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January 28, 2009

Future Shock

Red Sox Top 11 Prospects

by Kevin Goldstein

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top 11 prospects

BOSTON RED SOX
Team Audit | DT Cards | PECOTA Cards | Depth Chart

Five-Star Prospects
1. Lars Anderson, 1B
2. Michael Bowden, RHP
Four-Star Prospects
3. Josh Reddick, RF
4. Daniel Bard, RHP
Three-Star Prospects
5. Ryan Westmoreland, CF
6. Casey Kelly, RHP/SS
7. Michael Almanzar, 3B
8. Nick Hagadone, LHP
9. Junichi Tazawa, RHP
10. Bryan Price, RHP
11. Ryan Kalish, CF

Just Missed: Derek Gibson, SS; Yamaico Navarro, SS; Stolmey Pimentel, RHP

Ranking Challenges: Anderson was a clear choice to top this list, and Bowden edges in behind him at second by being a touch ahead of the two four-star prospects. There are difficulties with all of the players from there on down, as they have a wide, even array of attributes and faults; youth, upside, and a lack of experience, as well as injuries to players like Westmoreland, Hagadone, and Kalish (and the last still has lingering concerns about wrist surgery he had before the '08 season). Tazawa's circumstances are unusual as well, as he's a Japanese player who is not quite ready for The Show, and has a performance record that is impossible to evaluate accurately. From the fifth spot to the last, it's all about the scouting reports, and based very little on the respective performances.

1. Lars Anderson, 1B
DOB: 9/25/87
Height/Weight: 6-4/215
Bats/Throws: L/L
Drafted/Signed: 18th round, 2006, Jesuit HS (CA)
2008 Stats: .317/.408/.513, .246 EqA at High-A (77 G); .316/.436/.526, .307 EqA at Double-A (41 G)
Last Year's Ranking: 7

Year in Review: Boston's most advanced hitting prospect began to roll through the system last year, mashing Double-A pitching as a 20-year-old and accelerating his timetable in the process.
The Good: Anderson is an elite offensive talent, and it begins with his approach; he has outstanding plate discipline, both in terms of understanding the strike zone, and in recognizing which pitches he can drive. His swing is simple, smooth, and strong, he has power to all fields, and his maturity and intelligence are well beyond his years.
The Bad: Most of Anderson's value lies in his bat, though he's yet to have a real power explosion, and there are some scouts who question his long-term ceiling in that category. He has made significant strides defensively, but projects as no more than average, and he's a slow runner.
Fun Fact: In nine plate appearances with the bases loaded with Double-A Portland, Anderson had three walks, three singles, and a pair of grand slams. In the other at-bat, he grounded into a double play; can't win them all.
Perfect World Projection: He'll be a number three hitter on a championship-level team.
Glass Half Empty: He's going to mash, he's going to get on base, and he's going to have power-the question is just how much he'll do each of these things. It seems that a low-end projection would still make Anderson a .275/.360/.500 type.
Path to the Big Leagues: It's muddled until 2011. Anderson is a first baseman only, and Kevin Youkilis is signed through 2012. Youk could slide over the third to make room for him, but Mike Lowell and designated hitter David Ortiz are both signed through 2010.
Timetable: For now, Anderson will bide his time, likely returning to Double-A Portland to begin the year. If he dominates again, the Red Sox may be forced to make some tough decisions in short order.

2. Michael Bowden, RHP
DOB: 9/9/86
Height/Weight: 6-3/215
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Signed: 1st round, 2005, Waubonsie Valley HS (IL)
2008 Stats: 2.33 ERA at Double-A (104.1-72-24-101), 3.41 DERA; 3.38 ERA at Triple-A (40-40-5-29), 4.86 DERA; 3.60 ERA at MLB (5-7-1-3), 3.86 DERA
Last Year's Ranking: 6

