Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Baseball America’s Top 10 Prospects: Boston Red Sox

Next time I go to an EXXXOTICA Expo convention, I’m signing in as Xander Bogaerts.

1. Will Middlebrooks, 3b
2. Xander Bogaerts, ss
3. Blake Swihart, c
4. Anthony Ranaudo, rhp
5. Bryce Brentz, of
6. Brandon Jacobs, of
7. Garin Cecchini, 3b
8. Matt Barnes, rhp
9. Ryan Lavarnway, c
10. Jackie Bradley, of

The Red Sox may have embarrassed themselves and missed the playoffs for a second straight season, but they still won 90 games and will remain a contender in the near future. Likewise, Boston’s farm system didn’t cover itself in glory in 2011, yet still has plenty of talent. The system does lack an elite prospect, however, and many of its best players haven’t advanced past Class A.

For the third time in four years, the Red Sox set a new franchise record for draft spending, upping the ante to $11 million in 2011. Their haul included catcher Blake Swihart, righthander Matt Barnes and outfielder Jackie Bradley, all of whom rank among their Top 10 Prospects. The draft changes that came out of baseball’s new collective bargaining agreement may hit Boston more than any club, as it will have a relatively small signing bonus cap and fewer extra picks going forward.

Repoz Posted: January 08, 2012 at 09:44 AM | 31 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: minor leagues, prospect reports, red sox, scouting

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: January 08, 2012 at 11:29 AM (#4031580)
This surprises me. I thought of Bogaerts as a future star, while I thought Middlebrooks was the next Kevin Kouzmanoff. I guess I was mistaken
   2. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: January 08, 2012 at 11:48 AM (#4031587)
Agreed.
   3. Xander Posted: January 08, 2012 at 12:36 PM (#4031607)
This was discussed recently in another thread, but I think Middlebrooks has a decent shot at becoming a Joe Crede-level player, whatever that means. Good defense, decent slugging, and low-OBP.

All the caveats of a normal teenager apply to Bogaerts. He's really young and strikes out a lot, but has tremendous power and a chance to stick on the left side on the infield.
   4. John DiFool2 Posted: January 08, 2012 at 03:57 PM (#4031750)
I thought Middlebrooks was the next Kevin Kouzmanoff. I guess I was mistaken


You're not. The Sox should shop Middlebrooks around because IMNSHO his value will never be higher than it is now. Feel free to tell me I'm wrong later, but I don't think he'll earn as much as 10 WAR in his career.
   5. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 08, 2012 at 04:19 PM (#4031760)
I'm guessing Iglesias is not eligible or has he fallen that far?

EDIT: I see he's under "Best Defensive Infielder". So he's fallen that far? Is he still considered the SS of the future or will they go in a different direction?

I'm also surprised to see Bryce Brentz under best power hitter. I always considered him a guy that would hit for a great average, maybe win batting titles, but never hit more than 20 or so home runs.
   6. Xander Posted: January 08, 2012 at 04:23 PM (#4031763)
Iglesias can't and won't hit.

Brentz is an uber-agressive free-swinger with plus power and below average plate discipline.
   7. Mike Emeigh Posted: January 08, 2012 at 04:24 PM (#4031765)
I'm guessing Iglesias is not eligible or has he fallen that far?


The latter. He's still listed as the best defensive infielder in the system, but his stock has really taken a nosedive across the board.

-- MWE

EDIT: Or what AG1F said in his edit.
   8. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 08, 2012 at 04:42 PM (#4031774)
If Iglesias' stock was traded on an exchange, the SEC would be investigating a pump-and-dump scheme. Some of the projections allegedly voiced by scouts and then printed by the media in 2009 and '10 were downright crazy.
   9. Dock Ellis Posted: January 08, 2012 at 05:51 PM (#4031814)
I'm also surprised to see Bryce Brentz under best power hitter.

He's always had good to great slugging percentages. He's the guy I'm excited about right now, but time will tell if he ends up traded like Josh Reddick and Anthony Rizzo, or sticks with the team like Ellsbury and Pedroia.
   10. Walt Davis Posted: January 08, 2012 at 06:54 PM (#4031836)
he'll earn as much as 10 WAR in his career.

That's more career WAR than Bo Jackson -- you're saying this guy is a better prospect than Bo Jackson and they should trade him ?? :-)

FWIW, 10 WAR ain't too shabby. From 1986 to 1990, 86 players debuted who eventually surpassed 10 WAR. None of these are impressive -- Dean Palmer was probably the best in that he was pretty good before injuries. Otherwise Grebeck, Leo Gomez, Bill Spiers -- but a guy who will give you 10 WAR is almost certainly a top 100, probably top 50 prospect at this point.

Of course you're calling him a guy whose upside is 10 WAR which makes him Sean Berry or worse.
   11. ray james Posted: January 08, 2012 at 07:26 PM (#4031854)
There should be some stat that measures the relative distance between offensive and defensive ability.

