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  1. You’ve got Marrero listed as SS/DH, but he’s a “steady defender” and a “solid all around shortstop.” Is the DH tag just because competition in the organization might necessitate a position change, or are there concerns about his defense?

    Comment by Tom — November 15, 2012 @ 9:30 am

  2. I think the DH tag is there because he played half of his games as DH–probably splitting time with another shortstop?

    Comment by BigNachos — November 15, 2012 @ 10:06 am

  3. The SS/DH is pulling from the database and is based on the defensive games he played on 2012. The positions are not manually inputted by myself.

    Comment by Marc Hulet — November 15, 2012 @ 10:08 am

  4. Wow, that’s pretty low for Brentz. I’d disagree that his immense power hasn’t shown itself as a pro. He hit 30 home runs in 115 games in 2011 (~a HR every 15 ABs) and killed it this year in the AAA playoffs.

    There are definitely questions about his being able to hit well enough to make use of that power in the bigs, but I’m surprised to see a guy you think will make the big leagues next year so low on the list.

    Also, where would Sands and Rubby be here, if they qualified?

    Comment by Nick V — November 15, 2012 @ 10:13 am

  5. Competition at SS within the Red Sox Organization? Huh? There’s more competition at DH(Papi/Brentz/Lavarnway/Sands/Gomez) than there is at SS. Outside of Bogaerts, im not sure theres another even C+ level SS prospect in their system. While Iglesias is an elite defensive player, I think he could struggle to hit .220. When that terrible average comes with absolutely no power, that’s hard to stomach from any position, especially in the AL.

    Comment by Clifford — November 15, 2012 @ 10:23 am

  6. He was also playing A-Ball at age 22 in 2011. Not exactly what I would consider young for that level. Can you say Jorge Vazquez?

    Comment by Clifford — November 15, 2012 @ 10:24 am

  7. Rubby would probably be between Bradley and Webster… at No. 2 if it sounded like he was a sure-fire starter going forward.

    Not sure about Sands, off the top of my head, but it would be fairly low on the list.

    Comment by Marc Hulet — November 15, 2012 @ 10:29 am

  8. No, but his power showed, which was my point. Also, it was his first full year of pro ball, and the majority of it was spent in A+. So, not young but not crazy old either.

    Not sure what Jorge Vazquez has to do with anything, he was never a prospect…

    Comment by Nick V — November 15, 2012 @ 10:51 am

  9. Brentz is an OF, not a DH. He’s considered roughly average in RF, not really a DH projection.

    Sands isn’t a DH either, he’s considered a 1B/corner OF.

    Lavarnway’s a maybe. Depends on whether he can improve at catching.

    Gomez isn’t a prospect and may not even retain his 40 man roster spot.

    Comparatively, they have Bogaerts, Marrero, Vinicio and Iglesias at SS in their system’s top 20 prospects. There’re actually very few high projection batting prospects in the Sox system that may not play the field (Lavarnway, maybe Brandon Jacobs as he’s already struggling defensively as a LF), so not really a lot of depth at DH. In all likelihood, they’ll go with the typical rotating DH model employed around most of the AL once Ortiz retires. This also discounts the far, far outside chance of De Jesus at SS.

    Despite the revolving door at the MLB level, the Sox actually have quite a few potential options at SS in their system.

    Comment by Jonathan — November 15, 2012 @ 10:57 am

  10. Sands would probably fall in the late teens, early twenties.

    Comment by Jonathan — November 15, 2012 @ 11:00 am

  11. As a Red Sox fan who hasn’t been tracking the farm very much this year, I can’t say I find this list encouraging. I know that by definition, prospect lists tend to focus on upside- looking for the spark of talent that might bring a guy to the majors for good. You don’t see a lot of prospect lists that say: “This guy projects to have a couple of spotty years with part-time play, then go out of the majors for good.” Adjusting for that, I’m seeing:

    Bogaerts – Moves to 3B, which may or may not be a blocked position at that point and hits fairly well (2-4 WAR)
    Barnes – Ceiling of #2 = #4 starter, generally
    Webster – Good, but gets tired and loses command as a starter? Sounds like future setup man.
    Bradley – Tore up A but numbers took a dip in AA? Sounds like another year or two in the farm unless the club gets desperate. At least he sounds like a starter, maybe.
    Owens/Swihart/Morrero – Scratch tickets who may contribute at the MLB level?
    Iglesias – Value slipping every year, because he still can’t hit. While the favorite comp might be Caesar Izturis, that means he’s borderline to stick in the league.
    Brandon Jacobs – Possibly a league-average OF if his prior success was real? Or a platoon guy?