Year in Review: With Clay Buchholz losing eligibility, Bowden becomes the top pitching prospect in the system, and he earned it by showing significant improvement in his second shot at Double-A while also getting the win in his big-league debut.
The Good: Bowden fills the strike zone with an effective three-pitch mix; a low-90s fastball that has good carry through the zone, a curveball that's a plus offering due to his ability to locate the pitch, and a changeup that features good deception. The advanced secondary offerings make him equally effective against both lefties and righties, and he attacks hitters without fear. Like Anderson, Bowden is credited with a mature, intellectual approach to the game that defies his youth.
The Bad: He doesn't overwhelm on a stuff level, and scouts differ on how he'll settle; some see him as an above-average big-league starter, and others think of him more as a back-end rotation type. His unorthodox mechanics have turned off scouts in the past, but he continues to succeed with them, and when they're broken down, the arm-action aspect of it looks very clean.
Fun Fact: In 19 starts for Double-A Portland, Bowden allowed just four hits in the first innings while striking out 26.
Perfect World Projection: A solid third starter, maybe a bit more.
Glass Half Empty: He'll be at least a back-end innings eater.
Path to the Big Leagues: The Red Sox rotation is full, but Bowden still needs more time to develop.
Timetable: He'll begin the year at Triple-A Pawtucket, where he'll likely be atop the list for prospective call-ups should the need for an extra starter arise. He probably won't have a full-time role open for him until 2010 at the earliest.

3. Josh Reddick, RF
DOB: 2/19/87
Height/Weight: 6-2/180
Bats/Throws: L/R
Drafted/Signed: 17th round, 2006, Middle Georgia College
2008 Stats: .340/.397/.491, .245 EqA at Low-A (14 G); .343/.375/.593, .250 EqA at High-A (76 G); .214/.290/.436, .223 EqA at Double-A (34 G)
Last Year's Ranking: 10

Year in Review: This unheralded prospect continued to put up big numbers early in his career before stumbling at Double-A last season.
The Good: Beyond the numbers, scouts rave about Reddick's set of tools. His hand-eye coordination ranks with that of any player's in the system, and he generates good leverage due to his bat speed and strong lower half. He's a tick above-average as a baserunner, and a very good right fielder with a plus-plus arm.
The Bad: The two biggest holes in Reddick's game led to his struggles at Double-A. His thin, wiry frame could use some bulking up, as he was simply out of gas by the end of the year. Because of his all-encompassing plate coverage he recognizes most pitches as hittable, and he'll need to temper that approach, as more advanced pitchers were able to exploit it.
Fun Fact: He was the 523rd overall pick in the 2006 draft. Only four players in baseball history drafted out of that slot have ever reached the big leagues-but one of them was Jeff Kent.
Perfect World Projection: A high-average hitter with solid power, and a plus defender in right field with enough skills to make up for a lack of walks.
Glass Half Empty: Too many hacks at bad pitches are his undoing, making him more of a second-division starter.
Path to the Big Leagues: It's not easy to be a Red Sox prospect at any position, and for now there are no openings in the outfield; an extension for Jason Bay beyond 2009 would further complicate matters.
Timetable: Reddick will begin the year with a second chance to prove himself against Double-A pitching.

4. Daniel Bard, RHP
DOB: 6/25/85
Height/Weight: 6-4/195
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Signed: 1st round, 2006, University of North Carolina
2008 Stats: 0.64 ERA at Low-A (28-12-4-43), 1.80 DERA; 1.99 ERA at Double-A (49.2-30-26-64), 3.28 DERA
Last Year's Ranking: Not Ranked

Year in Review: A former first-round pick who made a remarkable recovery from a case of Steve Blass disease, he became one of the most dominating relievers in the game.
The Good: Bard's arm action is among the best you'll see in baseball. His fastball sits at 95-98 mph, touches 100, and has fine natural sink. To further frustrate the opposition, he throws a true two-seam sinker in the 92-95 mph range, an absolute bowling ball that is incredibly difficult for hitters to get any lift on, and he has a slider that shows flashes of promise.
The Bad: The slider can come in hard and flat at times, and while he rarely had the yips at any level like those had in 2007, there were still times when his command would desert him. There have also been questions about his intestinal fortitude since coming out of college, and 2007's nightmare did little to eliminate them.
Fun Fact: Bard was drafted by the Yankees in the 20th round of the 2003 draft out of Charlotte Christian School in North Carolina, the same school that produced college basketball stars Stephen and Seth Curry.
Perfect World Projection: If he can find more consistency with his slider, he could be as dominating as any closer in the game.
Glass Half Empty: Not enough command and an arsenal only one and a half pitches deep might limit him to set-up duties.
Path to the Big Leagues: Relievers who can hit triple digits on the radar gun rarely get blocked.
Timetable: Bard will begin the year in the Triple-A bullpen. If he dominates, he won't be there for long, but that doesn't guarantee anything.

