Keith Law: Red Sox’ Roman Anthony ‘might be the biggest breakout prospect’ in baseball

Red Sox

“The Sox deserve credit for taking what was already a good swing and turning it into one of the best in the minors.”

Roman Anthony ended his season in Double-A Portland.
Roman Anthony will not turn 20 until May 2024. Salem Red Sox

The Red Sox’ farm system has been anchored by familiar names like Marcelo Mayer, Ceddanne Rafaela, and Miguel Bleis over the last year.

But no Boston prospect’s stock has risen more over the summer than 19-year-old outfielder Roman Anthony.

In his first full season of pro ball, Anthony advanced from low-A Salem all the way to Double-A Portland, slashing .272/.403/.466/.869 over 106 games with 14 home runs and 64 RBI.

Anthony, who won’t turn 20 until May 2024, will likely start next season with Portland and has accelerated his timeline up to the big leagues in short order.

The 2022 second-round selection’s rapid rise has caught the attention of multiple MLB prospect evaluators, including Keith Law of The Athletic.

In Law’s latest minor-league notebook, the longtime baseball scribe offered up high praise for Anthony and his potential as an impact bat at the next level.

“Outfielder Roman Anthony isn’t just Boston’s breakout prospect this year, he might be the biggest breakout prospect in all of the minors,” Law wrote on Monday. 

Law ranked Anthony 12th overall within Boston’s farm system entering the 2023 season, with many national prospect rankings omitting the teen outfielder from their top 100 lists after only playing 20 total games in the Red Sox organization in 2022.

But after a scorching stretch with both High-A Greenville and Double-A Portland, Anthony is now the 35th-ranked prospect in baseball, according to MLB.com. 

During their midseason rankings update, Baseball Prospectus even tabbed Anthony as the No. 9 prospect in baseball, even ahead of Mayer (No. 10).

Despite batting .228 with just one home run and 18 RBI over 42 games with Low-A Salem, Anthony’s exit velocity and bat speed offered up hope that his numbers at the plate were going to rebound.

All it took was a promotion up to Greenville to see those results play out. As the youngest player in High-A ball, Anthony batted .294 with a .412 on-base percentage, .981 OPS, 12 homers, 38 RBIs and 41 runs over 54 games.

His impressive play against elevated competition prompted Boston to promote Anthony to the Sea Dogs over the final weeks of Portland’s season.

In a 10-game sample size, Anthony batted .343 with four doubles, one home run and eight RBI with the Sea Dogs. In his 44 plate appearances against Double-A pitching, Anthony worked eight walks and only struck out twice.

Law managed to catch Anthony and the Sea Dogs shortly before their 2023 campaign wrapped.

“The Sox deserve credit for taking what was already a good swing and turning it into one of the best in the minors, and maybe the best I’ve seen in person all year,” Law wrote. “They’ve loosened Anthony up at the plate, from his setup, where his hands are more free, to his actual swing, where his lead arm stays slightly bent so he doesn’t lose contact quality or bat speed at his follow-through.

When people talk about pretty left-handed swings, they mean this. That wouldn’t mean much without a strong eye, but Anthony has already shown excellent plate discipline and coverage for his age, including very low chase rates, especially before he gets to two strikes. I only saw three at-bats before the rains came, but I got several swings that were picture-perfect along with two hard line-drive doubles to center field.”

With Mayer, Anthony and catcher Kyle Teel all expected to open the 2024 campaign with Portland, the Red Sox may not have to wait very long for some blue-chip youngsters to start pushing for playing time up in the big leagues.


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