2011 OTM Top Prospect Profiles

Here's where you can find all the write ups for the various eligible prospects. Ages should represent the start of the 2011 season, or there-abouts. Level represents 2010 level, excepting late-promotions to the majors.

 

There's no limit to who you can vote for, though, so if you like Will Middlebrooks, vote Will Middlebrooks (I know there's at least 2 people out there who always will). I'll be adding more as the voting continues to keep the stock fresh.

 

Lars Anderson

Age: 23 | Position: 1B | Level: AAA

2008: .317/.408/.513 (A+) | .316/.436/.526 (AA)

2009: .233/.328/.345 (AA)

2010: .355/.408/.677 (AA) | .262/.340/.428

 

After his dismal 2009 season, Lars Anderson bounced back in convincing fashion, dominating the Eastern League in his first 100 at bats and reminding Boston fans why he was so highly rated to begin with. He didn't perform nearly as well in Triple-A, but did improve as the year went on, and made his major league debut as a call-up. He again produced underwhelming numbers, but did manage to draw seven walks to just eight strikeouts.

 

 

Michael Bowden

Age: 24 | Position: SP | Level: AAA

2008: 2.33 ERA, 101:24 K:BB | 3.38 ERA, 29:5 K:BB (AAA) | 1.22 GO/FO

2009: 3.13 ERA, 88:47 K:BB, 0.93 GO/FO

2010: 3.66 ERA, 77:37 K:BB, 0.54 GO/FO

 

A mid-season move to the bullpen produced immediate results for Michael Bowden, who saw his ERA drop to 3.20 during his 20 relief innings. Still, he's been hit around some in the major leagues despite good peripherals, and one of these days he's going to have to show something there to be taken seriously as a prospect. Rising flyball numbers isn't the best of signs, either.

 

 

Bryce Brentz

Age: 22 | Position: RF | Level: SS

2010: .198/.259/.340

 

A proficient killer of any and all college pitches sent his way, Brentz arrived in Boston looking like he was going to fill in for a lack of big bats in the system. His response was to look utterly inept against short-season pitching. While Brentz looked fairly solid in the field, and has a big arm, he chases pitches with reckless abandon, and is often made to look truly bad on some swings. Which makes it all the more puzzling that he even managed as many walks as he did. Brentz has some big tools offensively, but right now seems to be missing one of the most important ones.

 

 

Drake Britton

Age: 21 | Position: LHP | Level: A

2008: 4.28 ERA, 26:16 K:BB, 0.82 GO/FO

2010: 2.97 ERA, 78:23 K:BB, 1.71 GO/FO

 

A strong dark horse prospect after missing almost all of 2009, Britton showed he wasn't going to let Tommy John surgery keep him down, dominating the South Atlantic League all year. While he was limited to just 75 innings, Britton got stronger as the year went on, posting a 57:11 K:BB with a 2.73 ERA in the second half of the season. His fastball is back to its pre-surgery form in the mid-90s, and his off-speed pitches are good and getting better. If 2010 was any indication, there's big things in store for the big lefty.

 

 

Garin Cecchini

Age: 20 | Position: 2B/SS/3B | Level: Unassigned

 

A prototypical 2010 draft pick by the Red Sox, Cecchini was a hard sign, being lured away from LSU by a $1.3 million signing bonus. And that's after an ACL injury knocked him out of the first round. Cecchini can play all over the infield, but may well end up as a solid third baseman, where his big power potential and general offensive game should fit just fine.

 

 

Sean Coyle

Age: 19 | Position: 2B/SS | Level: Rookie (GCL)

2010: .200/.333/.300

 

First off, completely ignore that slash line. It's 10 at bats. Now, moving on, Sean Coyle has one very positive comparison: Dustin Pedroia. He's 5'9" short, leaves everything on the field, projects to stay in the middle infield (and to play well there), and has the approach at the plate necessary to compensate for his somewhat lacking power.

 

 

Felix Doubront

Age: 22 | Position: SP | Level: AAA/MLB

2008: 3.67 ERA, 118:24 K:BB, 1.14 GO/FO

2009: 3.35 ERA, 101:52 K:BB, 1.41 GO/FO

2010: 2.51 ERA, 38:17 K:BB, 1.13 GO/FO (AA) | 3.16 ERA, 34:16 K:BB, 1.50 GO/FO | 4.32 ERA, 23:10 K:BB, 0.81 GO/FO

 

After spending most of his career on the border of being a top pitching prospect for the Sox, Doubront asserted himself with a very strong 2010; he took care of business in Portland, and then didn't miss a  step after a promotion to Pawtucket. Where he really drew national attention, though, was in the majors, where he had a strong debut making a spot start against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Now the question for Doubront is: reliever (he absolutely dominated lefties in his short time in Boston), spot starter in triple-A, or trade bait?

