Wednesday, August 1, 2012

RSM Red Sox Top 12 Prospects-August Edition

As August 1st has rolled around this will be our last in season ranking for the top 12 prospects in the Red Sox system.  The minor league regular seasons end on Labor Day weekend, so our next report will be a post season ranking of the future Sox stars.

The August list has 11 of the same 12 names from July but with some shuffling of the list. Numbers 2 & 3, as well as 4& 5 have flip flopped.  Also four of the younger prospects on the list have moved up 2 or 3 spots each.  Here is the list as of the start of August. The offense stat lines used are HR/RBI/BA/OBP/SA for hitters and W-L/ERA/ K to BB ratio for the pitchers.  The number in brackets after the names are July's ranking.

1. Xander Bogaerts  {1} With only the slightest hiccup in July, Bogaerts has solidified his #1 ranking. Xander, who participated in the Futures Game in Kansas City,  hit 3/12/.259/.337/.432 in July to bring his yearly stats to 15/59/.283/.360/.479.  As a nineteen year old shortstop he has put up these impressive numbers, especially the 15 dingers and .360 OBP. There is still debate among scouts if he can remain at short as he continues to fill out.  But you can bet in 2 or 3 years Xander will be at SS, 3B, or the outfield at Fenway.

2. Jackie Bradley, Jr. {3}  Bradley suffered through his first down spell for the season in early to mid July at Portland, but he turned it back on recently.  In July he hit 4/15/.274/.356/.479.  For the year his combined A/AA stats still show an incredible OBP of .441. With a bit of a recent Portland power surge, Bradley is at 7 homers for the year, to go with 23 stolen bags.  And of course, despite all of the wonderful offensive numbers, it is his wizardry in center field that really has his managers
 and scouts buzzing.  He has been called the best "instinctual" outfielder many have ever seen.  Jackie Jr. should see action at Fenway some time during 2013.

3. Matt Barnes {2}  Barnes' slip down one spot really has more to do with Bradley continued hot season, more than any regression by Barnes.  That being said, Barnes has had the least successful month of his pro career.  Of course, if Matt pitched every month like he started 2012, he may have bypassed the big leagues to go straight to the Hall of Fame.  His July numbers were 0-3/4.98/24 to 5.
These lesser numbers are probably attributed to getting deeper into his first full pro season, and after going 7-1 the first 3 months the record was bound to even out.  Still his K/BB ratio for the year is 122/20.  With the July numbers it seems that Barnes will not pitch at Hadlock Field until 2013.

4. Ryan Lavarnway {5}  The power hitting catcher was recalled to Boston on August 1st, as the Sox continue to corner the market on Yalies ( hello, Craig Breslow).  Expected to come up after a deadline deal of Kelly Shoppach, the deal did not happen (yet), but Ryan joins the Sox as Daniel Nava was DL'd.  Lavarnway has worked hard all year at AAA on his catching defense, which is considered his question mark.  His bat is thought to be big league ready.  However, his numbers at Pawtucket are no where near his combined AA/AA/MLB power stats of 2011.  For the year at AAA he is hitting 8/43/.295/.376/.439.  For the month of July his numbers actually sagged with only 1 HR while hitting .233 with a OBP of .290. He moves up one spot from last month because of his nearness to being big league ready.  Let's see if his recall is a real shot to shine, or is just roster filler for now.

5. Bryce Brentz {4}  The Sea Dogs right fielder with the right handed power bat has had an up and down season at Portland. His overall stats are pretty good at 13/52/.272/.337/.444. But July was a downer overall hitting 3 homers but batting only .200 with a 250 OBP.  Brentz has not completely mastered hitting the breaking ball and still does not command the strike zone in his at bats.  The expected late season promotion to Pawtucket ( a la Middlebrooks 2011) may not happen, but Bryce should be the opening day RF in Pawtucket in 2013.

6. Blake Swihart {8} The 20 year old catcher continues his season long climb up the RSM rankings. The 2011 first rounder moves up the list largely due to two factors.  First his long term projection of being a first class big league hitter, and it should be long term.  He should spend another 3 or 4 years in the system.  Unless the Red Sox move him out from behind the plate to expedite his path to Boston. The other reason for his ascension up our rankings is the strong offensive season he is putting up in the South Atlantic League, which is a level or two above someone his age often is at.  His line for the year is 6/41/.255/.298/.395.  Not outstanding numbers but solid, and 3 of 6 home runs have come in July as Blake continues to improve.

7. Garin Cecchini {9} In his second pro season, Cecchini continues to meet his high school rep, as perhaps the best pure hitter in the 2010 draft.  An injury in his senior year of high school dropped his draft stock and the Sox gladly scooped him up in the fourth round. For the year the third baseman at Greenville has hit 4/54/.302/.383/.428.  He has also been very consistent, with his July averages mirroring his yearly totals almost exactly.  With another year or two of these kind of numbers as he graduates to Salem and Portland,  Garin may insert himself into the debate as to whether Will Middlebrooks is the Sox third sacker for the next decade.

