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As a sophomore in high school, Swihart identified an opportunity to improve his prospect status by broadening his baseball horizons. A righthanded-hitting and righthanded-throwing player who moved all over the field, Swihart commenced an education in both switch-hitting and catching. Good move. Though he remained a work in progress in both areas, by the time Swihart was drafteligible in 2011, the Sox saw him as one of the best high school bats in the draft with a chance to bring rarely seen athleticism to catching. Given the limited exposure to both catching and switch-hitting as an amateur, the Sox anticipated that it might take Swihart time to excel. But after a modest pro debut in low Class A in 2012, he's emerged as perhaps the top catching prospect in the game . How many catchers are there like Swihart in the minors' "There are none," said one evaluator, a testament to his offensive and defensive potential as well as his head-turning athleticism. He has made huge strides behind the plate, where he now profiles as an above-average defender who led the Eastern League by a wide margin while gunning down 47 percent of attempted base thieves, with pop times averaging about 1.9 seconds and getting below 1.8 on occasion. Evaluators marvel that he has the athleticism and speed to play virtually anywhere on the field'some even suggested he could play center or second'though behind the plate, he has a chance to be a two-way force. Offensively, though he shows an aggressive approach that limits his walks, he displays good pitch recognition, typically swings at strikes and sends line drives screaming to the gaps . Though still stronger from the right side, he shows aboveaverage bat speed and bat control from both sides of the plate, and he won't be beaten by velocity, while switch-hitting will limit his vulnerability to breaking balls. His swing is geared for line drives, but after hitting nine combined homers in his first two full pro seasons, Swihart cleared that total with 13 homers in 2014. There's a chance that his aggressive tendencies will be exploited by advanced pitching, which could result in a challenging transition to the big leagues after a lengthy apprenticeship in Pawtucket in 2015. Yet even evaluators who recognize the potential that his floor could be that of a backup concede the likelihood that he has the skill set to be at least a solid defense-first primary catcher. And even with limited power totals, Swihart's ability to hit for average and amass extra-base hits while leading a pitching staff could allow him to emerge as a perennial all-star.
Owens built on a dominant 2013 season by opening 2014 with a rainshortened, six-inning, nine-strikeout no-hitter for Portland. He earned the nod as the starter for the U.S. team in the Futures Game. Owens is comfortable working at 89-92 mph (though he'll touch 94) thanks to an excellent changeup that he sells to great effect. He emphasized his curveball this year, a point he hammered home by opening the Futures Game with a hook. He also shows an advanced feel for pitching that exceeds his age, including the ability to read swings and adapt. With ongoing strength gains, Owens continues to make strides in locking in his delivery, contributing to a decrease in his walk rate that was accompanied by working more consistently down in the zone for quick outs. He'll need to develop the curveball further and may ultimately incorporate a slider or cutter. Owens' combination of stuff, makeup and feel for pitching makes him a safe bet for the big league rotation. Most believe he has a mid-rotation ceiling (some see a chance for a No. 2 starter), with a reasonable probability of getting there or close to that point, despite less-than-eyepopping velocity.
The Red Sox won the bidding war for Castillo's services with the largest guarantee ever conferred upon a player from Cuba, signing him in August to a contract through 2020 for $72.5 million. His first game action in roughly a year and a half was singularly impressive given the layoff, as Castillo was able to show the diverse skill set that convinced the Sox to project him as an everyday outfielder. Castillo checks a lot of boxes. He has a big swing that permits him to generate above-average raw power (with perhaps 20-home run potential) yet he has the hand-eye coordination to limit his swings and misses, even with an aggressive approach. He also showed the ability to learn and adjust, implementing a leg kick as a timing mechanism in September that paid immediate dividends with a pair of homers. Defensively, he runs strong routes and shows the speed to have above-average range. His arm is average, perhaps a tick below, but his fundamentals, quick release and accuracy permit it to play well. His speed doesn't play out of the box due to his swing, but he has 20/20 potential. The Sox signed Castillo to be an everyday outfielder, most likely in center, starting in 2015. At the least, his complement of skills creates the likelihood of an average center fielder, with upside well beyond that.
