Fire Brand's Top 40 Sox Prospects

Recently, ESPN ranked the Sox system 7th in all of baseball. This was quite a compliment to a team that just this past season graduated four of Baseball America's top five Sox prospects (Buchholz, Ellsbury, Masterson, Lowrie). Led by Director of Amateur Scouting Jason McLeod, the Sox quickly stocked up their system through the amateur draft and international free agency. Their 2008 draft class has arguably the highest potential of any team, and all of that was made possible by the Sox willingness to go over the slot to obtain guys that are considered to have signability issues. Part of the reason that has caused this has been the emergence of top prospects Pedro Alvarez and Matt LaPorta, two unsigned draft picks in 2005 and 2006, respectively. Spending over the slot should be a continuing trend for a team as rich in resources as the Sox, allowing them to remain as one of the top systems in baseball.
Recently, ESPN ranked the Sox system 7th in all of baseball. This was quite a compliment to a team that just this past season graduated four of Baseball America‘s top five Sox prospects (Buchholz, Ellsbury, Masterson, Lowrie). Led by Director of Amateur Scouting Jason McLeod, the Sox quickly stocked up their system through the amateur draft and international free agency. Their 2008 draft class has arguably the highest potential of any team, and all of that was made possible by the Sox willingness to go over the slot to obtain guys that are considered to have signability issues. Part of the reason that has caused this has been the emergence of top prospects Pedro Alvarez and Matt LaPorta, two unsigned draft picks in 2005 and 2006, respectively. Spending over the slot should be a continuing trend for a team as rich in resources as the Sox, allowing them to remain as one of the top systems in baseball for the next decade or so.
 While the system may not be as top-heavy as last year, one thing you’ll notice is the quality of depth from top to bottom. I mentioned this in a previous article, but guys like Kyle Weiland and Pete Hissey, who are ranked 14th and 17th on my list, would easily rank in the top 10 on over half of other teams systems. Without further a do, I give you my top 40 Sox prospects:









# Name Age
Pos. Comments
1 Lars
Anderson
21 1B Best
1B prospect in baseball
2 Michael
Bowden
21 RHSP Future
4-5 starter, average stuff w/good command
3 Josh
Reddick
21 OF Five
tool bad-ball hitter, adv. pitching could exploit this
4 Michael
Almanzar
18 3B Ultimate
raw toolsy prospect, needs more experience
5 Ryan
Westmoreland
18 OF Phenomenal
athlete, suffered minor injury during off-season
6 Yamaico
Navarro
21 SS Above-avg.
tools all-around, must improve pitch recog.
7 Casey
Kelly
19 RHP/SS Will
pitch then play SS, arguably most adv. prep arm in draft
8 Junichi
Tazawa
22 RHP Big
int’l signing in Dec., stuff could play very well in bullpen
9 Daniel
Bard
23 RHRP Flamethrower
with inconsistent sec. stuff, effectively wild
10 Oscar
Tejeda
19 SS/3B Outstanding
athlete, very mature, needs a lot of refinement
11 Che-Hsuan
Lin
20 OF Incredible
defensive outfielder, needs to make better contact
12 Argenis
Diaz
21 SS Elite
fielding shortstop, the power will be big stepping stone
13 Ryan
Kalish
20 OF Great
athlete with improved approach, not a lot of power
14 Kyle
Weiland
22 RHSP Tall
righty with good, but not great stuff. Potential 3-4 guy
15 Kris
Johnson
24 LHSP Finesse
lefty needs to work on consistency
16 Cheih-Hsien
Chiang
20 2B Offensive-minded
infielder, needs to show more patience
17 Pete
Hissey
19 OF Gritty
athletic outfielder, 4 tool guy, needs to add some pop
18 Richie
Lentz
24 RHRP Bulldog
mentality, very close to ML ready, improving
19 Will
Middlebrooks
20 3B Outstanding
5 tool athlete, struggled early but made adj.
20 Derrik
Gibson
19 SS Very
good defensive SS, fundamentally solid
21 David
Mailman
20 OF Good
athlete, struggled initially, good power potential
22 Felix
Doubront
21 LHSP Crafty
lefty, average stuff, very deceptive
23 Adam
Mills
24 RHSP Groundball
pitcher with phenomenal command, average stuff
24 Bryan
Price
22 RHSP Power
righty with good bullpen potential, but inconsistent
25 Stolmy
Pimentel
18 RHSP Very
advanced pitcher, ultimate ceiling in doubt
26 Luis
Exposito
22 C Good
defensive catcher with plus power potential
27 Nick
Hagadone
23 LHSP Power
lefty w/solid command, underwent TJ early last yr.
28 Anthony
Rizzo
19 1B Advanced
hitter with a great approach
29 Brock
Huntzinger
19 RHSP Deceptive
righty w/good stuff, sec. stuff inconsistent
30 Mike
Lee
22 RHRP Power
righty, good stuff, needs to add another pitch
31 Stephen
Fife
22 RHSP Big
ground-ball pitcher with above-avg offerings
32 George
Kottaras
25 C Good
hitting catcher with plus power, a bit immobile
33 Hunter
Jones
25 LHRP Bulldog
mentality, very versatile, average stuff
34 Mitch
Dening
20 OF Good,
but unspectacular player with sweet swing
35 Jason
Place
20 OF 5 tools present, generates good backspin, lacks plate disc.
36 Carson
Blair
19 SS/C Versatile
infielder with advanced approach, sleeper potential
37 Tyler
Wilson
19 RHSP Big
sinkerballer, very projectable, good downward plane
38 Jon
Still
24 C/DH Very
good hitter with great power potential, no set position
39 Mark
Wagner
24 C Defensive-minded
catcher, a little inconsistent with bat
40 Wilfred
Pichardo
19 OF Plus-Plus
speed, hits for average, well-below present-power


