Analyzing MLB’s Top 100 Prospect List

In case you missed it earlier today, Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com released his top 100 prospect list.  Whether you’re a prospect geek or not, you should check out the list–even if it’s only to see who the potential stars of tomorrow will be.  Here’s a breakdown of where the Red Sox prospects fell on his list.

Will Middlebrooks (#56) – Overall, Mayo gives Middlebrooks a positive, fair review.  He tells us what we already know (good power, above average defensively, impatient at the plate), but doesn’t provide us with any new insight.  If Middlebrooks can become a little more disciplined at the plate and continue to develop his raw power, there’s a good chance he’ll eventually be an All-Star.  By the same token, he could become Dallas MacPherson with a good glove if his development stalls.  He’s going to start the season in AAA Pawtucket, and hopefully won’t arrive in Boston until it’s time for September call-ups.  (I say “hopefully” because if he’s being called up, it means Kevin Youkilis is injured.)  Another full season hitting against tougher near-MLB quality pitching should go a long way towards readying him for MLB action in 2013.

Bryce Brentz (#64) – After experiencing a brutal 2010 campaign (.198/.259/340) with the Lowell Spinners to start his professional baseball career, Brentz bounced back in a big way in 2011; hitting 30 home runs and 25 doubles between Greenville and Salem.  With his power readily apparent, Brentz also exhibits decent range and a very strong arm in right field.  The biggest mark against him is his below average plate discipline (105/40 K/BB last season).  Luckily, he’s starting the season in AA Portland, so he’ll be given ample opportunity to work on it in 2012.  Like Callis, Mayo thinks Brentz could be ready to play at Fenway “in the not-too-distant future.”  If he can put together another strong season, while improving his plate discipline; he could leap past Ryan Kalish on the outfield depth chart.  It’s not unreasonable (but probably a little optimistic) to think he could be the Red Sox’s 2013 starting right fielder.

Xander Bogaerts (#76) – At 18, Bogaerts put together the kind of season most scouts and front offices dream about.  For low-A Greenville, he hit .260/.324/.509 with 16 home runs and 14 doubles in 296 plate appearances.  Boegarts has the potential to be a middle of the order bat, and has a “very high offensive ceiling.”  He’s long, lean, and athletic, and has a ton of raw power.  Like a lot of Red Sox prospects, he needs to work on his plate discipline.  At 19, he has quite a bit of time to develop that skill.  Not surprisingly, Mayo thinks Bogaerts will outgrow shortstop, and will eventually need to be move to another position like third base.  Considering his age and ceiling, he’s one of the few players in the Red Sox system that could develop into a megaprospect if everything breaks just right. 

Ryan Lavarnway (#93) – Number 93?  Really?  Yes, really–and it’s likely for the same reason Baseball America ranked him number nine amongst Red Sox prospects this year.  No one has ever questioned Lavarnway’s ability to mash.  He has excellent power, good plate discipline, works counts, and draws walks.  His defense behind the plate is another story entirely.  As Mayo mentions, Lavarnway has worked hard to develop behind the plate, and “looks like an every day big league catcher in the making.”  Although he’s become “acceptable defensively” that may not be enough to sway a Red Sox front office that covets defense at that position.  With Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Kelly Shoppach on the roster, Lavarnway will likely (barring injury) be the odd man out come Opening Day.  His ability to develop defensively in AAA this year will go a long way toward determining his future in Boston.

It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone the Red Sox don’t have any megaprospects on Mayo’s list.*  As Baseball America’s Jim Callis expressed in my interview with him a couple of months ago, the Red Sox have “enviable depth,” and have “a lot of young players with high ceilings at lower levels.”  Recent draftees like Blake Swihart, Matt Barnes, and/or Garrin Cecchini are raw but projectable prospects that could become upper-echelon prospects if they develop in the manner everyone hopes/expects them to develop.  Bogaerts, whom Callis called “the Red Sox’s best Latin American prospect since Hanley Ramirez,” is another player that could really breakout in 2012.  While prospects are about as volatile as any “stock” in baseball, there are a lot of reasons to be excited about the Red Sox farm system–even if we don’t have any “can’t miss” guys just yet.
 
