Dave Dombrowski has left the Red Sox minor league system with next to nothing. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)
In just over a year on the job, Dave Dombrowski has stomped on the once giant sandcastle of Red Sox minor league talent and has left one small extension of the castle clinging on trying to avoid being swept out to sea.
Granted, because of their prospects the Red Sox have acquired Craig Kimbrel, Carson Smith, Brad Ziegler, Drew Pomeranz, Fernando Abad, Aaron Hill and now Chris Sale, there isn’t much left to the once highly regarded Red Sox minor league system.
Consider the names that have been traded under Dombrowski: Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Anderson Espinoza, Manuel Margot, Luis Alexander Basabe, Luis Alejandro Basabe, Victor Diaz, Javier Guerra, Logan Allen, Jose Almonte, Aaron Wilkerson, Carlos Asuaje, Pat Light and Wendell Rijo.
Quite the talented group of players is gone and what remains does not even compare.
Below is what the Red Sox have left in their system (top 10 players in order as we see it):
Pitchers: Jason Groome, Brian Johnson, Henry Owens, Trey Ball, Travis Latkins, Roniel Raudes, Mike Shawaryn, Shaun Anderson, Justin Haley, Jalen Beeks.
Analysis: Yikes. For a system that once had Kopech, Espinoza and Allen leading the way, what a difference 18 months make, as now their top pitching prospect is an 18-year-old in Groome, who was just drafted last year and has yet to pitch in a game past short-season, Single-A Lowell. Besides Johnson and Owens who have major question marks, the Red Sox do not have anyone who realistically can help the major league team in the next year or two in their system. The contrast to this is the team has Rick Porcello, David Price and Sale at the top of the rotation locked up for the years to come so they likely will not need to tap much into their minor league system for top talent, but it certainly is something to note that there simply is no depth when it comes to pitching in the Red Sox’ system. Shawaryn has some upside, but he too was just drafted last summer and it’s really hard to project where he will be two or three years down the road. Bottom line, look away when looking at the Red Sox’ minor league pitching depth chart.
Positional players: Rafael Devers, Sam Travis, Bobby Dalbec, Josh Ockimey, Nick Longhi, Michael Chavis, C.J. Chatham, Kyri Washington, Tate Matheny and Austin Rei.
Analysis: Yikes again. Aside from Devers and Travis there isn’t much talent coming up the pipeline for years to come. Devers’ talent softened the blow of losing Moncada, but he finished the year in High-A Salem and has a few more years left in his development before he’s ready for the big leagues. A huge issue appears to be the lack of depth in the outfield, as there’s no major league help in sight. While having Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. is great now, they won’t last forever and the organization can’t sign them all to extensions, so just know their replacements will not be coming from within. Dalbec, who was drafted this past year, is an intriguing prospect, but like was noted with some of the pitchers, he hasn’t played a game higher than Lowell. It’s also worth noting because of the lack of prospects in the system, it likely won’t be easy for the Red Sox to swing a potential trade deadline deal in the years to come involving prospects simply because they don’t have any.
While yes, the Red Sox major league team is much improved and ready to win now because of these prospects courtesy of the Ben Cherington regime, the long-term future of the Red Sox will likely not be because of homegrown talents, besides the ones already on the roster.
(For more on the Chris Sale trade from a minor league perspective, check out an emergency edition of the Farm Report podcast with WEEI’s Ken Laird and WEEI.com’s Ryan Hannable.)