Note: This will also be added to the page and updated by myself over the course of the season. In the next day or so, if you scroll under “Depth Chart” at the top of the page, you’ll see a tab that will direct you to this chart.

Categories: Lars Anderson Michael Bowden Quick Post

39 Responses to “Fire Brand's Top 40 Sox Prospects” Subscribe

  1. spack January 27, 2009 at 8:42 AM #

    Jeff Bailey???
    Chris Carter???
    Davern Hansack???

  2. Tim Daloisio January 27, 2009 at 8:52 AM #

    I think it may be worth defining your view of "prospect" vs. best "minor league player" and if they differ at all. Bailey, Carter, and Hansack all fall somewhat in that AAAA world that some "prospect" analysts don't consider actual "prospects".

  3. Bob January 27, 2009 at 8:52 AM #

    They're not prospects, too old to be considered.
    I would have ranked Hagadone much higher. He was flashing some filth before the injury and these days guys come back from TJ with even more velocity. Most people have him in the top 5.

  4. Tom A. January 27, 2009 at 8:58 AM #

    They aren't really prospects at this point. They could be useful major league players, but since they are in their late 20s/early 30s they are more career minor leaguers with a chance at being decent major league players.

  5. Tom A. January 27, 2009 at 9:00 AM #

    BTW, I think the list is nice and comprehensive. The only glaring change I would have made would be to have Hagadone much higher on the list. His upside is huge and all accounts are saying that his TJ surgery and rehab have gone perfectly so far.
    Pat, what were your main emphases with this list? Upside, statistics, age? I was just wondering what factored in more for you.

  6. Bob January 27, 2009 at 9:01 AM #

    I also would have had Pimentel, Price and Fife higher, but maybe I'm overrating the pitchers and you're being conservative with them.
    I especially like Pimentel, I think pitcher add a bit of velocity by the time they're fully mature physically, about age 23, Lester is a good example with the way his velo jumped even ahead of his pre-cancer days. Considering that Pimentel is so advanced at such a young age with good command and a good changeup, if he adds 2-3 mph on his fastball in the next 4 years he could be special.