 

 

Luis Exposito

Age: 23 | Position: C | Level: AA

2008: .283/.328/.508 (A) | .301/.331/.509 (A+)

2009: .274/.332/.427 (A+) | .337/.371/.489

2010: .260/.339/.416

 

Exposito didn't exactly break out in his first full year in Portland, but he didn't flounder like Lars did in 2009 either. Next year will be very important for Exposito if he wants to prove he deserves some of the catcher-of-the-future hype he gets.

 

 

Tim Federowicz

Age: 23 | Position: C | Level: A+

2008: .244/.338/.315 (SS)

2009: .345/.393/.562 (A) | .257/.276/.390

2010: .253/.324/.371

 

At 23-years-old, it's a bad sign that FedEx is hitting this hump in Salem instead of, say, Portland. After killing pitching down in Greenville with his former backstop partner Ryan Lavarnway, Tim Federowicz has been left behind, unable to adapt to Advanced-A ball. The good news is that his walk rate has risen from last year, but with his tendency to strikeout, Federowicz is going to need to show more power if he ever wants to be more than a defensive backup in the majors.

 

 

Stephen Fife

Age: 24 | Position: SP | Level: AA

2008: 2.33 ERA, 41:11 K:BB,  3.56 GO/FO (SS)

2009: 2.70 ERA, 35:4 K:BB (A) | 4.44 ERA, 51:10 K:BB | 2.23 GO/FO

2010: 4.75 ERA, 72:46 K:BB, 1.34 GO/FO

 

The second half of 2010 wasn't kind to Mr. Fife, as the sinkerballer's ERA spiked after the All-Star game with his strikeout rates dropping dramatically. With 136 IP on the season, though, Fife was pitching more than half-again as many innings as he had in any previous season, so some serious fatigue issues aren't too surprising. Still, a bullpen move might be in his future.

 

 

Derrik Gibson

Age: 21 | Position: SS | Level: A

2008: .309/.411/.394 (Rookie) | .086/.233/.086 (Short Season)

2009: .290/.395/.380

2010: .230/.321/.300

 

Pegged by many to be a breakout player in 2010, the man I called a "hidden gem" of the Red Sox' system did anything but. His strikeout rate spiked, his walks dropped, and while he did hit his first two professional homers, he certainly didn't have any sort of surprise power outburst to counter those issues. Just an ugly season.

 

 

Pete Hissey

Age: 21 | Position: OF | Level: A+

2008: .238/.385/.286 (Rookie) | .265/.359/.265 (SS)

2009: .279/.356/.347 (A)

2010: .234/.308/.318

Like Gibson, Hissey had a chance to surprise a lot of people this year, and instead went in the tank. He's got a lower BABIP and a level-change to mitigate his performance some, but still. Hissey's power potential isn't shining through, his walk rate dropped, and his strikeout rate rose. At least he stole some bases, but even that wasn't done horribly efficiently with 25 in 34 opportunities.

 

 

Jose Iglesias

Age: 21 | Position: SS | Level: AA

2010: .285/.315/.357

An ugly slash line belies some positive early showings from Jose Iglesias, who went down for much of the season with an injury and was slow in returning. While he didn't walk much at all, he seems to have displayed at least some modicum of discipline during the AFL. The glove, meanwhile, was every bit what it was supposed to be, earning rave reviews from just about every prospect evaluator who got a good look at it.

 

 

Ryan Kalish

Age: 23 | Position: CF | Level: AAA

2008: .281/.376/.356 (A) | .233/.305/.397 (A+)

2009: .304/.434/.504 (A+) | .271/.341/.440 (AA)

2010: .293/.404/.527 (AA) | .294/.356/.476 | .252/.305/.405 (MLB)

 

Is two years enough to say Kalish is like clockwork? He kills the level he starts out in, struggles a little in his first month-or-so at the new level, and then goes about destroying that league too. The only difference this year is that Kalish tried to go ahead and fit the majors in too. He didn't quite get to the point where he was "destroying" things yet, but sure enough, his September looked a lot stronger than his August, and now people are even asking if he'll start the year with the majors. While that seems unlikely if only due to the typical progression the Red Sox like to use, Kalish has cemented his top-prospect status regardless.

 

 

Ryan Lavarnway

Age: 23 | Position: C | Level: AA

2008: .211/.317/.366 (SS)

2009: .285/.367/.540 (A)

2010: .289/.392/.487 (A+) | .285/.395/.494

 

Lavarnway wasted no time getting to an age-appropriate level by dominating Salem and then actually performing even better in Portland. His 22 homers on the season topped his system-leading 21 from 2009, and he's walking more than 10% of the time while striking out under 20%. This is what you might call a recipe for success. Unfortunately, there's not a lot of talk about his defense improving much, so it's still unclear if Lavarnway can stick behind the plate. If the Sox push him up to Pawtucket to start 2011, it might be a sign that they're looking at him as a 1B/DH type in the short-term.