    So one above-average IF, one average/below-average starter, a quality reliever, a backup SS, and… a bunch of scratch tickets. Don’t get me wrong, I feel like the Red Sox have done great work with a consistently poor draft position. However, given that they’ve been trading players for prospects lately and they have quite a few holes to address, I would have hoped to see a bit more to rely on. It’s also bad to have no MLB-ready help at 1B when you have a hole at the position and the FA market doesn’t offer much (e.g. Sox are looking into LaRoche).

    Comment by B N — November 15, 2012 @ 11:50 am

  12. “As a Red Sox fan who hasn’t been tracking the farm very much this year, I can’t say I find this list encouraging.”

    That’s a personal issue. You summarized the massive flaw in your analysis right there. If you don’t follow the system at all, how can you form anything approaching a valid opinion based on little blurbs? Every prospect has caveats. All told, post-Mathis trade, the Sox probably have the second best farm system in their division.

    “Bogaerts – Moves to 3B, which may or may not be a blocked position at that point and hits fairly well (2-4 WAR)”

    Fairly well is an understatement. He’s considered one of the best hitting prospects in the minors (Not just the Sox system). The article also notes that a lot of scouts have come around and think he may stick at SS. Even if he doesn’t, Middlebrooks isn’t blocking him. Either WMB gets traded or Bogaerts gets worked into a corner OF spot.

    “Barnes – Ceiling of #2 = #4 starter, generally”

    Or a #2 or a #3. Welcome to projection.

    “Bradley – Tore up A but numbers took a dip in AA? Sounds like another year or two in the farm unless the club gets desperate. At least he sounds like a starter, maybe.”

    Maybe you should look up the stats. Yeah, he took a dip from high A, where he destroyed pitching to the tune of a 1.006 OPS. He “dipped” to an .809 OPS. He moved from college grad to high minors in less than a year, that’s aggressive promotion and impressive production. The only reason he even stuck at high A as long as he did was to let him play in that league’s All Star Game.

    “Owens/Swihart/Morrero – Scratch tickets who may contribute at the MLB level?”

    This is the case of pretty much all but maybe two or three given prospects in the entire game at any given time.

    Comment by Jonathan — November 15, 2012 @ 12:22 pm

  13. Jose Iglesias had 0.3 WAR despite a wRC+ of 4 (!!!). If he can hit .240/.300/.310 he’d have like a 5 WAR season.

    Comment by Michael Scarn — November 15, 2012 @ 12:35 pm

  14. If nothing else, I love having bench players who are strong in the field and on the basebaths….

    Comment by MyrEn — November 15, 2012 @ 1:07 pm

  15. Small sample size.

    If a guy was called up for a couple of series and had a really good week at the plate, would you assume that’s the baseline for his offensive ability?

    Iglesias had a 0.3 UZR this year due to his high UZR. Given that three years of UZR is supposed to be about as meaningful as one year of offensive metrics and that Iglesias played 193.2 innings in the field this year (~21.5 9-inning games worth), that would mean his UZR this year is about as meaningful as 7 games of offensive data. Trying to project anything from it is laughable.

    Comment by Greg — November 15, 2012 @ 1:10 pm

  16. Another angle on this: If he were 22 coming out of college and went straight to A-ball and hit 30 homers in 115 games, how would people feel about him?

    Comment by Ben — November 15, 2012 @ 1:29 pm

  17. My only real question is why it suggests Bradley is either their future CF or LF depending on Ellsbury, why wouldn’t he be their RF if Ellsbury sticks around? His plus arm and above average range would be completely wasted in Fenway’s tiny LF, and RF in Fenway really takes someone capable of playing CF to really cover well.

    Comment by KyleL — November 15, 2012 @ 2:02 pm

  18. If Bogaerts can stick at short there is no competition, outside of Profar and Machado there isn’t a more talented bat at the position.

    But if he can’t they absolutely have tons of competition. Iglesias, Vinicio, Marrero, and Lin are all likely to stick at short and have a realistic shot at being starting shortstops. It’s doubtful they ALL will because of the nature of prospects, but what other organization contains five shortstop prospects with realistic MLB futures? I’m pretty sure you’re just talking about the 2013 shortstop competition, but check the article, we’re talking about prospects here.

    Comment by brian — November 15, 2012 @ 2:05 pm

  19. Agreed with the small sample, but Iglesias is widely regarded as the best defensive shortstop in the past decade. I think Keith Law referred to watching him take infield as baseball porn. So yeah, using UZR samples over a few weeks is dumb, but if he hit .240/.300 he’d be a very valuable cost controlled shortstop…so what are we talking about?

    Comment by brian — November 15, 2012 @ 2:11 pm

  20. If Ellsbury stays in Boston long term he’d be moved to LF, Bradley is a better defender and I don’t think it’s close.

