Posted 16 November 2011 - 09:33 AM
Guaranteed Major Leaguers
1. Jose Iglesias, SS
I think he'll hit like Smith or Belanger or Ordonez, with an upside of Vizquel and I'm almost sure that if he stays healthy, he'll field like those guys. And if he does, he's a tremendously valuable player, as I think defense at SS is underrated by just about everyone. I look forward to defending his offense with "but did you SEE that play against X? Saved 2 runs" for the next decade.
2. Ryan Lavarnway, DH/C
Great final minor league season, forcing a call up with his progress and power. I'm not sold on him as more than an occasional C but I do think he can be hidden there 40-60 times a season if his bat is good enough to get him an equal number at DH. Reminds me of Mickey Tettleton or Matt Nokes - a guy who could C, probably shouldn't and had to hit the long ball to keep a regular job.
3. Ryan Kalish, OF
Mostly a lost season, especially because he could have solidified his lead on Reddick as Kalish surely would have gotten the call if he had been healthy and would be graduated. IMO, a superior prospect/player to Reddick and a good possibility to win the RF job in 2012.
Not Ranked: Kyle Weiland/Felix Doubront/Alex Wilson, P
The weakness of the Sox system is the lack of high minors arms, as these three are the best of a mediocre/average cast. Doubront lacks a proper work ethic and might have wasted an opportunity last season by coming into camp out of shape but he's also the best "stuff" guy and the one with the most upside. All three will be given a chance to win a role in the 2012 bullpen or back of rotation, and those who don't will get the call when there's an injury. We need these guys to improve and/or perform in 2012.
Best Performing Prospects/Best Chance at Major League Career
4. Will Middlebrooks, 3b:
Impossible to ignore and almost assured of some major league at-bats, IMO will struggle to maintain an acceptable OBP in the majors and will need to field like Adrian Beltre to overcome it. Prime trade candidate.
5. Xander Bogaerts, SS:
I rarely rank a low-minors guy this highly but (a) the system is bottom-heavy and (b) the power/eye/defense combination at his age/level is truly impressive. Sounds like he might out-grow SS but I'm excited to see if he can maintain his performance in high-A next season.
6. Anthony Ranaudo, SP
I want to actually see him in 2012 and if a 23 year old isn't in AA, he's not deserving of this list.
7. Garin Cecchini, 3b
8. Sean Coyle, 2b
Coyle had the better season (due to injury) but doesn't have the arm to play anywhere but 2b (according to reports) which lowers his value to the Red Sox. Coyle might be better right now but he's also more likely to be traded. I loved Cecchini's tool-kit when watching him play - might be the best player in the system if he can stay healthy.
8. Brandon Jacobs, OF
9. Bryce Brentz, OF
10. Miles Head, 1b/OF
Three power bats, three lottery tickets. Jacobs had a damn impressive season statistically and supposedly looks more like a baseball player now. Brentz had early-season, lower-level success and late-season, higher level struggles, knocking him down a notch. And Head is the most defensively limited and has the least pedigree. IOW, I have no idea who's better than who right now and look forward to seeing all three develop. It's been too long since there's been a legitimate power propsect in the Sox system.
Not Ranked - Matt Barnes, SP & Blake Swihart, C
I look forward to seeing these recent draftees play and develop. Barnes' ceiling as a potential #2 SP is an instant Top-3 ranking with the supporting performance. Swihart adds depth to a already-deep group of C, which will lose some guys (Expo or Wagner) from here on out. Bradley, Owens and Montas all get honorable mentions and I look forward to their professional debuts in the GCL next season.