While we are still waiting to see where the Boston Red Sox assigns Jeter Downs and Connor Wong one thing is for certain. The Red Sox farm system has gotten considerably better at two positions that they were rather weak on entering 2020. For Triple-A Pawtucket and their final season at McCoy, this could certainly add some heat to the prospect fire for the 2020 season.
Jeter Downs instantly becomes one of the systems top prospects and per MLB Prospect Watch he is the 44th ranked prospect in all of baseball. That rank is the highest amongst Red Sox players. The 21-year-old could certainly start 2020 in Double-A Portland and likely should start down there. Last year he only appeared in 12 games at the Double-A level with 48 at-bats. The bulk of his time was spent in High-A. Between both levels, he hit .276 with 24 home runs and 86 RBIs while stealing 24 bags.
You would expect Boston to start him off in Double-A and let him develop in Portland. But a promotion to Pawtucket at some point in 2020 is certainly a good possibility if he repeats his 2019 performance.
Downs Scouting Report:
Downs despite steals 24 bases last year has average speed. What allowed him to swipe that many bags is his intelligence and aggressiveness on the Basepath. At the plate, he has a rather simple swing but his quick hands paired with his strength allow him to drive the ball rather well. Defensively he could certainly be a shortstop at the big league level. In fact, he is a top 10 shortstop prospect in baseball. But his range is suspect at times and second base certainly feels like the best way forward given Boston has a long-term need at that position.
Based on his statistics and play style Downs appears to be a three-tool player with upside.
Wong Already Boston’s Top Catching Prospect
As for Wong. He instantly becomes the number one catching prospect in the Red Sox system. Like Downs, the 23-year-old spent most of the 2019 season in High-A. But he was able to play in 40 games in Double-A where he hit .349 in 149 at-bats with 9 home runs and 31 RBIs. Between both levels, he hit .281 in 423 at-bats with 24 home runs and 82 RBIs. Critical to stress how weak the Red Sox were at this position prior to this trade.
If I were a betting man I would likely suggest that Wong will begin the 2020 season in Portland. That being said the PawSox only have Jett Bandy on their roster. Portland has Charlie Madden and Austin Rei. Probably some roster shuffling coming from Red Sox Baseball Operations. Either way, I think Wong could be in Pawtucket during the 2020 season as well.
Wong’s Scouting Report
Wong was LA’s 28th ranked prospect. In Boston’s system, he is likely to top 15 if not top 10. He is a career .275 hitter in the minors since being taken in the third round of the 2017 draft.
For a catcher, he actually has great speed and was actually a shortstop in his freshman year of college at Houston. He has a rather loose swing and goes after driving the ball and distributes it rather well to all fields.
The catch with Wong is if he actually stays behind the plate. He is faster than most catchers and has minor league experience at both second and third base.
Current PawSox Roster for 2020:
Both Downs and Wong aren’t on the current iteration of the PawSox roster. But that doesn’t mean the prospect show is off at McCoy. There are a number of interesting players that are expected to begin in Triple-A Pawtucket.
Here is the current roster of the PawSox for the 2020 season:
Pitchers: R.J. Alvarez, Jose Espada, Raynel Espinal, Trevor Hildernberger, Tanner Houck, Brian Johnson, Mike Kickham, Kevin Lenik, Robinson Leyer, Austin Maddox, Daniel McGrath, Bobby Poyner, Denyi Reyes, Domingo Tapia
Catchers: Jett Bandy