John Sickels posted his 2007 top 20 Red Sox prospects a couple weeks back and they are definitely worth a note here. Sickels is a minor league genius and I agree with a lot of his list. Here are his top 10:
2 Clay Buchholz, RHP, Grade B+ (good combination of stuff and command)
3 Michael Bowden, RHP, Grade B+ (good combination of stuff and command)
4 Craig Hansen, RHP B+ (I am still optimistic about him but he was rushed)
5 Lars Anderson, 1B, B (I love this guy, enormous power potential)
6 Daniel Bard, RHP, B (Best stuff in the system but may need more time than other college arms)
7 Dustin Pedroia, 2B, B (Another personal favorite)
8 George Kottaras , C, B (Should be ready in 2008, solid player but not terrific)
9 Justin Masterson, RHP, B (Underrated ground ball artist with great control)
10 Bryce Cox, RHP, B- (Great arm but Rice pitchers scare me)
There's a lot of great talent in this top 10 list. #1 on this list, Jacoby Ellsbury, is also going to be number one on the OTM list once it's updated come spring training. He's a terrific all-around athlete that has enormous potential roaming the outfield. He could be ready late 2007.
Clay Buchholz (2) and Michael Bowden (3) are completely interchangeable. They are almost exactly the same pitcher. However, when it comes to ranking the OTM list, I'm probably going to place Bowden second and Buchholz third. Both pitchers are at exactly the same point in their careers, but Bowden is two years younger.
The rest of the list includes strong arms and high ceilings. The Red Sox may not have the best bullpen right now but, if this list shakes out, our rotation and bullpen will be extremely strong come 2 or 3 years down the line.