If there was, Iglesias would lead baseball in largest difference.
   12. Darren Posted: January 08, 2012 at 07:51 PM (#4031859)

If Iglesias' stock was traded on an exchange, the SEC would be investigating a pump-and-dump scheme. Some of the projections allegedly voiced by scouts and then printed by the media in 2009 and '10 were downright crazy.


It's easy to say that now. It's even easy to have said that then. But it wasn't so crazy to think that a young guy out of Cuba could be a great SS, worth a big bonus. Major-League teams seemed to agree, given the bonus he got.

The striking thing (to me) about the hype at the time was that there were a lot of scouting reports about how this great, great prospect was an all-defense, no hit guy. It seemed that teams were willing to dole out big cash for a guy who profiled as a Mark Belanger type.
   13. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: January 08, 2012 at 08:06 PM (#4031866)
he'll earn as much as 10 WAR in his career.

FWIW just randomly picking some guys who could be somewhat similar, Kouzmanoff 11fWAR, Joe Crede 14 fWAR, Dean Palmer 13 fWAR. It's not a terrible player, but it seems to me that Bogaerts and Jacobs have higher upside, and I'm somewhat surprised that BA, which usually values upside, picked Middlebrooks over them.
   14. Xander Posted: January 08, 2012 at 08:20 PM (#4031877)
Hard for me to say that Jacobs has more upside. At the very least, Middlebrooks will always provide very good defense at a valuable position. Jacobs is already relegated to LF and he still has questions to answer about his bat. Yes, in theory he could develop into a masher. But Middlebrooks floor is enough to justify put him over Jacobs.
   15. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: January 08, 2012 at 08:29 PM (#4031878)
Sounds like you're saying Jacobs could be better if he breaks out as a hitter but Middlebrooks will never be useless. So you agree that Jacobs has more upside, no?
   16. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 08, 2012 at 08:30 PM (#4031879)
The striking thing (to me) about the hype at the time was that there were a lot of scouting reports about how this great, great prospect was an all-defense, no hit guy.

I was actually referring to the opposite. Back in 2009 and into '10, there were outlets quoting scouts (anonymous, of course) as projecting Iglesias not only to be an ML starter within a year or two, but to be a "15-homer" shortstop in the near future. (Similarly, anonymous scouts were using "the good Soriano" as a comp for A. Hechavarria.)
   17. Xander Posted: January 08, 2012 at 08:35 PM (#4031881)
Sounds like you're saying Jacobs could be better if he breaks out as a hitter but Middlebrooks will never be useless. So you agree that Jacobs has more upside, no?
Upside is a pretty nebulous term, but I would still say no. If Middlebrooks' upside is a good bat and a great glove at third I'd take that over a masher in LF.
   18. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: January 08, 2012 at 08:38 PM (#4031882)
it seems to me that Bogaerts and Jacobs have higher upside, and I'm somewhat surprised that BA, which usually values upside, picked Middlebrooks over them.


Bogaerts and Jacobs are several years away. If either guy plays a single big league game before the 2014 All Star break that would be a surprise. Middlebrooks is probably going to get a call up this year (unless he flops at AAA) at least for a cup of coffee. That readiness against the potential to not make it probably outweighs the upside for the guys you mention.

I was actually referring to the opposite. Back in 2009 and into '10, there were outlets quoting scouts (anonymous, of course) as expecting Iglesias to be a "15-homer" shortstop in the big leagues within a year or two of signing.


My recollection is more Darren's than yours. I don't recall anyone "expecting" Iglesias to be a 15-homer guy, it was more of a "could" than a "would" projection.

I'm sure you can find someone who said he "would" be but I think the consensus was a lot lower in terms of overall offensive output.
   19. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 08, 2012 at 09:19 PM (#4031899)
My recollection is more Darren's than yours. I don't recall anyone "expecting" Iglesias to be a 15-homer guy, it was more of a "could" than a "would" projection.

Right, the consensus was more re: his defensive ability, but there were a few quotes/reports that were way over the top re: offensive upside (and his ML ETA).
   20. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 08, 2012 at 09:32 PM (#4031907)
As TUS says, "upside" is nebulous.

Middlebrooks has plus power and a plus glove, but his contact skills and control of the strike zone are lacking. His "upside" could be that he learns enough control of the strike zone to be a 350/550 perennial all-star. If you're saying that "upside" should be more limited, and we should think of Middlebrooks' upside as constrained by his lack of skills, then Jacobs' ~30% strikeout rate is germane, and his upside is probably organizational filler, worthy of a minor league FA flyer.

The thing is, the precise skills that Middlebrooks needs to develop in order to be a star in the major leagues, Jacobs is much further behind in development of those skills.