  7. JaredK January 27, 2009 at 9:12 AM #

    Hagadone is controversial in everyone's rankings this year. He has been as high as #3 in some lists (Jim Callis I believe), while others like SoxProspects have him as high as #16. I think everyone agree's that he has the best stuff of any pitcher in our system, it just depends on how much of a wait-and-see approach the ranker wants to take on his return from TJ. TJ is so routine these days and reports say he is ahead of schedule so I would personally have him in my top 5…it just depends on how fluid your rankings are going to be. SoxProspects updates their rankings monthly I believe so it is not a big deal to have him at #16 since they can quickly move him up as he hopefully returns to form. I think #27 is way too high in any regard but if this is going to be top 40 with consistent updates then it is not such a big deal in my opinion. The only other thing you can hold against Hagadone is that he is 23 in addition to coming off TJ and will start in high-A ball, this combined with the fact that he has never thrown more then 70 innings in a season (converted reliever) he may face tyough inning restrictions as a starter then next couple years. The other side is that he may get converted to the pen after the all-star break to limit his innings and potentially help our pen if needed.
    I was glad to see Tyler Wilson in your top 40, on SoxProspects.com I picked him as my darkhorse break-out candidate for 2009. He reportedly touched the mid 90's in a few outings in high school and has two promising off-speed pitches that will need some time but are good for his age. That combined with the fact that he has the frame to support another 25 pounds or so, he is very intriguing to me and look forward to his debut in 2009.
    I generally hate arguing prospect placement, especially when the lists are cultivated from other peoples scouting reports, but I personally think Stolmy Pimentel should be much higher.

  8. Dave B January 27, 2009 at 10:12 AM #

    Nick Hagadone easily a top 15 prospect. Prior to TJ, he was probably at a minimum the third best player in our system. TJ is not a death sentence, by any stretch of the imagination, for a players career. To have 11 pitchers higher than him seems crazy to me. Of the top 12 pitchers, Hagadone is the only pitcher in the group that has the potential to be a top of the rotation pitcher.
    Not sure how you could rank Lin higher than Kalish. Kalish has more tools, put up better numbers, and is only 5 months younger than Lin. The only thing Lin has over Kalish is defense but his advantage is very marginal on that front.

  9. Pat Hickey January 27, 2009 at 11:48 AM #

    Several points to address:
    1. Carter, Bailey, and Hansack are no long considered prospects…
    2. No, Tommy John is no longer the death sentence it used to be. But, it seems you are all under the thought that he'll come back and pick up right where he left off. His stuff is going to be significantly worse as well as his command. Plus, he should have dominated Greenville as a 22 year old. I thought he was the real deal as well, and had he not gone down with TJ, he would have easily ranked in the top 5.
    3. Tom, since there aren't a lot of major league ready prospects, I valued upside more than anything else. Statistics play a role to an extent, but there were quite a few guys that weren't play against age-appropriate competition, so you have to take it for what it's worth.
    4. Bob, regarding Fife and Price, I think one thing you have to keep in mind is that the Appalachian League is considered a joke for most players. It doesn't have a significant advantage competition-wise over the Gulf Coast League. So for Fife and Price to pitch very well there, I don't think it says very much. They both have decent stuff, but nothing great. As with Pimentel, both of their ceilings are a bit low, and until they prove something at a higher level, I can't rank them that high, since they don't really have top of the rotation stuff, yet.
    5. Dave, SoxProspects.com currently has Kalish 8th and Lin 9th. So it really isn't mind-blowing that I have them within two of each other? Contrary to what you just said, Lin put up a .701 OPS in Greenville compared to Kalish's .702. They're both phenomenal athlete's, so I don't get where you're getting Kalish has "better tools". Might want to research a little bit before attacking me.

