The 2018 MLB Draft marked the beginning of the Red Sox rebuilding of their farm system. Boston made a few big-time splashes in the early rounds, including the widely heralded best closer in collegiate baseball in Durbin Feltman. Boston also selected a New Jersey high school standout in Nick Decker, and perhaps their biggest splash of all, the left-handed 18-year-old slugger from southern Florida, Triston Casas. With the 26th pick in the first round, the Sox snagged Casas, who many scouts and analysts had taken ten picks prior on their mock drafts.
Already dreaming about being the baseball player to ever live, Casas took to the diamond to begin his professional career in the Gulf Coast League yesterday. But the youngster will likely have to wait quite a while before making his dreams become a reality after suffering a minor setback.
Reports out of Fort Myers this afternoon have Casas injuring his right thumb while diving to corral an elusive ground ball at third base. Team doctors are evaluating Casas to determine the extent and nature of the injury.
It should go without saying that Casas is likely to do his time in the minors before making any impact up in Beantown. After all, Casas will play the corner infield positions as he ascends the minor leagues. It’s not as if the Red Sox aren’t currently squared away at first and third base. Rafael Devers, though susceptible to bobbling infield scorchers, has shown the big swing and raw talent to make up for his defensive shortcomings. On the other side of the diamond, Mitch Moreland seems to handle the everyday duties at first base just fine, slashing .299/.368/.937.
However, that’s not to say that Casas wasn’t on the fast track to Fenway. Over the past week, Casas attended batting practice and soaked in the infinite wisdom of Sox cleanup slugger, J.D. Martinez. Rumor has it that he could hit a ball over 500 feet to right field in high school. Fenway is without a doubt the ideal location for a left-handed power hitter with range like that.
The Red Sox first draft pick will have to wait a bit longer before that shallow right field becomes his best friend. Casas managed just one at-bat, in which he took a walk, before leaving the game.
Reports in the coming days will tell the story of Casas’ ailing thumb. If the Red Sox truly had plans to bring him up quickly through the system, then those plans will have to wait. An optimist could say that a minor injury like this could be a blessing in disguise, allowing Casas to grow and mature into a big league-ready hitter before he joins a major league squad.
Either way, Red Sox nation will hold their breath in the coming days as the team releases a diagnosis. Here’s to quick and painless recovery.