5. Ryan Westmoreland, CF
DOB: 4/27/90
Height/Weight: 6-2/195
Bats/Throws: L/R
Drafted/Signed: 5th round, 2008, Portsmouth HS (RI)
2008 Stats: None
Last Year's Ranking: N/A

Year in Review: Seen as unsignable by any team but the Red Sox, one of the best all-around athletes available in last year's draft signed at the deadline for $2 million, then saw his early timetable slightly delayed by minor shoulder surgery.
The Good: Westmoreland's combination of size, athleticism, and his Rhode Island roots bring with them unavoidable comparisons to Rocco Baldelli. His tools border on being ridiculously good, and Red Sox officials raved over what they saw from him this fall at their Dominican camp. He combines plus power with plus-plus speed, plays a very good center field, and has a big-time arm. His silky smooth actions and extreme athleticism gives him a ceiling higher than any player in the system.
The Bad: Westmoreland is a bit raw offensively. He has little exposure to high-level pitching, especially breaking stuff, and while he'll require some patience as he adjusts, the Red Sox think he'll come along quickly quickly due to his intelligence and work ethic. How his arm comes back from the surgery remains a question.
Fun Fact: A two-time state Player of the Year in Rhode Island, Westmoreland finished his mound career with a 34-0 record that included a perfect game with 19 strikeouts during his senior year-and remember folks, high school games are seven innings.
Perfect World Projection: He'll be a five-tool superstar.
Glass Half Empty: He's not as risky as most pure-tools guys, but there are still no guarantees even with a talent like this.
Path to the Big Leagues: Very far away.
Timetable: Westmoreland is ahead of schedule on his rehabilitation, but he won't be ready in time to start the season. He should get his health in order and his timing down during extended spring training before reporting to short-season Lowell.

6. Casey Kelly, RHP/SS
DOB: 10/4/89
Height/Weight: 6-3/194
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Signed: 1st round, 2008, Sarasota HS (FL)
2008 Stats: .173/.229/.255 at Rookie-level (27 G); .344/.344/.563 at Short-season (9 G)
Last Year's Ranking: N/A

Year in Review: The most talented two-way player available in the draft, he earned a $3 million bonus that steered him away from becoming the next star quarterback at the University of Tennessee.
The Good: Kelly has first-round talent both as a pitcher and a hitter. As a shortstop, he has above-average power for the position, good range along with excellent defensive instincts, and a plus-plus arm. On the mound, his fastball sits at 90-93 mph, and his extreme athleticism allows for plenty of projection. His curveball is already an above-average offering, and he has a decent feel for his changeup.
The Bad: He's unrefined as a hitter, has a tendency to chase pitches, and his swing can be very long when he becomes too power-focused. As a pitcher, he just needs the innings to learn how to set up batters and work on improving his changeup.
Fun Fact: While Sarasota High has produced its fair share of professional athletes, including Tigers reliever Bobby Seay, the school's most famous alumni is Paul Reubenfeld, who became Paul Reubens, who became famous as Pee-Wee Herman.
Perfect World Projection: We don't know what his role will be yet, so it's hard to say.
Glass Half Empty: Ditto.
Path to the Big Leagues: This is where things get interesting: The Red Sox and Kelly have worked out a plan for 2009 in which he'll remain a two-way player. He'll report to spring training as a pitcher, throw approximately 100 innings, and then return to the Red Sox camp in Florida to prepare for a second half as an everyday positional player, though they may play it safe by making him a designated hitter instead of letting him take the field.
Timetable: Kelly will do the two-way thing at Low-A Greenville this year, and Boston hopes to have an answer as to where his future lies by the end of the year.

