For those following the Greenville Drive this year, the performances have not been all that impressive. Sure, Chris McGuiness was good before he was injured, and Manny Rivera and Kendal Volz have been promising, but otherwise it's kind of empty.
Reymond Fuentes, the Sox' first round pick last year can run the bases, but is only managing a line of .274/.323/.400 so far. Shannon Wilkerson has been out for too long to say anything about his season so far—ditto Drake Britton. And there's plenty of disappointment to go around between Roman Mendez, Derrik Gibson, Jeremy Hazelbaker, the ever underachieving Michael Almanzar.
So it comes as good news that with the beginning of the Lowell Spinners' season tonight, the lower levels will be getting a significant influx of talent in a hurry. Hidden away in extra Spring Training for the last few months has been the bulk of the 2010 draft class' best talent, which when combined with the signings from this year's outstanding haul should prove to be an impressive group.
The talent at Lowell starts on the left side of the field. While Reymond Fuentes has been disappointing so far, to many, it was the Sox' third round pick (who signed for the exact same amount as Fuentes, for the record) David Renfroe, that was truly the cream of the crop. Above average with the potential to be more both offensively and defensively, Renfroe is likely the most promising third base prospect in the system. Playing behind him in left, Brandon Jacobs was grabbed in the tenth round, but had to be lured away from a college commitment to Auburn with high-round money. Jacobs and his big righty power bat got a few at bats in the GCL last year, but not anything significant. Jacobs will likely be splitting time between left field and DH with Seth Schwindenhammer, who is very similar in his makeup to Jacobs from the left side of the plate.
The right side of the field is where you'll find this year's picks, Kolbrin Vitek and Bryce Brentz patrolling second base and right field (though he was drafted as a third baseman, the Spinners actually have four men listed at the position, and Renfroe is probably the most naturally suited for it unless he gets time at short). The skills of the two have already been reported ad nauseum of late, with the draft only a few weeks back, so I'll simply direct you to those posts.: Vitek | Brentz
Likely playing first will be yet another big slugger on a team filled with power bats in Miles Head. Another signability pick, Head was drafted in the 26th round in 2009, but for well over slot. Despite being yet another listed third baseman, Head's the least impressive defensively of the bunch, and so should slot in at first.
Though Roman Mendez will be trying to bounce back from his Greenville stint as the opening day starter, it is likely Madison Younginer who will draw most of the attention in the rotation. Another guy who got first-round type money, Younginer hits the mid-90s on his fastball and has a good repertoire of secondary pitches, all with good movement. If the Sox can successfully mould him into the pitcher they want, he could have top-of-the-rotation potential.
The GCL will also start soon, opening the season against the Rays on Monday. While the team is not quite as stacked as Lowell, it should start seeing talent flow in as and if the younger picks of this year's draft like Cecchini and Perkins start signing. Jose Vinicio, one of last year's big-bonus international free agents, will also likely start his pro career there this year at the ridiculously young age of 16.
So if you're getting tired of coming to the end of Minor Lines and seeing nothing but stolen bases and strikeouts, take heart. Lowell starts tomorrow, and brings with it the bulk of the talent from two of the deeper Red Sox drafts in recent memory.