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Boston Red Sox 2021 Season Preview: Alex Verdugo Leads The Center Fielders
Author: SG Geronimo77

Welcome to the 2021 positional preview series. Over the next seven days, we will be looking at each position group catcher, corner infield, middle infield, corner outfield, center field, starting pitchers , and relief pitchers throughout the organization. For each installment we will take a look at the projected starter, the options to come off the bench, the depth pieces who will be waiting at the Alternate Site/at Triple-A,the top prospect, the sleeper prospect, all the rest of the prospects for each position, and where they stand in the division. Today we look head out to the center fielders.StarterAlex VerdugoThis is a little bit of a weird situation, because one of the issues all offseason for the Other ProspectsThe list is getting smaller, but there are still some who have Gilberto Jimenez rated higher than Duran. I not one of them, but I see the argument. Jimenez has the kind of tools you drool over, with plus-plus speed that will keep him in center field, plus-plus makeup, and good potential at the plate, albeit raw. He last played in Lowell, but interestingly Sox Prospects has him projected to start this season in High-A Greenville. It maybe a bit aggressive, but I can see it.Jeisson Rosario is on the 40-man, unlike Duran and Jimenez, but he pretty clearly the number three center field prospect Jimmie Foxx Flag. His stock has been trending in the wrong direction since entering the organization in a trade last summer, and his ceiling is limited by a big-time lack of power. That said, if his athleticism from 2019 comes back, that plus his approach should give him a relatively high floor.Ceddanne Rafaela could have been listed in many of these articles as he is a true super utility guy. He probably a future bench player with the bat not projecting to be anything special, but he a very good athlete and can play all over the place. As long as he hits a little bit, he can find a role.Miguel Bleis was the top international signing from this year signing period, getting $1.5 million out of the Dominican Republic. We talking about a 17-year-old so there still a whole lot to be gleaned about his profile, but he signs as a plus athlete with real power potential.Juan Chacon joins Lopez and Bleis as center fielders who topped the last three international signing classes. Chacon got the smallest bonus of the three at $900,000, and he is similar to Bleis as an athletic outfielder, albeit with maybe a bit less in terms of power potential.Division Standing Center field in the American League East is pretty clear on the bookends. George Springer joins the division this year after singing with the Blue Jays this winter , and he clearly becomes the top name on this list. Austin Hays in Baltimore is an interesting young player, but he clearly last in this group for me. But the middle three can go in any direction. The Yankees have Aaron Hicks, who I have long felt doesn get enough credit with his power/on-base combo. Meanwhile, Kevin Kiermaier and Manuel Margot give the Rays a great baseline with defense. I take Verdugo over both of those though . I don buy into the bats in Tampa enough, and Hicks injury history scares me off. So I put Verdugo and the Red Sox second, but there is probably some bias in there, and really it close enough that I think you can put them in whatever order you want and have a fair argument.
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