Before he took batting practice at Hadlock Field on Tuesday afternoon, Marcelo Mayer used a baseball as a hacky sack, kicking it back and forth a few minutes with teammate Ceddanne Rafaela. If the top pick of the Boston Red Sox in 2021 – the fourth pick overall that year – was feeling any nerves a few hours before his first home game as the shortstop for the Portland Sea Dogs, Mayer wasn’t showing it.

It’s fitting Mayer is from Chula Vista, California, literally Cool View in English. The 20-year old new shortstop for the Portland Sea Dogs and projected future shortstop for the Boston Red Sox is much more laid back than one would expect from one of the top prospects in baseball.

“Our team motto is ‘loose and loaded’ and that’s kind of what he is. He fits that profile just right. He’s ready to play every single day,” Sea Dogs Manager Chad Epperson said.

Mayer hit third Tuesday night, his first home game for the Sea Dogs after joining the team last week for a series on the road against the Somerset Patriots. Mayer went 0 for 3 with an RBI on a sacrifice fly to right field in Portland’s 6-2 win over the Akron RubberDucks in front of 4,230 fans.

Portland took a 2-0 lead in the third inning on back-to-back sacrifice flies by Nick Yorke and Mayer. Alex Binelas’ three-run home run in the fourth pushed the lead to 5-0. After Akron scored a pair of runs in the fifth to cut Portland’s lead to 5-2, Chase Meidroth’s solo home run over the left-field wall gave Portland an insurance run.

Brian Van Belle went six innings to earn the win for Portland (33-19), striking out four with two walks and five hits allowed.


Mayer said the biggest thing the Red Sox told him with the promotion is to not put pressure on himself.

“I’m feeling good. Early on (in the season) I struggled. I had to make a few adjustments. That’s part of the game… I’m feeling confident,” Mayer said.

In 35 games with Greenville this season, Mayer hit .290 with seven home runs, 34 RBI, 23 runs, and five stolen bases. Mayer went hitless in his first 16 at bats for Portland, before breaking out with a 3 for 4 effort with two RBI in the series finale Sunday.

“Good players know they’re good players. Everybody struggles, but I can’t even say that was a struggle. You get a guy with his pedigree comes up to Double-A, and they expect the first at bat to be a home run. No, it doesn’t always work that way. He’s in a good spot,” Epperson said.

Epperson said he likes that the Red Sox didn’t hesitate to promote Mayer to Double-A. Some players need to be challenged, Epperson said, citing Boston’s decision to promote left-handed starting pitcher Shane Drohan from Portland to Worcester after his strong start as an example.

“Even though he’s only 20 years old, let’s challenge him. I don’t think we would do it if we thought mentally they couldn’t handle it,” Epperson said.

Having played with many of the Sea Dogs in spring training and in A ball, Mayer said he already has relationships with most of the Sea Dogs, especially second baseman Yorke, Boston’s first-round pick in 2020. Both California natives, Mayer and Yorke played against each other growing up.

Enrique and Myriam Mayer were getting ready to fly from San Diego to Greenville to visit their son when he called them with the news. Cancel the rental car. You’re coming to Somerset with me. Mayer’s parents traveled with him to join the Sea Dogs at Somerset, then extended their trip and will be in Portland until Saturday, he said. On Monday, an off-day for the Sea Dogs, the Mayer family explored the city.

“We ate some lobster rolls that were pretty fire. Good first impression. I had one in Boston when I went to sign, and I didn’t like it. I was skeptical of trying it again. Thankfully I liked it so now I have a good spot to go to,” Mayer said.

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