Sunday, August 4, 2013

RSM Top 12 Red Sox Prospects--August 2013

With just days less than a month to go in the minor league seasons, RSM presents our latest rankings of the future members of the "next great Red Sox team".  As mentioned last month, we are now adding this year's draftees to our considered candidates for this list.  We also speculated that a name or three may be traded at the deadline.  That did not happen as two names that had appeared here in the past year or so ( Jose Iglesias and Brandon Jacobs) and one who just missed July's honorable mention list (Frank Montas) were the only names of consequence dealt.  There have been seven players promoted a level since July's list: Anthony Ranaudo, Henry Owens, Rubby De La Rosa, Brandon Workman, Drake Britton( twice: from Portland to Pawsox to the Show), Mookie Betts, and RSM favorite son, David Chester.

Slash line used for hitters is HR/RBI/BA/OBP and for pitchers it is W-L/ERA/K-BB

Here is the August Top 12 ( with another dozen plus names thrown in) The number behind the player is July's ranking.

1. Xander Bogaerts, SS( for now)- Pawtucket ( for now) {1}.  Who else? Bogaerts was all ready the most anticipated Sox prospect in many years, and in the last month his stature is sky rocketing throughout all of MLB.  He starred in the Futures Game during the All Star festivities in NYC. His numbers at AAA have been going in a steady upward plane.  Last night ( Aug. 3), he had a 30 game streak of reaching base snapped. For the year to date, AA and AAA both, he has 14 homers, 21 doubles, 6 triples and an OBP of .392.  He has also walked 59 times.  With the trade of Iglesias, speculation is rampant that Xander will join Boston to play third base soon.  Lou Merloni has opined he believes the Red Sox will recall Bogaerts at the start of their nine game road trip in Houston.  As I write this, that trip starts tomorrow! Are we only hours from the beginning of the Xander Bogaerts era in Boston??

2. Jackie Bradley, Jr., OF-Pawtucket {2}. In some quarters, Bradley's star has dimmed due to the ascension of Bogaerts and the fact he did not shine in April in Boston.  Do not listen to those people! Bradley is very much on pace to be the 2014 Red Sox center fielder.  This is assuming the free agent departure of Jacoby Ellsbury.  Bradley can and will provide everything Ellsbury does except for the bushels of stolen bases.  Bradley has a AAA line this year of 8/26/.278/.378.  He is currently on the 7 day DL with that elbow twinge, that removed him from the July 31 Pawtucket game and set the Twitterverse aflame with what turned out to be unfounded trade rumors.

3. Garin Cecchini, 3B- Portland {4}.  Cecchini has continued to tear up the Eastern League since his promotion from Salem in late June.  At Portland his line is 2/14/.300/.413.  Cecchini also figures into the Rubik's cube future of the left side of the Sox infield.  If Bogaerts can remain at shortstop long term, the third sack may be a battle between Will Middlebrooks and Cecchini.  If Garin can keep putting up plus .400 OBP, he may well be the eventual claimant of the job.

4. Henry Owens, P- Portland {7} It is almost impossible to believe the month of July put together by Owens.  And due to that he was just edged out for third on this list by millimeter.  As Owens finished his stint at Salem in what turned out to be his last four starts at Class A, Henry spun a hitless streak of 19 1/3 innings. That is hitless, not just scoreless.  He left Salem with a line of 8-5/2.92/123-53 in 104 innings.  On August 3, Owens made his Sea Dogs debut with six scoreless innings with 11 K's vs. Bowie.  The 11 K's were a personal pro high and only 3 off the team record, I believe.  Owens is likely slated to return to Portland to begin 2014, but if he dominates the Eastern League like he did last night, he may start in AAA at age 21( during his wonderful July, Owens also turned 21 on the 21st) next year instead.

5. Brandon Workman, P- Pawtucket-Boston.  {11}  The huge jump up our list by the Texan is not only based on his future but on what he actually accomplished in Boston in July after his recall.  Brought up to help the pen, he was slotted into the rotation due to circumstances.  All he did was pitch 6 no-hit innings( in a tough Sox loss) versus the first place A's, and put up an ERA of 3.54 in 20 innings and picked up his first big league win.  At this moment, Workman is back in AAA due to needing a fresh bullpen arm after a 15 inning game, and to give Workman some bullpen experience.  He will be back very soon, and will help this year's team.. Many, if not most, scouts see Workman as a reliever in the bigs.  I have a feeling Brandon just might fool those scouts and become a very solid mid rotation starter in the future.( near future).

6. Anthony Ranudo, P- Pawtucket {5}-  Ranaudo, the LSU product, completed his year at Portland with a line of 8-4/2.95/106-40 and had a WHIP of 1.09.  Ranaudo struggled in two showcase events: the AA All Star Game and the Futures Game ( one of his hits allowed in this game was to Bogaerts).  But he regrouped after returning to Portland after these games disrupted his usual routine.  Ranaudo has been recalled to Pawtucket after spending all of last year and this at Portland.  And he will make his AAA debut tonight ( Aug. 4) in a game televised on NESN.

