Red Sox

Marcelo Mayer, Masataka Yoshida headline 5 Red Sox prospects on Baseball America’s Top 100 list

Mayer opens the season as the No. 10 prospect on Baseball America's annual list.

The Sox first-round draft pick, Marcelo Mayer took fielding and batting practice before the game. He chats with Alex Verdugo.
Marcelo Mayer rose two spots in Baseball America's annual prospect rankings this season. John Tlumacki / Globe Staff

Baseball America released its annual list of the Top 100 prospects on Wednesday, and the Red Sox have both a top-10 selection and a 29-year-old rookie on the ledger. 

In total, Boston has five prospects on Baseball America’s ranked grouping, with 20-year-old shortstop Marcelo Mayer pacing the Sox at No. 10 overall.

Here is the full list of Sox prospects placed on BA’s new docket:

SS Marcelo Mayer – No. 10 overall
1B Tristan Casas – No. 29 overall
OF/INF Ceddanne Rafaela – No. 71 overall
OF Masataka Yoshida – No. 87 overall
CF Miguel Bleis – No. 88 overall

Yoshida is an interesting addition as a “prospect”, considering he has seven years of pro experience in Japan.

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The Sox’ new $90-million-man will likely not play a single game in the minors, but Yoshida’s designation as a rookie isn’t a surprise.

Other Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) players have captured Rookie of the Year Awards in MLB, including Hideo Nomo (1995), Kazuhiro Sasaki (2000), Ichiro Suzuki (2001), and Shohei Ohtani (2018).

Baseball America previously listed Ohtani as the No. 2 prospect in baseball in 2018, even though he played for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters from 2013-17.

Baseball America, which rates players’ tools on a 20-80 scale, tabbed Yoshida with a 55 rating for hitting and 45 for power. Yoshida — a career .327/.421/.539 hitter in NPB — recorded 80 walks and struck out just 41 times in 508 at-bats last season with the Orix Buffaloes.

Mayer rose up two spots in BA’s list after landing at No. 12 overall in 2022. Mayer, drafted fourth overall by Boston in the 2021 MLB Draft, played in 91 games for Single-A Salem and High-A Greenville last year. Across those two levels, Mayer slashed .280/.399/.489 with 13 home runs and 53 RBI.

With Xander Bogaerts signing with San Diego last month, Mayer stands as a potential long-term solution at short for Boston in the years ahead.

Casas’ time as a prospect might be a thing of the past. The 23-year-old slugger is expected to be Boston’s primary first baseman in 2023. Despite batting just .197 over 76 at-bats in 2022, Casas’ pop (five home runs) makes him a valuable piece in the middle of the Sox lineup.

Rafaela is a versatile prospect in Boston’s system, with the 22-year-old praised for elite defense at both shortstop and center field. He earned a call-up to Portland this summer, batting .278 with 12 home runs and 50 RBI over 71 games with the Sea Dogs.

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Rafaela could earn a late-season promotion with Boston if he continues to develop at the plate.

The 18-year-old Bleis is considered a rising star within the Sox organization. He’ll need plenty of seasoning before making it to the pros, but the 6-foot-3 outfielder boasts plenty of upside after crushing Florida Complex League (FCL) pitching last season.

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