With the minor-league regular season over, it's time to look back at what the farm has accomplished in 2012. The plan is go to team-by-team, as we did for our daily prospect updates, but this time around, we'll review by position, so you get a sense of where the Red Sox are strong and where they are lacking depth.
Previous entries: Lowell Spinners Middle Infielders; Greenville Drive Middle Infielders; Salem Red Sox Middle Infielders; Portland Sea Dogs Middle Infielders
Jose Iglesias, SS
Iglesias had a poor season in a vacuum, but there were encouraging signs here. His walk rate improved, jumping from five to seven percent, and he had at-bats that looked like he knew what he was doing up there, even if the end result wasn't spectacular. These are small steps, but they are steps forward -- remember, Iglesias is just 22 years old, and just this year crossed 1,000 career plate appearances in the pros.
That's not to say Iglesias is going to turn into an offensive force if someone just gives him enough time. But it's realistic to believe Iglesias will get his bat to where it needs to be in order to succeed in the majors -- an OPS between 650 and 700 -- thanks to his tremendous defense. While his season line is a bit iffy, he appended productive bookends to his mid-season injury, hitting .341/.364/.427 in May and .329/.402/.397 in August, and finished the second half at .276/.335/.317.
Tony Thomas, 2B
Thomas isn't a prospect, but he, along with Jonathan Hee, played the bulk of the middle infield innings after Iglesias. The 25-year-old was acquired before the 2011 season from the Cubs in exchange for reliever Robert Coello, He showed some pop at Pawtucket, with a .197 Isolated Power, but nothing else in his offensive arsenal was solid enough to make that as interesting as it should be.
You can get a good idea of what Thomas' strengths and weaknesses are from this season's line. There's the power, but there are also too many strikeouts, with Thomas punching out 26 percent of the time. It keeps him from having a higher batting average, and the fact that he draws walks at a decent, but not good enough, clip doesn't help his offensive value much, either. Thomas also isn't a very good defender, so in essence, he's a minor-league lifer, kept around to do just what he's done to this point.
Jonathan Hee, 2B/SS/3B
Hee is a year older than Thomas, with the Hawaiian native drafted out of the University of Hawaii by the Red Sox all the way back in 2008. The 21st-round selection has slowly moved up, essentially taking things a level at a time, but after a brief stint with Portland in 2012, jumped to Triple-A Pawtucket for the first time. He's something of a utility player, and his glove is the primary reason to pay attention to him. You could probably figure that out, though, considering he hit .253/.324/.348 as a 26-year-old in Triple-A.
Hee did have a much stronger second half than first, at least, putting up a 736 OPS after barely clearing the 600 mark before the all-star break. That was almost entirely thanks to a strong July, though, as Hee scuffled once more when the calendar flipped to August. The Red Sox already have plenty of iffy bats with some defensive chops that can play at multiple positions, so don't expect Hee to appear in the majors all of a sudden if someone is injured.