hacks.

In such lighthearted interactions, there is a forming web among players — the early threads of a time when the Red Sox may once again, in a few years, boast a homegrown core around which to build.

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