If Rodriguez were judged based solely on his first six weeks in the Sox organization after being traded by the Orioles in exchange for Andrew Miller, he likely would have ranked as the top prospect in the system. Among the Sox's cluster of upper levels starting prospects, Rodriguez is the one with clear top-of-the-rotation stuff. Rodriguez sits at 92-94 mph but regularly touched 96 and 97 in his outings with the Red Sox. He complements that with a killer changeup that he sells well'some evaluators thought it was superior to Owens' -- and a slider that sometimes grades as slightly below-average but shows the potential to be average or slightly above. Once with the Sox, he started using his changeup to lefties and attacking the inside of the plate to excellent effect. He shows impressive athleticism and a repeatable delivery. Rodriguez's explosive fastball and changeup after joining the Sox both graded as plus offerings. If his slider develops to at least average, his potential is immense. "That kid can be Johan Santana Part 2," one evaluator said. "If his breaking ball improves one tick, he's going to be outstanding." He should start 2015 in Triple-A, but if he pitches as he did in Portland, a mid-year move to the big leagues wouldn't be surprising.
A two-way standout in college, Johnson's transition to pro ball was hindered by a liner off the face in his 2012 pro debut that resulted in a disjointed offseason and an equally disjointed 2013 season that was stunted by shoulder tendinitis. With a healthy offseason, however, Johnson looked like a big leaguer virtually every time he took the mound, running off an impressive string of two or fewer earned runs in 23 of his last 24 starts between three levels (he finished the year with a Triple-A playoff start). Johnson has a diverse arsenal of four average or better pitches and knows how to use it to considerable effect, working at a blistering pace while changing speeds and locations in a fashion sometimes evocative of Mark Buehrle. Johnson sits at 88-92 mph but will add (he can reach back for 94) and subtract to keep hitters off-balance. He doesn't have a single overpowering swing-andmiss pitch, but his execution is superb and his control has improved to a tick above-average. Though Johnson started 2014 in high Class A, his sprint across three levels could continue into 2015. He's expected to open in Pawtucket, but if the need arises, his polish suggests he could be a consideration for the big leagues in early 2015.
Regarded as the best pure bat on the international amateur market in 2013, Devers delivered on that status in his 2014 pro debut. He announced his presence by clubbing an opposite-field homer in the DSL opener and didn't stop mashing. At 17, he led two Sox affiliates in home runs, becoming the first Sox 17-year-old to make the in-season jump from the DSL to the States in years. Devers' ability to drive the ball out of the park to all fields at such a young age suggests a player with an enormous ceiling as a potential middle-of-the-order fixture, depending on how he develops against lefthanders. There are questions about whether he'll outgrow third, where he committed 18 errors in 51 games. For now he shows the hands and feet to complement a plus arm which suggests he could stay at the position. Multiple evaluators citied the potential for a Pablo Sandoval-style defender. Devers will compete in spring training for a spot as a third baseman in low Class A Greenville as an 18-year-old in 2015. Regardless of whether his future is at first or third, his progression will be monitored closely for a potential game-changing bat that could anchor a lineup in his prime.
When the Red Sox signed Margot out of the Dominican Republic, they saw a player with five-tool potential and the defense to stick in center. After showing an ability to hit for average, get on base and steal bases while playing solid outfield defense in Lowell in 2013, Margot was one of five minor leaguers with at least 10 homers and 40 or more steals. There's electricity in virtually everything Margot does. His strong wrists create plus bat speed, and while aggressive, he has the barrel control to limit his strikeouts. His speed plays both out of the box and as a basestealer. It remains an open question whether he'll have the plate discipline to be a true top-of-the-order hitter, but he has a chance to deliver across-the-board impact with the floor of at least a very good fourth outfielder based on his defense. He's likely close to maxed out physically, so there's not a great deal of power projection, but it wouldn't be a shock if improved knowledge of his swing yielded home run totals in the high teens. Margot will open 2015 at the same level where he offered a tantalizing first glimpse at the end of 2014 in Salem. He has a chance to move up to Double-A by the end of the year if he can show an ability to remain under control and manage his at-bats.
Barnes exploded onto the scene in his debut in Greenville in 2012, but since then his progress has been more deliberate. He sought to develop a consistent breaking ball. His 2014 season opened ingloriously with shoulder tenderness, but after a bad first half, he had a second-half breakthrough and a September callup. Despite his spring training health hiccup, Barnes has a big, durable frame that suggests the ability to handle a starter's workload. Whether that proves his big league destiny remains to be seen. Some scouts believe that his fastball and change are good enough to succeed as a backend starter if he can incorporate the occasional show-me breaking ball, but he does demonstrate an ability to spin a curve even if his command and control of the pitch are inconsistent. If it comes--or if he develops a slider or cutter--he has a No. 3 starter's ceiling. However, the fact that the Sox gave him a September look in the bullpen suggests a potential near-term big league path for him. The Sox are keeping the door open for Barnes to be a starter, at least for now. It remains to be seen whether he spends 2015 working toward such a role in the Pawtucket rotation or if the team decides to use him out of the bullpen in the big leagues.
