The Boston Red Sox prospects were possibly the toughest team for me to rank. They are a very deep system with most of its high-ceiling talent in the lower levels and some lower-ceiling prospects in the high levels but higher probability.
In all honesty, I feel unsettled with the current ranking I gave this system. I feel that the top 8 or so prospects can be switched around so much with out much fault being thrown around. That is a testament to how deep this system is.
My biggest problem is that I tend to lend a higher hand to probability over ceiling but some of the guys in this organization have ceilings that simply excite me. Probability took the advantage in some cases that I’m not sure if I shouldn’t have gone with my gut in (Lavarnway vs. Swihart) but I really need to see more about some of the lower level guys, no matter how much I like them.
Below are my top 16 prospects with 2012 opening day age, position, and comments on each player. Below the top 16 is a small list of additional notable names. Enjoy.
|1||Xander Bogaerts (19-SS)||One of my favorite prospects in the game. He has the chance to develop well above-average power and could be a star if he can stick at SS. He is very athletic but not super fast and is still incredibly raw on defense. I think he can stick at SS but there is the chance he ends up at 3B or in the OF if he fills out more and doesn’t overcome his rawness. I see a star at SS here.|
|2||Matt Barnes (22-RHP)||Easy fastball that regularly hits mid-90s and keeps the ball down. Good frame and also has #1-2 starter potential with his solid 3-pitch repitoire and a high probability of at least a solid innings eating starter.|
|3||Will Middlebrooks (23-3B)||Has potential to be a plus hitter with plus power but needs to improve pitch recognition and patience. He is very athletic and should be above-average at 3B. Has the chance to be a star.|
|4||Ryan Lavarnway (24-DH/C)||The offensive potential is huge and too good to overlook his horrible defense. He has a great approach and 30+ HR power and should have a nice career but as a DH. He has no real shot at being an everyday catcher unless a team is willing to risk a few losses each year do to his lack of skill behind the dish. He was one of my biggest ranking struggles.|
|5||Garin Cecchini (20-3B)||He is my type of player. Has an advanced approach at the plate with great patience and plays the game well above his age. Has above-average tools across the board and should be at least a solid regular with the chance for stardom due to his feel for the game. He could easily make top 3 here on next year’s list and could be my highest mover next year in my overall rankings. Big fan!|
|6||Blake Swihart (20-C)||Not much pro data to go by but has quick hands and the ball explodes off his bat. Has a plus hit tool and is a switch hitting catcher that should be able to stick there with his great arm strength. His ability to stick at C made me want to rank him above Lavarnway but I need to see more first.|
|7||Anthony Ranaudo (22-RHP)||Huge frame and gets solid downhill plane on his pitches but needs to develop his change which is below average. His fastball is solid with room for more velocity and his curve flashes plus and he has the upside of a #2 starter. Reminds me of Jeff Niemann with much more upside. Still some risk here and moving slowly.|
|8||Bryce Brentz (23-OF)||I loved Brentz in college and his bat has been great but at low levels for a mature college bat. Has the arm, power potential, and hit tool to be a RF but needs to improve his patience as he is way too aggressive at the plate and pitchers at higher levels will exploit that. 2012 will be a solid test as he should start in AA.|
|9||Brandon Jacobs (22-OF)||Reminds me a lot of Elijah Dukes (on the field only). He is a great athlete with football experience and a RB’s frame and should be a solid defender in a COF once he learns the game more. Has 30+ HR potential in his bat with 15+ SB potential.|
|10||Henry Owens (19-LHP)||Tall, projectable frame, could improve velocity to mid-90s and needs work but has top of the rotation potential but a long way to go. He has two curves and I think he should ditch his Barry Zito hihg-60s curve and focus on his other one. His change has potential to be an out pitch. Long ways to go but huge upside.|
|11||Jose Iglesias (20-SS)||Bat has not developed as he has been rushed throw the system but his glove is MLB ready and better than most currently playing SS. Will never be more than a John McDonald comp if he cannot recognize off-speed stuff and become more patient despite his quick bat.|
|12||Sean Coyle (20-2B)||There will be lots of Dustin Pedroia comps due to size, position, and org, but not nearly the hit tool. He shows great patience but at the same time a lack of discipline at the plate. He has a great compact swing with good pull power and gap power but chases high pitches and has trouble reaching balls away from the middle of the plate. I really like him as a Pedroia-lite player and should stick at 2B with ease.|
|13||Jackie Bradley, Jr. (22-OF)||Despite his lack of plus speed, his feel for the game could keep him in CF and he has an above-average arm and solid approach at the plate. If he can stick in CF he has the chance to be a solid regular for years. If he moves to COF he could be a regular or great 4th OFer.|
|14||Drake Britton (22-LHP)||Had a disaster of a year in 2011 with loss of command and couldn’t keep the ball down which is something he has to do do succeed. He still has the stuff to be a solid mid-to-back rotation starter but 2011 was a step backwards for him.|
|15||Brandon Workman (23-RHP)||Has room to add muscle and velo and sits 91-94 with an out-pitch cutter. Has solid control but needs to work on off-speed pitches. At worst he can be a great reliever but has the chance to be a solid mid-to-back of the rotation guy.|
|16||Kyle Weiland (25-RHP)||Fastball that sits 91-95 and will keep it around the zone but lacks command and misses with all pitches up. His change-up must become more than a batting practice pitch if he wants to be more than a ROOGY. He has the potential to be a #4 inning-eater but needs more polish and time is running out.|
Filed under: On the Farm - Prospects Tagged: | 2012 Top Prospects, Anthony Ranaudo, Blake Swihart, Boston Red Sox, Brandon Jacobs, Brandon Workman, Bryce Brentz, Drake Britton, Garin Cecchini, Henry Owens, Jackie Bradley Jr., Jose Iglesias, Jose Vinicio, Kolbrin Vitek, Kyle Weiland, Matt Barnes, Miles Head, Prospects, Raul Alcantara, Ryan Lavarnway, Sean Coyle, Will Middlebrooks, Xander Bogaerts