Rising Up/Rising Down

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Mar 11, 2007
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Not quite the same as the great book by William T. Vollman but it's something to get our minds off of the present and more geared into the long-term outlook, which I think even the most pessimistic among us have more positive feelings towards. I should first admit to not knowing much about the farm system beyond a few "hot" prospects so this is more about getting to know other posters outlook on these guys. Who was hyped in '22 and will fall? Who had a down season, or is overlooked, and will move up? The '22 is the existing rank on Sox Prospects as of 12/9/22. The '23 will be your pick for their rank at this time next year. I'm putting together my expected top 20 for '23 out of however many existing top 20 it takes to get there.

1. '22 Mayer '23 no. 1
2. Casas graduate
3. Bleis no. 3
4. Rafaela no. 2
5. Yorke no. 4
6. Mata traded
7. Romero no. 7
8. Walter no. 8
9. Anthony no. 15
10. Perala no. 9
11. Paulino no. 5
12. Gonzalez no. 6
13. Murphy no. 10
14. Lugo no. 11
15. Blaze Jordon no. 17
16. Bonaci no. 12
17. Valdez graduate
18. Hickey no. 13
19. Cruz no. 16
20. Kavadas no. 14
21. Coffey --- not in top 20
22. Seabold traded
23. Downs no. 15
24. German- graduate

Actually I stopped at 17. I have no idea what's happening beyond that point.
So I have German, Valdez and Casas all graduating from prospect status after '23 and Mata traded. Coffey dropping outside of the top 20.
 

ehaz

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Sep 30, 2007
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Mayer stays #1 and Casas graduates are basically the only sure things, but after that, anything goes. Bleis, Yorke, Perales, Romero and Anthony could move anywhere from #2 to outside the top 10. It should be a fascinating year for the farm because you have so many high ceiling single A guys who could take the next step + you're looking to see how Mayer, Yorke, and Rafaela will deal with aggressive promotions.
 

Granite Sox

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Feb 6, 2003
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The SoxProspect guys highlighted on the most recent podcast the fact that AA is currently the level where the wheat separates from the chaff. With no milb season in ‘20 due to Covid and the loss of short-season Lowell, last year saw a significant shift in the quality of baseball at A-, A+, and AA in particular. Guys who did well at A+ Greenville got chewed up once they hit Portland, due to the step-wise change in pitching quality (primarily command and pitch mix).

If you looked at this list a year ago, there were probably a handful of guys who made it up to Portland in ‘22 and got punished. Alex Binelas is one example. Rafaela is the main exception to this, which is one reason he remains highly ranked. Off of this list, Lugo is a guy who will be debuting in AA this year after a good season in A+. Will be interesting to see if he sticks around. Cruz is a guy who is expected to jump a little more than your projection (let’s hope!). The only one I disagree with is Jeter Downs. I predict he will be DFA’ed or traded by the middle of the year. He is sinking like a stone as a prospect.
 

AlNipper49

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Apr 3, 2001
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The SoxProspect guys highlighted on the most recent podcast the fact that AA is currently the level where the wheat separates from the chaff. With no milb season in ‘20 due to Covid and the loss of short-season Lowell, last year saw a significant shift in the quality of baseball at A-, A+, and AA in particular. Guys who did well at A+ Greenville got chewed up once they hit Portland, due to the step-wise change in pitching quality (primarily command and pitch mix).

If you looked at this list a year ago, there were probably a handful of guys who made it up to Portland in ‘22 and got punished. Alex Binelas is one example. Rafaela is the main exception to this, which is one reason he remains highly ranked. Off of this list, Lugo is a guy who will be debuting in AA this year after a good season in A+. Will be interesting to see if he sticks around. Cruz is a guy who is expected to jump a little more than your projection (let’s hope!). The only one I disagree with is Jeter Downs. I predict he will be DFA’ed or traded by the middle of the year. He is sinking like a stone as a prospect.
That why I'd probably expect Kavadas to drop off the list. He was raking until he hit Portand and, being on the older side of prospects, you'd hope that he'd be able to acclimate a bit better than he did. He had a reasonably small sample size, so we'll see
 

Granite Sox

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Yes, Kavadas was used as an example of this phenomenon, caveated (?) by the small sample size. Hickey was also named to keep an eye on for this as well. I think Blaze Jordan is another guy who will either sink or swim at AA.

To add one more comment on a prospect, Paulino is well-regarded, but apparently he’s a twig so he has trouble “impacting the baseball” (2022-2023 baseball jargon). The hope is that he puts on 15-20 pounds of good weight in the next couple of years while advancing his baseball skills. His projection relies a bit on his physical maturation.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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Aug 23, 2008
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Jordan strikes me as the kind of guy they should be looking to trade. Has struggled to pull the hard stuff. He is young and closed the season with a nice 25 game run in A+ and has good numbers but the trouble with velocity gives some Dalbec vibes.

To be fair, Dalbec’s career low K% was 23.1% in Lowell as a 21 year old out of college so it’s not a wholly fair comp, but Jordan’s got some questions to answer as he moves up the ranks regarding his power potential.