I'm hopeful about Jacobs, but if some club wanted to give the Sox a good starting pitcher, I wouldn't let my hopefulness on Jacobs slow me down. Same with Middlebrooks - but both the other club and MCoA, hypothetical Red Sox GM, would value Middlebrooks more highly. The Sox don't really have a #1 prospect - they have a whole bunch of #4 prospects, and one of those guys has to be ranked first. Middlebrooks is the best choice of the lot.

EDIT: I would, like JDF, want to trade Middlebrooks sooner rather than later (if his trade value is in line with his public scouting evaluations) because I think it's likely his value has peaked. If another club valued Jacobs or Ranaudo or Brentz as highly as I am estimating that Middlebrooks is valued, I'd also be happy to trade them for that return. My guess is that the valuations of Jacobs et al are much closer to their actual projected value, and so I don't think a trade is necessarily a good idea. Middlebrooks can be a reasonable choice for #1 prospect in a system that lacks standout talent and still be overrated.
   21. Boxkutter Posted: January 09, 2012 at 01:50 AM (#4031975)
...but to be a "15-homer" shortstop in the near future.


I might take the under on him having a 15-homer career. I have never been confident about his bat. I passed on him in draft's because I didn't want an all glove, no hit shortstop. Another team grabbed and him and was happy they got him. I was happy they did too ;)
   22. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 09, 2012 at 06:43 AM (#4032014)
There should be some stat that measures the relative distance between offensive and defensive ability.

If there was, Iglesias would lead baseball in largest difference.


I think Big Sloppy probably has him beat, going in the other direction.
   23. Paxton Crawford Ranch Posted: January 09, 2012 at 10:35 AM (#4032091)
I've kind of been expecting a Middlebrooks-fronted package for a starter for a while now. I'm not sure his timetable and the Sox' line up. He'll probably be ready sometime next season and the Sox still have Youkilis under control for two more years -- health of course being the major caveat. Third base is also their strongest position of prospect depth by far (WMB, Bogaerts, Cecchini, and Vitek).

I do think we should be skeptical of our ability to outsmart the professional prospect evaluators. They know how to look at a minor league strikeout line too, and if they they think he's, say, the 50th best prospect in the game, then any questions about his strike zone judgement would be included in that ranking. Middlebrooks has been ranked pretty consistently across the various publications, which tells me people working for teams view him pretty similarly -- solid regular with some all star upside. I agree that now is probably the time to trade him; not because we're seeing something no one else is, but because of the organizational depth at third and the need for a starting pitcher in 2012.
   24. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: January 09, 2012 at 10:58 AM (#4032104)
I've kind of been expecting a Middlebrooks-fronted package for a starter for a while now. I'm not sure his timetable and the Sox' line up. He'll probably be ready sometime next season and the Sox still have Youkilis under control for two more years -- health of course being the major caveat. Third base is also their strongest position of prospect depth by far (WMB, Bogaerts, Cecchini, and Vitek).


I think for just that reason his timetable lines up well. If you assume Middlebrooks pans out then he spends this year and next replicating the Kevin Youkilis 2004/2005 experience and takes over the job in 2013. By the time someone from the group of Bogaerts/Cecchini/Vitek is ready we are probably 2015 and between 1B/3B/DH there should be an option to get the necessary players involved as Gonzalez ages.

I think a trade centered around Middlebrooks is smarter though. I'm fine with the timetable I just don't think Middlebrooks is going to amount to much.
   25. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 09, 2012 at 11:39 AM (#4032116)
I do think we should be skeptical of our ability to outsmart the professional prospect evaluators. They know how to look at a minor league strikeout line too, and if they they think he's, say, the 50th best prospect in the game, then any questions about his strike zone judgement would be included in that ranking. Middlebrooks has been ranked pretty consistently across the various publications, which tells me people working for teams view him pretty similarly

Yeah, but these guys are subject to group think too.
   26. John DiFool2 Posted: January 09, 2012 at 12:41 PM (#4032183)
The issue is that guys with such horrible K/W numbers tend to wash out of the league pretty quickly, no matter what their other tools are. I'm not sure why the pros are underemphasizing this aspect of his game, but they should; sure some kids can develop plate discipline as they approach their primes, but not usually.

If you're saying that "upside" should be more limited, and we should think of Middlebrooks' upside as constrained by his lack of skills, then Jacobs' ~30% strikeout rate is germane, and his upside is probably organizational filler, worthy of a minor league FA flyer.


He's also 2 years younger; on the same team at the same age, the K/W data was 123/48 WMB, 123/43 BJ, and I'll note that Jacob's season was vastly superior otherwise (.881 vs. .753 OPS). The issue isn't that Jacobs is behind Middlebrooks in terms of his strike zone judgement (conceding the point; that is to be expected given the age gap), but that the latter has actually regressed over the following 2 years (121/35, 114/26).

