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Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley among five Red Sox prospects in Baseball America’s top 100 02.19.13 at 11:48 pm ET
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Jackie Bradley Jr. was among five Red Sox prospects who were named among Baseball America's top 100. (DVM Sports/Portland Sea Dogs)

Baseball America named five Red Sox prospects among its top 100 in the game, with shortstop Xander Bogaerts leading the way at No. 8. The Sox joined the Cardinals as the only two organizations with four or more prospects ranked among the top 50. A look at the Sox’ prospects who landed in the top 100 with a snippet from the publication’s evaluation of each (with one disclaimer: Rubby De La Rosa, a highly regarded right-hander, was not eligible because of the number of innings he accumulated in the big leagues in 2011 with the Dodgers):

No. 8: Xander Bogaerts, SS, 20 years old

Bogaerts ranked as the top power hitting prospect and top athlete in the Sox system. He’s expected to start the coming year in Double-A Portland. Though the Sox believe that Bogaerts can remain at short for the season to come (and perhaps beyond) despite a powerful frame that seems more typically suited for a corner position, he’s getting his first exposure to third base right now in preparation for the World Baseball Classic.

Outlook: “Bogaerts likely will open 2013 in Double-A to focus on his plate discipline, but Boston has had a hard time holding him back. He easily could hit his way to Triple-A Pawtucket before he turns 21. The Red Sox don’t have a clear starter at shortstop, so it’s not out of the question that he could put himself in the major league mix before the end of the season. More realistically, Bogaerts will make his Boston debut in 2014. Whether he does so at shortstop likely depends on how much slick-fielding Jose Iglesias shows at the plate between now and then.”

No. 31: Jackie Bradley Jr., CF, 22 years old

The publication named Bradley the best defensive outfielder, best outfield arm, best hitter for average and hitter with the best strike zone discipline in the Red Sox system. Read the rest of this entry »

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What does precedent say about cost to Red Sox of landing John Farrell? 10.08.12 at 12:51 pm ET
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Bryce Brentz is one of the Red Sox' top power-hitting prospects. (Jim Allen/Portland Sea Dogs)

Whether or not John Farrell leaves Toronto to become the Red Sox manager — at a time when he has a season remaining on the three-year contract he received to manage the Blue Jays after the 2010 season — could well hinge on whether the team teams can agree on what comprises fair value when it comes to the skipper.

As explored ad nauseum last offseason, there are few comparisons when it comes to trades involving decision-makers (either baseball executives or managers) for players. But the two deals that got done last year, at least, suggest that the cost of such a “trade” does not include an elite prospect.

The Red Sox, of course, received two relievers from the Cubs for Theo Epstein, who left Boston to become president of baseball operations with the Cubs. The Sox got right-hander Chris Carpenter — a pitcher with a big arm who projected as a near-major league-ready bullpen contributor — as well as right-hander Aaron Kurcz — a small reliever who likewise has a big arm with impressive strikeout rates in the minors. The Sox parted with Jair Bogaerts, the twin brother of Xander Bogaerts, who was subsequently released by the Cubs.

Meanwhile, the Marlins sent a pair of prospects to the White Sox in order to secure the services of manager Ozzie Guillen. Florida sent right-hander Jhan Marinez and infielder Osvaldo Martinez to Chicago.

Baseball America ranked Marinez as the fourth-best prospect in the Marlins system entering the 2011 season while Martinez ranked fifth, leading to suggestions that equivalent compensation from the Red Sox to the Blue Jays might feature right-hander Anthony Ranaudo and outfielder Bryce Brentz, who ranked fourth and fifth in the Sox’ system in Baseball America’s pre-2012 rankings. But the comparison rings false.

“You’ve got to look at the quality of the players the Marlins gave up and not the ranks,” said Baseball America executive editor Jim Callis.

