Red Sox Top Prospect Voting #20: Junichi Tazawa Makes A Late Appearance

A few years back, we were hoping for some bigger things for Junichi Tazawa. A strong Double-A debut in 2009 combined with some decent showings in the majors had him on the major league radar in a big way.

Then came Tommy John Surgery. And while it's no longer the career killer that it might once have been, it's still quite the setback. After struggling through his first few starts in his return, however, Tazawa seemed ready to pick up where he left off. Unfortunately, that's right when the season ended.

The thing with Tazawa is that it's hard sometimes to realize how little time he's actually had to improve since those few major league innings. When we see him now, throwing some of the same flat pitches we saw him throwing then, it's tempting to write him off as a bust and move on to the next player. But really, including spring, the 25-year-old has thrown all of about 40 innings at anywhere close to full strength. He may never be a frontline starter, but with a few more innings we may start seeing the improvement we'd hoped for.

1. Ryan Lavarnway, C/DH
2. Will Middlebrooks, 3B
3. Xander Bogaerts, SS
4. Ryan Kalish, OF
5. Anthony Ranaudo, RHP
6. Jose Iglesias, SS
7. Matt Barnes, RHP
8. Garin Cecchini, SS
9. Brandon Jacobs, OF
10. Bryce Brentz, OF
11. Blake Swihart, C
12. Sean Coyle, 2B
13. Jackie Bradley Jr., OF
14. Felix Doubront, LHP
15. Brandon Workman, RHP
16. Henry Owens, LHP
17. Alex Wilson, RHP
18. Drake Britton, LHP
19. Junichi Tazawa, RHP

Would you look at that? We've arrived at #20! With just over a week to go before the season starts, it's time to get your last votes in! Who will make it? Who will be left off? Vote/rec away, and we'll all find out together.

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