Pawtucket Red Sox Season Review: Corner Infielders

Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox third baseman Mauro Gomez (50) grounds out to second against the New York Yankees during the ninth inning at Fenway Park. The New York Yankees defeated the Boston Red Sox 5-4. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-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.

Previous entries: Lowell Spinners Corner Infielders; Greenville Drive Corner Infielders; Salem Red Sox Corner Infielders; Portland Sea Dogs Corner Infielders

Mauro Gomez, 1B

Year Age Lg PA 2B 3B HR SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG
2012 27 AAA 426 34 1 24 1 0 35 88 .310 .371 .589
2012 27 AL 75 4 0 2 0 0 5 16 .290 .333 .435
1 Yr 75 4 0 2 0 0 5 16 .290 .333 .435
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/14/2012.

Mauro Gomez isn't a prospect, given he's 27 years old, but he has the potential to cause some damage in the big leagues in the right setting. He's been just okay for the Red Sox in 75 plate appearances with them, but it's also his first taste of the majors. As with many International League MVPs, though, Gomez is more likely to be in for a career full of bus trips up and down 95 than he is a long, major-league one.

That's not to say there's nothing to like here. Gomez crushes the ball when he gets a hold of one, and his approach at the plate hasn't been awful or anything. But he's likely not any kind of real replacement at first base, or at designated hitter, and, as we all know from seeing this ourselves, absolutely not at third base. It would help if he were a better defender, but he isn't, and unless he totally mashes, being about average just isn't going to carry him at first. There's use in having him in the organization, though, hence Boston picking him up this past winter in the first place. And he should be able to fill that role, and the bus seat that comes with it, just fine.

Andy LaRoche, 3B

Year Age Tm Lg Lev PA 2B 3B HR SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG
2012 28 Columbus IL AAA 166 5 0 5 0 0 20 28 .234 .331 .372
2012 28 Pawtucket IL AAA 204 15 0 7 1 1 18 24 .264 .338 .462
8 Seasons 2687 141 3 111 40 22 300 370 .285 .372 .492
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/14/2012.

With Will Middlebrooks promoted to the majors, the PawSox ended up with a few different third baseman manning the hot corner. Andy LaRoche is one such player, picked up back in late June after the Cleveland Indians cut him loose. He was much better with the PawSox than with Columbus, but still not enough that you'd get excited about his presence in the organization.

This was LaRoche's first year without a stint in the majors since 2006, back when he was all of 22 years old, and Baseball America's #19 prospect. Not in the Dodgers system, but overall. Potential is about all LaRoche ended up having, though, as, after five organizations and 1,332 major-league plate appearances, LaRoche owns a career line of .226/.305/.337. Like Gomez, you don't mind having the depth around, in case of emergency, but LaRoche isn't even someone to throw on the 40-man roster at this point. Off of the 40-man, he's serviceable roster filler for the minors who could come up in a pinch -- and be designated afterward -- if need be. There's no reason not to have him around, basically, with his current status, and Boston's lack of Triple-A ready third basemen.

*****

Danny Valencia, 3B

Year Age Lg PA 2B 3B HR SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG
2012 27 AAA 337 20 1 8 1 4 18 52 .259 .300 .404
2012 27 AL 132 6 1 2 0 1 3 32 .198 .212 .310
2012 27 AL 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .125 .111 .125
3 Yrs 1071 52 4 24 4 7 63 181 .259 .300 .391
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/14/2012.

You could argue Danny Valencia is a Triple-A ready third baseman, but hey, check out his line from this year. He failed in Minnesota, didn't play well in a brief stint with the Red Sox, and his combined Triple-A numbers aren't exactly appealing either. Plus, he's all of one year younger than LaRoche, so it's not as if the latter is a crusty veteran next to Valencia.

Valencia has potential still, given he's only compiled 1,000 plate appearances in the majors over parts of three years, and was a top prospect in the Twins' organization not that long ago. But, at the same time, expecting very much from him at this point is asking to be disappointed. The hope is that Boston could coax his talent out of him, but if he's going to cost them a 40-man roster spot going forward, that might not be an experiment worth continuing. That being said, with the way he played this year, he might not need to be on the 40-man to stick in this organization going forward.

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