Boston Red Sox Top 20 Prospects for 2010.
All grades are EXTREMELY PRELIMINARY and subject to change. Don't get too worried about exact rankings at this point, especially once you get beyond the Top 10. Grade C+/C guys are pretty interchangeable depending on what you want to emphasize. Complete reports on these and over 1,000 other players will be in the 2010 Baseball Prospect Book, now available for pre-order, shipping on February 2nd!
1) Ryan Westmoreland, OF, Grade B+: I love this guy: Five Tool/Seven Skill player who can do everything. I expect more power will come. Just needs to stay healthy.
2) Casey Kelly, RHP, Grade B+: He's not a shortstop, but he's a very good pitching prospect who could advance quickly. Possible number two/three starter.
3) Ryan Kalish, OF, Grade B: Another guy with a broad skill base. I like him slightly better than Reddick due to his superior plate discipline and he's one year younger.
4) Josh Reddick, OF, Grade B: He was rushed. Most people would rank Reddick ahead of Kalish since Reddick has more power. My instinct says Kalish but it's close.
5) Michael Bowden, RHP, Grade B: His component ratios deteriorated in Triple-A, but I still like him. Very similar minor league components to Jeff Suppan, not an ace but if Bowden ends up throwing 2411 average major league innings it counts as a success.
6) Junichi Tazawa, RHP, Grade B-: Bowden ranks a bit ahead because he's younger, but Tazawa is another guy who can be a good inning-eater. Deserves another chance despite poor pitching in Boston.
7) Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Grade B-: Great human interest story and a very solid hitter, but needs to show more power at first base. I think it will come.
8) Lars Anderson, 1B, Grade B-: A difficult grade, but I'm going to give him an injury mulligan and see what he can do with a fresh start. Like Rizzo, will he have the home run power you want in a first baseman?
9) Reymond Fuentes, OF, Grade B-: Borderline C+. Great tools, will he develop skills?
10) Stolmy Pimentel, RHP, Grade B-: Borderline C+. Still projectable, throws strikes.
11) Jose Iglesias, SS, Grade C+: Amazing glove, but I won't rank him higher than this until he shows that he can be an adequate hitter. Could be an Omar Vizquel type if he does.
12) Derrik Gibson, INF, Grade C+: Very athletic, controls the strike zone, steals bases, will he develop some pop?
13) Luis Exposito, C, Grade C+: Deserves more attention than he's received both on offense and defense.
14) David Renfroe, SS-3B, Grade C+: Great scouting reports about bat and athleticism, but need some data.
15) Alex Wilson, RHP, Grade C+: Good fastball/slider combination with sharp command, could rise through system quickly.
16) Roman Mendez, RHP, Grade C+: Breakthrough candidate with a lively arm, need to see what he can do outside the Gulf Coast League, but very intriguing.
17) Pete Hissey, OF, Grade C+: No power yet, but very athletic and projectable.
18) Yamaico Navarro, SS, Grade C+: Injury mulligan. Tools are still here but will he refine them?
19) Madison Younginer, RHP, Grade C+: Raw high school arm with immense potential.
20) Stephen Fife, RHP, Grade C+: Strike-thrower who could develop into an inning-eater type.
21) Kyle Weiland, RHP, Grade C+: Another inning-eating possiblity.
22) Che-Hsuan Lin, OF, Grade C+: Great glove, speedy, draws walks, young, but not sure he's going to hit enough to play regularly.
OTHERS (Grade C): Michael Almanzar, 3B; Drake Britton, LHP; Ryan Dent, INF; Felix Doubront, LHP: Tim Federowicz, C; Alex Hassan, OF; Brandon Jacobs, OF; Ryan Lavarnway, C; Che-Hsuan Lin, OF; Will Middlebrooks, 3B; Adam Mills, RHP; Daniel Nava, OF: Eammon Portice, RHP; Jason Rice, RHP; Dustin Richardson, LHP; Manuel Rivera, LHP; Oscar Tejeda, SS; Mark Wagner, C; Fabian Williamson, LHP.
As with the Cardinals, it was really hard to knock this down to 40 players; there were at least another 10 guys I could have written up. I tried to provide a mixture of upside players, role players closer to the majors, and guys I just like for one reason or another. Other guys you could write about include Randy Conseugra, Jason Place, Jose Vinicio, and Zach Daeges, and Aaron Bates. I have to draw the line somewhere however. There just isn't room to include everyone and I could spend a week just trying to make decisions between Grade C guys.
This is a very deep system, though trades and difficult 2009 seasons for some prospects (Anderson, Navarro, Bowden to a lesser extent) reduced what the overall ranking at the top might otherwise look like. They have a good mixture of tools and skills players, polish and upside. The plan to spend money on high-upside guys with difficult signability seems to be working, although not everyone has panned out exactly as expected. A year from now things could look even better: Westmoreland and Kelly are both potential Grade A/A- prospects, and several of the C+ guys have higher grade potential.
All in all, there is a lot here for Red Sox fans to be happy about.,