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Boston Red Sox 2011 Top 20 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review

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Boston Red Sox 2011 Top 20 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review

I am reviewing my PRE-SEASON list of Top 20 prospects for 2011 for each organization, continuing today with the Boston Red Sox. This list was originally published December 27, 2010. We will look the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday, the Seattle Mariners on Friday, the Florida Marlins on Saturday, the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday, the New York Mets on Monday, and the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday.

This is a review of the 2011 Pre-Season Top 20 list. IT IS NOT A NEW LIST.

The 2012 list and new grades won't be ready until the season is over and I start writing the book.

1) Anthony Ranaudo, RHP, Grade B: 3.33 ERA with 50/16 K/BB in 46 innings for Low-A Greenville, 4.86 ERA with 46/20 K/BB in 63 innings for High-A Salem. His Carolina League performance has been rather disappointing statistically and scouting reports are mixed.

2) Drake Britton, LHP, Grade B: 1-11, 7.19 ERA, 66/43 K/BB in 71 innings for Salem, 76 hits. I thought he was a big breakthrough guy, but instead he's been taking pitching lessons from Andrew Brackman and Tyler Matzek.

3) Jose Iglesias, SS, Grade B:  .227/.273/.245 with 14 walks, 42 strikeouts in 269 at-bats for Triple-A Pawtucket. At this point, it is a serious question whether he'll hit enough to hold a regular major league job, no matter how good his glove is. He's still just 21, so there is time to improve, but I can't say I am optimistic.

4) Josh Reddick, OF, Grade B-:   .230/.333/.508 with 33 walks, 39 strikeouts in 191 at-bats for Pawtucket, .338/.385/.554 with 13 walks, 31 strikeouts in 139 at-bats for the Boston Red Sox. He's made definite progress with the strike zone, and he always had the bat speed/power to succeed.

5) Stolmy Pimentel, RHP, Grade B-:   0-9, 9.12 ERA with 30/23 K/BB in 50 innings for Double-A Portland, 75 hits. Sent back to High-A, 4.96 ERA with 9/8 K/BB in 16 innings so far for Salem. I know he's young at 21, but collapse in all ratios is disturbing.

6) Garin Cecchini, 3B, Grade B-: Hitting .298/.398/.500 with 17 walks, 19 strikeouts, 12 steals in 114 at-bats for Lowell in the New York-Penn League. Defense has been brutal, but the bat has been excellent so far.

7) Oscar Tejeda, 2B, Grade B-:   Hitting .256/.310/.346 with 27 walks, 75 strikeouts, 13 steals in 367 at-bats for Portland. Not much to get excited about.

8) Brandon Workman, RHP, Grade B-:  3.92 ERA with 92/29 K/BB in 101 innings for Greenville, 103 hits. Throwing strikes nicely, but turns 23 next week, would like to see what he does above Low-A.

9) Ryan Lavarnway, C, Grade B-:  .284/.360/.510 with 25 walks, 47 strikeouts in 208 at-bats for Portland, .331/.414/.640 with 22 walks, 47 strikeouts in 178 at-bats for Pawtucket. 27 homers overall. Has thrown out 37% of runners, made just one error this year, passed ball rates continue to improve and scouting reports on his glove are starting to catch up with the statistics.

10) Kolbrin Vitek, 3B, Grade B-:  Hitting .288/.353/.382 with 38 walks, 87 strikeouts, 11 steals in 406 at-bats for Salem. Extremely error-prone at third base, career .877 fielding percentage. I don't care how good your range is, that's awful. Lack of home run power is also a problem.

11) Chris Balcom-Miller, RHP, Grade B-:  2.34 ERA with 37/11 K/BB in 35 innings for Salem, 4.82 ERA with 57/27 K/BB in 65 innings for Portland, 85 hits. Combined 2.98 GO/AO stands out. I was much higher than him than most people pre-season and I stand by the analysis that he is overlooked, but obviously he needs to do better than this.

12) Felix Doubront, LHP, Grade C+: 3.07 ERA with 65/22 K/BB in 67 innings, 56 hits combined between Portland, Pawtucket, and NY-P rehab assignment for hamstring injury. Fine numbers, just needs to stay  healthy. I probably underrated him.

13) Michael Bowden, RHP, Grade C+: I was one of the last holdouts on this guy, ranking him higher than a lot of other people. He's been excellent in relief role for Pawtucket, 2.74 ERA, 57/17 K/BB in 46 innings, 39 hits, 13 saves. Still waiting for a real chance, clearly has nothing left to prove in minors.

14) Will Middlebrooks, 3B, Grade C+: .296/.339/.511 with 15 homers, 19 walks, 83 strikeouts in 331 at-bats for Portland. Nice to see power outburst, but BB/K ratio remains an issue for me.

15) Yamaico Navarro, INF, Grade C+: Traded to Royals.  .252/.357/.452 in 135 Triple-A at-bats, .250/.327/.386 in 44 major league at-bats. He should hang around as a utility player for a while but I don't think he will hit consistently enough to play regularly for a good team.

16) Luis Exposito, C, Grade C+:  .238/.298/.370 with 23 walks, 67 strikeouts in 273 at-bats for Pawtucket. 36% of runners caught. Hitting inadequate for regular play right now.

17) Lars Anderson, 1B, Grade C+:  Hitting .260/.365/.433 with 13 homers, 65 walks, 97 strikeouts in 400 at-bats for Pawtucket. Slow start in the power department, just four homers through the end of June but has hit nine since and has been hot lately, slugging .608 in last 22 games.

18) Kyle Weiland, RHP, Grade C+: 3.20 ERA with 107/43 K/BB in 104 innings for Pawtucket, 78 hits, 1.35 GO/AO. Made two major league starts and deserves more opportunities.

19) Sean Coyle, 2B, Grade C+:   .245/.368/.473 with 11 homers, 48 walks, 79 strikeouts, 14 steals in 294 at-bats for Greenville. Sharp home/road splits, .967 OPS at home, just .689 on the road.

20) Henry Ramos, OF, Grade C+:   .250/.290/.365 with 14 walks, 50 strikeouts, 11 steals in 244 at-bats for Greenville. Young and toolsy, hasn't done much hitting yet but just 19 years old.

If the stuff in my email box is any indications, I need to emphasize once again that these are the PRE-SEASON grades and that this is a review of the old list. It is not a new list. Doing a new list is part of the writing process for the 2012 book and I will start doing that in the middle of September once the season is complete.

There is some disappointing stuff at the top of this list, notably Britton as well as Iglesias' failure to grow offensively. However, the development of Reddick and Lavarnway is a big positive, Weiland deserves attention, and Middlebrooks is making progress although he still has room to improve. Coyle and Cecchini are also highly intriguing products of the '10 draft.