8. Jose Iglesias {6} It continues to be the same song second chorus for Iglesias.  Can he hit enough to bring his superstar glove to the big leagues?  From his numbers at Pawtucket this year, the answers range from " Don't Know" to " No".  One thing still in his favor Jose is younger than we all think.  He does not turn 23 until January, so even another entire season at AAA means he could be a 24 y/o starting shortstop in 2014.  But I think you can hear the clock ticking on Iglesias.

9. Brandon Jacobs {12} Brandon is into his second month of returning to the RSM Top 12, and with an exceptional July he nearly pushed up another spot or two. In July Jacobs hit 4/18/.284/.348/.461  Besides Bogaerts and maybe Brentz,  Jacobs is the top power hitting prospect in the system.  He also can run some with 14 stolen bases on the season to go with his 10 home runs and 51 RBI.

10. Henry Owens {13} The tall 6'6" lefty drafted last year from a southern California high school has continued to pile impressive numbers at an advanced level for the youngster.  His seasonal line is 10-4/4.50/ 110 to 37.( and he won number 11 on August 1st).  Some scouts and minor league watchers go so far as to suggest Owens may be the number 1 prospect the Red Sox have, due to his age, left handedness, and the numbers he is compilng.

11.Brandon Workman {11} The Longhorn is continuing to impress at Salem.  His line for the year is 7-6/3.28/94 to 19.  His July numbers included 2 more wins and a 32 to 4 K/BB ratio.  Many observers have been expecting his recall to Portland for weeks, but with deadline addition of knuckle baller Steven Wright to the Dogs rotation, Workman may continue to toil at Salem.

12. Anthony Ranaudo {7}  All you can say for Ranaudo is that 2012 has become a lost season,  between injuries coming out of camp and some arm fatigue in July ( when he has pitched just 3 innings).  Add to fact that when he has pitched ( only 9 games and 37 innings ) he has not pitched well.
It is way to soon to write off such a hyped prospect, but at the least Anthony will likely return to Portland in 2013 to begin the year, short of a unexpected remarkable August.

The second bakers dozen

Deven Marrero ( who by the way has 2 cousins in pro ball, not brothers as I said last month)
Junichi Tazawa
Alex Wilson
Travis Shaw  ( promoted to Portland on Aug. 1st, after a line of 16/73/.307/.413/.548 at Salem)
Sean Coyle
Drake Britton
Stolmy Pimental
Christian Vazquez
Ty Buttrey ( made his pro debut on August 1st.)
Chris Henandez ( recently promoted to AAA from Portland)
Alex Hassan
Jeremy Hazelbaker
Michael Almanzar

And finally our David Chester update ( if anyone out there does not get this ask any of the Maineiacs).
The huge Lowell Spinner first baseman has hit 6 home runs to lead the team along with 18 RBI.  Chester is hitting .232 with an OBP of .314 while slugging at ..432.

We will do this again in early September after the seasons end.


  1. Thanks for the Red Sox prospects update Deacon, best one yet! It seems as though there was a lot of feast or famine for the prospects in July. It certainly is the dog days of summer and for most of these players they are now in the part of the season which is longer than any other they've ever played and it shows. The one prospect who really peaks my interest is Owens (10) he looks like a potential stud. He's on the young side and will probably need a full year at every level of the minors, but we will have to keep our eye on him.

  2. I also enjoyed the August update. I saw an interesting tweet about #7 Cecchini tonight - he stole his 38th base of the season today, including 22 in a row without getting caught dating back to May 18th. Also, #4 Ryan Lavarnway is in the Red Sox lineup tonight! The last time the Sox started a C, RF, and 3B all under 25 was 9/21/92 (Flaherty, Plantier, Cooper). Let's hope tonight's threesome's careers work out a little better than the '93 threesome. Go Sox!

    p.s. if Jon Lester can't beat the Twins at home in the middle of a heating-up pennant race, then we might as well call it a season, call up all the kids we can, designate Lester for assignment, and publicly declare that we are playing for 2013.

    1. Lester didn't pitch too bad tonight, but the team still lost and are now 2-2 on a 10 game homestand that started out so positive. All the pre-trade deadline optimism now appears dead just like every other time this season when the Sox appear to have turned a corner. The continuing trend in this disappointing season is Lester and Beckett.

  3. A player who received a mention on our lists for the first time this season ( at #20) catcher Christian Vazquez is the newest Portland Sea Dog after being promoted today to AA in a chain reaction to Ryan Lavarnway being promoted to Boston ( catcher Dan Butler left the Dogs to go to Pawtucket). At Salem, Vazquez had hit 7 homers with 41 RBI and a .266 BA. Vazquez, who was a 9th round pick in the 2008 draft, has long been considered the top defensive catching prospect in the Sox system. This year so far he has thrown out 42% of would be base stealers to lead the Carolina League. A strong August showing at Portland could put him in the running at least to start 2013 in AAA.