Prospect Discrepancies for 2012

n690531745_2204357_7396542This years rankings for the Red Sox 2012 top prospects are rolling in. There has been some discrepancies among the top 5 and I was curious to look over them and how they can help the team. I am looking at minorleagueball.combaseballamerica.com (care of Peter Abraham) and SoxPropects.com. (Sox Prospects was last changed on September 9th)

Each list seems to agree that Will Middlebrooks and Xander Bogaerts belong in the top five, but even these two rank differently in each list. Bogaerts was ranked first overall by John Sickels and given a B+ grade. The good news is he was very close to a A- and that might even happen when his book goes to press. This was a ringing endorsement, but Baseball America moves him to second behind Middlebrooks. He then falls to number four* according to Sox Prospects.

*Something to keep in mind is Minor League Ball and Baseball America did not rank Ryan Kalish, but Sox Prospects still has him at number two. This would make Bogaerts rank third if he was removed.

Bogaerts is a potential power hitting short stop with the potential to be shifted to third base. He needs plenty of seasoning with only 296 PA in A ball, but with 16 home runs in that time the power is evident already.

While Sickels thinks very highly of Bogaerts it looks like the others would prefer  Middlebrooks value. He sits at third according to Minor League Ball, but first in the other two lists. He has power and looks like a prototypical third baseman. The one concern has to be his walk rate and contact level. At Double-A he walked less than six percent of the time and struck out 24 percent. I would like to see him get a full season of time at Triple-A, but would like to see some plate discipline develop.

This is where the lists get tricky. If you ignore Kalish on Sox Prospects you could say Ryan Lavarnway appears at number four on the Minor League Ball list and number five on the Sox Prospects lists. For a team desperately needing catching talent this is a good development and his B grade from John Sickels is a good sign. His glove is continuing to get better scouting comments, but still sounds rough around the edges. The power and overall hitting is just too good to keep far from Boston this season.

One more repeat is Anthony Ranaudo who ranks third according to Baseball America and fourth at Sox Prospects. I have some concern with Ranaudo and so does Sickels who dropped him to tenth this season with a B- grade. I think based on what he did last season and what was written it seems like being cautious with him in the top five is warranted. He threw 81 innings in high A ball, but with an ERA of 4.33 and a FIP of 3.95 he has something to prove to be in the top five.

Now we enter the last five players to only be listed in the top five by one of the lists. The one who stands out is Matt Barnes who came in at number two according to Minor League Ball. His grade of B+ is also very solid as well. We haven’t seen him face anything yet since college, but he’s projected as a “rotation anchor” and has very good stuff. While he isn’t forgotten by the other lists they just seem a bit more cautious.

After trading Casey Kelly last year and watching their pitching prospects struggle the Red Sox needed to add some solid talent to the starting pitching prospects. Barnes fits that mold and unlike Kelly will hopefully be a long term member of the Red Sox orginization.

The last player listed on any list above number five is Blake Swihart according to Baseball America he sits at number three. As a catcher he has joined a team suddenly full of catching talent and that seems to have made him variable by list. He is a high school draft choice making him a long term prospect and has an interesting skill set being a switch hitter, but interesting Baseball America found him to be better than Lavarnway, which no other list did.

The fifth spot is different on each list with Garin Cecchini, Bryce Brentz and Jose Iglesias filling those spots. I found Iglesias the most questionable on this list as his bat is just so disappointing he could quickly get forgotten by Red Sox fans if that continues this year.  Brentz is listed as a high strikeout/ high power right fielder. Could be an interesting player, but plate discipline could be a concern.

The last one is Cecchini who is someone that could be very exciting as we see him develop. As a third baseman his plate discipline was spectacular at low A ball and is considered someone superior to Middlebrooks in that regard. If he continues to develop and his power grows he would be a possible B+ prospect according to Sickels. With Kevin Youkilis option coming up after 2012 the Red Sox have a few young options and could have a crowd at third base very soon.

While the Red Sox have started to restock the minor leagues they have a lot of young talent which has led to a large variability in scouting opinions of their talent. I don’t think this is a bad thing — as long as they don’t disappoint here in 2012.

Which prospect do you expect the most from this season in their progression?

Categories: Anthony Ranaudo Blake Swihart Boston Red Sox Jose Iglesias Matt Barnes Ryan Kalish Ryan Lavarnway Will Middlebrooks Xander Bogaerts

After taking an interest in sabermetrics and statistical analysis Troy began trying to use it to an advantage in fantasy baseball. He started the website RotoSavants.com and also spent time at HardballTimes.com and FantasyPros911.com. After a few years the interest in the Red Sox drew him to start a Red Sox-oriented site (Yawkey Way Academy) with fellow writer Lee Perrault. A short time later he joined Fire Brand. Writer from: December 14, 2009 – July 24, 2010, March 3, 2011 – May 10, 2012.

