As long as we're prospecting...
20. Reid Engel, OF
2008 Numbers: A+, 77 G 332 PA .248/.297/.392 10 2B 2 3B 10 HR 2 SB (1 CS)
It's fair to say that Engel took a step back this season. He's seen as a player who can play LF or RF well, though his power numbers have never been up to par for the corner positions. He's 21, so he has some time to develop that skill. Engel spent two stints on the disabled list. He played at Lancaster, which despite the injuries, make his offensive numbers look even more terrible-er. Can't imagine he's going to make the list when we fill it out pre-2009, but he's not to be written off just yet. That being said, 2009 is going to be an important year, and if he does spend the beginning of 2009 at Salem (new A+ affiliate) behind David Mailman and Ryan Kalish, he's going to need to push one or the other out of some playing time to save his status as a prospect at all.
19. Kris Johnson, LHSP
2008 Numbers: AA, 27 G (27 GS) 1.49 WHIP 136 1/3 IP 108 K 5 HR 3.63 ERA
I've never been big on Kris Johnson, and his performance at Portland did nothing to change that this season. Improved neither his hit nor walk rate over 2007, but somehow his ERA dropped by almost two full runs. Could be moved to the bullpen, and possibly should. His peripheral stats thusfar in the minors give no promise to the idea that he'd be anything more than a 5th starter at the ML-level.
18. Mark Wagner, C
2008 Numbers: AA, 94 G 393 PA .219/.304/.363 19 2B 10 HR
Wagner is still our best defensive catcher at any advanced level in the minors. His hitting left a lot to be desired this season, and we should have tempered our expectations given that his breakout offensive season came at Lancaster. Soxprospects.com says that his defensive development stagnated this season. As simple as I can put it, he's going to need to be an elite defensive catcher to make the ML at this point, because his bat doesn't project to be anything special.
17. Dustin Richardson, LHP
2008 Numbers: A, 2 (2 GS) 2.00 WHIP 5 IP 4 K 2 HR 9.00 ERA
AA, 22 (22 GS) 1.49 WHIP 106 2/3 IP 114 K 17 HR 6.33 ERA
Richardson's numbers this year are underwhelming, despite the encouraging strikeout rate. He's been working out this winter as a RP, and SoxProspects projects him to be in Portland's bullpen next season. Tall. He's less likely than the others profiled thusfar to drop off the list, but he's still a 24 year old starting a "new" career as a RP in AA.
16. Jason Place, OF
2008 Numbers: A+, 114 G 538 PA .246/.320/.432 25 2B 4 3B 19 HR 5 SB (5 CS)
Place is treading water. Would have thought his power numbers would be better in Lancaster. Still a good defensive outfielder, but at some point the tools need to become performance. Regardless of his stagnating performance at the plate, he may be moving up to AA next season. I'd love to see him put up a .250/.340/.440 at the A-level first.
Not off to a good start, are we? The good news is, the next 5 involve one or two players who could be moving up in the list, and we made the 2008 list before the draft, so Casey Kelly et al were not on it. The bad news, again, is that all 5 of these guys will probably not be on the list next season. All right, so chime in. Who of these 5 pissed you off the most with their not-improvement this season? Who do you still have faith in? Will Wagner work hard enough to become the next Mike Matheny? Is this whole thing with Jason Place just going to end in tears, for everyone?
Thanks to SoxProspects.com for lots of information and to B-R for lots of stats.