The reality of Martinez and Marinez is that their ranks reflected the absence of talent in the Marlins system. Marinez ranked fourth in the Marlins system and sixth in the White Sox’ system prior to this season because Baseball America viewed both farm systems as ranking among the worst in the game. Marinez’ likely upside is as a setup reliever. He has a high-octane fastball that can touch the high-90s, a slider and command issues. At the time that he went to Chicago, he was coming off a year in which he put up impressive strikeout numbers (11.5 per nine innings) and ugly walks totals (6.5 per nine). Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: anthony ranaudo, baseball america, bryce brentz, jhan marinez Print  |  Email  |  Bark It Up!  |  Digg It
A not-so-toolsy time for the Red Sox 08.07.12 at 11:07 am ET
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Baseball America released its fascinating perennial Tools Survey, getting the feedback of every major league manager to determine the players with standout attributes. While Angels sensation Mike Trout was something of a no-brainer for Most Exciting Player, and familiar superstars claimed the most prestigious categories (Miguel Cabrera, for instance, was named the Best Hitter in the American League), the Red Sox were minimally represented in the voting.

To see the complete survey results, click here. The Red Sox named in the survey were:

David Ortiz – third place, Best Strike-Zone Judgment

Adrian Gonzalez – second place, Best Defensive First Baseman

Dustin Pedroia – second place, Best Defensive Second Baseman

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Minor Details Podcast, Ep. 1 11.10.10 at 12:17 pm ET
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This week marks the debut of the Minor Details podcast, a regular look at the players and state of the Red Sox farm system. This week’s episode focuses on the recent Baseball America list of the Top 10 prospects in the Sox system.

The podcast is joined by WEEI.com colleague Rob Bradford for the introductory segment, Red Sox farm director Mike Hazen (who joins at the 9:25 mark), and Baseball America Executive Editor Jim Callis (31:56). The process of assembling the Top 10 list is discussed, as is the significance of the list to a baseball organization.

Players discussed include Casey Kelly, Jose Iglesias, Anthony Rizzo, Anthony Ranaudo, Garin Cecchini (after much bungling of the pronunciation, for the record, we wanted to clarify: Cheh-Key-Nee), Lars Anderson, Ryan Lavarnway and Ryan Westmoreland, among others. The outrageously awesome musical introduction is by The Porch Cops, featuring members of Tallahassee.

To listen to the podcast, click here.

For suggestions for future podcast topics and guests, or to offer feedback (good or hate-filled), email me at aspeier@weei.com or contact me via Twitter.

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Casey Kelly named top Red Sox prospect 11.03.10 at 12:10 pm ET
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Casey Kelly was named the top prospect in the Red Sox system by Baseball America (AP)

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

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Baseball America breaks down Red Sox draft 10.20.10 at 2:43 pm ET
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The Red Sox selected (L-to-R) Bryce Brentz, Anthony Ranaudo and Kolbrin Vitek with their first three picks of the 2010 draft. (John Corneau/Lowell Spinners)

Baseball America issued its annual draft report cards on Wednesday, suggesting that in their first draft under scouting director Amiel Sawdaye (who replaced Jason McLeod, who left to become Assistant GM in San Diego), “looked at talent rather than price tags and aggressively signed far more than their share of prospects.”

The complete Report Card is available (for Baseball America subscribers) by clicking here.

A few items of note from their evaluation of the team’s draft:

–While first-rounder Kolbrin Vitek is generally viewed as the most advanced hitter the Sox took in the draft, the Report Card suggested that high school second baseman Sean Coyle, who signed for $1.3 million to pass on a scholarship at UNC, could be the best pure hitter in the draft. The small-framed middle infielder shows surprising pop, as became evident when he homered early in Florida Instructional League.

–Sandwich pick Bryce Brentz was described as the best power hitting prospect (no surprise, given the Sox’ description of him as someone with light-tower power after drafting him), and was also noted for being potentially the best defensive player taken by the Sox, someone with a chance to be an above-average right-fielder.

–No surprise to see that Anthony Ranaudo, who received a $2.55 million bonus as a sandwich pick out of LSU, was named in the Closest to the Majors category. He was joined, however, by a less-heralded colleague who agreed to sign with the Sox at almost exactly the same moment as Ranaudo.

Both Ranaudo and left-hander Chris Hernandez agreed to deals with the Sox with roughly two minutes left before the Aug. 16 signing deadline. And while Ranaudo could be on a fast-track to a big league rotation, the Report Card suggested that Hernandez could beat Ranaudo to the majors as a left-handed reliever.

Read More: amiel sawdaye, anthony ranaudo, baseball america, bryce brentz Print  |  Email  |  Bark It Up!  |  Digg It
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