For those of you who were still waiting to go to Hadlock Field to see phenom Xander Bogaerts, you have waited too long. On Thursday, June 13, the top Red Sox prospect ( as rated by Red Sox Maineiacs, and everyone else in the world) was promoted to AAA Pawtucket. This was just a matter of time, due to the numbers Bogaerts was compiling at Portland. .311/.407/.502 with 12 doubles and a half dozen triples and home runs each. He also drew 35 walks as opposed to 1 at Portland last August. In his AAA debut, he walked in an eight pitch at bat, additionally displaying his improved pitch selection. In his third time up, Bogaerts singled for his first AAA hit. In addition to Bogaerts tearing up the Eastern League, the Red Sox decision to keep Jose Iglesias in Boston created a natural opening to promote Bogaerts.
About a week before Bogaerts' promotion, another member of the RSM top 12 prospects headed from Portland to Pawtucket. Pitcher Brandon Workman went to AAA and in his first start pitched solidly. 5 2/3 innings while giving up 3 ER with 4K and 3 BB, Workman picked up the win in his AAA debut.
The Sea Dogs starter who has pitched even better than Brandon Workman seemingly will not be far behind on the promotion ladder. Anthony Ranaudo has been outstanding in every start but one this year. His record is 7-1 with an ERA of 2.15 an a WHIP of 0.93, and after his most recent start has 76K in 67 IP. And what a most recent start it was. Facing Erie, the one team who battered Ranaudo for seven runs in his only poor start, Ranaudo pitched 7 2/3 innings allowing only 2 hits and 2 walks while fanning 13 batters. This tied the Sea Dogs team record for strikeouts, last done by Jon Lester in 2005, (in a game witnessed by some of the Maineiacs.) Ranaudo cannot be many starts way from joining Brandon and Xander in Rhode Island.
Today, June 14, the Red Sox recalled a pitcher of the day from AAA for the fourth day in a row. Today it is highly touted prospect, Rubby de La Rosa. One of the two jewels pried from the Dodgers last summer, Rubby has 38 strikeouts in 38 IP at AAA with a 3.29 ERA. He will work out of the Boston pen, and it may be just for a few days this time, but De La Rosa can help this team this year.
Finally, let's touch on a dozen or so of the names the Red Sox took in last weeks' amateur draft.
Round One. Trey Ball, LHP Indiana HS
Round Two. Teddy Stankiewicz, RHP Juco
Round Three Jon Denney C Oklahoma HS
First rounder, Trey Ball, has had the most publicity, he was the ninth rated draft prospect by Baseball America and the top lefty handed pitcher. He has not signed yet but is expected to, and likely be assigned to the Gulf Coast League. Stankiewicz has signed and may be going to Lowell. He is a hard thrower who was drafted out of high school last year also in the second round by the Mets but did not sign. The sleeper and potentially the best player taken in this draft is catcher Jon Denney. The high schooler from Oklahoma is considered one of the top power hitters in the draft, with enough power to play first base if catching does not work out. He was the #25 prospect according to BA, but the Sox snagged him at 81. Some very early mock drafts in the early spring had the Sox taking him at #7, so a pick at 81 may turn out to be a bargain.
Round Four. Myles Smith, RHP NAIA College
Round Five Corey Littrell LH Univ. of Kentucky
Round Six Jordon Austin, HS OF
Both SmithBA 108) and Littrell ( BA130) are good pitching prospects, Littrell is considered a harder throwing version of Pawsox starter Chris Hernandez. Austin was not rated in the top 500 by Baseball America, but is a very toolsy high schooler who is expected to have a reasonable chance of signing.
Round 11 Carlos Asauge, SS Nova Southeastern, Div 2
Round 13 Jordan Sheffield, RHP Florida HS
Round 19 Gabe Speier, LHP HS
Round 30 Nick Longhi, OF Florida HS
Both Asauge and Speier have signed, Asuage ( BA 208) is expected to play 2B in the pros, and his strength is his ability to excel at hitting leadoff. Speier ( BA 265) fell due to signability issues but he signed for twice the post round ten slot of $100,000. Longhi is another high schooler not expected to sign, but since the draft there have been some rumblings from his camp that he may.
According to conflicting reports, Sheffield may or may not be the nephew or cousin of Gary Sheffield. Young Sheffield was expected to go in the first round or two( he was rated at 88 by BA), but had arm woes in his senior year. In rounds 7 through 10 the Sox drafted some lesser prospects that will sign for minimal cash in hopes of saving enough to sign someone like Sheffield.
Two other interesting names were drafted in the later rounds by Boston. First is a Minnesota high school outfielder named Ryan Boldt, who the Sox drafted in round 22. He is another player who missed his entire senior year to injury, and was considered a sure first round pick before being hurt. Even with the injury, Baseball America ranked him at #58 overall for this draft. He has a full boat to Nebraska to play college baseball, and since the draft has all ready stated his intent to go to Nebraska. It is estimated to take $2.5 million to change Boldt's mind ( if any amount can)and with the new slot rules the Red Sox may not have that amount to spend. But this is a name to at least watch during the signing season. Another player taken by Boston in round 29 was from the University of Florida, Jeff Driskel. He was taken as an outfielder even though his current position at Florida is quarterback. Driskel is the starting QB for the Gators and has not played baseball since high school. Driskel expressed complete bewilderment at being selected in the baseball draft, and said he is not going to sign. However, there are some special signing guidelines for two sport college players, and he could sign with Boston and continue he college football career, and decide on his sport down the road.
In another three weeks or so the July rankings of the Top 12 Sox Prospects will appear here at RSM.