Tuesday, May 1, 2012

RSM Top 12 Red Sox Prospects--May Update

It is time again to do our rankings of the very best prospects in the Red Sox system, and to see how April treated the kids.  We use several factors to rank including talent, projected major league skills, age, and how close they are to helping the big club.  Not everyone's rankings use the last factor,  and by doing so you may see some prospects higher on our list than others ( ex. Alex Wilson).  Behind each name the number in brackets is April's ranking for that player.

1. Will Middlebrooks {2}--Will moves to the top of the list with an unbelievable April in Pawtucket.  He hit 9 home runs ( out homering all the other players on the list combined, they had 8) with 27 RBI's and a BA of .348, his OPS was an other worldly 1.104.  Putting this month on top of his all ready known defensive skills and the rest of his minor league numbers, and we may change the name of this monthly recap to the Middlebrooks Market Report.  But despite ripping the ball, the Sox seem to want to get him as many AAA at bats as possible, witnessed by the May 1st recall of Jose Iglesias to help cover an injury to Kevin Youkilis.

2. Xander Bogaerts {1}--If not for the torrent of offense showered down by Middlebrooks,  Xander very likely would have stayed at #1.  His raw numbers pale to Middlebrooks, but as a 19 year old playing high A ball, Bogaerts if off to a very good start.  He has 2 homers with 10 RBIs while hitting .278 and an OPS of .828.  Even as a teenager if Bogaerts can have a May and June to match April he could be at Hadlock Field by July.

3. Ryan Lavarnway {4}-  Another example of a rating pushed up somewhat due to big league readiness.  His bat, although not on fire in April, is ready for prime time.  He just continues to work on his catching  If an injury or other need arises in Boston he is the most ready to help, even more than Middlebrooks for now at least.

4. Matt Barnes {6}--One of the risers on this list, very nearly edged out Lavarnway for third.  Barnes has had a spectacular start to his pro career.  The 2011 first rounder from UConn did not even give up a run until his fifth start at low A Greenville,  This gave him an ERA of 0.34 and a ticket to High A Salem, where he will make his Carolina League debut this week.  Carlos Febles, his manager at Greenville said he thought Barnes could be in the show in a year or two. Barnes had 42 K's with 4 walks at Greenville.

5. Anthony Ranaudo {3} Ranaudo slips down two spots mostly because he has not pitched yet this year due to a groin pull.  He is due to join the Sea Dogs soon.  He and Matt Barnes are still bookend prospects who could come up the ranks with similar skill sets and timetables.

6. Jose Iglesias {5} Despite his recall today ( May 1 ) to provide some infield depth while Youk is dinged up,  Jose has unfortunately struggled with the bat at AAA again this year.  Hitting only .200 with an OBP of .274.  We all know the story, either he hits more or he will be a good glove ( OK, great glove) no hit SS. Despite this recent recall he needs more AAA time.

7. Ryan Kalish {7}- Not much to report, Kalish is still recovering from surgery and is still expected to be out another month or two.  He could help this year, but 2013 is looking more likely by the week.

8. Jackie Bradley{UR} The biggest jump by far in the rankings, rated about 15th or so at season's start. Bradley, a 2011 sandwich pick for South Carolina,  was assigned to Salem and he took off with a OBP of .465 for the month.  he also played his usual stellar defense in CF.  As an outstanding college player before signing,  he is the type of player who could shoot to Boston more quickly than expected.  Not this year, but late next or 2014.

9. Bryce Brentz {8} Still an intriguing prospect despite a slow start at AA.  He has hit only .216 with one home run.  But still he projects as a right handed hitting power guy which is sorely needed in Boston.  May will interesting to see if April was just an adjustment month to AA.

10. Alex Wilson {10} The numbers for Wilson were okay, 17K/4BB in 15.1 innings, but May will be much more important as Wilson has been moved to the bullpen at AAA in the last week or so.  The Pawsox will use him in different situations in the pen to see if he can help the Boston bullpen, perhaps soon.