A down offensive year as a junior caused Marrero to fall to the Sox with the No. 24 pick of the 2012 draft, and in an injury-filled 2013 season, it appeared that his struggles at Arizona State might have been a harbinger. But after spending the final month of 2013 in Double-A without a single extra-base hit, a healthy Marrero showed far greater offensive impact--including some pop--in repeating in Portland. Marrero's calling card is his defense, where he combines standout range to both sides (the result of positioning and instincts as opposed to speed) with tremendously consistent hands and a strong throwing arm to create a potential Gold Glove defensive package. Offensively, most view him as a future bottom-of-the-order hitter but with a respectable floor given his ability to keep the barrel in the zone and line the ball from gap to gap with the occasional ability to turn on a pitch and drive it. He has required adjustment time in his transitions between levels, but he's also shown the aptitude to adjust. Marrero stands a good chance of being an everyday big league shortstop for a number of years. Marrero will likely get most of 2015 to establish himself in Pawtucket before starting a very interesting conversation about the Sox-- shortstop position for 2016.
Cecchini appeared like a potential mid-2014 big league option at third base after leading the minors in on-base percentage (.443) with Salem and Portland in 2013. Instead, he lost the approach that had been a staple of his first three pro seasons. He finished strong and then hit well when afforded a season-ending big league opportunity. Cecchini struggled while focusing on not getting beaten on the inner half of the plate, and in the process, he slipped from an up-the-middle/opposite-field approach with high contact and walk rates to a pull-conscious hitter with high strikeout rates. He ironed that out by the end of the year, and impressed by driving balls from gap to gap in the big leagues. Defensively, Cecchini remains a below-average to fringy defender at third with an erratic throwing arm, but he shows a tremendous work ethic. He also started playing left field. Cecchini still has a considerable offensive ceiling as a player capable of hitting over .300 with high OBPs, and everyone seems to agree he'll hit. But given his typically modest extra-base totals, his value would take a hit if he ends up in left field or first base. He's expected to open 2015 back in Pawtucket but will be an immediate depth option.
Selected 26th overall in 2014 and signed for $1,870,500, Chavis adjusted to pro ball after a slow initial start. With a thick, compact frame that is likely close to maxed out, Chavis generates tremendous bat speed. While he will swing and miss, he has a chance to hit 20 or more homers. A high school shortstop, Chavis embraced his first prolonged exposure to third base enthusiastically, and that's where he's expected to spend 2015 as he competes for a spot at low Class A Greenville. He has an above-average arm and the short-area quickness for third. Several Red Sox officials consider second base is his best fit, though first base or left field also are possibilities given his plus raw power. If his bat develops, Chavis will profile at any position, particularly if he remains under control instead of swinging for oncoming traffic.
Perhaps the most commonly heard refrain about Travis is that he "hits the (bleep) out of the ball." His hitting is very advanced, for he barrels the ball with striking consistency, something that was evident both in his pro debut and in the instructional league, where he hit over .500. It remains to be seen how often he generates the loft to produce home runs, but he hits the ball hard enough to grow into plus power and 20 or more home runs. One evaluator described Travis as having a "Captain Caveman" approach, but with the barrel control to limit strikeouts and a flat, righthanded swing plane that generates screaming line drives to the pull side and right-center field. His ceiling is capped by his position, for Travis is most likely a first baseman, though with some demonstrated ability to play left field in college. He has a chance to open 2015 at high Class A Salem and reach Double-A Portland by the end of the year.
Rookie-level Gulf Coast League manager Tom Kotchman called Guerra the best defensive shortstop he's had in 35 years, and evaluators for other organizations back the view of Guerra as a potential Gold Glover at shortstop. He exudes confidence and control in all his actions, with an easy lefthanded swing that allows Red Sox evaluators to dream about his upside as a shortstop with above-average offensive potential and elite defense. He combines plus arm strength with pinpoint accuracy and the ability to make throws from all angles. Though he walked just five times against 42 strikeouts in the GCL, he showed the ability to drive fastballs with pull power at age 18. His weakest tool is his below-average speed. Guerra's makeup and game instincts have team officials convinced he could experience developmental leaps in the future. His bat lags behind his glove, so it's possible he could be ticketed for short-season Lowell in 2015, but long term, Guerra has the best package of tools of any shortstop in the organization.
