Boston Red Sox: Top 10 Prospects

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Jim Callis
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TOP TEN
PROSPECTS
1. Ryan Westmoreland, of
2. Casey Kelly, rhp
3. Josh Reddick, of
4. Lars Anderson, 1b
5. Ryan Kalish, of
6. Junichi Tazawa, rhp
7. Reymond Fuentes, of
8. Anthony Rizzo, 1b
9. Jose Iglesias, ss
10. Derrik Gibson, ss/2b
BEST
TOOLS
Best Hitter for Average Ryan Westmoreland
Best Power Hitter Lars Anderson
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Che-Hsuan Lin
Fastest Baserunner Wilfred Pichardo
Best Athlete Ryan Westmoreland
Best Fastball Casey Kelly
Best Curveball Casey Kelly
Best Slider Alex Wilson
Best Changeup Casey Kelly
Best Control Casey Kelly
Best Defensive Catcher Tim Federowicz
Best Defensive Infielder Jose Iglesias
Best Infield Arm Will Middlebrooks
Best Defensive Outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin
Best Outfield Arm Josh Reddick
PROJECTED 2012
LINEUP
Catcher Victor Martinez
First Base Lars Anderson
Second Base Dustin Pedroia
Third Base Kevin Youkilis
Shortstop Jose Iglesias
Left Field Jacoby Ellsbury
Center Field Reymond Fuentes
Right Field Ryan Westmoreland
Designated Hitter Josh Reddick
No. 1 Starter Jon Lester
No. 2 Starter Josh Beckett
No. 3 Starter Clay Buchholz
No. 4 Starter Casey Kelly
No. 5 Starter John Lackey
Closer Jonathan Papelbon
TOP PROSPECTS
OF THE DECADE
Year Player, Position 2009
2000 Steve Lomasney, c Out of baseball
2001 Dernell Stenson, of/1b Deceased
2002 Seung Song, rhp Lotte (Korea)
2003 Hanley Ramirez, ss Marins
2004 Hanley Ramirez, ss Marins
2005 Hanley Ramirez, ss Marins
2006 Andy Marte, 3b Indians
2007 Dausuke Matsuzaka, rhp Red Sox
2008 Clay Buchholz, rhp Red Sox
2009 Lars Anderson, 1b Red Sox
TOP DRAFT PICKS
OF THE DECADE
Year Player, Position 2009
2000 Phil Dumatrait, lhp Pirates
2001 Kelly Shoppach, c (2nd) Indians
2002 Jon Lester. lhp (2nd) Red Sox
2003 David Murphy, of Rangers
2004 Dustin Pedroia, ss (2nd) Red Sox
2005 Jacoby Ellsbury, of Red Sox
2006 Jason Place, of Red Sox
2007 Nick Hagadone, lhp (1st supp.) Red Sox
2008 Casey Kelly, rhp/ss Red Sox
2009 Reymond Fuentes, of Red Sox
LARGEST BONUSES
IN CLUB HISTORY
Jose Iglesias, 2009 $6,250,000
Casey Kelly, 2008 $3,000,000
Daisuke Matsuzaka, 2006 $2,000,000
Ryan Westmoreland, 2009 $2,000,000
Jose Vinicio, 2009 $1,950,000
RED SOX
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Complete Index of Top 10 Prospects
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Boston Red Sox

After winning the World Series in 2007 and losing in Game Seven of the American League Championship Series the following year, the Red Sox looked poised to make another title run in 2009.

They got off to a 51-34 start, the best first-half record in the AL, but didn’t look like the same club after the all-star break. Boston went from three games up to eight games behind the eventual World Series champion Yankees, then got swept in Division Series by the Angels.

It was the Red Sox’ least successful season since they failed to make the playoffs in 2006. But it also illustrated how high their expectations have become. Boston has won at least 95 games and advanced to the postseason in six of the last seven years.

The Red Sox began the run with a team made up mostly of imports acquired through free agency and trades. As the decade progressed, they became much more self-sustaining. Since they ended an 86-year championship drought by winning the 2004 World Series, they’ve thrust several homegrown players into important roles.

All-stars Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis and major league stolen-base champ Jacoby Ellsbury were signed and developed by Boston, as were ace Jon Lester and closer Jonathan Papelbon. The farm system continued to provide in 2009, with Clay Buchholz helping solidify the rotation and rookie Daniel Bard handling set-up duties in the bullpen. The Red Sox also solved their catching problem by spinning three former sandwich or second-round picks (lefthander Nick Hagadone and righthanders Justin Masterson and Bryan Price) to the Indians for Victor Martinez in July.

Promotions and trades have thinned out the upper levels of the system a bit. Outfielder Josh Reddick, righthanders Junichi Tazawa and Michael Bowden and lefty reliever Dustin Richardson are the only farmhands with much of a shot to contribute in Boston in 2010, and none figures to play a major role.

However, the Red Sox’ scouting and player development machine continues to roll on. The team has enviable depth at the lower levels, led by a pair of 2008 draft picks, outfielder Ryan Westmoreland and righthander Casey Kelly. Boston was as bullish on Westmoreland and Kelly as any club, backed up its beliefs with $5 million in bonuses and was rewarded with two blue-chip prospects.

That’s the Red Sox philosophy in a nutshell, to identify elite talent and spend what it takes to acquire it. Boston aggressively mined the draft and the international market once again in 2009, handing out seven-figure bonuses to Cuban shortstop Jose Iglesias ($6.25 million), Dominican shortstop Jose Vinicio ($1.95 million), third-round shortstop David Renfroe ($1.4 million) and first-round outfielder Reymond Fuentes ($1.134 million).

Papelbon’s blown save in the Division Series finale was tough to stomach, but the Red Sox may have sustained a bigger loss right before the Winter Meetings. Scouting director Jason McLeod left to become vice president of scouting and player development for the Padres under new general manager Jed Hoyer, who had been Boston’s assistant GM.

McLeod, who’s from the San Diego area and spent a decade in the Padres front office before coming to Boston, presided over five strong drafts for the Sox. His first five picks from his first draft in 2005, highlighted by Ellsbury and Buchholz, have reached the majors. McLeod will be missed but has left the team well-stocked for the future.

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