A Look at the "20 Under 25" Candidates for the Boston Red Sox originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Say what you will about the Boston Red Sox front office's spending, or lack thereof. But Chaim Bloom and Co. have succeeded in replenishing the farm system over the last few years.
While president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski built a World Series-winning roster, he left the organization with the worst farm system in the league. Since Bloom took over in 2019, the Red Sox have surged all the way up to 11th in Baseball America's organizational talent rankings.
Of course, not every stud prospect pans out. It's rare for a top prospect to fully live up to their potential once they reach the big leagues, so Dombrowski's "win now" approach that left the farm system barren is understandable. Still, having a number of talented players in the pipeline bodes well for the future of the franchise.
Candidates: CELTICS | PATRIOTS | BRUINS | REVS
We've already seen the start of the Red Sox youth movement at the major league level. Right-handers Josh Winckowski and Brayan Bello, as well as first baseman Triston Casas, each contributed to the Boston club at points during the 2022 season.
There should be more young guns where that came from over the next few years. Here's a short list of under-25 Red Sox players who deserve your attention.
Triston Casas, 1B
The Triston Casas era in Boston officially began in September when the slugging first base prospect finally was promoted to the major league roster. He will retain his rookie status in 2023 and is a strong American League Rookie of the Year candidate.
Marcelo Mayer, SS
Mayer's first full professional baseball season was a success as the 2021 No. 4 overall draft pick slashed .280/.399/.489 with 13 homers and 53 RBI in 91 games with Low-A Salem and High-A Greenville. He's at least a couple of years away from reaching the big leagues, but all signs point to the No. 13 ranked MLB prospect being a future All-Star.
Nick Yorke, 2B
Yorke saw his production dip in 2022 after earning 2021 Red Sox Minor League Player of the Year honors. He shined in the Arizona Fall League, however, so he'll look to prove next season that his down year was simply an aberration.
Brayan Bello, RHP
Bello debuted with Boston in 2022 and provided a glimpse of his front-end starter potential. He will be an important part of the rotation in 2023, especially if the Red Sox don't add another impactful starter or two this offseason.
Bryan Mata, RHP
Mata was stellar in his return from Tommy John surgery last season and is the second-most promising young arm the Red Sox have behind only Bello. We can expect the hard-throwing right-hander to debut with the big-league club out of the bullpen in 2023.
Ceddanne Rafaela, UTIL
Rafaela broke out in a big way in 2022, earning the Red Sox Minor League Player of the Year award with his blend of power, speed, and defensive prowess. Next season will tell us a lot about whether Rafaela was a flash in the pan or the Mookie Betts comparisons he's been getting are warranted.
Josh Winckowski, RHP
Winckowski made 15 appearances (14) starts with Boston in 2022 as he was called upon to help out the injury-ridden rotation. He finished the season 5-7 with a 5.89 ERA and 1.59 WHIP. He likely will assume a similar role in 2023 as a minor league depth piece who can step in for some spot starts.