2014 Boston Red Sox Top 10 Prospects

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Updated: January 9, 2014
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After a long delay – something measured in the months, not days -  I have a bit of an announcement to make: I will be publishing the first ever Prospect Digest Annual sometime late January/early February.

The Prospect Digest Annual will feature each organization’s Top 30 Prospects, ranking the farm systems, and several additional articles.

Until the big day happens, I will be posting each organization’s Top 10 Prospects, starting with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Enjoy!

For more Top Prospects click HERE

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1. Xander Bogaerts, Position: SS, Age: 21

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

AA

259

159

.311

.407

.502

13.5%

19.7%

.192

12

6

6

5/6

AAA

256

153

.284

.369

.453

10.9%

17.2%

.169

11

0

9

2/4

MLB

50

133

.250

.320

.320

10.0%

26.0%

.114

2

0

1

1/1

Profile: Bogaerts exploded onto the scene in 2012, batting .307/.373/.523 with 37 doubles, three triples, and 20 homeruns as a 19-year-old splitting his time between high Class A and Class AA. The Aruba-born shortstop continued his assault on minor league pitching in 2013, hitting a combined .297/.388/.477 with 23 doubles, six triples, and 15 homeruns as one of the youngest players in the upper minors.

Analysis: Thirty-homerun power, above-average eye at the plate, modest strikeout rates, and a potentially solid-average or better player defensively. Bogaerts is a middle-of-the-order bat waiting to happen, and he should fill the void Boston has had at the position since it was vacated by Nomar Garciaparra.

Bogaerts heads into Spring Training as the club’s main option at shortstop, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him total 4.0 wins during his rookie season.

Ceiling: 7.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Above-Average to Inevitable

 

2. Henry Owens, Position: LHP, Age: 21

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

A+

104.2

2.92

3.35

10.58

4.56

28.5%

12.3%

0.52

39.9%

AA

30.1

1.78

2.27

13.65

4.45

36.8%

12.0%

0.89

29.0%

Profile: Owens made it look easy during his stints in high Class A and Class AA in 2013. The 6-foot-7 southpaw trailed minor league strikeout leader Danny Winkler by six punch outs, despite throwing 22 innings fewer.

Analysis: Owens is the minors’ top lefty prospect, possessing tremendous size and a plus-ability to miss bats. Only his control, or lack thereof, is lagging. He has the potential to be a dominant force at the front of any rotation. Still incredibly young, so there’s plenty of time to refine his craft. 

Ceiling: 6.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

3. Garin Cecchini, Position: 3B, Age: 23

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

A+

262

186

.350

.469

.547

16.4%

13.0%

.196

19

4

5

15/22

AA

295

136

.296

.420

.404

17.3%

17.6%

.108

14

3

2

8/10

Profile: A sabermetrician’s dream of a prospect, Cecchini quietly put together an impressive season in low Class two years ago, hitting .305/.394/.433 with doubles power and above-average speed. He finished the year 30% better than the South Atlantic League average. Last season, however, Cecchini destroyed high Class A pitching and breezed through his first stint in Double-A. Combined, the former fourth round pick hit .322/.443/.471.

Analysis: Owner of one of the elite eye’s in the entire minor leagues, doubles power that should turn into 15- to 20-HR down the road, an above-average hit tool, and 30-SB potential, Cecchini is an incredibly well-rounded offensive force, making him the ideal number two hitter.

I know I’m going to be encroaching upon some very dangerous ground, but Cecchini could be a Wade Boggs-type offensive performer – nice average, high OBPS, double-digit homeruns.

Ceiling: 5.0- to 5.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate to Above-Average

 

4. Mookie Betts, Position: 2B, Age: 21

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

A

340

160

.296

.418

.477

17.1%

11.8%

.181

24

1

8

18/20

A+

211

166

.341

.414

.571

10.9%

8.1%

.211

12

3

7

20/22

Profile: An over-slot in the fifth round three years ago, Betts was coming off of a solid, yet vanilla showing in short-season ball in 2012, hitting .267/.352/.307 and producing the equivalent of league average offense. Last season, Betts looked like a vastly different player, showing significantly more pop. Split between Greenville and Salem, his production was more than 60% better than average.

Analysis: Only 5-foot-9 and 160 pounds, Betts’ bat packs more wallop than his size would suggest, perhaps peaking as a 20- to 22-HR threat in the big leagues. The young second baseman shows a knack for finding first base and should be a dynamic table settler for the Sox within two or three years.

Ceiling: 5.0- to 5.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

5. Jackie Bradley Jr., Position: CF, Age: 24

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

AAA

374

137

.275

.374

.469

11.0%

20.1%

.194

26

3

10

7/14

MLB

107

69

.189

.280

.337

9.3%

29.0%

.147

5

0

3

2/2

Profile: Bradley parlayed a scorching Spring Training into the club’s starting left fielder on Opening Day, a position he held for a little over two weeks. The former South Carolina star was sent back to the minor leagues where he was 37% better than the International League average with Pawtucket.

