ORLANDO — Juan Carlos Linares is 26, so it’s not really fair to call him a prospect. He played three seasons in the Cuban League for La Habana before defecting and signing with the Red Sox last summer.
Linares played in 17 minor league games, getting 61 at-bats before the season ended. So the Sox shipped him to the Arizona Fall League.
In 68 at-bats, he is hitting .397/.423/.662 with 11 extra-base hits and 14 RBIs. Yes, small sample. But nonetheless, those stats make you stop and look again.
“He has really opened some eyes,” Theo Epstein said. “Great tools and it looks like he’s really going to hit. … He was centering everything, showing significant opposite-field power, puling the ball with authority as well and playing all three outfield positions and getting really good jumps. He was impressive and definitely an interesting guy.”
In the interest of getting a second opinion, I texted a scout who has been watching games in Arizona. He sent back two words:
So there’s that. Linares will certainly get a long look in spring training and he could be somebody who puts himself into position to help the Sox in the event of injury. It will be interesting to see where the Sox start him next season. Given his age, it’s a fair bet to say they could push him to see what they have.