  10. JaredK January 27, 2009 at 12:15 PM #

    I disagree about Pimentel's ceiling and think he could easily be higher. He already has a very good looking change-up and a good looking curve with an avg fastball that touches 93 on a lean, long-muscled 18 year old body that can support plenty of growth. He also has displayed nice control and pitched very well in low -a ball considering his age.
    I agree with your point about college pitchers in Lowell though, they should dominate. When guys like Kris Johnson who are back of the rotation types at best can put up a 0.35 era you have to hope/expect college guys with better stuff with have success.
    Regarding TJ Surgery velocity is often back right away these days for many but the command can be an issue.

  11. Bob January 27, 2009 at 1:14 PM #

    Good points. I still think that Pimentel's ceiling is higher, but there's nothing you said that I vehemently disagreed with

  12. Pat Hickey January 27, 2009 at 1:15 PM #

    More people may agree with you that his ceiling is a 2-3 starter, but I think his lack of command, which is well-below average, will be exploited in higher levels. He's only 18, but he got by in Lowell purely by having superior stuff. There were a lot of reports this year that he made quite a few mistake pitches and got away with them. Greenville will be a big test for him this year.

  13. JaredK January 27, 2009 at 2:12 PM #

    Regarding #2/#3…I'm not labeling him as anything other then an 18 year-old with the potential to have 3 plus pitches down the road. A kid who already has great control who has to learn to hit corners a little bit. I wouldn't be surprised if he gets hit in Greenville, just see lots of upside over the next 4-5 years.

  14. B January 27, 2009 at 2:16 PM #

    Pat,
    Do you have any idea when the minor league rosters are finalized before the season? Looking through them, as they are now, they can't be set. Does each league have an opening day roster date or is it totally flexible?

  15. JaredK January 27, 2009 at 2:26 PM #

    B,
    SoxProspects has there projected rosters up, they get most of it right but obviously miss on a few team assigments so I think that is about as close to an idea as you will get at this point.
    http://www.soxprospects.com/2009.htm

  16. B January 27, 2009 at 2:37 PM #

    Thanks for the link.

  17. B January 27, 2009 at 4:34 PM #

    The info is much appreciated guys.
    I'd like to get your take on how the Sox set up their farm teams. After being puzzled for years at some MiLB roster decisions, this is my take:
    Pitchers in Pawtucket are generally the best in system. But position players often tend to be career AAAA players or major league journeymen on the downside. These are guys the team can feel comfortable in giving spot major league duty to. So, in essence, the team uses Pawtucket as an extended bench.
    I think there are a few reasons the top position prospects tend to get left in AA Portland. First, Pawtucket is always in flux with players bouncing back and forth from Boston. Players move up to cover injuries, and players from Boston are often in for rehab assignments. It's not the stable lineup prefered for developing players. Second, the 3/4A and journymen types, while perhaps not hitting monsters, are no slouches with the bat either. They are plenty for top pitching prospect to handle. At least enough to keep them sharp and on their toes.
    I've begun to notice that MiLB postition prospect often get called, seemingly out of the blue, from AA straight to the show. I think Jed Lowrie went this route. Or they seem to spend only a short time at AAA before moving up. I guess they felt he was ML ready defensively, and if he could handle the pitching he'd stick. If they felt he wasn't ready they could have sent somebody from Pawtucket for a while. I suppose if he struggled with the bat, he'd have gone down to AAA to face some better pitching for a while. If he failed to make progress at the plate, he may have become one of those AAAA guys or a ML utility player.
    Maybe the structure is becoming more apparent now that the organization has so many quality prospects. I remember years, not long ago, when the Sox had career journeymen in AAA, AA and even high A ball just to fill out the MiLB rosters. It's very exciting to look at the depth from Portland to Salem and Greenville. The system is loaded with potential. More than I can ever remember.
    Anyway, do you agree with my take on the reasoning behind the structing of the system? Or have I missed something? Also, do other teams follow the same pattern or do things radically different.

