U.S. Futures All-Star Will Middlebrooks of the Boston Red Sox winks as he runs on the field during the 2011 XM All-Star Futures Game at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
It's not all about the perfect world projection for prospects, you know. You need to balance out the ceiling of every farmhand with their floor -- for every successfully developed prospect, far more never pan out at all. Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus gets this, and runs a prospect analysis series aptly titled, "What Could Go Wrong" each winter.
Parks covered the Red Sox' top five prospects today, pointing out not just the reasons why he likes them, but also the ways he can see them failing to ever achieve their potential. You need to be a subscriber to read the whole thing, but here are some important bits:
- Parks likes Will Middlebrooks a whole lot, for all the same kinds of reasons you've heard me gush about him. He might not be a star, but he'll be an above-average player at the hot corner, and that has tons of value. Parks points out Middlebrooks swing has a tendency to get a bit long, and it will keep him from hitting for a high average in the bigs.
- Parks is into Xander Bogaerts' potential, but he's cautious about ascribing him too much of a ceiling given his youth and a lack of professional playing time. Some of his swing tendencies might lead to pitchers he faces in 2012 beating him, so how he adjusts is part of the key to his future.
- Matt Barnes is liked more by Parks than Anthony Ranaudo, giving Barnes another point in the now epic struggle of which mid-rotation starter means more to Boston's future.
- The Over the Monster community loves Garin Cecchini. Parks is a fan, too, although he worries about how his approach is going to work at the higher levels against more advanced pitchers. Despite this, the tools are there, and Parks has high hopes for Cecchini's future.
- More love for Blake Swihart, and confidence that, though there may be tough times, he'll make it as a catcher. Between Ryan Lavarnway and Swihart, Boston's catching prospects are a bit different than they used to be.