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Marcelo Mayer holds key to Chaim Bloom’s entire Red Sox rebuild

Marcelo Mayer holds key to Chaim Bloom's entire Red Sox rebuild

Tomase: Marcelo Mayer holds the key to Chaim Bloom’s rebuild originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Brayan Bello clearly belongs in the big leagues. Triston Casas has enough power and plate discipline to merit a long look at first base. Ceddanne Rafaela probably isn’t Mookie Betts, but there’s at worst a super utility job in his future.

All are fine prospects who should contribute to the Red Sox in 2023. But when we talk about Chaim Bloom’s overhaul of the farm system, we’re really talking about one player: Marcelo Mayer.

Building out the middle of the roster with homegrown players is one thing. Producing franchise cornerstones is another, and as the Red Sox enter Year 4 of Bloom’s stewardship, that means Mayer.

Picked fourth overall in the 2021 MLB Draft, Mayer has done nothing to suggest the Red Sox whiffed on the selection. He’s a consensus top-20 prospect across the various rankings, placing as high as seventh (MLB Pipeline) and as low as 19th (FanGraphs).

He’s far and away the brightest star in the Red Sox system after hitting .280 with 13 homers between Low-A Salem and High-A Greenville. He was one of only a handful of teenagers in the South Atlantic League, where he posted an .828 OPS in 25 games.

Beyond the numbers is the projectability. Mayer arrived out of high school with a big league frame. Already listed at 6-foot-3 and 188 pounds, it’s easy to envision him one day resembling Twins All-Star Carlos Correa, a 6-foot-4, 220-pounder with rangy athleticism at shortstop.

The difference between Mayer and Correa is that the latter arrived in Houston with a posse. The Astros of the mid-teens were loaded with young talent, from Correa to center fielder George Springer to third baseman Alex Bregman. They joined future MVP Jose Altuve as the core of a lineup that won it all in 2017.

The Red Sox, for all their proclamations about building a better farm system, aren’t exactly awash in elite performers. They may boast a much stronger middle class than the one Bloom inherited from Dave Dombrowski — and there’s certainly value in that — but they don’t compare to their AL East rivals in terms of prospect rankings.

Tomase: Red Sox’ apparent strategy for 2023 rotation is puzzling

The Orioles, for instance, just graduated consensus No. 1 overall prospect Adley Rutschman to the big leagues, and he is the real deal. His arrival coincided with Baltimore’s ascension in the standings, and the switch-hitting catcher established himself in short order as a…

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