 

 

Che-Hsuan Lin

Age: 22 | Position: CF | Level: AA

2008: .249/.342/.359 (A)

2009: .264/.355/.364 (A+)

2010: .275/.386/.343

 

He's still young for his league, his defense is still great, his on-base percentage bounced back, and he's still not showing any power. Take that as you will, but I'll defer to our own Radiohix to make the case for Lin.

 

 

Will Middlebrooks

Age: 22 | Position: 3B | Level: A+

2008: .254/.298/.368 (SS)

2009: .265/.349/.404 (A)

2010: .276/.331/.439

 

It was kind of a one step forward, one step back year for Will Middlebrooks. He started out on fire, but had some significant regression to the mean as he kept on striking out and stopped drawing walks. Right now Middlebrooks is a huge enigma--consistently inconsistent, and while never putting up truly bad numbers, also not really performing up to the standards his draft stock and occasional outbursts set for him. The word on his fielding has been mixed at times, but he received the nod from Baseball America as the best defensive 3B in the Carolina League.

 

 

Yamaico Navarro

Age: 23 | Position: SS | Level: AAA

2008: .280/.341/.412 (A) | .348/.393/.508 (A+)

2009: .319/.373/.543 (A+) | .185/.270/.304 (AA)

2010: .274/.358/.422 (AA) | .283/.339/.528

 

To everyone who has even thought about writing off Yamaico Navarro after his horrible performance in a SSS in the Majors, I submit to you his 2009 AA stats. Navarro definitely seems to struggle out of the gate, yes, but when he hits his stride he can be a scary, scary player. A solid middle infielder who walks nearly as often as he strikes out and hits double digit homers...He's even kept it up in the Winter Leagues with an OBP over .400 and 4 homers in 69 at bats. Possibly one of the most underrated players in the Sox' system.

 

 

Stolmy Pimentel

Age: 20 | Position: RHP | Level: A+

2008: 3.14 ERA, 61:17 K:BB, 1.20 GO/FO (SS)

2009: 3.82 ERA, 103:29 K:BB,1.39 GO/FO (A)

2010: 4.06 ERA, 102:42 K:BB, 1.16 GO/FO

 

2010 was a season of highs and lows for Stolmy Pimentel. At his highs, he was unhittable. Literally. Twice in May, Stolmy went six hitless innings. His strikeouts are high, his walks are low, and things are good. Then he hits bumps where he'll walk four guys, strike out three, and give up a bunch of runs in a game.

 

 

Anthony Ranaudo

Age: 21 | Position: RHP | Level: Unassigned

 

The centerpiece of the Red Sox' ridiculous 2010 draft, Ranaudo was a top-5 talent who dropped for two reasons: Scott Boras, and an injured elbow. The elbow was what had sunken Ranaudo's 2010 season with LSU. Scott Boras was the one who took that lost season, appended a dominant stint in the Cape Cod League, and turned it into $2.5 million. Ranaudo combines solid velocity with great movement, including a big curveball. While his injured elbow sapped his control during his season with LSU, generally he's not going to walk many batters when healthy.  If he keeps up what he showed in the Cape Cod League, Ranaudo could well be heading towards the top of a rotation near you in a few years.

 

 

Josh Reddick

Age: 23 | Position: CF | Level: AAA

2008: .340/.397/.491 (A) | .343/.375/.593 (A+) | .214/.290/.436 (AA)

2009: .277/.352/.520 (AA) | .127/.190/.183

2010: .266/.302/.466 | .194/.206/.323 (MLB)

 

Whereas last year I called Josh Reddick the Sox' most MLB-ready prospect, this year I can only call him their greatest enigma. He is still devoid of patience, still big on power, and still in Triple-A. And for a while there, it didn't even look like he could hit the pitching found at Pawtucket. But then he had his tears. In August, Reddick put up a monster .350/.370/.626 line with eight homers, striking out in fewer than 10% of his plate appearances. But a pitiful winter performance has done nothing to back up his hot streak, and so we're left wondering if Reddick will ever be anything more than a Wily Mo Pena type, albeit with much better defense.

 

 

David Renfroe

Age: 20 | Position: 3B/SS | Level: 3B

2010: .190/.267/.260

 

A rather well-hyped 3rd round pick in the 2009 draft, Renfroe had a very disappointing start to his baseball career. He struck out in about a third of his plate appearances, offsetting a decent walk rate, and did not display the power some had hoped for. You might consider Renfroe the new Almanzar, if only in that he's got plenty of potential, but just hasn't shown anything yet.

