Boston Red Sox Top 10 Prospects
By Jim Callis
1. Seung Song, rhp
Age: 21. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 192. Signed: Korea, 1999. Signed by:Ray Poitevint.
Background:Song may not want the distinction of being Bostons No. 1 prospect, given his predecessors. Righthander Brian Rose (1998) has bounced around between four organizations in the last two years. First baseman/outfielder Dernell Stenson (1999, 2001) has fallen out of the top 15 before reaching the majors, while catcher Steve Lomasney (2000) has missed as many games as he has played in since ranking No. 1. The Red Sox have poured a lot of money into the Asian market with little to show for it so far, and Song is their best chance at a contributing big leaguer. He pitched Kyung Nam High to a Korean national title in 1998 before signing for $800,000 in February 1999. After leading the short-season New York-Penn League in strikeouts in 2000, Song finished second in the minors to Josh Beckett with a 1.90 ERA last season. He pitched a scoreless inning in the Futures Game in Seattle.
Strengths:Song has succeeded at every step because of his intelligence and feel for pitching. It also helps to have good stuff. He pitches anywhere from 90-94 mph with his fastball, and he can put it anywhere he wants. Managers rated his control the best in the low Class A South Atlantic League in 2001. Songs curveball can overmatch hitters when its at its best, and he improved his changeup last year to the point where its an effective third pitch. He mixes his pitches and changes speeds well, and his corkscrew delivery makes him deceptive. Song has allowed just seven longballs in 261 pro innings and doesnt have any problems with lefthanders. He has sound mechanics and is durable.
Weaknesses:Song likes to throw his fastball up in the strike zone and get batters to chase it. More advanced hitters may lay off the pitch or punish it. He comes straight over the top, which costs him some life on his pitches. Like any young pitcher, he needs to make his secondary pitches more consistent.
The Future:Having had no trouble in high Class A, Song probably will open 2002 in Double-A Trenton. If he continues his progress, he could reach Triple-A Pawtucket or perhaps even Boston by seasons end. He projects as a No. 2 or 3 starter in the majors.
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