Yoan Moncada still has plenty of room to grow. (Jake Roth/USA Today Sports)

Red Sox minor league notebook: Yoan Moncada, Andrew Benintendi at top of 2016 power rankings

Ryan Hannable
September 08, 2016 - 12:21 pm
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With the Red Sox minor league season pretty much wrapped up (Salem and Lowell are still in the postseason), we decided to do an end of the year power rankings of players in the minor league system. Note, we still included Yoan Moncada and Andrew Benintendi given their limited major league experience and chance they don't start on the major league roster next season. 1. Yoan Moncada Although Moncada has struggled in his limited major league action this month, the future is still very bright. The No. 1 prospect in all of baseball according to MLB.com, has recently transitioned to third base, which will continue in the Arizona Fall League. In 106 minor league games between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland this season, the switch-hitter batted .294 with 15 home runs and 62 RBIs. Of the 15 homers, 11 were hit in Double-A over the final 45 games of his minor league season before skipping Triple-A and going right to the majors. He can also steal bases as in his two seasons in the minors, he's stolen 94 bases on 109 attempts. There is still room to grow for the 21-year-old, especially from the right side of the plate as in Double-A he batted just .167 against lefties. Then obviously just transitioning from second base to third base will require some improving as well, which he will do in the offseason. Moncada has unbelievable upside, which is why he's considered the best prospect in baseball. He could start the season in Triple-A next year before getting an early call-up to the majors. 2. Andrew Benintendi Benintendi quickly rose through the minor league system this season being promoted to Double-A Portland after just 34 games in High-A Salem where he hit .341. After initially struggling in the first few weeks in Portland, he got his feet under him and ended up by batting .295 over 63 games with the Sea Dogs before his promotion to the big leagues in August. The No. 7 overall pick in the 2015 draft does everything well. As a left-handed hitter he isn't afraid to go the other way and makes things look effortless for a 22-year-old, especially transitioning to left field roughly two weeks before getting the call to the majors. He's likely the Red Sox' starting left fielder next season. 3. Rafael Devers It was a tale of two halves for the 19-year-old third baseman in High-A Salem. In the first half of the season he hit just .233, which included a .138 month of April. After weeks of working on his approach and swing, things finally paid off in the second half as he batted .326 and nearly doubled the amount of homers, finishing the year with seven. A big thing with Devers was his defense, as it greatly improved from last year in Greenville and is no longer viewed as a concern, rather a strength. Devers could have been promoted to Double-A down the stretch this season, but given his age, struggles early on the year, and Salem making the postseason, the organization elected to keep him where he was. It seems likely he will start the year in Double-A Portland next year and it's important to remember he's still extremely young at just 19 years old. 4. Michael Kopech The season got off to a tough start for the right-hander, as he was involved in an altercation with a teammate during spring training breaking his hand and didn't appear in a game until mid-June, making one start with short-season, Single-A Lowell in their season opener. He needed only one start before being promoted to High-A Salem where he dominated for almost all of the summer. Over his first 10 starts, he allowed just seven runs in 51 1/3 innings, while striking out 81 batters, which included four, double-digit strikeout games. Things haven't gone well in his last two outings, including one playoff start, as he's allowed 12 earned runs in just three total innings and has walked seven. Given his missed time in the spring, the 20-year-old will pitch in the Arizona Fall League and will be a good test for him facing better competition. To this point in his career, he's been able to rely on a fastball that reaches the high-90s (105 mph at one point this year), but hasn't quite perfected the secondary stuff. If he can put everything together and stay on the field, Kopech could one day see himself in a major league starting rotation. 5. Jason Groome Although he's only been in the organization a few months, the sky appears to be the limit for the 18-year-old left-handed pitcher, who the Red Sox selected No. 12 overall in this past June's draft. As a high school senior at Barnegat High School in Barnegat, New Jersey he posted a 0.77 ERA with 90 strikeouts and 15 hits allowed in 39 2/3 innings. On April 11 against Central Regional High School, Groome recorded 19 strikeouts in the first no-hitter in school history, facing the minimum number of batters in seven innings. The organization was very patient with him as he spent a few weeks working out in Fort Myers after signing before appearing in games. To this point, he's appeared in two Florida Gulf Coast League games and one short-season, Single-A Lowell game. He's thrown 6 2/3 innings and allowed two earned runs on three hits, while walking four and striking out 10, being kept on a 2-3 inning pitch count. It's likely Groome goes to the fall instructional league and continues to work on his craft. It only makes sense for the 6-foot-6 lefty to begin next year with Single-A Greenville as the Red Sox will likely still be very patient with him. 6. Sam Travis Some may have forgotten Travis as he tore his ACL this past May with Triple-A Pawtucket. In 47 games to start the season, the first baseman hit .272 with six home runs and 29 RBIs. He's rose through the organization in each of his three years as he started 2015 in High-A Salem, before being promoted to Portland midway through the season. In 245 minor league games, the left-handed hitter is batting .303 with 22 homers and 151 RBIs. Travis, 23, was selected in the second round of the 2014 draft out of Indiana University. Travis is one of the hardest workers in the organization and all he cares about is winning. He's scheduled to be ready for spring training next year and it will be interesting to see what the Red Sox have planned for him, as some thought he could be Hanley Ramirez's replacement at first base if he moves to designated hitter with David Ortiz set to retire. If this is something the Red Sox were considering, they may need to have a backup plan in case he suffers any type of setback during the offseason. 8. Mauricio Dubon Dubon may have had the biggest breakout season of all of Red Sox minor leaguers. The 22-year-old started the season with Single-A Salem and batted .306 to make the High-A All-Star game before being promoted to Portland after that. In 62 games in Portland, the shortstop hit .339 with six homers and 40 RBIs. He didn't hit any home runs while he was in Single-A. The Honduran could be one of the biggest steals of the 2013 draft as the Red Sox took him in the 26th round. His future with the organization is a bit unclear, as shortstop will be occupied for many years to come by Xander Bogaerts, so there doesn't really appear to be a path to the big leagues there. The same can be said for potential transitions to third base (Mondada) and second base (Dustin Pedroia). It wouldn't be a complete shock to see him dangled to other teams this offseason as part of a big deal, or the team could just hold on to him and see where things go. 9. Luis Alexander Basabe The 20-year-old center fielder is most known for being one of the two Basabe twins and seeing his twin brother Luis Alejandro be traded at the trade deadline this past season when both were with Single-A Greenville. Many believed Luis Alexander was the better of the two prospects and the Red Sox did a good job of keeping the right one. Before being promoted to High-A Salem for the last week of the season and postseason, he batted .258 with 12 home runs and 52 RBIs with Greenville, but was really impressive in the second half of the season as he hit .292, including .363 in the month of July. He could potentially be a future big leaguer, who still has a lot of room to grow. [Note, an earlier version said Basabe is Rule 5 draft eligible. He in fact is not until 2017.] 10. Bobby Dalbec Dalbec, like Groome, has only been in the system for a few months, but he's made his presence felt. He was selected in the fourth-round out of the University of Arizona where he was both a third baseman and pitcher. The Red Sox viewed him as strictly a third baseman and Dalbec too wanted to just play third base and hit. The 21-year-old didn't have a very good season offensively in college, but once joining Lowell, that all changed. In 32 games, he hit .386 with seven homers and 33 RBIs. While he's only been in the organization a few short months, it's hard to project exactly how he will end up, but he could be a potential power hitter the organization has lacked in recent years. In all likelihood he will start next season in Single-A Greenville.