11. Sean Coyle {12} Coyle maintains his inclusion on the list and moves up a spot, due to showing some pop with 2 home runs as a middle infielder playing in the Carolina League at a young age, like Bogaerts.

12. Blake Swihart {9} He drops three spots due to some weak raw numbers at Greenville hitting only .178 with a home run.  But he was in high school this time last year and is playing in a league a level or two above where high school draftees usually start.  If our rankings were on projected ability alone he would be in the Top 5.

Special mention of two prospects who have been in Boston all ready,  Junichi Tazawa and Lars Anderson.  Both could easily be on this list, I decided to not rank them due to the big league appearances.  Tazawa will help the Sox this year, Lars may very well be trade bait.

Others just off the list: Brandon Jacobs ( down from #11 last month), Henry Owens  (another HS draftee off to a solid start at Greenville), Garin Cecchini, Kolbrin Vitek, Stolmy Pimental, and Alex Hassan.

We will watch to see if May can be a turn around for the slow starters, a continuation of some good stats, and to see if Will Middlebrooks and Matt Barnes can stay in orbit.


  1. To look down the road a little I could see Bradley in CF if Jacoby still wants to hit for power and bulk up some.

  2. We may not need to re-name this monthly report the Middlebrooks Market Report, because he may be playing in Boston as early as tonight! According to WEEI's Twitter page, the Sox would have called up Middlebrooks instead of Iggy yesterday if not for a minor thumb injury. Apparently, the thumb injury is not serious as Middlebrooks played last night for Pawtucket. WEEI reports that the team appears ready to DL Youki-Pipp and call up #1 prospect Young William. I don't know whether it will be beneficial or detrimental to his development, but I'm looking forward to watching him play....and watching Punto go back to sitting on the bench.

    1. Following Twitter can be so confusing. First, tweets came out that the Sox were going to recall Middlebrooks. Then, tweets came out that they were calling up Cook today. Then, tweets that Cook was going to be called up, but not for a day or two. Now, Middlebrooks is on his way to Boston. All I know for sure is that Lars was demoted last night after he struck out with two men on in the ninth inning (he should have been pinch hit for by Shoppach anyways, but whatever). At this point, I assume that Middlebrooks will be called up to take Lars' spot on the 25 man roster, and then either tomorrow or Friday they will put Youk on the DL, call up Cook to take his spot, and release Justin Thomas from the 40 man to make room for Cook. Anybody else confused? I need a nap.

    2. According to CSNNE, Middlebrooks and Cook are being added to the roster. With Lars Anderson being optioned to Pawtucket and Kevin Youkilis going on the disabled list. CSNNE is also reporting that Middlebrooks is in the starting lineup tonight. Hopefully he doesn't have any travel delays. I'm looking forward to watching him play. I'm not expecting too much. He just needs to make the plays on defense and have solid AB's. With Youk going on the DL it is clear that Middlebrooks is going to have an extended shot to show what he can do.

  3. Not sure where CSNNE gets all there info, but they seem to be the first ones to get it all, but now they are reporting that Aaron Cook is going to start on Saturday in place of Josh Beckett. Who is still sore from his last start. This must be their way of using a partial 6 man rotation to protect their starters. Beckett threw around 126 pitches in his last start. So they're going to give him a little extra rest.

  4. Now I'm seeing tweets that Clayton Mortensen has been called up for today's game. Apparently Cook isn't going to be added to the roster yet, but instead Mortensen will take either Lars or Youk's place, then will probably be sent back down to add Cook later in the week to start on Saturday. I continue to be confused.

    1. This would make sense because the bullpen needs help tonight and if Cook is going to start on Saturday he's no good to the team until Saturday. When was the last time we had this many early season roster moves? Deacon?

  5. Matt Barnes continues to dominate at high A Salem. He struck out 12 batters in 6 innings in his first start there. Will he continue to climb the organizational ladder and Deacon's prospects list. If he keeps this up he may be in Portland playing for the Sea Dogs by June and he may be at the top of the RSM prospect list too!!