Depends on the right trade target of course.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Mar 11, 2007
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The SoxProspect guys highlighted on the most recent podcast the fact that AA is currently the level where the wheat separates from the chaff. With no milb season in ‘20 due to Covid and the loss of short-season Lowell, last year saw a significant shift in the quality of baseball at A-, A+, and AA in particular. Guys who did well at A+ Greenville got chewed up once they hit Portland, due to the step-wise change in pitching quality (primarily command and pitch mix).

If you looked at this list a year ago, there were probably a handful of guys who made it up to Portland in ‘22 and got punished. Alex Binelas is one example. Rafaela is the main exception to this, which is one reason he remains highly ranked. Off of this list, Lugo is a guy who will be debuting in AA this year after a good season in A+. Will be interesting to see if he sticks around. Cruz is a guy who is expected to jump a little more than your projection (let’s hope!). The only one I disagree with is Jeter Downs. I predict he will be DFA’ed or traded by the middle of the year. He is sinking like a stone as a prospect.
My completely out of my own ass prediction is that Downs is a late bloomer. Covid and an early (too soon) promotion screwed him up. He clearly has all the tools and athleticism to be a good 2B. He had them all synched up and then the shit hit the fan. It’s clearly his last chance in the Sox system…. My guess is he’s going to look much better but nobody will trust him. He’ll get traded after ‘23 and in Japan by ‘25
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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I’m not sure Downs has the hit tool at all, two years of <.200 average at AAA. He’s still only 24 but how long will they want to keep him on the 40-man? He also had a horrible stint in the PRWL this year. Maybe his confidence is shot and he’s been pressing but agree that this will likely be his last year in the system unless he shows some dramatic improvement.
 

Merkle's Boner

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Apr 24, 2011
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The two guys I'm most curious about, in terms of are they the real thing, are Rafaela and Brandon Walter. Rafaela seemed to come out of nowhere in terms of not being a big bonus guy, but everything I read says he’s for real. If he has a similar year in ‘23 he will be a September call up.
Walter just is not the kind of guy I have a lot of faith in. Very low draft pick, not a ton of velo. It seems to be a razor thin edge between getting guys out and getting smoked. I hope he keeps getting outs but he’s one I could see dropping out of the top 10.
also always interested in seeing how our top pick does in his first full year, so will be watching Romero.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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What he got for a generational player should be borderline fireable but it won’t be.
Hey can we please keep discussion about Mookie Betts and/or any displeasure about the FO off this thread???? JFC!!!!
This is a discussion about the existing minor league top 20+. If you don’t have anything to post regarding that, or questions about it… don’t!
 

brandonchristensen

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Feb 4, 2012
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I don’t have much to offer in terms of rankings but I do believe Rafaela is an impact player. When do we anticipate he is called up? Is he a ‘23 window or later?

I feel like elite defense will allow his bat some time to catch up.
 

ehaz

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I don’t have much to offer in terms of rankings but I do believe Rafaela is an impact player. When do we anticipate he is called up? Is he a ‘23 window or later?

I feel like elite defense will allow his bat some time to catch up.
In a podcast Speier said he needs to spend a lot of time in AAA next season working on plate discipline. Sounds like he's more of a Sept maybe August call-up if all goes well.
 

shepard50

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Any thoughts in how the Downs DFA affects Mayer? Would you expect him to get to Worcester faster? Or will they make his growth the priority and not rush him? Boras' recent comments about Bogaerts and the teams's plan made it sound like they feel confident he will make a MLB SS impact sooner than later.
 

LogansDad

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As far as we know, Downs didn't get claimed, so he will be in Worcester. Either way, I highly doubt what happens with him affect Mayer even a little bit.
 

simplicio

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Apr 11, 2012
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We'll always have that one game where he did that thing against the Yankees.

I don't recall what the thing was, but I know there was a thing.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Any thoughts on Binelas progression? He looks to me like a dud (let's not religitgate the trade for the millionth time here) but he's still young and possibly age overmatched.
 

Granite Sox

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His power profile played in A+. When he moved to Portland, the hit tool struggled. The current consensus is that A+ —> AA is the big leap for minor leaguers. Allegedly, Binelas tried to change his approach late last season and had some small success in the last week or so. 2023 is an important season for him if he wants to remain a prospect.
 

jbupstate

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It’s really easy to discount changes in approach and the impact a small change can have on a season. It’s why patience is required on players that around AA.

I think it’s great some are willing to adjust early. Sure they might (probably will) flame out if they identify an issue and try of address it early,
it might help in the next stage of development. Pitchers do it all the time.
 

Jimbodandy

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I don't think that anyone is super bullish on Binelas, but it wouldn't be the most surprising thing in the world if he had a bounceback season either. Last year was his first full year of pro ball (drafted 2021), and he lost a year to Covid (like everyone else). So if you think of him as a guy who struggled in AA as a 21YO rather than as a 22YO, it's less worrisome. He has always had nice power and too many damn strikeouts, even in college. The latter has gotten worse. Wouldn't call him a lost cause.