* It should be noted that Anthony Rizzo and Casey Kelly placed 37th and 50th respectively on Mayo’s list.
 
Other prospect references:

Categories: Anthony Rizzo Boston Red Sox Bryce Brentz Casey Kelly Ryan Kalish Ryan Lavarnway Will Middlebrooks Xander Bogearts

After being slapped with a restraining order for stealing Nick Cafardo's mail, I was forced into retirement for a brief period of time. As fun as it was to lounge around the community pool and play shuffleboard with noted internet columnist, Murray Chass, I quickly felt a yearning to write again. Now in my second tenure with Fire Brand, I have set lofty goals of achieving world domination, ending the plight of the hipsters, and becoming BFFs with Mike Trout. I am fluent in two languages (Sarcasm and English, in that order); have an intimate relationship with M&Ms; firmly believe that Lucille is the best character on Arrested Development; and spend my spare time trolling select members of the Boston media. You can follow me on Twitter @Chip_Buck.

8 Responses to “Analyzing MLB’s Top 100 Prospect List” Subscribe

  1. eduff56 January 26, 2012 at 7:14 PM #

    It will be interesting to see if Cecchini breaks out and to see how Bogaerts progresses, but isn't it amazing how far Iglesias has fallen in a year. I don't know about you Skip but I have a hard time believing they think Aviles is the answer even for half a season at SS, (I know they like his baat but this is SS) and Punto was brought in to backup the entire inf not platoon at SS.
    I think they have to be thinking Iglesias may be ready, unless there is another move in the works.

    • kcole January 27, 2012 at 1:58 AM #

      Yeah where is the talk about Iglesias? I thought with the Scutaro move all we'd be hearing about is how Iglesias is the next man up. I mean I know he's a liability at the plate and I've got nothing against Aviles, but it really does seem like Iglesias has fallen off the map.

      • Gerry January 27, 2012 at 3:39 AM #

        And wrongly so. It cant be repeated often enough that this 19 year old from Cuba's Junior League was so impressive with both bat and glove that he was rushed to AA at 20 where he also did well enough to be rushed to AAA where bis glove continued to be outrageously MLB-ready but his bat finally failed … against pitchers of MLB caliber. Surprise, surprise! Did I mention his injury? His being a Spanish Speaking Cuban teenager alone among Boston media? Yet gurus and fans alike have written him off??? As Pedroia recently said in praise "Are you kidding? When I was 21 I was still in college using an aluminum bat". Iglesias was rushed, maybe too fast, but even so, even struggling against MiLB's best and MLB experienced pitchers, he improved his K/bb ratio. I hope he proves the critics wrong and, as Ben said, he plays SS for the Sox for a long time.

      • ChipBuck January 27, 2012 at 7:21 AM #

        Iglesias is not considered to be a top 100 prospect. Baseball America didn't even include him in their top 10 for the Red Sox.

  2. eduff56 January 27, 2012 at 9:56 AM #

    Show me a top 100 prospect ever that is a defensive player, if you don't have a bat you don't get rated as a top prospect. What does it say about their ranks when he was #2 last year as a Sox prospect and drops off? A great defensive SS saves runs, a great defensive SS gives pitchers the confidence to pitch to contact. Ozzie Smith and Vizquel didn't hit early and Vizquel was never more than adequate offensively.
    Point is if this kid isn't up by late May, then they will make a trade for a SS, Aviles is not the answer.

  3. Bruce January 27, 2012 at 1:11 PM #

    Why has Ryan Kalish not been on the "top 10 Red Sox" prospect list either this year or last year? Why is he always discussed as the next right fielder but not a top prospect?

  4. Matt B January 27, 2012 at 6:23 PM #

    Has Kalish fallen out of the prospect list given his service time in the majors, or am I insane?

    • ChipBuck January 27, 2012 at 7:23 PM #

      He's no longer qualifies as a rookie anymore, so he can't be considered a prospect.