7. Michael Almanzar, 3B
DOB: 12/2/90
Height/Weight: 6-3/190
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Signed: Dominican Republic, 2007
2008 Stats: .348/.414/.472 at Rookie-level (23 G); .207/.238/.314, .137 EqA at Low-A (35 G)
Last Year's Ranking: Not Ranked

Year in Review: One of the top international signings in 2007, Almanzar came out of the gates swinging in his pro debut in the Gulf Coast League in '08, but struggled mightily as a 17-year-old in the Sally League.
The Good: He has offensive upside that rivals that of anyone else's in the system, with a quick, quiet swing that keeps his bat in the zone for a long time, and current gap power that should lead to a well above-average rating as his body matures. He has good range at third base and a plus arm.
The Bad: Almanzar was overmatched in the Sally League, and it's of little concern due to his age, but his game could still use some refinement. More advanced breaking pitches gave him fits, and on defense he needs to improve his positioning and footwork. He's a big kid now, and some are concerned about how much athleticism he'll be able to maintain as he fills out.
Fun Fact: Almanzar's lone Sally League home run came off of Colorado's 2008 first-round pick, Christian Friedrich.
Perfect World Projection: He'll be an All-Star third baseman.
Glass Half Empty: If he's forced to first base because of the body, he'll have no choice but to become a masher in order to remain a prospect.
Path to the Big Leagues: He's blocked for now, but the Red Sox will be a very different team by the time he's ready.
Timetable: Almanzar will get a second crack at Low-A Greenville to begin 2009, but he might be sharing third-base duties with Will Middlebrooks, another high-ceiling seven-figure bonus third baseman who is also preparing for his full-season debut.

8. Nick Hagadone, LHP
DOB: 1/1/86
Height/Weight: 6-5/230
Bats/Throws: L/L
Drafted/Signed: 1st round, 2007, University of Washington
2008 Stats: 0.00 ERA at Low-A (10-5-6-12), 4.50 DERA
Last Year's Ranking: 8

Year in Review: The power left-hander made just three appearances in the Sally League in 2008 before seeing his season swept away by Tommy John surgery.
The Good: Hagadone is a rare talent; a big power lefty with extreme velocity whose fastball sits at 94-96 mph and can touch 98, and a slider that gives him a second true out pitch. He also made some progress with his changeup, and as a former college reliever, he brings a fearless approach to the game.
The Bad: Hagadone's stuff is top-notch, but his command and control are both below average. His somewhat violent delivery needed to be tempered even before the surgery, so he'll now need to learn how to smooth out his mechanics while maintaining his power. The missed year leaves him at 23 years old with only 34 1/3 innings of pro experience.
Fun Fact: Scouts love athletic bloodlines, and Hagadone's father played football at the University of Idaho, while his mother played volleyball at Montana State.
Perfect World Projection: He'll be a dominating power pitcher.
Glass Half Empty: He may end up as a late-inning reliever.
Path to the Big Leagues: For now, he just needs to get healthy enough to get back out on the mound, though Red Sox officials were very happy with his rehabilitation.
Timetable: Hagadone might not be ready when the season begins, but the Red Sox believe that he could be back as early as May, most likely beginning the year at their new High-A affiliate in Salem.

9. Junichi Tazawa, RHP
DOB: 6/6/86
Height/Weight: 6-0/180
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Signed: Japan, 2008
2008 Stats: N/A
Last Year's Ranking: N/A

Year in Review: A unique product from Japan, Tazawa dominated in the Japanese Industrial League in 2008, and then asked to be excluded from the draft so that he could pursue his career in America. After a scramble among big-league suitors, the Red Sox won out, giving him a four-year major league deal in the process.
The Good: Like many Japanese pitchers, Tazawa has excellent command of a deep arsenal, but he's far from a finesse pitcher. His fastball sits at 90-92 mph and can touch 94, and he throws a curveball and a slider, both of which are average offerings. He throws a splitter in lieu of a changeup, and it's an excellent pitch with nice depth and fade.
The Bad: Tazawa pitches solely out of the stretch, so there is some question as to whether or not he would simply work better in the bullpen. While we know what he is on a scouting level, there's no way to gauge what he's done so far-opinions vary wildly on the level of competition in the Japan Industrial League-but he's clearly not ready for the majors. Because of his size and delivery, his fastball can be a bit straight.
Fun Fact: Tazawa struck out 114 while walking just 15 over 113 innings in the Japan Industrial League last year.
Perfect World Projection: He could be a fourth or fifth starter.
Glass Half Empty: He'll settle for being a solid relief pitcher.
Path to the Big Leagues: His big-league contract exerts some pressure on his timetable, even though his final role is yet to be determined.
Timetable: Boston officials will use the spring to fully evaluate Tazawa's readiness and how far away or close to the big leagues he is. He'll definitely remain a starter for now, and his most likely destination is Double-A Portland.

