PEORIA, AZ - MARCH 02: Casey Kelly #78 of the San Diego Padres pitches against the Colorado Rockies during spring training at Peoria Stadium on March 2, 2011 in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
We're in the midst of the MLB draft, where farm systems are made and broken. But of all the players picked over these days, only so many will ever make the majors, and even fewer will do so with the team that selected them.
The Red Sox, for instance, have just eight players on their 25-man roster right now who came up with the team, and one of them was brought back from outside. Generally speaking, especially for a team like the Red Sox which can generally afford to fill positions with average players through free agency, the draft can be a tool to fill out those few spots with top-quality players on the cheap, and fill the system with the pieces that can later be used to acquire said players from other teams. Often enough those two categories overlap.
Year after year, the Sox draft and sign dozens of players. Plenty fall out of baseball entirely, those select few make their way to Fenway, and then there are the rest, who we send off to foreign parts in the Winter or July. Let's see how some of them are doing.
We'll go with the biggest Boston trade since the Sox sent Hanley Ramirez down to Florida all those years ago: the Adrian Gonzalez deal, which saw the Sox surrender Anthony Rizzo, Casey Kelly, and Reymond Fuentes for the services of their All-Star first baseman.
Casey Kelly: At one point tabbed as our best hope for internal success on the mound (Hello Matt Barnes!), Casey Kelly, while managing to right the ship from the 2010 season which saw his ERA balloon over five in Double-A Portland, still hasn't exactly reached the heights initially expected of him. A second year in Double-A--this time in San Antonio--saw him throw 142 innings of 3.98 ERA baseball. His strikeout rates are still fairly low given his hype, though he's managed to bring his walks under control some as well.
While prospectors were willing to ignore the one bad year in 2010, leaving him still ranked in the top-50 by Baseball America, the average 2011 has seen him drop all the way to #76. He managed to start 2012 on the right foot, with two good outings in Triple-A, but an elbow injury has kept him sidelined for a while now.
Anthony Rizzo: Like so many other players before him, Anthony Rizzo struggled to turn minor league success into major league production in his first trip to the bigs. Still, continued production after being returned to Triple-A saw his stock actually rise going into 2012, and with his season-to-date in Triple-A providing even more ridiculous numbers (.363/.425/.710 with 17 homers in 214 trips to the plate), Rizzo is once again pushing for a call-up. The Cubs are reluctant to move too quickly, however, deciding recently that Rizzo will not be brought up to DH in American League games. Whenever he does finally make the jump again, however, there's plenty of reason to believe he'll be the player the Sox expected him to be.
Reymond Fuentes: The super-athletic outfielder has not had any better luck translating his physical talents to on-field success with the Padres than he did with the Sox. While he has continued to move up through the ranks, he has never displayed any real success at any stop. Originally billed as a contact hitter, Fuentes managed to strike out more than 100 times in 573 playe appearances last year. With none of the power potential shining through either, all Fuentes is right now is fast, fast, fast. Unless he figures something out soon, he's going to struggle to stick as anything more than a 40-man member called up for pinch running appearances in September.