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Weekly Prospect Updates

At the end of every week I'll update OverTheMonster.com with prospect updates on four particular Red Sox prospects. I'll explain how they performed over the course of the week. The four prospects that I have chosen - all top 10 prospects in the Red Sox farm system - are left-handed pitcher Abe Alvarez, shortstop Hanley Ramirez, right-handed pitcher Jon Papelbon and shortstop Dustin Pedroia. The prospects will always stay the same (unless a player is injured for the majority of the season, if that does occur than I will choose a new prospect) so we can see how they perform throughout the length of the season.

SP Abe Alvarez | LHP | Pawtucket Red Sox
Alvarez was Portland's Pitcher of the Year in his second season in the Red Sox organization last year after. He accumulated a 10-9 record with a 3.66 earned run average in 26 games started. SoxProspects.com on Alvarez:

Tall and lanky lefty. Has been compared to Orel Hershiser and Jamie Moyer. Changes speeds well and hits his spots with consistency. Fastball isn't fantastic, topping out in the mid to high 80s, but throws all of his pitches with pinpoint control. Best changeup and command in the Sox farm system. Curveball needs some work. Very mature, knows what he needs to do to prepare for each game. Very focused. Legally blind in his left eye. Wears his hat to the side to balance the lighting in his blind eye - not as a fashion statement.

On July 22nd last season, the Red Sox called Alvarez up to the big league club for a start spot on a day game of a double-header against the Orioles. He did better than expected, pitching 5 innings and giving up 5 earned runs against a stacked Baltimore lineup.

This season Alvarez is expected to start in Pawtucket's rotation, where he could see more time in the majors if he is needed.

SS Hanley Ramirez | B: Switch - T: Right | Portland Sea Dogs
Ramirez is touted as Boston's top prospect, but after the Red Sox's signing of All-Star shortstop Edgar Renteria, Ramirez's future is uncertain. After hitting .310 for Sarasota in 62 games last season, Ramirez was promoted to Portland where, in 30 fewer games, amassed much better numbers than in Sarasota. Ramirez had an identical .310 average at Portland, but had four more home runs (five total) and improved his slugging percentage by 123 points. SoxProspects.com on Ramirez:

Athletic five-tool shortstop with great instincts. Very young, with above average speed and contact. Very good range with an top-notch arm. Has shown power potential,, but numbers have yet to show it. Has all-star potential. However, may have struggled at dealing with all the hype - most reports list Hanley as the #1 prospect in the organization. He was very inconsistent throughout his second season, and had some problems with immaturity, having a few run-ins with management which earned him suspensions. Hanley has shown improved maturity in 2004, improving his game preparation and self-discipline despite a lot of spotlight. Highest ceiling in organization.

Ramirez could have a position change in his future, quite possibly second base where the Red Sox would need him more than shortstop at this point.

SP Jon Papelbon | RHP | Portland Sea Dogs
Jon Papelbon really came on in 2004 while starting 24 games at Sarasota. Papelbon finished the season with a 2.64 ERA and 10.65 strikeouts per nine innings pitched. Papelbon quickly jumped up the prospect list with his 2004 season, and is scheduled to start in the rotation for the Portland Sea Dogs this season. SoxProspects.com on Papelbon:

Good pitcher's build with a live arm and solid delivery. Fastball has been clocked up to 98 mph, typically hitting the mid-90s with great command. Very good slider and changeup, as well as a slurve curveball. All can be thrown for strikes, and Papelbon has improved his consistency with these pitches. Projects as a frontline starter.

Papelbon reminds me a lot of Roger Clemens: big, tall pitcher that has one helluva fastball. He'll be leading the Sea Dog's rotation this year, alongside fellow prospects Jon Lester and Manny Declarmen.

SS Dustin Pedroia | B: Right - T: Right | Wilmington Blue Rocks
Dustin Pedroia came on quickly as the newest member of the Boston Red Sox in 2004. The 65th round draft pick in 2004 started his career at Augusta, where he batted .400 in 50 at-bats for the single-A club. Pedroia's performance pushed himself into a promotion to high single-A Sarasota. His promotion sent Hanley Ramirez to Portland. Pedroia finished the season with a .336 batting average in 107 at-bats in Sarasota. Here's what Sox Prospects say on Pedroia:

Small infielder had a tremendous career at Arizona State. Average power for a middle infielder, with good bat speed and excellent plate discipline. Loves the game and has fantastic instincts. Plays top-notch defense up the middle, named the 2003 National Defensive Player of the Year. Very scrappy and a great teammate. Many scouts debate on whether Pedroia should be moved to second base.

Pedroia is slated to begin the season at Wilmington (Wilmington is what Sarasota was last year).