Red Sox

Red Sox prospect watch: Triston Casas on fire after slow start in Double-A

Star outfielder Jarrod Duran and infielder Jeter Downs are also showing promise with the Triple-A Worcester Red Sox.

Triston Casas Red Sox
Triston Casas. Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Red Sox have been in action for nearly two months — and are playing pretty well, too, in case you hadn’t noticed.

But May also ushered in the seasons for Boston’s minor league affiliates after weeks of work at the team’s alternate site in Worcester.

That means we get to see some of the organization’s future stars hone their skills on the road to making the big club this year or beyond.

Here’s how some of the team’s top prospects are faring so far this season.

Triston Casas, first baseman

The top prospect in the Red Sox organization probably won’t see much action with the big club unless it’s as a September call-up.

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But boy, is it hard not to get excited about his potential.

Casas is making mincemeat out of Double-A pitching with the Portland Sea Dogs, hitting .327 with three home runs and 12 RBI and sporting a .908 OPS. He’s been especially scorching over his last five games — he’s slashing .381/.409/.933 in that time — recovering from a 4-of-25 start to the season.

It’s a welcome development as Casas never played above Single-A before this year. He didn’t get the chance to advance last year with the COVID pandemic cutting out minor league ball entirely.

The 6-foot-4, 252-pound corner infielder certainly has tremendous power and has begun showing it frequently of late, breaking out for a two-home run game already this season.

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But Casas is also sporting a seven-game hitting streak going into Wednesday night and cut down significantly on his strikeouts of late — though they’re still a bit high.

Still, if he’s proven to be this adaptable to Double-A levels of pitching, it’s not a stretch to believe he has a chance to play with the big club next spring.

Maybe he can play right field?

Jarren Duran, outfield

No Sox prospect has been talked about more than Duran these days, and why not?

The star of Spring Training has done nothing to quell the excitement surrounding his possible arrival in the big leagues.

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He’s already got five home runs in 50 at-bats at Triple-A Worcester to start the season, slugging a monstrous .640 and posting a video game-like OPS of 1.030.

But it’s more than just the power and potential.

Duran’s also producing when it matters, hitting .429 and launching three of his home runs with two outs and runners in scoring position.

On top of that, he’s been branching out from his normal position in center field and has played a game each at both left and right field. Though he could certainly slot in as the Red Sox’s center fielder when he eventually becomes a full-time starter, the ability to play the corner spots could make it even more likely he gets an opportunity to play this year.

Jeter Downs, second baseman/shortstop

The big step up from high-A ball to Triple-A has been a bit more of a struggle for Downs than for the other two top prospects. But Downs is starting to come around in earnest.

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While he’s hitting just .244 through 12 games so far, his last seven have been electric.

He’s currently 5-for-16 (.357) in those contests, putting up his first home run, a double, and all of his five RBI in that time frame.

Downs has never been a particularly high-average hitter — he’s hit .266 combined at all his minor league stops. As such, the middling average early in his Triple-A career isn’t a huge shock — though he could still stand to lower that 39.2 percent strikeout rate.

But his power numbers will bear watching as he becomes more acclimated to pitching at this level. He’s hit a total of 37 home runs over his past two seasons of minor league ball, so there’s reason to expect he should at least reach double digits during a full season in Triple-A.

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