 

 

Manny Rivera

Age: 21 | Position: LHP | Level: A

2008: 2.24 ERA, 58:19 K:BB, 1.65 GO/FO (DSL)

2009: 1.19 ERA, 50:14 K:BB, 1.33 GO/FO (GCL)

2010: 4.10 ERA, 107:21 K:BB, 0.77 GO/FO

 

After spending last year in Roman Mendez' shadow, Manny Rivera easily surpassed his former partner-in-pitching in 2011. His innings doubled, his walk rate halved, and while his ERA ballooned some due to a very low LOB% and a couple blowups, it was a fine year--nearly a breakout--for the young pitcher. The one thing that could hold him back is a sudden spike in fly balls, and with it, homers. Prior to giving up 12 bombs this year, Manny had given up only one in his first three seasons.

 

 

Junichi Tazawa

Age: 24 | Position: SP | Level: AAA

2009: 2.57 ERA, 88:26 K:BB, 1.08 WHIP (AA)

 

What new is there to say about Tazawa after a year lost to Tommy John surgery? Everything that was true about him last year is true about him this year, but with added question marks of will he be able to get back to form after surgery? It will be vital that he proves himself capable whenever he returns, since as a nearly MLB-ready pitcher, he could have some significant trade value, if nothing else.

 

 

Oscar Tejeda

Age: 21 | Position: 2B | Level: A+

2008: .261/.301/.347 (A)

2009: .257/.311/.332 (A)

2010: .307/.344/.455

 

A couple of things went right for Tejeda this year. The first was that he found some surprise pop. Having never hit even 20 extra base hits in a season, Tejeda knocked 32 doubles, 5 triples, and 11 homers on the year. Not even a quarter bad, that. The second was that he picked up a .362 BABIP--one that started rather higher.  That .799 OPS is not the kind suited to stand up to a regression to the mean.

 

 

Kolbrin Vitek

Age: 22 | Position: 3B | Level: A

2010: .270/.360/.422 (SS) | .275/.383/.400

 

The Red Sox' first round pick in 2010, Vitek was actually a little bit of a surprise pick. A second baseman who might profile better as a center fielder given his questionable ability to manage the minutia the infield requires, Vitek does have the plus arm and solid speed befitting an outfielder. At the plate, he has a solid approach and strong contact abilities, though he was striking out a fair bit in his initial exposure to professional ball. His ability to really contribute to the team in the long run will likely have to do with how well he plays out in center or at third, and his ability to develop the above-average power expected of him.

 

 

Ryan Westmoreland

Age: 20 | Position: CF | Level: Short Season

2009: .296/.401/.484

 

Ryan Westmoreland's unfortunate circumstances have been well-documented. After undergoing brain surgery to fix a cavernous malformation, he's making the long journey back to playing shape. So far, the results have been entirely positive, but we still haven't really seen Westmoreland play baseball. If he gets back to where he was before, then there's no reason Westmoreland can't be everything we thought he could be. But that's a big if.

 

 

Alex Wilson

Age: 24 | Position: RHP | Level: AA

2009: 0.50 ERA, 33:7 K:BB, 1.48 GO/FO (SS)

2010: 3.40 ERA, 50:15 K:BB, 1.54 GO/FO (A+) | 6.66 ERA, 56:34 K:BB, 0.91 GO/FO

 

Alex Wilson made the big college jump from short season ball to double-A this year, but his struggles in the upper levels aren't encouraging. Wilson's peripherals in Portland weren't much better than his results, and a little worryingly, he wasn't noticeably better in the early innings than in the later ones--which could have served as a sign that it was just an issue of a reliever being made to start. Ultimately, that could certainly still be the issue--the question is whether or not the Sox will give him another shot at starting in 2011, or just move him to the bullpen right away.

 

 

Brandon Workman

Age: 22 | Position: RHP | Level: Unassigned

 

Brandon Workman is a big Texas pitcher with some big fastballs. With four seams, he sits in the mid-90s, with two, the low-90s with some sinking action. And then you add the most beautiful two words in pitching: Plus Cutter. His off-speed stuff needs work, and will determine whether he ends up in the rotation or the bullpen, but he's got quite the repertoire.

 

 

Madison Younginer

Age: 20 | Position: RHP | Level: SS

2010: 4.79 ERA, 40:31 K:BB, 1.77 GO/FO

 

Madison Younginer needs a lot of work, to be concise. Despite possessing tremendous stuff, including a fastball that can touch the high-90s and a hammer-curve, Younginer's unusual delivery has led to inconsistent results. If the Sox can work this out of him, he's got what it takes to be a great major league pitcher. Some, however, see him more as a reliever long-term, and if he ends up taking a Daniel Bard path to the majors, few would be surprised or, really, disappointed.

 

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