10. Bryan Price, RHP
DOB: 11/13/86
Height/Weight: 6-4/210
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Signed: 1st round, 2008, Rice University
2008 Stats: 3.83 ERA at Short-season (40-47-10-43)
Last Year's Ranking: N/A

Year in Review: He's an outstanding raw talent who finally put it all together during his junior year at Rice, going from being a rarely used extra bullpen arm to a supplemental first-round pick.
The Good: Primarily a reliever in college, Price's power frame and three-pitch arsenal have the Red Sox hoping that he'll continue to shine as a starter. He pitches primarily off of his heavy 92-95 fastball in order to set up a power slider that is a true swing-and-miss pitch. His changeup is solid, and he stays within the strike zone.
The Bad: While Price has control, he lacks command. He's had trouble in the past throwing strikes, and can become overly concerned with it, grooving fastballs down the middle in order to get ahead in the count, which can make him quite hittable. His changeup shows promise, but lacks consistency, and he doesn't have the confidence to use it in pressure situations.
Fun Fact: Price spent his youth in Marble Falls, Texas, located between Austin and San Antonio. Named after the local rock formations when it was founded in the 1880s, there is actually no marble in Marble Falls-just limestone and granite.
Perfect World Projection: He should be a mid-rotation starting pitcher.
Glass Half Empty: He'll be a power relief pitcher, but there is always the fear that he could stop throwing strikes any minute now.
Path to the Big Leagues: He's behind many others on the depth chart, but there's no need to rush him.
Timetable: Price will begin the year at one of Boston's two A-ball affiliates, most likely Low-A Greenville.

11. Ryan Kalish, CF
DOB: 3/28/88
Height/Weight: 6-1/205
Bats/Throws: L/L
Drafted/Signed: 9th round, 2006, Red Bank Catholic HS (NJ)
2008 Stats: .281/.376/.356, .219 EqA at Low-A (96 G); .233/.305/.397, .196 EqA at High-A (18 G)
Last Year's Ranking: 5

Year in Review: This high-ceiling outfielder had a solid full-season debut last year, but not the breakout campaign that many had expected.
The Good: Kalish is still one of the better athletes in the system. He's a plus runner with excellent base-running instincts and exceptional bat speed who projects as a top-of-the-order hitter due to his patient approach. He's a max-effort type who always gets his uniform dirty.
The Bad: Kalish did nearly everything that was expected of him in 2008 except drive the ball. He had surgery to repair a broken hamate bone before the season began, never seemed to get comfortable enough to let go in his swing, and his once-promising power pulled a disappearing act. On defense, he needs to improve his routes and jumps to stay in center.
Fun Fact: In 11 games as a leadoff man playing for North Shore in the Hawaiian Winter League during the offseason, he hit just .273, but drew 14 walks against just 33 at-bats; good for a .489 on-base percentage.
Perfect World Projection: He'll be a 20-20 center fielder.
Glass Half Empty: If the power doesn't return, he's merely a fourth outfielder.
Path to the Big Leagues: It's filled with hurdles.
Timetable: Wrist injuries often take a full year to heal, and sometimes more for young players. Red Sox officials are confident that Kalish will return to form this year with another crack at High-A, and he has a good shot at rocketing back up the list next year.

The Sleeper: A sixth-round pick in 2007, first baseman Anthony Rizzo was making quite an impression by hitting .373/.402/.446 in his first 21 games for Low-A Greenville last year before being diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. He's been fully cleared to play in 2009, and his offensive skills are considerable.