    Comment by brian — November 15, 2012 @ 2:12 pm

  21. Managers do funny things for veterans at times, though

    Comment by Marc Hulet — November 15, 2012 @ 2:29 pm

  22. Obviously I’m not expecting him to put up a UZR/150 of >100, but as certainly as that will regress, his offense will regress to the mean from a wRC+ of 4. The point is that his fielding is so excellent that if he’s merely a very bad hitter, instead of a truly atrocious one, then he’ll still be a very valuable player. Whether or not he can make the hitting leap from truly miserable to very bad is very much in question, though.

    Comment by Michael Scarn — November 15, 2012 @ 2:57 pm

  23. This list looks a lot better than the last few years, if I remember correctly. Good to see for a Sox fan.

    Comment by ODawg — November 15, 2012 @ 3:01 pm

  24. What Marc said. I do agree that LF is not the place for Bradley, though. If Ellsbury is retained, Bradley will end up in RF, where his strong arm will actually be useful.

    Even with Ellsbury being the probable inferior defender, he likely won’t be displaced for a rookie. It may not be the smart baseball move, but it’s the common practice.

    Comment by Jonathan — November 15, 2012 @ 3:17 pm

  25. With all the talk about the SS you are all forgetting that Ciriaco is still pretty good and a better hitter than Iglesias

    Comment by Jack — November 15, 2012 @ 3:33 pm

  26. I am encouraged after reading this, especially when you consider that the only piece received from LA included was Webster. I have read other opinions on Rubby and Sands that are equally encouraging. Maybe toughing out the ’13 campaign has some merit, as some have suggested.

    Comment by BullChip — November 15, 2012 @ 4:44 pm

  27. Wow, the claim that there is no other C+ SS in the Boston system is a pretty extreme view. Most would rate Iglesias, Vinicio, and Marrero that high or higher, and Tzu-Wei Lin from Taiwan and Dominican Raymel Flores had nice debuts.

    Comment by Jim in NC — November 15, 2012 @ 5:13 pm

  28. I tend to put more emphasis on age with respect to level than others, so I don’t think we really know whether Iglesias will hit or not. What a 20 year old doesn’t do at AA or a 21 year old doesn’t do at AAA are essentially meaningless. In the case of Iglesias, I think we lack data that he can hit more than have data that he can’t.

    My gut feeling, looking at all the numbers, is that he will EVENTUALLY put up OPS’s of .700 to .750, which, combined with his glove, will make him a 3.5 to 4 WAR player for a long time. But I don’t think he is going to do anything like that in 2013 or 2014.

    Along with Will Middlebrooks, who is recovering from a broken wrist and may not see his power return immediately, the Red Sox have two interesting players that will test their patience and that of infamously impatient fans.

    Comment by Patrick — November 15, 2012 @ 9:27 pm

  29. Patrick – you think he will be a league average hitter?

    MLB average last year (all positions) was a .724 OPS
    Average at SS was .685 OPS

    For a guy who walks at an ~5%-7% clip, that projection seems rather optimistic as I don’t think he has the power and with a walk rate in that range (maybe he gets it to 7-8%?) he will not be a high OBP guy.either

    I wouldn’t say there is no chance – but a .700-.750 OPS seems rather optimistic and when you are projecting him in this range you are projecting him as an above average MLB SS from a hitting perspective.

    Comment by Tom — November 16, 2012 @ 12:35 am

  30. There’s no question that Papi is the DH. Having a glut of offensively productive prospects who are already at the bad end of the defensive spectrum (Lavarnway doesn’t fit this description if he sticks at C, obviously) doesn’t make it a competition. It’s like having a drawer full of screwdrivers, only one of which is in good condition and not broken or mangled. Or something like that.

    Comment by sklandog — November 16, 2012 @ 1:53 am

  31. Nick – It’s likely that the author is using the ol’ talent evaluator practice of weighting heavily tools and defensive position in the rankings.

    Comment by sklandog — November 16, 2012 @ 2:00 am

  32. I believe it’s prudent to be bullish on prospects, but your post has me considering putting an end to myself. Lighten up. You may be guilty of reversing the norm and cherry-picking negative views. Simultaneously depressing and refreshing.

    Comment by sklandog — November 16, 2012 @ 2:09 am

  33. i would really like to know where you saw someone say that Iglesias is the best defensive SS of the last decade

    Comment by Clifford — November 16, 2012 @ 10:46 am

  34. Wow, talk about breaking out the hatorade. I have previously followed the Red Sox prospects, just not over the last year and change. Clearly, we all must follow your lofty standards to have a “valid opinion.” You also seem to assume that after reading the article, I just rush out and comment, rather than reading some additional analysis on these guys.

    Also, thank you for trying to make my opinions into strawmen by presenting irrelevent arguments. Responses here:

    Bogaerts – I am well aware he his a top hitting prospect. Go take the average of top 5 hitting prospect WAR and I would expect an average close to 3 and a StdDev of 1 during their productive years. Obviously, that’s a useful piece. However, he may be blocked. As you said, he could move from 3B to OF… with a -10 run positional adjustment. That is a full win. Is a 1 WAR difference insignificant now? Having too many prospects at a position leads to losing value in trades or losing value in positional adjustments. Obviously, if Middlebrooks flames out this is irrelevant, but that would also be bad.