Signed for $1.5 million as the 33rd overall pick in 2014, Kopech lights up the radar gun like few Red Sox draftees in recent years. He touched 99 mph as a high school senior, regularly touched 97 in his outings in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League and sat in the mid-90s. He does so with a max-effort delivery that creates questions about his future control and ability to remain healthy, but he has a starting pitcher's frame and elite arm speed, with a chance for unusual power out of the rotation. In addition to his fastball, Kopech also features a slider that appears to have wipeout potential, and while he didn't incorporate a changeup as an amateur, he shows the potential to take something off the ball. If Kopech manages to control his power stuff and develop a three-pitch mix, then he has a chance to be a front-of-the-rotation starter down the road. At the least, the Red Sox can envision his fastball/slider combination playing late in games.
The Red Sox used their highest pick (No. 7 overall) in 20 years on Ball, who signed for $2.75 million, the second-largest draft bonus in club history. As a two-way high school player from a cold-weather climate, he had limited amateur pitching experience. Still, no one anticipated that, 11 starts into his pro career, Ball would be 1-7, 7.27. To his credit, Ball rebounded in his final 11 starts, working to a 2.70 ERA. He showed good downward angle on his fastball, which sat by the end of the year at 91-92 mph while topping out at 95. His changeup progressed into a solid offering with the potential to be above-average, and he showed improvement in his curveball after switching from a knuckle-curve to a conventional grip. His athleticism permits a clean, repeatable delivery and he showed an excellent work ethic even through his struggles. Ball still offers plenty of projection, but plenty of uncertainty, and evaluators differ on his ceiling, suggesting the potential for anything from a No. 2 to a No. 4 starter. Now that he's acclimated to pro ball, Ball's future should come into sharper view in 2015, when he could open at high Class A Salem.
Ranaudo reached the majors in September for the first time, with poor results. However he also threw a career-high 177 innings, as well as leading the Triple-A International League in wins, ERA and opponents-- average. He won his league's pitcher of the year award for a second consecutive season. Ranaudo's failed big league cameo resulted from reduced stuff--he sat mostly at a straight 92-94 mph with below-average secondary offerings. He retains the potential to be a steady back-end starter if the life on his fastball and curveball improve following a productive offseason. Ranaudo made mechanical adjustments in 2014, removing excess movement from the back swing of his delivery, which resulted in improved command. He also added a slider to pair with his at-times-plus curveball to allow him to change planes. Ranaudo's aptitude and self-awareness suggest a pitcher capable of making the adjustments to be a valuable big leaguer whether as a back-end starter or a middle reliever.
Coyle rekindled his prospect status by pulverizing the ball at Double-A Portland in 2014, particularly in a first half. He still showed a considerable amount of swing and miss (25 percent strikeout rate), but his increased willingness to drive the ball to all fields (with impressive power to right-center) contributed to a jump in his hard-hit rate. An average runner, Coyle also showed solid defensive actions both at second base and in his first trial at third, where he has an average arm. However, in the continuation of a career pattern, injuries restricted him to 97 games in 2014 and contributed to significant durability questions from a 5-foot-8 player who has never played more than 116 games in a season. The uncertainty about Coyle's ability to stay on the field inhibits his prospect status, even as he joined the 40-man roster in the offseason and prepared for an assignment to Triple-A Pawtucket in 2015.
Originally signed by the Rangers, Escobar was traded to San Francisco so Texas could keep Rule 5 draft pick Ben Snyder back in 2010. Four-plus years later, the Giants traded Escobar shortly before the trade deadline as the primary piece for Jake Peavy. Escobar rebounded from a tough start at Triple-A Fresno to produce a number of solid starts at Triple-A Pawtucket, throwing particularly well in the postseason. He sits in the low 90s but runs his fastball up to 95 mph with the potential to get swings and misses on his slider--his best secondary pitch--and changeup. Escobar sometimes favors secondary offerings over his fastball, so he has a mix that suggests either a future as back-end starter or reliever, potentially a matchup arm, given his dominance against Triple-A lefties (.200/.244/.230 with 25 percent strikeouts) and struggles against righties. His crossfire delivery also affords deception versus lefthanders. Escobar could provide a lefthanded bullpen option early in 2015 or he could offer pitching depth (or trade value) at Pawtucket.
