Red Sox center field prospect Miguel Bleis at the JetBlue Park complex in Fort Myers. Christopher Smith,

He’s been called the right-handed version of Rafael Devers, and aspires to be like Ronald Acuña Jr.

His name is Miguel Bleis, and he’s one of the most promising talents in the Red Sox organization.

Signed out of the Dominican Republic in January 2021, Bleis was one of the top players available in that international signing class. A hard-hitting outfielder with a strong arm and serious speed, he’s already earning a rare baseball label:

Five-tool player.

“You don’t talk about five-tool players too often, but he is one of them,” Red Sox farm director Brian Abraham told the Boston Globe last fall.

Acuña is a role model for that reason, Bleis said through Red Sox translator Carlos Villoria-Benitez.


Bleis is the No. 4 prospect in the Red Sox organization and No. 93 in MLB Pipeline’s top 100 prospects. He’s in the top 100 at Baseball Prospectus (67) and Baseball America (88), Keith Law ranked him No. 72, and Kiley McDaniel put him at No. 95. FanGraphs ranks him No. 20.

“His well-rounded skill set and ability to make consistent hard barrel contact is rare,” Baseball America writer Geoff Pontes lauded in October. In January, BA editor Josh Norris wrote, “Miguel Bleis was one of the most outstanding prospects in the 2022 Florida Complex League,” and predicted, “the upside is there to be a superstar in the coming years.”

He’s trying to make his big-league debut within the next two years.

He turned 19 on March 1.

“I have a goal. In my mind, at the end of my 21­-year old season, that will be a nice thing to do if I make my debut in the big leagues,” he said. “I’m going to play hard and show the team I’m getting ready in all the aspects they want me to.”

Bleis made his first Grapefruit League start on Monday, and though the Red Sox fell to the Blue Jays 16-3 in Dunedin, anyone who sat through Toronto’s onslaught was rewarded with glimpses of the young player’s enormous, well-rounded potential.


He showed off his arm in the bottom of the first inning. Scooping up a ball that shot through the right side of the infield, the 6-foot, 2-inch outfielder fired home to Stephen Scott in time to make the tag.

At the plate, Bleis faced Blue Jays’ righty Alek Manoah, an All-Star who finished third in American League Cy Young voting last year. With a 1-2 count, two outs, and the bases loaded in the second, he turned a Manoah two-seam fastball into a single to right, bringing in two runs to tie the game.

When Enmanuel Valdez followed suit with a line-drive single, Bleis went from first to third.

Still, Bleis is only in the earliest stages of his professional career, and that was evident on Monday, as well. He needs to work on seeing breaking balls and sliders; Manoah got him to strike out swinging on a slider in the fourth inning.

In 40 games in rookie-level Florida Complex League last season, Bleis stole 18 bases and hit .301/.353/.543. He collected 46 hits, including 14 doubles, four triples, and five home runs, scored 28 runs, and drove in 27. He also struck out 45 times and only drew 10 walks.

SENT TO WORCESTER: As expected, Red Sox prospect Chris Murphy will begin the 2023 season in Triple-A Worcester’s starting rotation.


Boston optioned Murphy to Worcester on Tuesday after he struggled in Monday’s Grapefruit League game against the Blue Jays. He joins starters Bryan Mata and Brandon Walter who already were optioned to the WooSox.

Boston added Murphy to the 40-man roster in November, protecting him from the Rule 5 Draft. The 24-year-old started off strong for the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs last season, posting a 2.58 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and .170 batting average against in 15 outings (13 starts). He struggled at times after a promotion to Worcester (5.50 ERA, 15 starts).

Murphy said he worked during the offseason on commanding all his pitches better, especially his fastball.

“And then adding some velo to my cutter. Some more horizontal movement on it,” Murphy said. “Throwing everything a little bit harder. Just more commanding my pitches and doing what I need to do early in counts.”

Following Monday’s game,  infielder David Hamilton, infielder/outfielder Ceddanne Rafaela and left-handed pitcher Brandon Walter were also optioned to Triple-A Worcester.

DEVERS IN ONE PLACE: Considering the Red Sox gave Rafael Devers more than $300 million just two months ago, it’s no surprise they decided to ask the Dominican national team to be careful with him in World Baseball Classic play.


As first reported by ESPN’s Enrique Rojas, officials from the Dominican Republic reached out to the Red Sox to see if the club would be OK with Devers playing some first base in the World Baseball Classic. The team, citing the potential risk of a player manning an unfamiliar position, declined.

“It’s something that doesn’t make sense to us,” Manager Alex Cora told reporters. “I know (some Dominican players) got hurt, but there’s a reason the people who got hurt aren’t playing, right? We have to protect our guy and they understand that. When you have good players, you have to make tough decisions. Raffy’s on board. He’s just happy to be part of the team and ready to contribute whenever they put his name in the lineup. But it’s not going to be at first base.”

The Dominican team has used Manny Machado at third base and Devers as its designated hitter in its first two games. The Dominican team had a need at first base because Blue Jays star Vladimir Guerrero Jr. dropped out with a knee injury; Nationals corner infielder Jeimer Candelario has started there in both games.

All but five of Devers’ 5,837 2/3 defensive innings in the major leagues have come at third base. He played two innings at shortstop in 2019 and three innings at second base in 2021 but has never manned first base in the majors. He is once again expected to be the everyday third baseman for the Red Sox in 2023 with Justin Turner playing there on some occasions, allowing Devers to serve as the designated hitter.

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