    Barnes – “Welcome to projection.” Indeed. We should always project optimistically, like Congressional budgeting. Why project the mean or the median? Crazy talk! The average 6-year total for a top-50 pitching prospect is around 5.5, so a bit under 2 WAR per year ( While Barnes may be a #2 or #3 guy, the mean quality for a top pitching prospect seems to be (optimistically) a #4 starter. Does no one else find it weird that if prospect lists were even close to central, we’d have an extra ten #2 starters every year?

    Bradley – The guy legitimately sounds interesting, but a couple years off. Unreasonable?

    Scratch tickets – “This is the case of pretty much all but maybe two or three given prospects in the entire game at any given time.” Actually, given improved prospect analysis, I would say this is not true. Just in this very thread, we’ve noted two guys on a single club who are likely to provide positive production at the MLB level. Assuming each club has one or two such guys, we’d have 30-60 near-sure producers at the MLB level. Maybe not high-impact, but regulars. These guys are obviously not evenly distributed during any given year. There have been other years when the Red Sox farm was stronger, others where it was much weaker.

    My opinion basically boils down to:
    1. I remember times when the Red Sox had very strong farm, with more impact talent.
    2. The Red Sox now have what I’d think of as an average farm group, but with reasonable depth.
    3. Unfortunately, their strongest pieces do not match their positions of need.

    Are any of these really unreasonable or worthy of hatorade?

    Comment by B N — November 16, 2012 @ 2:30 pm

  35. I don’t know. I just feel like when you look at the actual average performance of top prospects it is very… sobering. To be fair, the Red Sox farm is in better shape than many (particularly among teams who have played well over the last 5 years). If you count Rubby de la Rosa, there’s probably three potential impact guys lying around.

    Additionally, if Bogaerts sticks at SS? That’s solid gold, right there. That would fill a hole of need with ++ talent, potentially for a few years. However, everyone seems to suspect that probably won’t happen (and in my experience, when everyone’s worried a prospect will need to change positions… he almost always does). But nobody in the system will make the Sox compete this year, from what I can see. 2014 also seems a bit up in the air, depending.

    Comment by B N — November 16, 2012 @ 5:19 pm

  36. The problem I see is that you’re looking at it like everything you’re saying only applies to the Red Sox prospects. If you say that Bogaerts is a top hitting prospect, but the average WAR for a top hitting prospect is 3 WAR, the same has to be said of ALL of the top hitting prospects, and if Barnes being a top pitching prospect means he’s (“optimistically”) a #4, the same has to be said of ALL of the top pitching prospects. So, what you should really be doing is looking at how their system compares to all the other systems, and regardless of what qualifiers you put on their projections they look really good comparatively (assuming you put the same qualifiers on everyone and not just the Red Sox’s prospects).

    And anyway, looking at averages and trying to apply it to prospects’ futures is an exercise in futility. It’s like saying “well, right fielder’s average 3 WAR so we should expect this right fielder to put up 3 WAR.” It just doesn’t really work that way; people have projections for these guys for a reason.

    Also, Bradley is expected to be in AAA early next year, and could very legitimately be in the majors by the end of the season. So yeah, saying he’s a couple years away is kind of unreasonable.

    Comment by KyleL — November 16, 2012 @ 7:01 pm

  37. Where did you get your info that the Mets’ first round draft pick, Gavin Cecchini, got $800,000 less than Marrero? Cecchini actually got more than Marrero, from what I can tell. You may have been looking at Garin Cecchini’s signing bonus with the Red Sox…

    Comment by dormroomgm — November 20, 2012 @ 10:54 pm

  38. These are promising statistics, I hope it helps out the team this season.

    Comment by Fenway Ticket King — November 30, 2012 @ 1:49 pm

  39. ” .240/.300/.310 ”

    Thats about .100 OPS points higher than his MLEs suggest he’ll hit.

    He hit .266/.318/.306 in AAA this year.

    Comment by Synovia — December 6, 2012 @ 1:44 pm

  40. Captain Hindsight coming to laugh at everything you said in the past. Man, you had some terrible comments.

    Comment by Chief Keef — August 9, 2013 @ 12:05 am

  41. I would really like to know who your English teacher was.

    Comment by Chief Keef — August 9, 2013 @ 12:08 am

  42. Your pick on Betts turns out to be great. He was totally under the radar last season and you may be the only expert paying attention on his potential even though his stat line was mediocre and his size is very small. Good job.

    Comment by coby76 — December 15, 2013 @ 8:23 am

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