After a 2013 struggle at Double-A Portland, Shaw implemented a leg kick that paid immediate dividends with a monster Arizona Fall League performance that carried over to a repeat assignment in 2014. He hit his way out of Portland after 47 games before hitting a wall at Triple-A Pawtucket, with a spike in strikeout rate and drop in walk rate. Still, Shaw showed at least average power, with the ability to drive the ball out from left-center to right field, and he led the system with 21 homers. Shaw's willingness to drive the ball to the opposite field produces both solid plate discipline and a potentially average hit tool and excellent fit for Fenway Park. That, in combination with above-average first base defense and good instincts that draw from a lifetime around the game (his father Jeff was an all-star closer), suggests a player who could be a second-division first baseman or a primary platoon option on a playoff team.
The highest unsigned high school player from the 2012 draft, Stankiewicz spurned the Mets and spent a year at Seminole State (Okla.) JC before signing with the Red Sox for $915,000 after being picked 30 spots higher than in 2012. The steadiest performer in the low Class A Greenville rotation in 2014, Stankiewicz pounded the strike zone with a four-pitch mix and, more often than not, pitched deep into games and led the Drive in wins, innings and strikeouts. He mostly pitched to contact with a fastball that sat at 92 mph and topped out around 95, with his slider having been a more consistent secondary offering than his curveball or changeup. Stankiewicz, the long-limbed righty, has the athleticism to repeat his delivery and command the ball, traits that pair with his pitch mix and average velocity to make him a potential back-end starter. He could ultimately exceed that projection if any of his pitches plays up and develops into a legitimate out pitch. Stankiewicz will move up to high Class A Salem in 2015.
Few players in the upper levels of the Red Sox system divide opinion as much as Brentz. He'll show power that some view as plus to double-plus, with the potential to send rockets into orbit. Yet his all-ornothing approach tends to lead to high strikeout rates and inconsistency. Brentz missed two and a half months with a hamstring injury, and he showed a huge platoon split in which he slugged .685 against lefties and struggled against righties, hitting just .223/.335/.363. He repeated the pattern in a season-ending taste of the big leagues. As such, Brentz probably fits best as the righthanded hitter on an outfield corner, though some scouts believe he could eventually make an impact as a late-developing everyday outfielder. His fringy range and strong arm suggest a future in right field. Brentz made a concerted effort to improve his plate discipline in 2014, on which he'll continue to focus in 2015 as he embarks on a third season at Pawtucket at age 26.
Though surgery just before spring training 2014 to repair a sports hernia delayed the start of his fourth year as a full-time knuckleballer, Wright experienced a breakthrough in the execution of his signature pitch. At the encouragement of Triple-A Pawtucket pitching coach Rich Sauveur, he decided to slow down his pitch from a low- to mid-80s offering to the mid-70s, with the slower speed making the pitch easier to control, and also more tantalizing to hitters. The improvement to Wright's walk rate was palpable. Wright walked 2.1 batters per nine innings at Pawtucket in 2014, compared with a rate of 4.4 per nine from 2011-13. He even threw more strikes in the big leagues, finishing his stint with five capable innings against the Yankees. Indeed, of all the pitchers offered an open audition for the 2015 rotation, Wright showed the most consistent ability to throw strikes and generate swings and misses. What that means going forward is a mystery, as few pretend to know whether Wright is more likely to become the next Tim Wakefield or the next Charlie Zink. Regardless, Wright showed enough in 2014 that the team views him as a meaningful contributor in 2015. He could compete for the No. 5 starter spot in spring training.
Dubon moved from Honduras to the U.S. in high school to pursue baseball, a decision that paid off when he was drafted out of high school in California in 2013. He has shown outstanding hand-eye coordination and a clean swing to hit line drives to all fields, with occasional pull power. He also showed skill as a bunter at short-season Lowell to help boost his average to .320, second in the New York-Penn League. He rarely walked but also rarely struck out. Despite limited experience as an amateur, Dubon showed smooth actions and average range at shortstop thanks to good body control and footwork, perhaps owing to his soccer-playing background. Future strength gains likely will help determine whether he has the offensive profile of a starter or a utility player. Next up is an assignment to low Class A Greenville.
The son of Dodgers Dominican scout Rafael Rijo, Wendell signed for $575,000 in July 2012 and then showed considerable polish as one of the youngest players in the South Atlantic League in 2014. He posted above-average numbers across the board at low Class A Greenville. Rijo has clear potential to deliver above-average offensive impact at second base, with a high average and modest power. Though he has strong hand-eye coordination, he seems focused at times on generating power, an approach that could be exposed as he moves up. Some have expressed concern about his commitment to defense, for Rijo shows concentration lapses in the field, and there isn't a clear fallback defensive position for him if he doesn't stick at second. Still, given that he will be just 19 for most of the 2015 season suggests he has room to improve his concentration and refine his tools. He could be headed for high Class A Salem in 2015.
