Boston Red Sox: Top 10 Prospects

Boston Red Sox

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. Ages are as of April 1, 2007.

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 AverageJacoby Ellsbury
Best Power HitterLars Anderson
Best Strike-Zone DisciplineJeff Natale
Fastest BaserunnerJacoby Ellsbury
Best AthleteJacoby Ellsbury
Best FastballDaniel Bard
Best CurveballClay Buchholz
Best SliderBryce Cox
Best ChangeupRyan Phillips
Best ControlMichael Bowden
Best Defensive CatcherMark Wagner
Best Defensive InfielderArgenis Diaz
Best Infield ArmOscar Tejada
Best Defensive OutfielderJacoby Ellsbury
Best Outfield ArmChris Durbin
CatcherGeorge Kottaras
First BaseLars Anderson
Second BaseJed Lowrie
Third BaseKevin Youkilis
ShortstopDustin Pedroia
Left FieldManny Ramirez
Center FieldJacoby Ellsbury
Right FieldJason Place
Designated HitterDavid Ortiz
No. 1 StarterJonathan Papelbon
No. 2 StarterJosh Beckett
No. 3 StarterJon Lester
No. 4 StarterClay Buchholz
No. 5 StarterMichael Bowden
CloserBryce Cox
YearPlayer, Position2006
1997Nomar Garciaparra, ssDodgers
1998Brian Rose, rhpOut of baseball
1999Dernell Stenson, ofDeceased
2000Steve Lomasney, cTwins
2001Dernell Stenson, ofDeceased
2002Seung Song, rhpRoyals
2003Hanley Ramirez, ssMarlins
2004Hanley Ramirez, ssMarlins
2005Hanley Ramirez, ssMarlins
2006Andy Marte, 3bIndians
YearPlayer, Position2006
1997John Curtice, lhpOut of baseball
1998Adam Everett, ssAstros
1999Rick Asadoorian, ofReds
2000Phil Dumatrait, lhpReds
2001Kelly Shoppach, c (2nd)Indians
2002Jon Lester, lhp (2nd)Red Sox
2003David Murphy, ofRed Sox
2004Dustin Pedroia, ssRed Sox
2005Jacoby Ellsbury, ofRed Sox
2006Jason Place, ofRed 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.