  18. B January 27, 2009 at 5:19 PM #

    As long as that last post was, I've got a couple more questions.
    It doesn't seem like there are a lot of trades in MiLB. I know there are some. But it seems like minor league players change organizations mostly when they're part of a major league trade. Why?
    Nick blames the current catching situation on poor planning by Theo. I tend to agree. Obviously, good catchers don't hit free agency often. You have to be aware of when contracts expire. If there's a lack of organizational depth at a certain position, and projected free agents aren't going to fill your need, shouldn't you look to swap MiLB talent to insure you have a quality replacement available? I'm not talking about trading 5 top prospects for Joe Mauer. I mean identify a Jarrod Saltalamachia-type and offer a high ceiling prospect before both of them become big-name prospects in their respective organizations. If Lars Anderson had been offered for Salty two years ago, there would be no problem now. Fans would be on the Salty bandwagon excited about what he could do for us this year. Lars would barely be remembered (by MOST fans). – please nobody jump on that trade as if I'm proposing it now or think it would have worked 2yrs ago, it's an EXAMPLE.
    Why aren't there more trade of this nature?

  19. Pat Hickey January 27, 2009 at 6:39 PM #

    I agree Jared.
    B, obviously there are a lot of changed that will be made depending on how guys do in spring training. I was down at the complex last year and talked to a kids dad that had the entire placements of each kid, and that was mid-March. I should be able to get access around then this year as well. I know the final rosters were publicly announced around March 26 last year, so expect the same thing this year. As long as each team meets the roster limit before opening day, they’re fine.
    Greenville opens 4/7.
    Salem, Portland, and Pawtucket open 4/9.
    Lowell opens 6/19.

  20. JaredK January 27, 2009 at 7:16 PM #

    Its a good question, I think teams (like fans) tend to overvalue there own talent as they in most cases made the selections (although front offices are always in flux) and put time into developing prospects according to their philosophies. Prospects have a tendency to flame out more often then not so to give up a prospect (which is an unknown) for another which is no guarantee can be sort of a risk since you hate to spend all that development time on your own guy. Also prospect trades can be difficult since the prospects are often at different development points so it can be difficult to project the fairness of the value exchanging sides. Some prospects are all projection with very high ceilings (like Almanzar) where as others are fundamentally sound and a good bet to have solid if unspectacular careers (like Bowden). I imagine teams have a difficult time agreeing on equal value when considering performance, upside, age-appropriate level of play, etc.
    Regarding prospect levels triple-a used to be a much more important developmental step to get ready for major league baseball. In the last 10-15 years triple-a has remained an important step but the biggest test for prospects is generally considered to be from high-a to double-a ball. Prospects who are blocked or considered on the verge of being ready will generally cut their teeth in triple-a but many top prospects will be measured for their mlb readiness in double-a to a degree. If someone is very successful in double-a and there is a potential opening with the mlb club they may very well spend less time in triple-a then they did in double-a. None of this is written in stone, much of it simply has to do with roster space at the double/triple a levels…just my observations over following red sox prospects closely over the past 8-9 years.

  21. Bob January 27, 2009 at 7:16 PM #

    Addressing your last point about trading early, I think it mostly doesn't happen because while we the casual fans don't know as much about the lower level prospects, the organizations do. There's also a lot of uncertainty, no lower-level prospect is sure-fire.

  22. Pat Hickey January 27, 2009 at 8:03 PM #

    Also, keep in mind promotions are never based solely on performance. There are specific aforementioned stepping stones that the organization feels players need to master before taking on the next level, and they're always tailored to the individual (i.e. better contact rates).

