Boston Red Sox: Top 10 Prospects

1. Jacoby Ellsbury, of
2. Clay Buchholz, rhp
3. Michael Bowden, rhp
4. Daniel Bard, rhp
5. Lars Anderson, 1b
6. Dustin Pedroia, ss
7. Bryce Cox, rhp
8. Craig Hansen, rhp
9. Kris Johnson, lhp
10. Jason Place, of
Best Hitter for Average Jacoby Ellsbury
Best Power Hitter Lars Anderson
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Jeff Natale
Fastest Baserunner Jacoby Ellsbury
Best Athlete Jacoby Ellsbury
Best Fastball Daniel Bard
Best Curveball Clay Buchholz
Best Slider Bryce Cox
Best Changeup Ryan Phillips
Best Control Michael Bowden
Best Defensive Catcher Mark Wagner
Best Defensive Infielder Argenis Diaz
Best Infield Arm Oscar Tejada
Best Defensive Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury
Best Outfield Arm Chris Durbin
Catcher George Kottaras
First Base Lars Anderson
Second Base Jed Lowrie
Third Base Kevin Youkilis
Shortstop Dustin Pedroia
Left Field Manny Ramirez
Center Field Jacoby Ellsbury
Right Field Jason Place
Designated Hitter David Ortiz
No. 1 Starter Jonathan Papelbon
No. 2 Starter Josh Beckett
No. 3 Starter Jon Lester
No. 4 Starter Clay Buchholz
No. 5 Starter Michael Bowden
Closer Bryce Cox
Year Player, Position 2006
1997 Nomar Garciaparra, ss Dodgers
1998 Brian Rose, rhp Out of baseball
1999 Dernell Stenson, of Deceased
2000 Steve Lomasney, c Twins
2001 Dernell Stenson, of Deceased
2002 Seung Song, rhp Royals
2003 Hanley Ramirez, ss Marlins
2004 Hanley Ramirez, ss Marlins
2005 Hanley Ramirez, ss Marlins
2006 Andy Marte, 3b Indians
Year Player, Position 2006
1997 John Curtice, lhp Out of baseball
1998 Adam Everett, ss Astros
1999 Rick Asadoorian, of Reds
2000 Phil Dumatrait, lhp Reds
2001 Kelly Shoppach, c (2nd) Indians
2002 Jon Lester, lhp (2nd) Red Sox
2003 David Murphy, of Red Sox
2004 Dustin Pedroia, ss Red Sox
2005 Jacoby Ellsbury, of Red Sox
2006 Jason Place, of Red Sox
Rick Asadoorian, 1999 $1,725,500
Adam Everett, 1998 $1,725,000
Mike Rozier, 2004 $1,575,000
Daniel Bard, 2006 $1,550,000
David Murphy, 2003 $1,525,000
Red Sox’ Team Page
Red Sox Top 10 Scouting Reports Premium
Last Year’s Red Sox Top 10 Prospects
2006 Draft: Red Sox (Basic Database)
2006 Draft: Red Sox Premium (Advanced Database)
2006 Draft Report Cards: AL East Premium
Complete Index of Top 10 Prospects
Pre-Order the 2007 Prospect Handbook

Boston Red Sox

No team had a more turbulent offseason and 2006 season than Boston did. Shortly after the White Sox swept them out of the 2005 playoffs, the Red Sox were reeling from a more unexpected loss. Theo Epstein, the first general manager in franchise history to build three straight playoff clubs, abruptly resigned on Halloween.

Boston interviewed several candidates before promoting farm director Ben Cherington and assistant to the GM Jed Hoyer to replace Epstein on Dec. 12. At that press conference, team president Larry Lucchino maintained that Epstein was still welcome back–and Epstein took him up on it by returning as GM on Jan. 19. The Red Sox did manage to retain most of its promising young front-office executives despite the uncertainty during Epstein’s absence, though assistant GM Josh Byrnes took Arizona’s GM job before Epstein stepped down.

With or without Epstein, the Red Sox spent the offseason reshaping their club. They traded four prospects, including shortstop Hanley Ramirez and righthander Anibal Sanchez, to get 25-year-old potential ace Josh Beckett from the Marlins. They pulled the plug on free-agent disappointment Edgar Renteria, shipping him to the Braves for third-base prospect Andy Marte. When they declined to offer Johnny Damon more than $10 million a year and lost him to the Yankees, the Sox used Marte as the centerpiece of a four-piece package to get Coco Crisp from the Indians.

Through the end of July, Boston seemed destined for a fourth consecutive postseason appearance. But injuries and the implosion of the pitching staff contributed to a 9-21 August that took the Red Sox from a game ahead to eight behind New York. They finished 86-76, good for third place and their worst standing in the American League East since 1997.

Boston’s farm system also underwent a significant makeover. Baseball America assessed the organization’s talent as the eighth-best in the game entering the year, the system’s highest ranking since 1998–and that came after Top 100 Prospects Marte, Ramirez and Sanchez had departed. The Red Sox traded Sanchez in order to hold onto Jonathan Papelbon, who became an all-star closer, and Jon Lester, who went 7-2 in 15 starts before being diagnosed with a treatable form of anaplastic large cell lymphoma (a blood cancer) in his back. Manny Delcarmen also graduated from the minors to the Boston pitching staff.

Red Sox affiliates won championships in the Double-A Eastern League and Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, the system’s first dual titles since 1979. But all of the trades (catcher Kelly Shoppach and reliever Cla Meredith also left town) and promotions thinned out what had been formidable depth at the upper levels of the minors. The majority of the system’s most attractive prospects are now products of Jason McLeod’s two drafts as scouting director.

The first three players on this Top 10 list–outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury and righthanders Clay Buchholz and Michael Bowden–were first-round or supplemental first-round choices in 2005, as was righty Craig Hansen. BA appraised that draft as the second-best in baseball four months later, and it may be topped by Boston’s 2006 effort, which rated No. 1. The Red Sox spent roughly $9 million on draft picks in 2006, with righthander Daniel Bard (first round), first baseman Lars Anderson (18th), righty Bryce Cox (third), lefty Kris Johnson (supplemental first) and outfielder Jason Place (first) all cracking the Top 10.