From July 2009 to July 2010 (July being the cutoff point in international free agency), the Red Sox spent big in the international market. The organization brought in some 22 men in that period, but it was the top of the class that really influenced the overall spending more than the quantity of players.
At the top was Jose Iglesias, with a bonus of better than $6 million and the added value of being on a league-minimum salary from the get go. While the media gushed about his glove, however, the Sox also slipped in another Jose worth a hefty $2 million bonus: Jose Vinicio. While Vinicio did not have the superlative glove of Iglesias, at just 16 years of age Vinicio was unmolded clay: a toolsy prospect without much in the way of ceiling. No, he wasn't going to end up being Albert Pujols at the plate, but he brought all the fascination to prospect watchers that a blank canvas might to Jackson Pollock.
Oh, they also picked up some guy named Xander Bogaerts for $500,000. Bonuses aren't everything.
But I digress. In the three years since Vinicio signed up, he's flown under the radar, which is to be expected from a teenager playing in the Gulf Coast League. He actually had a decent performance in 2011, hitting .291/.331/.419, but his first season in Greenville this past year saw somewhat diminished returns at .277/.320/.371.
No, a sub-.700 OPS shouldn't get anyone excited, even with Jose Vinicio's excellent (if not superlative, courtesy of Jose Iglesias making everyone else look bad) glove. But it's really worth considering age here. Because having turned 19 during the season, Vinicio was at a pretty high level for someone with his experience. Given a standard level/year progression, Vinicio would start Triple-A as a 21-year-old, which is no small feat.
If this scenario seems familiar to you, it might be because that was the exact track that Iglesias was put on, and the one that's arguably held the more expensive IFA from 2009 back. The good news for Vinicio is that he's not simply being thrown to the wolves--at least not yet. He's coming up from the ground levels, which means the Sox can afford to take their time if they determine Vincio isn't ready to move up yet. His option years should allow him to stay in the minors through the end of 2016, which means he has plenty of time left to progress at his own pace.
- Xander Bogaerts, SS
- Jackie Bradley, OF
- Matt Barnes, RHP
- Rubby De La Rosa, RHP
- Allen Webster, RHP
- Garin Cecchini, 3B
- Henry Owens, LHP
- Bryce "Plaxico" Brentz, RF
- Blake Swihart, C
- Brandon Workman, RHP
- Jose Iglesias, SS
- Deven Marrero, SS
- Brian Johnson, LHP
- Jose Vinicio, SS
Alright, one more spot and we'll be three quarters of the way there. Let's get this thing wrapped up:
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.