2013 Boston Red Sox Top 10 Prospects Chat With Jim Callis




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Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player's long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven't exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible.

Moderator: Jim Callis will answer your Red Sox questions beginning at 1 p.m. ET.

    Francis (Boston): As we await the 2013 Handbook, can you clue us in on what BA Grade you'd give Bogaerts?

Jim Callis: That I can do. We're still tweaking the grades, but I see Bogaerts as a 65/High. Could you argue 65/Medium or 70/High? Sure. I'll also throw in a link in case you want to start your holiday shopping early: 2013 Prospect Handbook.

    Ben (Leland Grove): How many of these guys are likely to make BA's top 100?

Jim Callis: None of us have started putting together lists yet, but Bogaerts, Bradley, Barnes and Webster should make it. Owens has a chance, but it might be a year too early for him.

    Ryan (Norfolk VA): Which of the Cecchini brothers do you believe has more upside?

Jim Callis: Garin (the Red Sox brother) because I like his bat more than Gavin's (the 12th overall pick of the Mets in June). Gavin can stay at shortstop but doesn't necessarily have a standout tool, while I see Garin's bat as a potential difference-maker.

    @Jaypers413 (IL): It seems as though Brandon Workman's season gets overlooked by many. Is he just not as good as his numbers indicate? Did he reach your 11-20 range?

Jim Callis: He's good, just not quite good enough to crack that Top 10. As Alex Speier pointed out to me when I did a WEEI.com podcast with him, there were a lot of outstanding performances on the Top 10. I hadn't looked at it that way, I just chose the guys I thought were the best long-term values, but many of them have strong performances to go with strong tools. I could see Workman becoming a No. 3 starter. He doesn't have the stuff of the pitchers ahead of him on that list, but he throws in the low 90s and throws strikes with three pitches. He just missed the Top 10 and I agree, he does get overlooked.

    Frank (Chicago IL): Your thoughts on Britton's rebound season? Is his future still likely to be in the pen?

Jim Callis: Gun to my head, I think he winds up in the bullpen, because he just hasn't been consistent for long stretches very often. That said, he finished the 2012 season strong. He doesn't have a plus secondary pitch, but there aren't many lefthanders who can throw in the mid-90s. Another near-miss for the Top 10.

    Sean (Boston): How far did Ranaudo's injury push him down your top 30?

Jim Callis: He's such a hard guy to rank. He has been fully healthy for just two of the last five years. At the same time, he looked very good at LSU in 2009, in the Cape Cod League in 2010 and early in 2011. Even this spring training, he was throwing 93-96 mph and showing a quality breaking ball before going down with a groin strain. If he can stay healthy, he's in the same class as Matt Barnes and Allen Webster. The problem is, he hasn't shown he can stay healthy. So he's in the middle of the second 10 on this list for me.

    Brad (Beantown): Where do you stand on Pat Light? He put together an impressive debut. Future #3-4 SP?

Jim Callis: Yes, I could see him as a No. 3 or 4. The Red Sox love his fastball for its combo of velocity (92-94, touching 97) and heavy life. His breaking ball has shown improvement since he turned pro, too. Even if his secondary pitches don't develop as much as hoped, that fastball alone could make him an effective late-inning reliever.

    Grant (NYC): Madison Younginer - prospect or suspect?

Jim Callis: Both, really. Still has a great arm, still a long way from figuring out how to use it. He didn't make the Top 30.

    Kyle (Tampa): Did Brandon Jacobs' stock fall a lot this year, in your opinion? Thoughts on his athleticism?

Jim Callis: It dipped a little, but I wouldn't say a lot. The bat didn't look as exciting, though some of that may have been the difference between Greenville and Salem. He's a solid athlete, still somewhat raw, still figuring out how to make adjustments. He'll be in the second 10 when the Handbook comes out.

    Harry (Portland, OR): Had he remained with Boston's system, about where would Miles Head have ranked? How much did his stock improve with the trade?

Jim Callis: I respect what he has done in the minors but I don't love him as a prospect. The trade itself didn't affect his stock. I had him at No. 13 on the Red Sox Top 30 last year, and he would have fallen this year. If he had stayed in the Boston system, he wouldn't have benefitted from a Cal League boost to his numbers. Head can hit, but his profile isn't great. I don't see him playing third base in the big leagues, and he's a short, right-right first baseman who might not have more than average power. You don't see many of those in the majors.

    Grant (NYC): Barnes seemed to fizzle out during his last few starts. Simple fatigue, or something else?

Jim Callis: That's typical of pitchers in their first full professional season. There were no physical issues, just a little fatigue.

