In the previous segment of this series, you were shown some prospects who could potentially play a role in the big leagues for the Red Sox in 2018. Today, we’re going to highlight the top pitching and hitting performers from each of the Red Sox’ 3 affiliates at the A, AA, and AAA levels.
First up is the AAA Pawtucket Red Sox.
Pitcher: Josh Smith
-Smith has been excellent for the PawSox so far. He’s currently carrying a 0.79 ERA and .88 WHIP with 15 K’s through 11.1 IP. He’s allowed just 8 hits and 2 walks in 5 appearances (1 start). Smith, who’s outside of Boston’s top-20 prospects, has a low-90’s fastball with some decent movement, and he’s occasionally put up some nice strikeout numbers in his time in the minors, but has been known to have some command issues.
Hitter: Mike Olt
-At 29-years old and already with some ultimately unsuccessful MLB experience, Olt can’t really be considered a “prospect” per se. Regardless, he’s performed very well in 2018, posting a .958 OPS with 3 HR and 11 RBI in 52 at-bats. Stranger things than Olt receiving a call up sometime in the future have happened, so don’t sleep on this slugger.
(Photo credit: MiLB.com)
Next up is the AA Portland Sea Dogs (shoutout to Portland, one of the coolest little cities in New England).
Pitcher: Matthew Kent
-Kent has posted very similar numbers to Josh Smith above, also with 15 K’s in 11.1 IP. Kent, though, hasn’t allowed a single earned run and has only given up 5 hits thus far. He doesn’t throw hard, with a fastball that tops out around 88 mph, but he pounds the strike zone, has a good delivery that he repeats well, has nice deception on his changeup and slider, and keeps hitters guessing by dropping his arm angle down to a 3/4 delivery in certain situations. At 25-years old, he’s considered a mid-level prospect within the Boston system and could eventually see some time out of the bullpen with the big club.
Hitter: Cole Sturgeon
-Sturgeon is hitting .361/.440/.583 in 72 AB’s so far this year. He has 4 HR and 4 doubles for 11 RBI, and has also walked 10 times. His 4 home runs are a little deceiving, as Sturgeon is said to possess only limited power, but he’s a very good contact hitter who is also strong with his glove and his arm.
Last in this rundown is the single-A Greenville Drive.
Pitcher: Marcos Lantigua
-The 22-year old international free agent isn’t expected to have much of a ceiling. He’s struggled in the developmental leagues for 2 years already, and he lacks athleticism, as well as fluidity and consistency in his delivery, but he’s performed really well with Greenville this year. He’s posted a 1.80 ERA and .93 WHIP with 12 K’s in 15 IP, all out of the bullpen.
Hitter: Victor Acosta
-Acosta is batting .352 in 16 games this year, with a very respectable .898 OPS. He’s racked up 26 total bases in 54 AB, and ranks towards the top of the team with 19 hits. He’s considered a low-level prospects at this point, as his development has stalled a bit of late, but he has decent gap power and could possibly work his way to the high minors if he can find a way to remain consistent with his swing mechanics. His below average fielding limits his chances of being anything more than minor league depth.