As we break into the top ten of my Boston Red Sox prospects, we begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The Red Sox pitchers and catchers report in just over a month, and we’re just under six weeks from full team workouts. Plus, I kick off the top ten with a guy I am most excited about. Manuel Margot was a common “sleeper” prospect for most outlets and for good reason.
Margot has the makings of a future top prospect in the organization, but he does have some warts and a ton of growth before that is even a consideration. He will spend nearly the entire 2014 season at just age 19 after being signed as a 16-year-old from the Dominican Republic in 2011. He has only seen action in 117 career professional games — 68 in the 2012 Dominican Summer League — and 49 in an injury-riddled 2013 season with the Lowell Spinners. Before missing time to injury, Margot made a highlight diving grab in center field that found him on the home page of MILB.com for nearly a week.
His numbers at Lowell don’t jump off the page, just a .270/.346/.351 slash line, but as pointed out by SoxProspects.com, all but two plate appearances came against pitchers older than him. That said, he also has some work to do with his swing. His stride takes him away from the plate, and that will be exploited with outside breaking balls as he climbs through the minors. This will certainly be a point of concentration from a coaching standpoint, but it also means his potential numbers in the high minors and big leagues could project better than his low minors numbers.
Margot has true 70 level speed, stealing 51 bags in his 117 career professional games. He can run in a way that makes it easy to put a Jacoby Ellsbury comp on him. While it may be a little early, it might also not be a bad comparison. He will probably be more of a doubles and triples hitter than a home run hitter — his lone home run in 2013 was an inside-the-park homer — but could top out between 10-15.
He has a league average center field arm with the potential to be an above average defensive center fielder. He has slightly better instincts than Ellsbury and the speed to make up for poor reads. With a good year and a number of Red Sox prospects that will be ineligible for prospect lists come 2015, Margot could find himself in almost every Red Sox prospect list’s top 10, if not top 5, come next year and potentially threaten the top 100 in all of baseball. While Margot may not be a big league consideration until 2017 or so, he is a name any Red Sox fan should keep in the back of their mind as he could be something special.