7 Responses to “Prospect Discrepancies for 2012” Subscribe

  1. Gerry December 26, 2011 at 3:12 PM #

    I'm just hoping they don't trade any of these guys away this offseason, so they actually get a chance to develop and move upward. The farm system needs to stabilize for a couple of years to avoid a repeat of the past couple of seasons. With such a solid core and strong supporting cast, there is no need to. The Sox need to rejuvenate over the next two years and they would best do that internally unless they actually want to be mfy-lite. I look for all of Lavarnway, Middleton, Iglesias, Kalish, Lin, Tazawa, Wilson, Renaudo to be getting regular playing time at Fenway before 9/1 and on the roster in 2013, and already being pushed by those currently in A-ball and featured on these lists. That is the formula for success laid down by this ownership group and I hope they stick with it. IMO it would be shortsighted to trade more good prospects for a SP/RP/RF for 2012. This is a winning team with $10-12M in payroll remaining. More if they sign Papi to 2/20M. Spend it and go play.

    • donna December 26, 2011 at 4:40 PM #

      agree completely…let Kalish and Reddick win the RF position during ST. I thought i saw something about the RS' interest in Andruw Jones, and i silently groaned. The only thing i want to sox to do is shore up the pitching, another starter, like an Oswalt, and if they can get a good deal on Madsen and stay under the cap ( cuz i REALLY want the RS to be able to retain Ellsbury next year)…

      • TroyPatterson December 26, 2011 at 9:44 PM #

        I agree with everything here Donna except the Ellsbury comment.

        Not because I wouldn't like to see Ellsbury stick around, but with Boras as an agent I just can't see him staying for anything reasonable and unfortunately it seems like Crawford will be the reason they don't do that. If he doesn't take off this year he is going to be a huge target in Boston for tying up money that could have kept Ellsbury.

  2. Dan December 26, 2011 at 4:22 PM #

    I think the variation between these lists is a good sign for the team. In general our fielders are all solid players and, baring any injuries, they won't need replacements (we'll see about right field). The variety between the lists mean that the Sox have a strong minor league system and also a very young one. A lot can happen between single A and the majors, but because the Sox have so many high-ceiling prospects, we can assume some of these players will really excel in the bigs.

    • TroyPatterson December 26, 2011 at 9:45 PM #

      I think it's a good thing, but also reminds us how young the talent we have is outside a few players. The Red Sox did have a hole in their minor leagues that showed up in 2009 and 2010. They then made it worse by trading Rizzo and Kelly. Ben seems to have a better start and if he continues to stress keeping the youth around we should see some great talent out of the minors.

  3. Gerry December 27, 2011 at 4:04 AM #

    Pardon my language but every time I read something about Boras it revolves around him screwing a team and its fans to extract the last drop of blood from ownership. Ells OUGHT to be a Sox lifer, but he will go to the highest bidder. No, IMO, Boras is NOT doing his job as he disregards the comprehensive needs of the player, fans, ability to field a successful team, the community. And no, a 20+ year old starstruck kid and parents do NOT make their decisions independent of the agent.
    Boras is counselor, guide, advisor in all things and has a heavy hand in these decisions. His 'marketing' and placement processes appears inherently dishonest and dishonorable. Insert ambulance chaser joke. Today's salary travesties are largely of his making and by them
    he does, in fact, yield extraordinary power in determining who gets to
    post season (see Fielder, Damon, etc.). You may say that in a laissez faire world he is doing a good job, then again so are the lumber barons
    of Brazil and Borneo who are also killing the golden goose at the expense of the common weal.

    • @johncate73 January 3, 2012 at 4:57 PM #

      Boras does what he's hired to do, which is squeeze the maximum dollar available out of whoever wants to pay it. You don't sign with him unless you're just a mercenary.

      A lot of the players he gets these huge contracts for don't live up to them after they sign them. The Red Sox got J.D. Drew and Dice-K from Boras, and I wish they hadn't. They tried to get Teixeira from him, and I'm glad they didn't.

      If the Red Sox don't want to shell out an enormous deal for Ellsbury in two years, and he goes to the Yankees, I'm fine with it. I kind of expect it. Especially if he does like Tex and starts hitting .250 as soon as he signs the contract.