In the 2018 MLB draft, the Red Sox used their first round pick, 26th overall, to select infielder Triston Casas out of American Heritage High School in Plantation, Florida. Only 18 years old at the time, Casas was put to work straight away, playing two rookie ball games before thumb surgery forced him to miss the remainder of the year.
In 2019, Casas was sent to A-ball and crushed 19 home runs in 118 games. His overall line was .254/.349/.472, with his 11.8% walk rate helping to create that separation between his batting average and on-base percentage, as well as a wRC+ of 136. His 23.5% strikeout rate could be considered a tad high, but not alarming. He was rewarded for that fine performance with two games at High-A to finish the year.
The pandemic wiped out the minors entirely in 2020, but Casas was added to Boston’s 60-man player pool that year. He might have shown something impressive at the alternate training site, as he was promoted to Double-A to start 2021. In 77 games there, he hit 13 home runs and slashed .284/.395/.484, wRC+ of 142. His walk rate climbed to 14.9% and strikeout rate fell to 19.1%. He also left for a while to represent the United States in the Olympics, helping the team win a silver medal. After a promotion to Triple-A, he got into nine games and hit .242/.381/.485, with even strikeout and walk rates of 19%. He was then sent to the Arizona Fall League, where he continued his excellent year, hitting .372/.495/.487 in 21 games, with a walk rate of 17.5% and strikeout rate of 18.6%. He’s now considered one of the best prospects in baseball, ranked #19 by Baseball America, #18 by MLB Pipeline and #17 by FanGraphs.