    Sammy (Boston): Is Stolmy Pimentel still on your prospect radar?

Jim Callis: Yes, but he's just barely hanging on to Top 30 status. He has a live arm, his secondary pitches bounced back in 2012 but he's still inconsistent and doesn't miss a lot of bats. I think he's a reliever if he's a big leaguer.

    Carlos (New York): Among the Sox's numerous SS prospects, where does Jose Vinicio fit in?

Jim Callis: The Red Sox do have a lot of shortstop prospects. I stack them up like this: Xander Bogaerts (No. 1 on the Top 10), Jose Iglesias (No. 9), Deven Marrero (No. 10), Tzu-Wei Lin and Vinicio neck and neck in the teens and Cleuluis Rondon as a sleeper.

    Harold (London): Good day, Jim. What are your thoughts on first base prospect Travis Shaw? What attributes does he bring to the table, and is he likely to make your top 30?

Jim Callis: He did make the Top 30, toward the top of the 20s, and I've had some people tell me that's too low. Shaw can hit and he has power potential and strike-zone discipline as well. He's probably limited to first base, though he moves well and has played some third base.

    Paul (Georgetown, MD): How bullish are you on Austin Maddox? Does he have a true closer's profile?

Jim Callis: I like the arm strength but don't see the plus secondary pitch or command to make him a big league closer.

    Jack (Lancaster, PA): What is your take on Sean Coyle? Is he a non-prospect or does he have a chance to play in the big leagues? Seems like there are some tools there but the numbers haven't been great (even though he has always been young for his league). Thank you for the chat.

Jim Callis: Definite chance to make the big leagues and be an everyday player. He can hit, has surprising pop, good instincts on the bases and in the field. He has been pushed very quickly and just needs to regain his command of the strike zone. He's in the 20s on the Top 30.

    Ryan (Portland): Any update to Ryan Westmoreland? Any chance he will be able to play again?

Jim Callis: His second brain surgery may make that difficult. But it's heartening to hear that he should be able to live a normal life.

    Mike (Chicago): Given Brentz's performance in AA and Owens ranking relative to his, does this speak more about limitations on Bryce, or the potential upside on Owens?

Jim Callis: More the potential upside of Owens. Sources inside and outside the organization told me he could be the top pitcher on this list a year from now. Brentz can become a solid big league regular, Owens can be better than that.

    Jake (Chicago, IL): Hi Jim, so excited to be chatting Red Sox prospects! I asked Matt this question Monday in the Orioles chat, and he suggested I ask you as well: Who do your prefer long-term, Kevin Gausman or Matt Barnes? Does Gausman's plus-plus changeup give him the higher ceiling between the two? Thanks for the great chat!

Jim Callis: That's a good question. I'd give Gausman the nod, but I bet I have those two guys closer than most people would.

    bk (Hong Kong): Hi Jim, thanks for hosting. who is your favorite sleeper in the system (non top 20 player) who you think has the best chance to jump into the Red Sox top 10 next year?

Jim Callis: My favorite non-Top 20 sleeper might just be Frank Montas for sheer upside. He touched 100 mph repeatedly in the Gulf Coast League but is still quite raw. The guy with the highest floor in that group might be Shaw, whom I discussed early. If we go all the way the Top 30, I'll take Mookie Betts.

    Tom T. (Houston): Is the expectation now that Bogaerts really play short at the major-league level? I had always heard before that that was a pipe dream.

Jim Callis: Not sure it was ever a pipe dream, more that everyone looked at a 6-foot-3 kid and figured he'd outgrow the position. He has a real shot, though I don't think the expectation is that he'll be a shortstop for 15 years. He could be an average to solid defender for a while though. He's very athletic for his size and has good actions. My guess is that Iglesias gets first crack, and if his bat is too lacking, Bogaerts will be the next in line. If Marrero hits, he'd eventually push Bogaerts to right field (assuming Will Middlebrooks is still at third base).

    Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware): LHP Brian Johnson is mentioned as being a power guy batter in your draftee report - any chance that he get to play a position or DH this coming season?

Jim Callis: Nope. The Red Sox are looking at him solely as a lefthanded starter and he could move fast in that role.

    JH (California): Boston seems to have some really good depth outside the top 10. Out of Jacobs, Almanzar, Vazquez, and Workman, who came the closest to cracking the list? Who was the farthest away?

Jim Callis: I like their depth, too. I've already mentioned that Britton and Workman just missed, and Jacobs, Ranaudo and Johnson are high in the second group of 10 as well. However, I was pretty solid with the top 10, though there was a clear line between that group and the next guys.

