The Red Sox boast a minor league system stacked with talent close to major league ready. Players like Mookie Betts, Henry Owens and Blake Swihart are already familiar to most Sox fans. This season, however, has also seen the emergence of three talented teenagers. These prospects may be a long way from the big leagues, but they have the talent to quickly move up the prospect rankings.
Manuel Margot Age 19
The oldest and most experienced in this troika of prospects is outfielder Manuel Margot. He’s spent the season tearing up the Low A South Atlantic League, impressing with his speed and raw tools. He’s patient at the plate (37 walks to 49 strikeouts), has some power (10 home runs, 35 extra base htis), and steals bases as well (39 steals). He’s also an above-average defender in center field.
The Sox signed Margot out of the Dominican Republic in 2011 for a large (800K) signing bonus. They’ve been fairly conservative with him so far, but he was rewarded for his strong season in Low A with a promotion to High A Salem today. His combination of speed and power makes Margot an exciting prospect to follow going forward.
Rafael Devers Age 17
The hype surrounding Devers has already started, mainly because he’s shredded the opposition during his first professional season. This Dominican third baseman was the Red Sox big money international signing last year, getting a 1.5$ million bonus. Most Dominican players spend at least a full season in the Dominican Summer League, but Devers hit so well that the Sox made the unprecedented move of promoting him to the rookie Gulf Coast League.
He tallied six doubles, three triples and three home runs in only 28 games in the DSL. He’s also adjusted quickly to the GCL, hitting .311/.371/.504 with four home runs. He will have to improve defensively to stay at third base, but his bat is his true calling card. He shows an advanced feel for hitting and power that has already manifested in games at a really young age. SoxProspects.com already have Devers ranked as the #4 prospect in the Red Sox system.
Wendell Rijo Age 18
Another big bonus (575K) signing from the Dominican Republic, Rijo joined the Greenville Drive out of spring training this year. A knee injury that occurred before he signed limited him last season, but this year he’s shown good speed and good pop at second base.
He’s put up a .258/.346/.427 line this year with nine home runs and twelve stolen bases. His stats don’t jump off the page like these other two teenagers, but Rijo has more than held his own while playing as one of the youngest players at his level.
These young phenoms might not be major league ready for quite some time, but they’ve opened eyes this season as precocious talents. The youth movement for the Red Sox is in full swing, and these three prospects are primed to move up as the more advanced prospects start to make the major league club.