Top 10 Talents 25 And Under (as of Opening Day 2009)

1. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
2. Jon Lester, LHP
3. Clay Buchholz, RHP
4. Lars Anderson, 1B
5. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
6. Justin Masterson, RHP
7. Michael Bowden, RHP
8. Josh Reddick, RF
9. Daniel Bard, RHP
10. Ryan Westmoreland, CF

For a team with a reputation for leaning on famous veteran stars, the Red Sox are actually built to last with a plethora of outstanding young talent, especially with 2008 MVP Pedroia already shining, as well as Jon Lester establishing himself as one of the better left-handers around. Call me a Kool-Aid drinker on Buchholz, but I still believe in the talent. The question is, what does Boston think of him? They sent mixed signals in the offseason, doing nothing to open up a spot for him in the rotation, but also refusing to even bring up his name in any trade talks. Ellsbury is more than a bit overrated-in another organization with a lower profile, he'd be a nice defensive outfielder with limited secondary skills that people wouldn't be so excited about. Masterson is a ground-ball machine who could get better if he can throw more strikes. Not making the cut in the end is Jed Lowrie; I almost ranked him 10th, but would you really trade the kind of upside that Westmoreland has for a guy like Lowrie? Sure, he played errorless ball at shortstop, but his range there remains short (no pun intended), and the way he struggles against right-handers throws up a second red flag.

Summary: The Red Sox system is at a turning point. They have a nice set of prospects in the upper levels, but very little depth, and much of the future depends on the development of a number of risky, high-ceiling players. This could easily develop into one of the best systems in the game in the next two or three years, or it may devolve into one that's below average due to their risk-heavy portfolio.


Up next: the Chicago White Sox.

---

Kevin Goldstein steps from behind the curtain to talk Red Sox with Mike Hazen in this unique Top 11 Prospect edition of BPR.


Click to download mp3

Kevin Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Kevin's other articles. You can contact Kevin by clicking here

43 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

DGBL

Last year, Reddick was a 2 star guy. Guys improve all the time, but was there one thing that really stood out?

Jan 28, 2009 08:24 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

He really got some strong reports. I think a lot of it was that his 2007 was a little out of nowhere so people didn't trust it enough. So he proved himself, and that's a big factor.

Jan 28, 2009 08:58 AM
 
TheBunk

Eeesh, I don't know, maybe there should be a six star rating or something because the difference between prospects like Tommy Hanson and Bowden feels pretty significant.

very good third starter I can buy as a five star prospect, I think that was Carrasco? But a solid third starter, aye I don't know.

Jan 28, 2009 08:39 AM
rating: 2
 
TheBunk

Actually, that came off as a little rude so i'm sorry for that.

Jan 28, 2009 08:45 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

I don't take it personally. I think what we're getting into here, and what we got into with Carrasco as well as exactly WHAT a No. 3 starter means. A No. 3 starter is a damn valuable property and a very good pitcher. I'm thinking about clarifying this in an upcoming piece.

Jan 28, 2009 08:59 AM
 
mymrbig

Still, Bowden and Carrasco getting the same number of stars as Price, Hanson, etc. seems a bit odd. And him getting 5 stars when there are 3 under-25 pitchers in the same organization ahead of him, all of whom have equal or higher ceilings seems a bit odd.

Jan 28, 2009 09:23 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

At some point you have to cut it off. Five star is a Top 50 prospect consideration guy -- that's all. You could say the same thing about Wieters and a lot of other position player prospects. You'll get more granularity down the road with the Top 100, and if I did something silly like a 10 star system or something, I'm sure it would get pretty inconsistent quickly.

Jan 28, 2009 09:29 AM
 
Dan

Does Lars Anderson remind you at all of Billy Butler? If so which one has the better career?

Jan 28, 2009 09:13 AM
rating: 6
 
Drew Miller

I see this as a fairly good comp (note to whoever rated the comment negatively--why?). Both are predicted for big power, hit for average, with lots of walks. Both are limited defensively (though Anderson is supposed to be at least okay as a 1B man). Both are young for their leagues.