7. Allen Webster, P- Pawtucket {3}  Webster has been up and down in his big league trials this year
(mostly down with a 9.57 ERA).  He has also been somewhat inconsistent in AAA, largely due to some command issues.  Although Webster had a dozen strikeouts in his most recent start.  Webster possesses the nasty sinker and a 98 mph fastball, and if he can harness the control, he can still be a very effective big league starter.

8. Matt Barnes, P- Portland {9}. Barnes is the first name on this list who has not been promoted during this season ( with the days ago recalls of Owens and Ranaudo).  And at this point in time Barnes is the remaining Sea Dog starter from the Opening Day big four of Workman, Britton, Ranaudo, and Barnes.  His numbers have not been what he or the Sox had hoped for, but Barnes has been on the rise in his performance lately.  Despite an overall W-L and ERA of 5-7 and 4.38, Barnes has a K/BB of 113/37. Barnes may very well pitch an entire season at Hadlock Field, but he is in line for beginning 2014 at Pawtucket.

9. Blake Swihart, C- Salem {10} This 21 year old ( born April 3, 1992) would be a top four prospect in many, many other organizations. His line this season at Salem is 2/33/.281/.357 merited consideration for a higher ranking on this list, but there are just so many good players closer to the bigs ahead of Blake.  He is completely on target to be in competition with Christian Vazquez as the catcher of the future in Boston.

10. Trey Ball, P- GCL Red Sox {NR}- This year's Red Sox first round pick at #7 overall is just sticking his toe in the pro baseball water. So far, Ball has pitched twice for a total of 2 2/3 innings. His Top Ten ranking is based on his ceiling of a top of the rotation lefty.  For example, Clayton Kershaw was taken at #7 overall in his draft year. Just sayin'!

11 Rubby De La Rosa, P- Boston {8}  De La Rosa has just been recalled by Boston to join their bullpen. ( Rubby was recalled a month or so ago, but went back to AAA without pitching).  Hopefully this time the Sox will see how his power arm can help in the pen.  Like Webster, the one question about De La Rosa is his ability to throw strikes.  And recently his performances at Pawtucket have not been as good as earlier in the season.  Some have chalked this up to Rubby being upset at still being in AAA after pitching for the Dodgers two years ago ( pre Tommy John surgery).  De La Rosa is another of about three or four prospects who are likely misidentified by their ranking, but this system is loaded, and if Rubby's future is in the bullpen, ( and that is NOT definite) that pushes him down the list some.

12. Drake Britton, P- Boston { 14} Britton has moved up two spots on our list and he has had quite a ride since we did our July rankings.  At that time Briton was in the Sea Dogs rotation. He was recalled to Pawtucket and after making one start ( a loss), he was recalled to Boston to pitch out of the pen.  He has excelled so far, pitching 8 innings in 6 games with an ERA of 0.00.  He has also won his first big league game and has struck out 6 while walking 1.  Only some type of roster crunch could send Drake back down.  Britton should be a part of this bullpen all the rest of the season.

The Honorable Mentions:

13. Bryce Brentz, OF- Pawtucket {6} Current DL stint contributes to his slide down the list.
14. Christian Vazquez, C- Portland {12}- Streaky offensive season, overall acceptable numbers.
15. Deven Marrero, SS- Salem  {13} If Xander cannot stay at SS, Marrero is next in line.
16. Jon Denney, C- GCL Sox {NR} 2013 third rounder plus power, athletic enough for corner OF if catching does not work out.  He could be the biggest star to come out of this draft for Boston.
17. Manuel Margot, CF- Lowell {NR} Dominican with "plus-plus speed" has earmarks of solid big league leadoff man,  4 or 5 years from now.
18. Mookie Betts, 2B- Salem {17} 2011 draftee promoted to Salem in July, BA of .229 at High A.
19. Michael Almanzar, 1B-3B- Portland {15} Has a line at AA of 13/68/.268/.333
20(tie) Ty Buttrey, P- Lowell { 18} 2012 4th rounder is 3-1/2.23/17-13 in 32 innings.
20(tie) Jamie Callahan, P- Lowell {NR} 2012 2nd rounder pitched 6 perfect innings in most recent start
20A David Chester, 1B- Salem {20} Off to slow High A hitting .231 after an All Star Greenville season of 13/71/.270/.356

A few other names who have either dropped off last month list of Honorable Mentions or are a few new close but no cigars entries :

Stephen Wright, P ( Maybe he should be in the Top Ten-- but is he really a "prospect"??)
Brian Johnson, P
Travis Shaw, 1B-3B
Teddy Stankiewicz, P This year's 2nd round pick ( and the 2012 2nd rounder of the Mets) will likely be firmly entrenched on this list by 2014.
Sean Coyle, 2B
Alex Hassan, OF
Keury De La Cruz, OF

I guess that is enough names to chew over for now.  The Red Sox system is bursting with future stars and future "who knows and what ifs". Feel free to add any comments you may have about this list or  any other Red Sox minor leaguer.  We will do this again for a year end version in early September.

1 comment:

  1. One note that I picked up online while watching today's game. Brandon Workman in likely to be recalled tomorrow due to Daniel Nava going on the paternity leave list. Also, tonight's PawSox game starts on NESN at 6pm. Let's see if Ranaudo can top Owens' AA debut with his own AAA debut.