The Red Sox farm system has been anchored by familiar names like Marcelo Mayer, Ceddanne Rafaela and Miguel Bleis over the past year.
But no Boston prospect rose as much over the summer as 19-year-old outfielder Roman Anthony.
In his first full season of pro ball, Anthony went from low-A Salem to Double-A Portland, slashing .272/.403/.466/.869 in 106 games with 14 homers and 64 RBIs. .
Anthony, who doesn’t turn 20 until May 2024, will likely start next season with Portland and has accelerated his timetable to the major leagues in short order.
The 2022 second-round selection’s rapid rise has caught the attention of several MLB prospect evaluators, including Keith Law of The Athletic.
In Law’s latest minor league notebook, the longtime baseball scribe praised Anthony and his potential as an impact bat at the next level.
“Outfielder Roman Anthony is not only Boston’s top prospect this year, he might be the greatest prospect in all of the minors,” Law wrote Monday.
Law ranked Anthony 12th in Boston’s farm system entering the 2023 season, with many national prospect rankings omitting the teenage outfielder from their top 100 after playing just 20 total games in the Reds’ organization Sox in 2022.
But after a torrid stretch with High-A Greenville and Double-A Portland, Anthony is now the 35th ranked prospect in baseball, according to MLB.com.
When updating its mid-season rankings, Baseball Prospectus even ranked Anthony as the No. 9 prospect in baseball, ahead of Mayer (No. 10).
Despite hitting .228 with just one home run and 18 RBIs in 42 games with Low-A Salem, Anthony’s exit velocity and bat speed gave hope that his numbers at the plate would rebound.
All it took was a promotion in Greenville to see these results come to fruition. As the youngest player in High-A ball, Anthony hit .294 with a .412 on-base percentage, .981 OPS, 12 home runs, 38 RBIs and 41 runs in 54 games.
His impressive play against top competition prompted Boston to promote Anthony to the Sea Dogs during the final weeks of Portland’s season.
In a 10-game sample, Anthony hit .343 with four doubles, a home run and eight RBIs with the Sea Dogs. In his 44 plate appearances against Double-A pitchers, Anthony walked eight and struck out just two.
Law managed to catch up with Anthony and the Sea Dogs shortly before the end of their 2023 campaign.
“The Sox deserve credit for taking what was already a good swing and making it one of the best in the minors, and maybe the best I’ve seen in person all year,” Law wrote. “They softened Anthony up at the plate, from his setup, where his hands are freer, to his actual swing, where his lead arm stays slightly bent so he doesn’t lose quality of contact or speed when hitting. of its follow-up.
When people talk about left swings, that’s what they mean. That wouldn’t mean much without a keen eye, but Anthony has already shown excellent plate discipline and coverage for his age, including very low chase rates, especially before he got there with two strikes. I only saw three at-bats before the rains came, but I got several perfect swings as well as two hard-line doubles to center field.
With Mayer, Anthony and catcher Kyle Teel all expected to open the 2024 campaign with Portland, the Red Sox may not have to wait very long for some blue-chip youngsters to start pushing for playing time in the big leagues.
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