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Casey Kelly named top Red Sox prospect

11.03.10 at 12:10 pm ET
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Baseball America, in its Top 10 ranking of the Red Sox farm system, named pitcher Casey Kelly as the organization’s top prospect.

(Click here for the basic Baseball America article on the Top 10. Click here for the much more thorough subscriber edition…if you are a subscriber.)

Kelly just concluded his Arizona Fall League season, and between Double-A Portland and the AFL, he threw 111 innings, going 4-5 with a 5.51 ERA, 92 strikeouts and 39 walks.

Kelly, who was ranked No. 2 in the system behind Ryan Westmoreland after the 2009 season, showed the potential for three plus-pitches, with a mid-90s fastball that sat at 90-94 and a swing-and-miss change and curve. His command, which had been exceptional with his fastball and changeup in 2009, faltered, a byproduct, the Sox believe, of his still-growing frame.

But the Sox still see a potential front-of-the-rotation pitcher, and Baseball America concurs that the 2008 first-rounder has a big ceiling:

“It’s easy to forget that 2010 was Kelly’s first full year as a pitcher, after he split time between hitting and pitching in 2009, and his learning curve against Double-A hitters was steep. The Red Sox aren’t worried about his less-than-gaudy statistics, still envisioning him becoming a frontline starter with three possible plus pitches and above-average command. He should reach Triple-A Pawtucket at some point in 2011, perhaps even to start the season, and his big league ETA is 2012.”

Kelly was followed in the system by shortstop Jose Iglesias (just named to the Rising Stars team in the Arizona Fall League), first baseman Anthony Rizzo, 2010 draftee Anthony Ranaudo (who has yet to play in a professional game, but did dominate in the Cape League after being drafted) and left-hander Drake Britton, a power lefty who bounced back from Tommy John surgery to strike out 78 in 76 innings with Single-A Greenville.

There was a fairly stunning omission from the Top 10. First baseman Lars Anderson, who made his major league debut in 2010, was not on the list. Before the 2009 season, he was rated by Baseball America as the No. 17 prospect in all of baseball.

Here is Baseball America’s full Top 10, with related content from WEEI.com for each:

1. Kelly, RHP

Minor Misconceptions: The Red Sox Minor League Season in Context

All-Star Futures Notebook: Casey Kelly’s Year of Development

2. Iglesias, SS

An Infield Coach’s First Glimpse of Iglesias

Glimpse of the Future: Jose Iglesias

3. Rizzo, 1B

Powerful Statement from Red Sox Prospects

Sox Announce Minor League Award Winners

Survive and Thrive: Red Sox Prospect Anthony Rizzo’s Return From Cancer

4. Ranaudo, RHP

A Mound of Expectations for Two New Sox Pitchers

5. Britton, LHP

Britton’s ‘Amazing’ Development

6. Reymond Fuentes, OF

Draft Class Takes Shape

7. Josh Reddick, OF

Glimpse of the Future: Josh Reddick and Ryan Kalish

The Discovery and Development of Josh Reddick

8. Felix Doubront, LHP

Doubront’s Long Journey From Lowell to Boston

Why Doubront’s Debut Mattered, From Boston To El Toro

Doubront Joins Line of Sox Pitching Prospects

9. Stolmy Pimentel, RHP

Sox Pitching Prospect Pimentel Gets Taste of the Futures

The (Almost) Perfect Stolm

Balance of Trade: Sox Dealt for 2008 and Beyond

10. Garin Cecchini, 3B

How the Jimmy Fund Brought a Red Sox Prospect Closer to Boston

The Most Interesting Red Sox Draftee

Read More: anthony ranaudo, Anthony Rizzo, baseball america, casey kelly
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