Boston Red Sox Top 20 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review
This is the PRE-SEASON list. That means it was generated BEFORE THE SEASON STARTED and that the grades were PRE-SEASON. Anyone complaining about the grades based on 2006 performance will be smacked up the side of the head with a John Curtice autographed baseball.
1) Craig Hansen, RHP, Grade A-
2.54 ERA for Triple-A Pawtucket, but his K/BB was 20/19 in 28 innings and it is not a surprise that he's had some problems in the majors given his minor league components. Still, he's having a successful pro debut overall and looks like he might be work out as a starter.
2) Jon Lester, LHP, B+
3-0, 2.95 in his first four starts for the Red Sox. He needs to polish up his control a bit more but obviously he's doing well.
3) Jonathan Papelbon, RHP, B+
0.46 ERA with 23 saves and a 41/6 K/BB in 39 innings. I love this, especially since I took a lot of crap this spring for allegedly overrating him. It's nice to be right for a change, although I certainly didn't expect him to pitch this well.
4) Dustin Pedroia, 2B, B+
Hitting .290/.369/.411 for Pawtucket. Solid on-base skills and gap power (19 doubles).
5) Jacoby Ellsbury, OF, B
Hitting .313/.395/.421 with 18 steals in 49 games for Class A Wilmington. Missed a month with a quad injury but is healthy now.
6) Clay Buchholz, RHP, B
4-2, 2.74 in 13 starts for Greenville in the Sally League, 73/18 K/BB in 62 innings. Solid numbers, having a fine season, and will start showing up on top pitching prospect lists if he keeps this up.
7) Michael Bowden, RHP, B
4-4, 3.57 in 14 starts for Greenville, 73/14 K/BB in 63 innings. Component ratios very similar to Buchholz except his home run rate is a bit higher. I like him.
8) Manny Delcarmen, RHP, B-
4.76 ERA in 16 games for the Red Sox. Good stuff but his command is still a work in progress.
9) Jed Lowrie, 2B, B-
Hitting just .224/.333/.293 in 39 games for Wilmington. No power, low batting average, although he is drawing walks. Has missed much of the spring with a sprained ankle, and we need to see what he can do in a larger sample size when healthy.
10) Brandon Moss, OF, B-
Hitting .265/.332/.448 for Double-A Portland. Main positive is 23 doubles, but he just hasn't developed in quite the way I thought he would a couple of years ago.
11) Luis Soto, OF, B-
Hitting a combined .284/.312/.455 in 21 games between Greenville and the GCL Red Sox. Sample too small to be meaningful. 4/20 BB/K mark is not impressive but he's shown some pop.
12) Edgar Martinez, RHP, C+
2-3, 3.53 in 27 games for Portland, 36/10 K/BB in 36 innings, 8 saves. Possible relief candidate down the line.
13) Abe Alvarez, LHP, C+
5-3, 4.46 in 13 starts for Pawtucket, 36/23 K/BB in 73 innings. I don't like his slipping strikeout rate, and this could be an example of a finesse pitcher who tops out in Triple-A.
14) Jeff Corsaletti, OF, C+
Hitting .251/.373/.385 for Wilmington. Main positive is 48 walks boosting his OBP, but power is disappointing, granted Wilmington is not an easy place to hit.
15) Yahmed Yema, OF, C+
Hitting .297/.349/.483 for Greenville, heating up after a slow start. We need to see him at higher levels but I still think he is a major sleeper.
16) Cla Meredith, RHP, C
1.44 ERA in 23 games for Portland, 5.27 in 8 games for Pawtucket. Combined 37/9 K/BB in 44 innings is decent. Middle relief candidate though he doesn't have a huge margin for error. Traded to the Padres
17) David Murphy, OF, C
Hitting a combined .292/.351/.493 between Portland and Pawtucket, and has been particularly hot lately. Looks like he's figured something out just in time to salvage his status as a prospect.
18) Jermaine Van Buren, RHP, C
Hit hard in brief major league action (8.71 ERA in 7 games), but doing well at Pawtucket (2.01 ERA). May or may not get more chances but I still think he can help some times in the bullpen.
19) Chris Turner, OF, C
Hitting .249/.322/.494 for Greenville. Impressive power with 16 homers, but he's struck out 103 times in just 70 games. Has to improve his contact ability to survive at higher levels.
20) Andrew Pinckney, 3B, C
Hitting .239/.298/.374 at Wilmington. That won't get him on more prospect lists, not in a rapidly improving farm system like this one.
Papelbon rules and Lester isn't far behind. If Hansen can improve his command a bit, that gives the Sox three strong young pitchers. The "mixed" approach to improving the farm system, combining high school (Bowden), junior college (Buchholz) and college (Ellsbury, Hansen) talent, seems to be paying dividends by quickly improving farm system depth. Having extra draft picks helps of course but the Sox have made effective use of them. Not everyone will pan out by any means, but I think the Red Sox are well positioned for the future.