I'm just fearful that this is Scott Cooper all over again, and the Sox will remain unreasonably attached to the guy while trading other better prospects away.

   27. MM1f Posted: January 09, 2012 at 01:48 PM (#4032252)
I was actually referring to the opposite. Back in 2009 and into '10, there were outlets quoting scouts (anonymous, of course) as projecting Iglesias not only to be an ML starter within a year or two, but to be a "15-homer" shortstop in the near future. (Similarly, anonymous scouts were using "the good Soriano" as a comp for A. Hechavarria.)


I can't help but think of how Alex Gonzalez is a "15-homer shortstop"
   28. JPWF1313 Posted: January 09, 2012 at 02:39 PM (#4032320)
How does Middlebrooks even beat out Lavarnway?

Middlebrooks, age 22, mostly in AA: .285/.328/.506, horrendous K/BB which has been trending in the wrong direction

Lavarnway, age 23, split between AA/AAA: .290/.376/.563

Middlebrooks career: .272/.330/.440
Lavarnway career: .284/.376/.521

Even assuming Middlebrooks stays at 3B and Lavarnway is 1b/dh fodder, it still looks like Lavarnway has at least a 100 point OPS edge,
I know nothing about Middlebrook's Dee, how is it? Only if he is a legitimately superior defensive 3B can I see this ranking.
   29. JPWF1313 Posted: January 09, 2012 at 02:48 PM (#4032335)
looking at Sox blogs I see a few comments that Middlebrooks is the second coming of Scott Cooper (truth be told I don't see a statistical similarity)- the stated concern being that the Sox are irrationally enamored of him (like they were with Cooper) and are going to give him way too much PT while other, possibly better, prospects are overlooked or shunted aside...

I can't see BA's scouting report (pay wall), but it seems they say he has a good arm
Sickels had him 3rd on the Sox list, says he has a 3B's glove...
   30. JPWF1313 Posted: January 09, 2012 at 02:52 PM (#4032340)
They know how to look at a minor league strikeout line too, and if they they think he's, say, the 50th best prospect in the game, then any questions about his strike zone judgement would be included in that ranking.


You know this is something that could likely be studied, let's say you take BA's top 100 list for each year, and divide in K/bb groups:
good/neutral/bad

look at the average prospect ranking for each group, compare to subsequent MLB performance, see if any group significantly over or under-performs.

   31. The District Attorney Posted: January 09, 2012 at 04:02 PM (#4032465)
I'm just fearful that this is Scott Cooper all over again
I bet Cooper will have made more All-Star teams.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

News

All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand


BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
LA Podcasting Hombre of Anaheim
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOT - November* 2017 College Football thread
(182 - 1:53am, Nov 19)
Last: Lance Reddick! Lance him!

NewsblogHow an Astros player helped high-school kids have a cool World Series celebration
(1 - 12:20am, Nov 19)
Last: ajnrules

NewsblogOTP 13 November 2017: Politics, race now touching every sport
(1992 - 11:58pm, Nov 18)
Last: PreservedFish

Hall of MeritMock 2018 Modern Baseball Committee Hall of Fame Ballot
(76 - 11:33pm, Nov 18)
Last: robd4701

NewsblogOT - NBA 2017-2018 Tip-off Thread
(1410 - 11:06pm, Nov 18)
Last: don't ask 57i66135; he wants to hang them all

NewsblogOT: Winter Soccer Thread
(197 - 10:58pm, Nov 18)
Last: SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY

NewsblogThe Eric Hosmer Dilemma | FanGraphs Baseball
(37 - 9:34pm, Nov 18)
Last: 6 - 4 - 3

Hall of Merit2018 Hall of Merit Ballot Discussion
(240 - 5:49pm, Nov 18)
Last: The Honorable Ardo

NewsblogStanton, Altuve capture first MVP Awards | MVP
(51 - 4:35pm, Nov 18)
Last: Lance Reddick! Lance him!

NewsblogJim Palmer on Mark Belanger and Omar Vizquel: The Hardball Times
(98 - 4:33pm, Nov 18)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogFangraphs: Let's Make One Thing Absolutely Clear About Aaron Judge
(22 - 3:42pm, Nov 18)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogThe story of Alex Anthopoulos: From tragedy to prodigy to Braves GM
(1 - 8:30am, Nov 18)
Last: bfan

NewsblogBraves will lose prospects, and possibly a lot more, for violating international market rules
(48 - 1:30am, Nov 18)
Last: Armored Trooper VOTTO

NewsblogJudge, Bellinger named BBWAA Rookies of Year | MLB.com
(86 - 9:25pm, Nov 17)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogDerek Jeter addresses Giancarlo Stanton rumors | MLB.com
(24 - 7:38pm, Nov 17)
Last: Khrushin it bro

Page rendered in 0.3251 seconds
47 querie(s) executed