The Boston Red Sox reportedly have interest in calling up an unheralded middle infielder over a top-20 prospect when the time comes to make a move this season.
After last season’s myriad of injuries, Boston is well aware of its need for depth entering the 2023 season. They have a pair of middle infielders fighting it out in Triple-A Worcester to be the next man up.
The underdog reportedly is gaining the upper hand early on.
“Keep an eye on second baseman/shortstop David Hamilton,” The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier wrote Friday. “The Sox love his speed and believe he can handle both middle infield spots.
There’s a chance he will get called up before (Enmanuel) Valdez if the Sox have a middle infield injury.”
Hamilton is the Red Sox’s No. 28 prospect according to MLB Pipeline. The 25-year-old hit .251 with 16 doubles, nine triples, 12 home runs, 42 RBIs and a .740 OPS in 119 games, all in Double-A Portland last season.
Most notably, Hamilton stole 70 bases in 78 attempts — the most steals in Sea Dogs’ history.
He’ll battle Valdez for the opportunity to make their big league debuts when the Red Sox turn to their depth — likely due to injury.
Valdez is the Red Sox’s No. 18 prospect and appeared to have the inside track toward a big-league call-up after a dominant 2022 season and impressive spring training.
The 24-year-old hit .296 with 65 extra-base hits including 28 home runs, 107 RBIs and a .918 OPS in 126 games between Double-A (44 games) and Triple-A (82 games). Valdez already is a major league-caliber hitter but has some holes in his game.
Hamilton is known for his speed and reliable defense — two areas where Valdez does not grade well. Hamilton is a dynamic speedster that could wreak havoc on the bases both as a starter and in a punch-running role.
More importantly, Hamilton is a quality defender at both second base and shortstop. Valdez has more positional versatility, but is a below-average defender across the diamond.
Valdez has a greater ceiling due to his impressive power and overall skillset in the batter’s box. However, Hamilton can step in for an injured player, make the routine plays up the middle and swipe a few bags.
The friendly rivalry at Polar Park between Hamilton and Valdez will be something to monitor this season.
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