    @ProspectD2J (Toronto): Hey Jim, thanks for the chat as always. Love the Henry Owens ranking. He really didn't receive much attention during the season but was outstanding from the get go. In retrospect, does his #18 ranking last year seem a bit low now? He was behind guys like Alex Wilson and Drake Britton. Thanks!

Jim Callis: I'm not second-guessing that ranking (and I do second-guess some of them). He was a high school lefthander who had yet to pitch in pro ball, and at the time he was known for working at 88-91 mph. Could have moved him up a spot or two, but I'm usually overly aggressive with the recent signees.

    @ProspectD2J (Toronto): Hey Jim, what's your take on the whole Shaq-Green Thompson thing? For those who don't know what I mean, please see his (baseball) stats this year. I know he was a top football recruit. Are Thompson's days on the baseball field over or will the Red Sox actually bring him back for another go around in 2013?

Jim Callis: He may come back during that summer. Drafting him in the 18th round and paying him $100,000 was just a matter of taking a flier on a raw athlete. Nothing wrong with that.

    Dave (Cape Cod): I'm 81 and a lifelong baseball fan with basic training as an Indians fan and seasoning as a Red Sox fan. I closely follow the various Sox minor league players and wonder why Jerry Sands seems to "get no respect" or even mention as a potential first baseman/left fielder for the Sox. Wasn't his AAA/PCL performance in the Dodger organization indicative of some potential at both those positions?

Jim Callis: Hey, he's the first baseman in my 2016 Red Sox lineup. I like Sands some, but he no longer qualifies as a prospect and that's why he's not on the list. If he did qualify, I would have put him in the teens somewhere.

    Nick V. (Washington DC): Hi Jim - thanks for the writeup. Where you Bogaerts' hit and power tools fall on the 20-80 scale?

Jim Callis: Projected 60 bat and 70 power.

    Mike (Ithaca, NY): Is Keury de la Cruz athletic enough to stick at a corner and if so what is his ultimate ceiling?

Jim Callis: He's probably a left fielder. Though he had a 20-20 season, he's not as athletic as those numbers might suggest. His bat is his best tool, and the rest of his tools are decent to average but not plus. Ceiling is an everyday left fielder, but he's really going to have to hit and put effort into other parts of his game to get there.

    Mike (Ithaca, NY): Jose Vinicio put up decent numbers this year in Low-A as a teenager. If he fills out physically, what is his ultimate ceiling?

Jim Callis: He's so skinny, but if he does get stronger, I could see him as a quality defender with a decent to solid bat. Not in the same defensive class as Iglesias, but a better hitter.

    Bobby (Cape Cod): Is Xander Bogaerts a top 15 prospect overall for you? Top 10?

Jim Callis: I really haven't put any kind of list together, but off the top of my head, I'll guess he fits in the 21-30 range.

    PT (IBC): Sox list looks pretty deep. Did Latin Player of the Year Manuel Margot make the top 30? I heard he looked pretty good in instructs.

Jim Callis: He did—I put him in the teens, which is more aggressive than I usually get with DSL guys. Margot has the potential to be a plus hitter/runner/CF defender with average power, though he is a long ways away. There is a lot of buzz about him in Red Sox circles.

    Paul (San Francisco): Pretending he still qualified for prospect status, where would Rubby De La Rosa rank on this list? What is his outlook?

Jim Callis: I would have had him in the 3-4-5 mix with Barnes and Webster. De la Rosa has the arm to be either a No. 3 starter or a closer, depends on how the Red Sox decide to deploy him.

    Ben (Leland Grove): How far off the top 10 was Ty Buttrey? Thoughts on his velo drop this spring? What does he project as?

Jim Callis: A lot of high school pitchers see their velocity fluctuate in the spring, so that's not a concern. He wasn't really close to the Top 10 but he's definitely on the Top 30. His fastball has reached 96 and his curveball can be tough on hitters. Like a lot of young pitchers, he needs polish. If everything comes together, he could be a No. 3 starter. You could really dream and hope for a No. 2, I suppose.

    David (NY): Hi Jim, thanks for the chat. I wanted to get your view of Keith Couch, a local kid who was effective in Salem this year after a similar year in Greenville last year. The Sox are a deep team, is he knocking on the top 30?

Jim Callis: He has some of the best command in the system, but the stuff is short. No true plus pitch, fastball is solid, the rest is fringy.

Jim Callis: Thanks for all the questions, and I hope everyone in the Northeast has managed to stay safe in the wake of Sandy. We'll be back next week with Top 10 chats for the Blue Jays, Rays and Yankees.