Analysis: A Mike Cameron-type player with a handful of added points towards his average and OBP. Bradley’s a dynamic defensive force in center field, with a strong eye at the plate, 15- to 20-stolen base potential, and 15- to 20-HR power.

Ceiling: 4.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate to Above-Average

 

6. Allen Webster, Position: RHP, Age: 24

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

AAA

105.0

3.60

3.25

9.94

3.69

26.6

9.9%

0.77

48.3%

MLB

26.1

8.60

4.81

6.82

5.34

15.9%

12.4%

2.08

41.8%

Profile: Acquired in the mega-salary dump with the Dodgers in August of 2012, Webster maintained an above-average K-rate and serviceable control during his debut in Class AAA. For his career, he’s fanned 584 and walked 249 in 599 innings.  

Analysis: Dumping the exorbitant contracts of Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, and Adrian Gonzalez alone would have been considered a coup for the Red Sox. The fact that they acquired a power-arm with the ceiling of a #2/#3-type is downright absurd. Armed with a plus-fastball, Webster’s generated a ton of groundballs – more than 50% since 2011 – and should average about one punch per inning during his peak. The control’s been slightly below-average for his career, but even if it shows no further improvement he’s going to be a good #3/4 starting pitcher.

Ceiling: 4.0- to 4.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

7. Matt Barnes, Position: RHP, Age: 24

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

AA

108.0

4.33

3.07

11.25

3.83

28.2%

9.6%

0.92

41.2%

AAA

5.1

0.00

2.24

11.81

3.38

35.0%

10.0%

0.00

45.5%

Profile: The fourth highest player selected from the University of Connecticut, Barnes set a career high with 11.3 punch outs per nine innings while seeing a major regression in his control. He walked 48 in 113.1 innings, or 3.8 BB/9, Barnes’ highest mark since his freshman year in college.

Analysis: The modest spike in Barnes’ walk rate shouldn’t be a major red flag given his history, both collegiately and during his first year-plus in the professional ranks. Other than that, there’s really nothing else glaring. Barnes is a solid bet to develop into a top of the rotation starter, maybe peaking as a decent #2 during his best seasons and no worse than a solid #3. 

Ceiling: 4.0- to 4.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

8. Trey Ball, Position: LHP, Age: 20

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

RK

7.0

6.43

6.35

6.43

7.71

13.9%

16.7%

1.29

16.0%

Profile: After the Bobby Valentine debacle, the Red Sox, who finished with the team’s worst record in nearly twenty years, selected the 6-foot-6 Ball with the seventh overall pick, making him the top left-hander chosen.

Analysis: Ball, who will play the 2014 season at 20, is a bit old for an incoming high school player. And, analytically speaking, there’s nothing to go on. But, damn, a 6-foot-6 southpaw with plenty of room to fill out (he’s just 185 pounds) offers a ton of promise.

Ceiling: Too Soon to Tell

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: N/A

 

9. Blake Swihart, Position: C, Age: 22

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

A+

422

121

.298

.366

.428

9.7%

14.9%

.130

29

7

2

7/15

Profile: The organization’s first round pick in 2011, Swihart displayed some offensive potential during his stint in the South Atlantic League two years ago, batting .262/.307/.395. The switch-hitting catcher set career bests in nearly every offensive category and nailed 42% of would-be base stealers.

Analysis: Salem’s home ballpark tends to inflate doubles while depressing homerun totals, so Swihart’s numbers in those categories last season are skewed a bit. But he should top out around 15 homeruns with solid on-base skills. Defensively, he looks like a potential above-average backstop according to the raw data (career 37% CS-rate and just nine passed balls).

Ceiling: 3.5- to 4.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

10. Sean Coyle, Position: 2B, Age: 22

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

A+

224

125

.241

.321

.513

10.7%

29.0%

.272

9

1

14

11/11

Profile: The diminuitive second baseman from Fort Washington, PA, missed a better part of the season due to a knee injury. Upon his return, Coyle headed back to high Class A, where he spent the entirety of 2012, with better results. He batted .241/.321/.513 while setting a career high with 16 homeruns, despite playing just 60 games.

Analysis: It will be interesting to see how the organization handles its glut of infield prospects. Garin Cecchini isn’t moving off of third base and fellow second baseman Mookie Betts has more offensive upside. He’s likely never going to hit for much of an average, but Coyle’s shown a willingness to walk and has been efficient on the base paths. He could top out as 20-HR guy. The bat might play in left field, or he could be flipped in a deal.

Ceiling: 3.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

 

2 Comments

  1. Matt

    January 9, 2014 at 10:05 PM

    Very nice breakdown, I thoroughly enjoyed the read. It seems like you’ve put a lot of time and effort into this article, and it showed, kudos.

    • JMWerner

      January 9, 2014 at 10:09 PM

      Thanks, Matt

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