J. A. Hampton
Blake Swihart started poorly, but he finished the season showing signs of the prospect he was expected to be.
Why is Blake Swihart our number nine prospect? Because of what he can be: an honest-to-god catcher who brings an above-average bat to boot. The potential for that player is there in terms of power, contact, and his skills behind the plate, and if he manages to follow through, he will be absolutely invaluable in a league where decent backstops are practically nonexistent.
It was not the perfect beginning to a career for Blake Swihart. Not even close. After signing on for a $2.5 million bonus, the first round pick from 2011 failed to live up to the significant hype that surrounded him.
Now let's get fair.
Blake Swihart is 20 years old. Not only that, but he's a catcher--a position which has a lot more to worry about than any other, and often can lag a couple years behind others in terms of development. His .702 OPS in Greenville, while bad, is hardly a "can't play baseball" figure. Not only that, but it's a number dragged way down by a .178/.253/.274 showing in April. He never had another month with an OPS under .737, and August (the last month of the minor league season), saw Swihart hit .320/.382/.440.
It will be interesting to see what path the Sox take with Swihart. Knowing their proclivity for aggressive pre-season promotion, the chances are that Swihart will start the year in Salem. And if he does that we might still not see that player we're so hoping he will be. But it's important to keep in mind that this path would have him set to start Triple-A as a 23-year-old, which for a catcher is no small feat.
Alright, let's finish off the top-10!
- Xander Bogaerts, SS
- Jackie Bradley, OF
- Matt Barnes, RHP
- Rubby De La Rosa, RHP
- Allen Webster, RHP
- Garin Cecchini, 3B
- Henry Owens, LHP
- Bryce Brentz, RF
- Blake Swihart, C
You know the drill:
I'll name candidates in the comments below, and you rec the comment of the player you want to vote for. For those unfamiliar with how to go about that, just click "actions" underneath the comment and then "rec." Nice and easy, though you do have to be a member to join in.
On the off chance I forget or otherwise leave someone out, you are free to start your own voting thread for that player. I'll even give it a rec of my own to make up for your vote.