Butler has thus far disappointed in the bigs. We don't have that data on Lars yet. I hope Lars is great out of the gate, but who knows?

I'd need a scouting point of view to discern between their projections.

Jan 28, 2009 11:00 AM
rating: 1
 
Nick Smith

I don't see them as similar players. Lars is 6'4" 215; Butler 6'1" 240. Butler is so bad on defense he can't really play anywhere but DH; Lars should be a decent enough first baseman. Butler has lower K and BB rates. Lars bats and throws left handed; Butler's a righty. Other than being guys whose bats will have to carry them, there's not much in common between these two.

Jan 29, 2009 08:44 AM
rating: 0
 
ddrezner

Kevin, you mentioned Will Middlebrooks in passing, but it looks like he didn't come close to cracking your list. Where does he rank, and what's holding him back?

Jan 28, 2009 09:47 AM
rating: 0
 
Drew Miller

"Ellsbury is more than a bit overrated—in another organization with a lower profile, he'd be a nice defensive outfielder with limited secondary skills that people wouldn't be so excited about."

I don't disagree with this idea. But, if he's really not all that, why is he still ranked 5th overall? Because he's made The Show?

Jan 28, 2009 10:07 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

He's a solid big league centerfielder, and I think he's going to be better than he is, I just don't think he's a star. The guaranteed value does play into it.

Jan 28, 2009 10:18 AM
 
Drew Miller

So kind of the position-player equivalent of "solid third starter".

Jan 28, 2009 10:27 AM
rating: 0
 
Brian Kopec

An outfielder in hand is worth 2 in the bush leagues.

Jan 28, 2009 11:42 AM
rating: 3
 
ithistle

Jed Lowrie played from May 2008 on with a broken bone in his left wrist that got worse as the season went on. His splits were relatively even in the minors -- according to minorleaguesplits.com he hit for an .832 OPS against RHP and an .816 OPS against LHP in his MiLB career. It's fairly easy to conclude his poor showing in MLB against RHP was due to the injury. It's also likely that he has more upside than most people think, as the injury wasn't reported until after the season.

http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/extras/extra_bases/2008/10/lowrie_played_t.html

Jan 28, 2009 10:13 AM
rating: 1
 
Drew Miller

I agree. I don't really think he's a good defensive shortstop, though. However, if his wrist is healed, he should provide more than enough offense there to stick and be just fine.

People on ESPN's message boards shred him. But then, that's why I'm here and not there.

Jan 28, 2009 10:34 AM
rating: 1
 
Al Skorupa

The defensive metrics liked him a great deal.

I dont think he's a strength there but I see him pretty close to average - there are worse shortstops defensively and many worse offensively.

Jan 28, 2009 12:05 PM
rating: 0
 
Drew Miller

I see Lowrie as a .360 OBP guy with 15 HRs. Pretty good out of your shortstop.

Jan 28, 2009 10:44 AM
rating: 0
 
Rowen Bell

Westmoreland -- I'm unsure how the reader is supposed to parse the first clause of the comment. Does Kevin mean: Seen as "unsignable by any team but the Red Sox", i.e., everyone thought the Red Sox was the only team he'd sign with? Or does he mean: "Seen as unsignable by any team" but the Red Sox, i.e., the Red Sox was the only team that thought he was signable?

Jan 28, 2009 10:30 AM
rating: 0
 
Drew Miller

I think it means the latter--that teams passed on Westmoreland because they didn't think he'd sign. But the Red Sox *did* think he'd sign, so they drafted him.

Jan 28, 2009 10:43 AM
rating: 0
 
salamander

I believe the former.... if it was the latter the natural phrasing would have been "unsignable by EVERY team but the Red Sox". The use of "any" implies that the general opinion of people KG talked to was that the Red Sox were the only team he would have been willing to sign with.

Jan 28, 2009 11:47 AM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

That's the correct reading. Other teams were far less confident that he's sign with them, even with the right dollar figure. It seemed like he wanted to go to Vanderbilt or the Red Sox.

Jan 28, 2009 13:22 PM
 
fellajsmall

KG:
Can we get a quick and dirty scouting report on Pimental's stuff? Do you view him as a sleeper at all this year?