After a nondescript pro debut at short-season Lowell in 2013, Asuaje defied expectations by consistently barreling pitches with a swing that seemed much too big for his unassuming, 5-foot-9 frame. Asuaje led the organization in slugging percentage (.533), extra-base hits (65) and RBIs (101) in 129 games at two Class A levels. While Asuaje holds little back at the plate, he typically swings at strikes. He dominated Class A competition at age 22, so his performance in the high minors will be more telling than his 2014 output. Asuaje is a serviceable if below-average defender at third base, but he looked playable at both second base and in left field. He's an average runner with a chance to hit for average and contribute gap power. Despite an unusual profile, he has a chance to play his way into contention for a larger role, perhaps as a multi-position extra. He will reach Double-A Portland at some point in 2015.
The 6-foot-5 Gunkel was the talk of instructional league in 2013 after signing out of NCAA Division II West Chester (Pa.), for he showed a 90-94 mph fastball with life and command from a low arm slot. He comes at hitters with a long wingspan and a low-three-quarters release point that evaluators have compared with Justin Masterson, Kevin Brown and Jered Weaver. At low Class A Greenville, Gunkel overmatched opponents with a three-pitch mix including a slider and a changeup. His performance regressed following a promotion to high Class A Salem, and given his low arm slot, retiring lefthanders, as he did in 2014 with a .172 opponent average, always will be key to his continued advancement. While Gunkel probably will shift to the bullpen at some point, he hasn't shown any indication that a move is imminent.
Longhi's disappointment about slipping to the 30th round of the 2013 draft amid signability concerns was mitigated by the fact that the Springfield, Mass., native was taken by the team he grew up following. Longhi enjoyed a standout performance with short-season Lowell through mid-July, when he suffered a torn ligament in his thumb while running the bases. He has a sweet, righthanded swing with the ability to stay inside the ball and drive it to all fields, suggesting an above-average to plus hit tool. Though he didn't hit any homers in 2014, Longhi's strong wrists and forearms suggest the potential to deliver average to above-average power. As a lefthanded thrower, he's limited to first base or left field, but his offensive approach should carry him. Longhi will be a candidate to break with low Class A Greenville in 2015.
Haley underwhelmed in his first full pro season in 2013, and he spent the early stages of 2014 piggybacking with other starters in the high Class A Salem rotation, but he performed his way into a starting role and excelled. After he walked 5.3 batters per nine innings in 2013, Haley dropped that figure nearly in half (2.7 per nine) while at Salem before six solid season-ending starts at Double-A Portland. Haley angles the ball down at the bottom of the zone with a fastball that typically sits 90-93 mph and touches 94, and he features has some deception in his delivery that allows somewhat pedestrian stuff to play up. Haley's breaking ball and changeup played as average offerings in 2014, and while his stuff is hardly eyepopping, his performance could make him a potential No. 5 starter in time.
A tremendous athlete who had limited playing experience as an amateur, Ramos seemed as if he might be in the midst of a career breakthrough at Double-A Portland in 2014. The switch-hitter was one of the team's top performers through 48 games before fouling a ball off the side of his left knee, creating a stress fracture on the opposite side of the knee that ended his season. Ramos returned to the field by the end of instructional league and appeared to be unhindered as a runner. His plus range, plus arm and average speed in right field suggest a player who could fill an extra outfielder role in the big leagues. Ramos has shown improved pitch recognition as he's moved up the ladder, and he has the strength to drive the ball out of the park. "If he hits at all," said one National League evaluator, "he's a starter."
Hamstring injuries wrecked Light's first full pro season in 2013 and, though healthy enough to make 25 starts and shoulder 132 innings in 2014, he proved less-than-overpowering. However, he displayed tremendous arm strength at times, his fastball reaching the triple digits on occasion at the end of the year. In the past, Light topped out near 94 mph as a starter, but his lack of a consistent slider or changeup allowed hitters to sit on his heater. While the Red Sox had yet to make a decision about Light's role in 2015, he could turn into a very different animal if moved to the bullpen at Double-A Portland. He could jump onto a more aggressive development path if he makes the role switch, and his raw arm strength could place him in a high-leverage bullpen role.