Boston Red Sox 2013 Top 15 Prospects
The rest of Bullpen Banter’s 2013 Top 15 Prospects can be found on the 2013 Team Prospect Lists Bar on the right side of your screen. Thanks for reading! -BB
Bullpen Banter Boston Red Sox 2013 Top 15 Prospects
|3||Jackie Bradley, Jr||OF|
Al Skorupa: The big league team had a disastrous 2012 season in Boston but many of the organization’s prospects took big steps forward. Foremost among those players was Xander Bogaerts. Bogaers is a player whose star continues to rise. I was pleasantly surprised by how capable a defender he was when I first got the chance to see him play this summer. The excellent Mike Newman of Fangraphs & ROTOscouting had bucked the industry in praising Bogaerts’ potential to stick at shortstop, and (as usual) Mike was dead-on right. While he is no waterbug, Ozzie Smith (or Jose Iglesias) style defender, I thought Bogaerts was a better shortstop than many prospects who have been advertised as strong bets to stay at the position. He’s a very good athlete with good positioning, jumps and actions. He also possesses a strong and accurate arm and can make all the throws on the run to the hole side. What he is NOT is a fast twitch athlete. His actions are a little on the deliberate side for a major league shortstop. If you showed up at a big league ballpark and Bogaerts was playing short that day he would not at all look out of place and might even make a couple nice plays. Maybe when he nears the age of 30 his body might slow down and he’ll fit better somewhere else. As of now, I see no reason an organization wouldn’t play him at shortstop. Bogaerts’ bat has never been a question. He has loads of bat speed, shocking pop and a knack for hitting baseballs right on the screws. I absolutely loved Boston taking local product Matt Barnes. Barnes really impressed me as an amateur and I keep hearing good things from sources. He’s a big, durable pitcher with clean mechanics and holds strong velos deep into games. I see Barnes as at least a number 3 starter and he’s just some increased polish and pitchability from looking like a 2 starter. That description could probably suffice for Allen Webster as well, though he really needs to show greater consistency. Jackie Bradley completes an exiting quintet of prospects atop this system. I had Bradley 3rd above Webster on my personal list. Bradley is going to be a very good defensive centerfielder and a pain in the butt to get out. Bradley raked this year and reminded scouts what they loved about him before his wrist injury in college.
Amiel Sawdaye and company continued their string of strong drafts as well. I got to see a number of Boston’s early picks as amateurs and also got to see many of their pro debuts in the NYPL this year. Source gave me unexciting reports on Brian Johnson’s stuff all Spring and I wasn’t all that excited where the Red Sox took him (and how much they paid him). He looked lights out as a pro when I saw him. He hit 95 five or six times in a couple innings of work. He was no doubt letting it fly knowing he was on a short leash, but I didn’t know he had that in him. His deep repertoire of pitches were all sharp and he showed command of all of them. Johnson won’t be an impact arm, but he’s someone who does a lot of things well and will help a team plenty. Fellow 1st rounder Pat Light does have some impact potential. Light can reach plus to plus plus velos with his heater and it’s difficult to square up. I saw Light pitch for Monmouth in the Spring and his heater was dominant but he tried nibbling with a promising slider that did flatten out at times and a split change that didn’t fool hitters at all. When I saw him pitch for Lowell he was doing much better staying on top of his slider and his changeup looked plus, diving late out of the zone and generating some ugly swings. I see Light as a starter all the way, but his stuff would play up very well out of the pen, too. Deven Marrero was the most exciting player when I saw the Team USA CNT in the summer of 2011. Marrero has been kind of scuffling since then, though… and when Steve Fiorindo and Peter Wardell saw him last Spring they were far less hot on him. Marrero plays a great shortstop and he has well above average bat speed. Unless he becomes a more selective hitter he’s going to continue to struggle. Bryce Brentz looks like a prototypical right fielder. His numbers could be even better but he often gets pull happy and keeps collapsing his back side. When the Red Sox called RHP Mike Augliera’s name in the 5th round they drew the ire of many area scouts who thought they would get a steal later in the draft. Augliera is a supremely polished command and control artist. He throws nothing straight and walks no one while missing a good amount of bats. He works in the 89-93 mph range. I saw Augliera a couple times this season and I think he’s a big time sleeper… at least in terms of being a quality back end starter. Mookie Betts looked like he was in over his head when the short season leagues started in June. Over the course of the season he was shifted from shortstop to 2b and grew increasingly comfortable. Betts was stinging line drives by the end of the season and even flashing some power.