Jan 28, 2009 11:08 AM
rating: 0
 
Morris Greenberg

Kevin, could you imagine Ellsbury just becoming another Coco Crisp?

Jan 28, 2009 11:23 AM
rating: 0
 
Alex Canzoneri

"would you really trade the kind of upside that Westmoreland has for a guy like Lowrie?"

Absolutely.

Jan 28, 2009 11:28 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

That's you. That's not me. I don't have a problem with it -- we just disagree.

Jan 28, 2009 13:23 PM
 
markjstachura

What about Oscar Tejada? Where would he rank? Are the sox still high on him?

Jan 28, 2009 13:35 PM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

They definitely are, and there are scouts who would put him in the top 11. That said, he does have some questions about his game on both sides of the ball. Still, like so many prospects in this system, lot of upside.

Jan 28, 2009 13:41 PM
 
Matthew Avery

Given Westmoreland's apparently impressive record on the mound in HS, was there any consideration of making him a pitcher?

Jan 28, 2009 14:04 PM
rating: 1
 
TheGoldenGreek33

His mechanics were a mess, and pitching is the entire reason for his shoulder injury. So, not really.

Jan 28, 2009 15:47 PM
rating: -1
 
TheGoldenGreek33

It'd probably also be a waste to stash an incredible athlete as Westmoreland's caliber as a pitcher. You're taking away his best tool, his speed (same 60 time as Ellsbury).

Jan 28, 2009 16:01 PM
rating: -1
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

Yeah, he was blowing away Rhode Island kids with upper 80s stuff. He wasn't a huge pro talent as a pitcher.

Jan 28, 2009 20:13 PM
 
TheGoldenGreek33

Kevin, I was a bit surprised with the Price ranking. What do you like about him more than Weiland?

Jan 28, 2009 15:59 PM
rating: 0
 
TheGoldenGreek33

Similarly, what do you like about Kalish more than Lin?

Jan 28, 2009 16:06 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

Better approach, more power potential (once the wrist is 100%) -- just more of an all-around game. That said, I do like Lin, just not as much.

Jan 28, 2009 20:14 PM
 
mwashuc06

I think Boston is making a mistake of putting Casey Kelly on the mound. I seen this kid play in Oneonta last year and he looked like the next Derek Jeter at the plate and the young Jeter(not the old Jeter) in the field. He showed me in that one game he could hit the ball with power to all fields in the gaps.

Jan 28, 2009 17:42 PM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

You're in the minority. He had first-round talent both ways, but the overwhelming majority preferred his upside on the mound. You're saying how good you saw him at short, but what do you have to compare it to if you didn't see him pitch. It's like I put two plates of food in front of you and the first was so delicious you immediately ruled it as superior without trying plate number two.

Jan 28, 2009 20:16 PM
 
mwashuc06

That is a good point about that. What's your opinion on Derrik Gibson?

Jan 29, 2009 02:00 AM
rating: 0
 
Slingerland65

Seems to me that the ratings for these guys are a bit overrated. The five star guys profiles read like the profiles of other teams' four star guys, etc. Do scouts overhype the Red Sox and Yankees as much as commentators do?

Jan 28, 2009 18:31 PM
rating: -1
 
R.A.Wagman

It might be that the Red Sox guys (and the Yanks) were more highly touted as amateurs, and were acquired at dearer costs than comparable picks of other teams. Like Anderson being an 18th rounder, or Westmoreland in the 5th - but both who would have been taken much higher if it weren't for their price tags. If you redid the 2006 draft today, with cost not being an issue, where would Anderson have been selected? In short, a lot of the hype of these Red Sox and Yankees prospects as the pedigree that is not often found in these later rounds. I think as more teams overpay signability guys, we will see the scouting hype of those guys match the commentator hype (which will remain the same) of the Yanks and Red Sox.

Jan 28, 2009 20:31 PM
rating: 0
 
Matt

How did Anderson fall to 18th round in the draft?

Jan 30, 2009 11:48 AM
rating: 0
 
Al Skorupa

No one thought he would sign.

Jan 31, 2009 01:39 AM
rating: 0
 
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