  23. Gerry January 27, 2009 at 8:42 PM #

    First of all, great list. Thanks for your hard work.
    I wondered why you included George Kottaras but not Dusty Brown, who have similar talent and upside. I presume this is because Brown is a year older. I wondered why you put Expo ahead of Kottaras, who could be backing Bard in 2009. I presume this is because Expo's highside is projected to be better than George at George's age, though as a prospect, George seems MLB ready now.
    Is it possible that these top prospect lists, which eliminate MLB ready players because of their age, are de facto erroneous? I am not talking about just your list, which is very insightful, but all such lists.
    Here's why. Bailey, Carter, Van Every, Kottaras, Brown, Zinc (and Pauley, Breslow, Thurston, etc.) are/were AAA-Pawtucket players ready to play at the major league level somewhere, and may do so at Fenway in 2009. Several of them are in fact, as B points out, the extended bench. One quick look at the performances of Bailey and Carter at Fenway verify this. However, they remain AAA prospects until they leave AAA. Someone, somewhere, has arbitrarily decided that when talented prospects reach a certain age they are automatically no longer prospects, and this has become some kind of unwritten rule. Who started that?
    Yet, there they are, AAA players who, just like the younger prospects, are working for their shot. Was Jeff Kent a prospect when he finally got his shot at age 29? Or Youk at age 26-27? Will Hagadone finally recover and breakthrough at age 27, yet no longer be a prospect despite actually being the best Sox pitchng prospect in MiLB at the time? I suggest that Hagadone will still be a prospect, and that Brown, Kottaras and Carter are still prospects. Yet, these prospects are arbitrarily labelled 4-A by the same unwritten rule writer, even though catchers develop late, and Hagadone is overcoming surgery. Sounds fuzzy to me.
    Perhaps a more honest, and more factual distinction would be to draw a line at, say 27, between older prospects and younger prospects. Wouldn't this be better than to follow some unwritten and innacurate rule depriving talents like Craig Breslow of prospect status? Wouldn't this put a different, more positive spin on trading for top prospects, younger and older?

  24. B January 27, 2009 at 11:46 PM #

    This sounds much like a Give Jeff Bailey a Chance rehashing. I guess it boils down to this:
    These types of "no-longer-prospect" players have had their shot to impress. Their organizations have spent time and money to develop them but feel they've maxed out. They still see them as useful so they stick in AAA. But a time comes when the money and focus needs to be applied to younger talent. The term prospect, in terms of prospecting for gold, is a good fit for player development. You can always get a nugget or two out of the "no-longer-prospect" type, but he's more like a tapped-out claim. They get abandoned in hopes the motherlode can be found in one of the newer prospects.
    I've often wondered in the past why the Zinks and Baileys don't get traded. Small to mid-market teams, I presumed, could find them very useful. David Murphy comes to mind, though he may have been a bit younger. It seems you never hear these guys mentioned in trade talks. Well I guess most teams have their own Zinks and Baileys and don't want ours. They'd rather take a chance with younger prospects in hopes of striking it rich.
    Pat's done a nice job with the top prospect list. How about coming up with a list of the top 4A, career MiLB players, throughout the entire game. Somewhat daunting, but interesting and informative. In honor of Bull Durham's Crash Davis, you could call it the Crash Chart or something like that. Would Jeff Bailey be the starting 1B? Would Zink make the pitching staff? Could you put together a team that might win more games at the ML level than the Pirates or Royals or Nationals? The list could become a hit.

  25. B January 28, 2009 at 7:46 AM #

    Thanks to Pat, Jared and Bob for your replies. Your ideas are right in line with my thinking.
    I wish NESN would air more minor league games during the season. It would be nice to have a chance to see some of the young guys in action.

  26. Dave B January 28, 2009 at 10:34 AM #

    Well first, I wasn’t really attacking you but I guess I will. If you are going to insult the intelligence of a reader I would suggest that you at least make sure you have your facts correct. You look pretty dumb when you say something like that and than say “Contrary to what you just said, Lin put up a .701 OPS in Greenville compared to Kalish’s .702.” Kalish posted that .702 in Lancaster. His OPS at Greenville was .732. So either you were intentionally miss leading the readers or didn’t even look it up, neither is very good. Also, it is interesting that you only point on on set of OPS and disregard Kalish’s great seasons with Lowell, GCL, and North Shore while Lin has one one stop of a higher OPS of .701. Cherry-picking stats? That’s not fair. So yeah, next time you attack me maybe you “might want to research a little bit. ”
    I guess i could point out that every single list i’ve seen have Kalish ranked higher than Lin besides yours. I guess i could point out that the Sox have moved Kalish through the system faster even though he was clearly struggling last year with the wrist. I guess i could point out the Kalish was great this year for North Shore in his most resent action. I could point on that based on my limited first-hand experience of the two Kalish was far more impressive.
    I’m not scout. Maybe I am missing something. Maybe you have some sort of insider info that John Sickels, KG, and SoxProspects don’t have. If some, please share. At this point i’m not trying to be condescending, i’m really fascinated by this topic now.

