Ft. Myers, FL, USA; A general view from the stands during the sixth inning of a spring training game between the Boston Red Sox and the Pittsburgh Pirates at Jet Blue Park. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
With the minor-league regular season over, it's time to look back at what the farm has accomplished in 2012. The plan is go to team-by-team, as we did for our daily prospect updates, but this time around, we'll review by position, so you get a sense of where the Red Sox are strong and where they are lacking depth. First up: a look at the corner infielders of short-season Lowell.
This should go without saying, but we'll look at the players who picked up considerable playing time, not every single minor-league player in the system. We'll also consider the level that the player spent the most time on as their primary 2012 locale.
David Chester, 1B
Chester finished up at High-A Salem, skipping Low-A Greenville entirely, following a season spent mostly in short-season Lowell. He finished strong, hitting .360 with a homer and a double in the seven games he played for the Salem Red Sox, but his season as a whole wasn't that impressive. The 23-year-old Chester struck out about 20 percent of the time against short-season competition, but he did manage to draw walks 11 percent of the time, and posted an Isolated Power of .213. A higher batting average would have made this look better, but so would have being two years younger.
If Chester sticks at High-A Salem, then he's at least back on track, or closer to it, in terms of his age for the level. The 2011 draftee could use a strong start in 2013 to instill confidence that there's something here besides an organizational piece.
Matthew Gedman, 3B
Gedman began the year well enough, but quickly faded, and never improved as the season went on. An August in which he hit .188/.207/.196 in 16 games and 51 at-bats killed a line that was already on life support. Gedman's 2011 was much stronger, as he tied for third in the Gulf Coast League with a dozen walks (it's a short season!) hit .282/.359/.393 overall at the level. He struggled in his brief stint with Lowell, though, hitting .169/.200/.208 in 80 plate appearances.
Gedman is the son of former Red Sox backstop Rich Gedman, and was a 45th-round selection in the 2011 draft. Like Chester, he's old for the level, and not a prospect. It's going to be tough to become one as a 24-year-old in short-season ball, too.
Jake Davies, 1B
Davies began the year in the GCL, but a strong performance there brought him out of Rookie League and into short-season A ball. Davies was a 21st-round draft selection of the Sox this past summer, drafted out of the George Institute of Technology.
His 798 OPS might not seem that impressive, but the average GCL line and OPS was .242/.318/.338 and 656. He might not have crushed the GCL, but he certainly earned that trip to Lowell. Things were more difficult there, though, with the 22-year-old facing competition that was, on average, a year-and-a-half older. Separation grew between his strikeout (20 percent of the time) and walk rates (6.7 percent) after the promotion, and the power he had shown in 20 GCL contests just didn't exist in the New York-Penn League.
We won't know until at least this time next year whether Davies is going to be more like David Chester or Matthew Gedman, when he has his own age-23 short-season campaign. But as of now, as you would expect out of a late-round selection, Davies is more of a curiosity than a prospect.