Red Sox to promote Triston Casas

Red Sox to add first base prospect Triston Casas to the team tomorrow, according to Mass Live’s Chris Cotillo. This report was confirmed by Julian McWilliams of the Boston Globe, which adds that Bobby Dalbec will be optioned on Triple-A Worcester. Casas is not currently on the club’s 40-man list which means they will have to open a place for him. However, that would probably amount to transferring someone to the 60-day IL, like Tanner Houckwhich was previously reported as finished for the season.

Casas, 22, was selected by Boston in the first round of the 208 draft, 26th overall. He earned a brief rookie ball appearance that year and jumped to A-ball to start 2019. He hit 19 home runs for Greenville Drive while slashing .254/.349/.472, producing a wRC+ of 136 and earning a brief promotion to High-A to end the year.

After that strong performance in his first full season as a professional, he was ranked the 70th prospect in the sport by Baseball America. Of course, minor league seasons were canceled that year by the pandemic, preventing Casas from playing organized ball that season. In 2021, he split his time between Double-A and Triple-A, hitting 14 homers and slashing .279/.394/.484. He made 15.4% of his plate appearances while knocking out just 19.1% of them, producing a wRC+ of 141.

After that great season, he moved up to 19th on BA’s 2022 prospect list and looked like a candidate to make his major league debut this season. The Red Sox stayed with Dalbec as first baseman to start the year and Casas was taken off the table when he suffered an ankle injury in May, returning to Worcester in late July. In Triple-A this year, he hit .273/.382/.481 for a wRC+ of 127, walking in 14.5% of his trips to the plate while dropping strikes just 21.5% of the time. He is currently ranked the 28th prospect in the league by Baseball America, 14th by FanGraphs and 31st by Keith Law of The Athletic.

Red Sox fans have been calling for this move for some time, not only because of Casas’ strong performance, but also Dalbec’s struggles. After hitting 25 home runs last year and slashing .240/.298/.494 for a wRC+ of 107, he’s dropped this year to a .211/.282/.363 performance. This production is 22% below the league average, as evidenced by his 78 wRC+. Based on those disappointing results, he and Casas will switch places, with Dalbec going down to the minors in an attempt to get back on track.

The Red Sox are seven games behind the Blue Jays for the final Wild Card spot in the American League with three teams in between, making it very difficult for them to make a serious playoff run in the final month of the season. season. Either way, they’ll give Casas a preview of the rest of the campaign to see how he fare against the big league pitchers in the coming weeks and hopefully weather the winter with some momentum towards next season. Eric Hosmer was acquired from the Padres at the trade deadline but is currently on the IL. Assuming Casas performs well enough to earn regular playing time, the club will need to find a balance between the two in the squad.

With just weeks to go until the offseason, Casas is unlikely to hit 130 appearances here in 2022, meaning he’ll maintain his rookie/prospect status through the winter. This is a potentially important note under the new collective agreement. Players with less than 60 days of service who appear on two preseason Top 100 lists at Baseball America, ESPN, or MLB Pipeline can offer their team a bonus amateur draft pick based on their early career results during from voting awards, as long as their club carries them on the MLB roster for a full year of service. If Casas cracks next year’s Opening Day roster and stays all season, and he wins Rookie of the Year or ranks highly in MVP balloting in his first two seasons, the club could choose an additional draft pick down the line.

Image courtesy of USA Today Sports.

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