A lot has changed in the Red Sox farm system in the last five months. Prospect stocks have risen and fallen at exciting (or alarming) speeds, the overall quality of Boston's minor-league product has been recognized nationally instead of just internally, and Jackie Bradley is doing his best to become a household name in New England a couple of years before he arrives in the bigs. Throw in the recent trade that brought in a few new names, and you've got even more changing going around.
We've talked about all of this and analyzed it all year, but we're no scouts. For that kind of perspective, we asked Baseball Prospectus's Jason Parks to come in and clear some prospect-related things up for us. You can follow Jason Parks on Twitter, read him at Baseball Prospectus, or listen to him on the Up and In Podcast.
Over the Monster: Boston has a few new prospects at their disposal, courtesy of the mega-deal with the Dodgers. What do you think about the ceilings and futures of Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa? Is there a clear preference for one or the other?
Jason Parks: I loved De La Rosa before the injury, but even then I never saw a top of the rotation type. His situation is obviously tied to health and the return of both stuff and feel, the latter is often slow to return. As for Webster, I would put him in the top 5 in the Sox system. Good arm strength, and he can work the fastball in the low-90s and reach back for bigger velocity when he needs it. The ball is quite heavy, and at the lower ranges of the velo (90-93), the sinking action is above-average. I've always liked his changeup; it offers good deception from the FB and has good armside action. The breaking ball has been hit or miss, but the slider shows good velocity and some tilt. He needs to stay in his delivery with more consistency, which will help to improve his command and his secondary utility. If given a choice between Webster and Zach Lee, I would have picked Webster.
OTM: With Adrian Gonzalez gone, and the first base market dried up for the foreseeable future, it's time to look inward to see if Boston has a viable option already. Will Travis Shaw be that option in a couple of years, or is it wrong to pin any hopes on him?
JP: I wouldn't bank on Travis Shaw. First base prospects need to be able to rake, and I mean RAKE! Shaw is a nice bat, but I don't see an impact talent. I think the first baseman of the future probably exists outside of the organization.
OTM: What do you think of Boston's first three selections from the 2012 draft? (Deven Marrero, Brian Johnson, Pat Light.)
JP: I've seen Marrero a bunch, and I like the pick. He's a prospect that profiles as a shortstop all the way up the chain, and that's rare. His bat might not be all that pretty, but he's a fundamental player that can handle a premium position, so he's a nice player to add to the farm.
Brian Johnson has been the lead singer for AC/DC since 1980
Pat Light has long levers and can create a steep plane to the plate. The fastball has some juice, and might profile better in bursts out of the pen. The secondary arsenal gets mixed reviews, but the delivery is fluid and athletic and the command profile is solid. Not fancy, but some substance there.
OTM: Brandon Workman is now in Double-A in his second year as a pro. What do you think his ETA to the majors is, and just what will he be when he gets there?
JP: Workman is a future major league pitcher, but I think his ceiling is probably closer to his floor than originally expected. He has good but not great stuff; the fastball works in the solid-average range and can touch higher; the cutter is a good contact inducer and can get sharp enough to miss bats. The profile is a strike-thrower that can limit damage, but not a guy that is going to blow away hitters at the highest level. I'd say he profiles as a #4 starter.
OTM: He's not a prospect, but, for whatever it's worth, Mauro Gomez was named International League MVP. Do you see him contributing at all in the majors, or is this just another late-20s former prospect who can mash in Triple-A, like so many International League MVPs before him?
JP: I think he's an up and down type; a Four-A.
OTM: Imagine you're running the 2013 Red Sox. Do you play Jose Iglesias at short, either trading Mike Aviles or changing his role, or do you give Iglesias another year in the minors?
JP: I'd like to see Iglesias in the majors for selfish reasons. I'm not a believer in the bat, and I doubt it's going to give you much. But the value in the defense has the potential to be special.
OTM: Xander Bogaerts is now in Double-A after hitting .302/.378/.505 as a 19-year-old in the Carolina League. Is he going to force himself into the majors before he's 21, and if he does, will he still be a shortstop?
JP: I doubt he will still be at SS, but opinions seem to vary on that. I really like the bat; his swing is very easy and loose, and he has a knack for hard contact. The ball just explodes off his bat. I really like the way his hands work; very quick and strong. I think he could make a push for the majors in late 2013. If that's the timetable, I can see him staying at the position. Down the line, I think he's a better fit for 3B or RF.