  27. Pat Hickey January 28, 2009 at 2:05 PM #

    Thanks G,
    -Yeah, age 26 is the universal cut-off date in a prospects career where they're no longer prospect-eligible.
    -I had Exposito over Kottaras because the latter won't be anything more than a platoon player. While he's more ML ready than Expo, he's not defensively advanced to handle a pitching staff for a full season. A lot of people are pretty high on Exposito because he possesses plus tools all-around.
    -Regarding prospect-lists, it's a very good point. I think any prospect that is up there in age, borderline ML ready, and has been at the AAA level for over a year is looked down upon a lot because they may not be anything more than a fringe major leaguer. Personally, I value upside over anything, but while there's a good chance a player like Expo could flame out, I think you'll see guys like him rated over the AAAA-types like Kottaras and Brown. Perhaps another reason you see these kind of prospects ranked so low, how many times do you see guys come up at age 26-27 and produce like major league regulars (besides Youk)? The AAAA-fillers to late bloomers ratio is incredibly low, and the ones that do sneak in later than usually are rarely more than ML average.

  28. Pat Hickey January 28, 2009 at 2:42 PM #

    That'd be a heck of a project, I could give it a try.

  29. Dave B January 28, 2009 at 3:46 PM #

    I'm confused, I agree with literally every single expert and I have the burden of proof? I need to explain to you why I think everyone is right? I'm sorry but I do not claim to be smarter than Sickels or KG or Callis. I'm not making a prospect list. I am well aware that the few times i have watched these players amount to very little. That is the specific reason why I don't make lists that contradict smart and educated baseball minds.
    My guess is now you will retort with something along the lines of "you still haven't shown any facts" or you may go the route of "you just follow popular opinion and don't free think." Either of those are completely fair. I will continue to agree with highly regarded experts and with the stats I have seen and my first hand experience. You can base your rankings and thoughts on….well not really sure what. Hopefully you will explain your thought process in your reply.
    On a side note, it's funny that you cherry pick your rankings. You point out that SP has them ranked 1 apart but Sickels has them ranked 10 apart. I'm really starting to think that you are just poking fun of me at this point.

  30. Pat Hickey January 28, 2009 at 5:14 PM #

    A few points then I'm done belaboring this subject:
    1) Sickels rankings are as subjective as mine. I trust SP more than I do Sickels.
    2) You're complaining over the fact that I have Lin two places over Kalish when you've provided no real reasoning why Kalish is the clear-cut favorite (i.e. Which areas is Kalish better than Lin?). This list is my opinion. The fact that you're befuddled over such a small difference really speaks to how badly you're embarrassing yourself.
    3) I base my rankings on scouting reports, experts opinion, and my first-hand experience. Do me a favor and compare the two players scouting reports and tell me what you like so much about Kalish over Lin.
    3) Unless either of them develop power, they're fringe 4th outfielders at best.

  31. Gerry January 28, 2009 at 5:42 PM #

    Wow, guys, this is the kind of spitting contest that drives us away from the herald and globe blogs. And, unbelievably, it's happening at the MiLB level.
    Pat. Two questions.
    1. Who set the universal cut off date for prospects at age 26. I think it is bogus and misleading, especially re: prospects working through injuries (Hagadone), learning more difficult roles (catchers, knucklers), and players who could play on some teams but are for some reason blocked. Is there really a written rule for this?
    2. Is there any official basis for the term 4-A, or is this merely a term used for ease of pigeon-holing players who defy description? I find the term AAAA to describe some of the best ballplayers on earth condescending, pedantic and inaccurate in all ways.
    Bob. I don't believe your previous hashing on players like Jeff Bailey proved your point. However, it is obvious I didn't prove mine either. As we have zero to do with his career, no big deal.

