Boston Red Sox Top 10 Prospects

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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. Ages are as of April 1, 2011.

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Jim Callis
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1. Casey Kelly, rhp
2. Jose Iglesias, ss
3. Anthony Rizzo, 1b
4. Anthony Ranaudo, rhp
5. Drake Britton, lhp
6. Reymond Fuentes, of
7. Josh Reddick, of
8. Felix Doubront, lhp
9. Stolmy Pimentel, rhp
10. Garin Cecchini, 3b
Best Hitter for Average Garin Cecchini
Best Power Hitter Anthony Rizzo
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Che-Hsuan Lin
Fastest Baserunner Felix Sanchez
Best Athlete Reymond Fuentes
Best Fastball Drake Britton
Best Curveball Casey Kelly
Best Slider Alex Wilson
Best Changeup Stolmy Pimentel
Best Control Chris Balcom-Miller
Best Defensive Catcher Tim Federowicz
Best Defensive Infielder Jose Iglesias
Best Infield Arm Will Middlebrooks
Best Defensive Outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin
Best Outfield Arm Che-Hsuan Lin
Catcher Ryan Lavarnway
First Base Anthony Rizzo
Second Base Dustin Pedroia
Third Base Garin Cecchini
Shortstop Jose Iglesias
Left Field Jacoby Ellsbury
Center Field Reymond Fuentes
Right Field Ryan Kalish
Designated Hitter Kevin Youkilis
No. 1 Starter Jon Lester
No. 2 Starter Clay Buchholz
No. 3 Starter Casey Kelly
No. 4 Starter Josh Beckett
No. 5 Starter Anthony Ranaudo
Closer Jonathan Papelbon
Year Player, Position 2010
2001 Dernell Stenson, of/1b Deceased
2002 Seung Song, rhp Lotte (Korea)
2003 Hanley Ramirez, ss Marlins
2004 Hanley Ramirez, ss Marlins
2005 Hanley Ramirez, ss Marlins
2006 Andy Marte, 3b Indians
2007 Daisuke Matsuzaka, rhp Red Sox
2008 Clay Buchholz, rhp Red Sox
2009 Lars Anderson, 1b Red Sox
2010 Ryan Westmoreland, of Red Sox
Year Player, Position 2010
2001 Kelly Shoppach, c (2nd round) Rays
2002 Jon Lester, lhp (2nd round) Red Sox
2003 David Murphy, of Rangers
2004 Dustin Pedroia, ss (2nd round) Red Sox
2005 Jacoby Ellsbury, of Red Sox
2006 Jason Place, of Red Sox
2007 Nick Hagadone,
lhp (1st round supp.)
2008 Casey Kelly, rhp Red Sox
2009 Reymond Fuentes, of Red Sox
2010 Kolbrin Vitek, 3b Red Sox

Jose Iglesias, 2009 $6,250,000
Casey Kelly, 2008 $3,000,000
Anthony Ranaudo, 2010 $2,550,000
Daisuke Matsuzaka, 2006 $2,000,000
Ryan Westmoreland, 2008 $2,000,000
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Boston Red Sox

Little went as planned for the Red Sox in 2010. Before the season started, general manager Theo Epstein referred to it as a "bridge period," meaning the team would try to balance contending in the present with building for the future. Boston focused on upgrading via run prevention, spending $120.5 million on free agents Adrian Beltre, Mike Cameron, John Lackey and Marco Scutaro to bolster its defense and rotation.

Neverthless, the Red Sox dropped from third in the American League in runs allowed in 2009 to 11th last season. The defense was erratic, as was the pitching. Lackey, Josh Beckett and Daisuke Matsuzaka combined for 29 wins at a cost of $38 million, and the middle-relief corps set more fires than it put out.

Boston's offense was considered its potential weak link, yet ranked second in the majors in scoring despite injuries that sidelined Cameron and Jacoby Ellsbury for most of the year, and Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis for much of the second half.

The loss of Pedroia and Youkilis, the Red Sox's heart and soul, ultimately sank a team that had 19 players spend time on the disabled list. Despite a franchise-record Opening Day payroll of $168.1 million—the second-highest in baseball—Boston missed out on the postseason for just the second time in eight years.

There were disappointments in the minor leagues as well. Led by outfielder Ryan Westmoreland and righthander Casey Kelly, the Red Sox system was rated the fifth-best in baseball by Baseball America entering 2010. But Westmoreland was sidelined after brain surgery in March, while Kelly struggled with his command as a 20-year-old in Double-A.

Boston's next-best hitting prospects coming into the year, outfielder Josh Reddick and first baseman Lars Anderson, battled inconsistency in Triple-A. Its next-best pitching prospect, Junichi Tazawa, had Tommy John surgery and missed the entire season.

For all the things that went wrong, however, the Red Sox still won 89 games while playing in baseball's toughest division. More than $50 million is coming off the payroll for 2011, allowing for plenty of opportunity to reinforce the big league club.

Things are far from bleak down on the farm either. Three of the Red Sox' top five minor league affiliates had the youngest rosters in their leagues, and low Class A Greenville was the second-youngest, partially explaining why some of their best prospects didn't put up pretty numbers. Some did, such as first baseman Anthony Rizzo (25 homers, 100 RBIs) and lefties Drake Britton (2.97 ERA, 78 strikeouts in 76 innings) and Felix Doubront (8-3, 2.81 in the minors before pitching well in Boston).

The Red Sox still have one of the deepest farm systems in the game, in large part because they're as aggressive as any club in the draft. They spent a club-record $10.7 million on bonuses in 2010, the fourth-highest total in baseball history, including seven-figure deals for righthander Anthony Ranaudo, third basemen Kolbrin Vitek and Garin Cecchini, and second baseman Sean Coyle.

As frustrating as 2010 may have been, Boston's future remains bright. The last time the Red Sox missed the playoffs, in an injury-riddled 2006, they came back and won the World Series the following year.

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