The most exciting prospects that Greenville had to offer at the start of the season have moved on to High-A Salem, but that doesn't mean the level is devoid of players. They still need to play games, even if Bryce Brentz and Anthony Ranaudo aren't there, and it's not like those left behind are totally lacking in talent now, either.
Brandon Jacobs may be the top hitter on the team now that Brentz has been promoted (Miles Head's future is still somewhat up in the air despite his excellent numbers this year), but he at least has the numbers to back up that claim. Jacobs, who was drafted in 2009 by Boston in the 10th round of the first year player draft, had not done much of anything in his professional career, struggling in both the Gulf Coast and New York-Penn Leagues. He is up to .319/.385/.513 in 2011, though, with a .302/.333/.558 showing with three homers in his last 10 games.
The 20-year-old outfielder has 12 steals as well, but has been caught six times, so he will need to work on improving his baserunning, though he projects as a double-digit base stealing threat in the majors. Mike Newman of Scouting the Sally is a big fan of Jacobs, saying recently that he likes his upside even more so than prospects you hear more about, like Boston's 2010 first rounder, Kolbrin Vitek. Newman also has video of Jacobs, for those who are into that sort of thing:
He certainly has issues, as he strikes out too much and has a huge BABIP that has helped him overcome that to hit over .300, but there is a lot of potential to be a legitimate, powerful outfielder here.
Brandon Workman isn't the sexy pitching prospect that Ranaudo was, but the 2010 second-rounder has pitched well regardless. He has 50 punch outs in 55-1/3 innings pitched, and has held walks to a minimum, walking just two batters per nine. He has been somewhat hittable, though--combine that with the low walk rate, it's easy to imagine that he is just living in the strike zone too much--so he's not quite ready to leave Single-A just yet.
He has been very good as of late, striking out 22 hitters in his last 22-2/3 frames, giving up nine runs in that stretch. A push to High-A and more experienced hitters may be necessary at some point to get him to throw more quality strikes instead of just strikes, but that will happen in due time.
There are prospects in Greenville without the name "Brandon", and second baseman Sean Coyle is one of them. Coyle was the Red Sox third round selection in the 2010 draft, and as he just had 12 plate appearances last year in the GCL, this is his first real exposure to the world of pro ball. It's been a mixed bag effort from him, as he is hitting all of .228 and striking out 22 percent of the time, but also is the owner of a .248 Isolated Power thanks to five homers, five triples, and 11 doubles in 180 plate appearances.
Let's not forget that he has also shown a good bit of patience to go with this pop, drawing walks nearly 14 percent of the time, and without sacrificing on pitches he can crush, as evidenced by the power numbers. There is a lot of work to be done here, as his recent struggles show (Coyle has hit just .184/.279/.395 in his last 10 games), but between the patience and the power, there is also plenty to like. Coyle is all of 19 years old, so he has plenty of time to right himself at Single-A, sans pressure.
Manuel Rivera is a lefty with a deceptive delivery who has pitched very well for the Drive in 2011. He has been in the Red Sox organization for years, signing back in 2006 and making his debut a year later with the Dominican Summer League Sox at age 17. This is his second stint at Greenville, but it has gone much better than the first. His K/9 has jumped from 7.4 to 10.3 per nine, and while his walk rate rose from 1.5 per nine to 2.2, there was barely any damage to his K/BB thanks to the extra whiffs.
His fastball isn't particularly fast, sitting in the high 80s and low 90s, and while his bender has promise, it isn't there just yet. This second stint for Greenville is encouraging, though, as he may be able to take his command and control to High-A sometime this year to show the organization what he is (or isn't) capable of.