  32. Dave B January 28, 2009 at 6:25 PM #

    The last thing you said is the best thing i have seen. Lin and Kalish are not likely to be much of anything. I feel fans see these names and think they are future stars. The likelihood of either of those players even making the majors is pretty small.

  33. B January 29, 2009 at 3:38 AM #

    Gerry,
    What PC term will you allow us to use that will uphold the honor and dignity of (4A, AAAA) type players? I've never used the term to be condescending. How about 3.5A or super-A. I'd rather not be held to spelling out their entire given name with an attached list of all their awards, minor team and its afilliate when I'm posting a quick thought.
    But seriously, give me something your good with and I'll use it.

  34. Gerry January 29, 2009 at 7:39 AM #

    Older prospects

  35. Pat Hickey January 29, 2009 at 1:14 PM #

    1. I don't know if it was one specific person to set the cut-off age at 26. I just think it makes the most sense when you think about players coming up through the minor leagues. The percentage of guys that make it after age 26 is pretty low. However, this essentially coincides with…
    2. The term "AAAA" is a myth and there's a lot of research to prove that. Guys that have struggled in short sample sizes at the big league level and are stashed in AAA because there's too much depth in the major leagues are unfairly labeled as "AAAA" players. Just imagine if Pedroia was sent back down after struggling in April of 2007 and the Sox kept Mark Loretta around for the next few seasons. Pedroia, ROY and MVP winner Dustin Pedroia, would be labeled as a "AAAA" player. Obviously, not all guys that we consider "AAAA" players now (Hansack, Pauley, Van Every, Carter) are going to be amongst the elite, but until they're given a chance. Heck, Jack Cust was labeled the quintessential "AAAA" player and then he wasn't because someone actually gave him a shot.

  36. Gerry January 30, 2009 at 8:47 AM #

    Exactly. My point is that the term 4-A is essentially derogatory and inaccurate, wrongly implying an inability to rise any higher after a certain age; an insulting shortcut used for ease of categorization.
    B, in answer to your reply, I think it is more a matter of accuracy than PC. Calling Youk, Kent, Pauley, Breslow AAAA was probably not accurate. While many AAA players don't make the majors, there are many reasons (i.e. surgery) talent can get caught in limbo. How do you accurately describe them, lump them together, in a manner that doesn't insult them and damage perception of their abilities. Why use the term? Who are we to make such judgement?
    Beyond accuracy, it is also a matter of giving these guys the respect and support they deserve. If that is PC, then I am all for it. Hypothetically, Zinc and Brown could mature into legitimate major league starters, just as surely and at about the same time as Tazawa, Hagadone or Reddick. Despite age, they each have a shot, so they are all prospects. Younger prospects, older prospects = prospects. Why not draw the line at 27, the new 26.

  37. Tyler March 18, 2009 at 10:20 PM #

    "Gritty athletic outfielder, 4 tool guy, needs to add some pop"
    Gritty, hope that sticks with Pete because it might help get him some jobs if that adjective sticks next to his name.

  38. bottomlinesox April 6, 2009 at 6:18 AM #

    I thought for sure they'd let everyone leave work, drive in and buy three bears before they cancelled this… a sign of the times I guess… and I nice gesteure by the Sox.
    Feel bad for anybody that can't make the switch…

  39. michael tinley June 15, 2009 at 11:24 PM #

    i played little leauge with prospect derrik gibson he is a great ball player ive know him for about 10 years an ever since ive known him he has been a great guy i think if he does make it he will help the redsoxs alot hes coming stright outta high school so i think he might need a couple of years to adjust to the major leauges hes a great ss but i think he should of taken another postion an worked his way to ss but good luck derrik an thanks for representing little seaford delawere hope to see you back home on your time off mike tinley