Boston has, as usual, put together a strong and deep system with a lot of exciting raw talents in the low minors. Impact players like Bogaerts, Bradley, Barnes and Webster could help as soon as this season, too.
Jeff Reese: The Boston Red Sox always seem to get highly touted amateurs to fall into their lap at draft time. For whatever reason, they go lower than expected, and Boston is there to pounce on them when they do. Not all are guys that I personally believe in — I never saw much to get excited about with Deven Marrero for example — but the strategy consistently produces one of the better draft classes in the league. Jackie Bradley Jr & Matt Barnes are the two best examples. Bradley’s broken hamate bone erased the majority of his junior season and limited his power when he did get back into the lineup; his stock was depressed and the Red Sox were gifted a polished offensive and defense center fielder with good all around tools. Matt Barnes’s fall to 19th as the 4th best college pitcher in his class — behind Gerrit Cole, Danny Hultzen, & Trevor Bauer — was even more surprising. Barnes made steady progress and shows the ingredients of a future number two starter. Deven Marrero and Brian Johnson fit that mold from this draft class. Marrero’s draft stock peaked near the top five at certain points during the winter and spring; the defense at short is his best asset — one of the few collegians who project to play short stop at the major league level — but the bat always looked very underwhelming to me. He showed signs of life with it during the summer, but the following spring at Arizona State looked like more of a same mediocre profile. Brian Johnson played both ways at the University of Florida, splitting time between 1B/DH duties and the weekend rotation. As a pitcher he has a big durable frame and a mix of four average pitches; the command or stuff need to take drastic steps forward for him to profile as more than a back of the rotation type. He never came around to any of the NYPL teams near me, but what Al has reported back points to his stuff indeed taking a leap forward.
There are high school draftees strewn in as well, particularly those that slip due to signability that they can grab later than their talent dictates. Even as a first rounder, Blake Swihart fits this category. He reportedly wrote a letter to major league teams reiterating his resolve to attend the University of Texas, causing him to fall to 26th overall — where he did in fact forgo his commitment to Texas. The tools are ahead of the skills right now, but the prospect of an above-average offensive and defensive catcher remains. Henry Owens was the other major prep from that class — a highly projectable lefty who showed strikeout stuff in his professional debut. Ty Buttrey is the latest entry — a supplemental round talent who fell to the fourth round because of signability. The strong, athletic right-hander already shows low 90s heat and an advanced array of secondaries; the best being a high 70s knuckle-curve ball with plus potential.
Xander Bogaerts and Jose Vinicio are the lone duo of international free agents to make the top 15. Bogaerts has enormous potential with tremendous bat speed along with the hit and power tools that could easily carry his stock; the bonus is that the bat does not need to exclusively carry him — his defensive work at short stop is encouraging. Third base still seems like the better bet as he matures, but the athleticism gives him a chance to be above-average there. Vinicio is the opposite. He stands out for his defensive tools at short stop while the offensive tools merely show promise. Beyond the top fifteen Manuel Margot & Francellis Montas show the most potential to take big leaps forward.
SS Xander Bogaerts (Al Skorupa)
RHP Matt Barnes (Al Skorupa)
RHP Allen Webster (Chris Blessing)
3B Garin Cecchini (Chris Blessing)
C Blake Swihart (Chris Blessing)
LHP Henry Owens (Steve Fiorindo)
RHP Pat Light (Al Skorupa)
SS Deven Marrero (Al Skorupa)
SS Jose Vinicio (Chris Blessing)
OF Keury De La Cruz (Chris Blessing)