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  1. Wow Cecchini is really high. A little surprised Sean Coyle didn’t get a mention.

    Comment by EarlSweatshirt — December 23, 2011 @ 12:56 pm

  2. Not surprised, he has a higher ceiling than Middlebrooks

    Comment by CampBrice — December 23, 2011 @ 1:24 pm

  3. I guess the Red Sox won’t have too much trouble replacing Youk in the near future.

    Comment by Nik — December 23, 2011 @ 1:25 pm

  4. Second Earl’s comment on Coyle.

    The Sox system is very interesting right now in that other than Middlebrooks and Bogaerts, different people have the next ten in all kinds of different orders.

    Comment by Ben Hall — December 23, 2011 @ 1:43 pm

  5. How does Vitek, a 3B who posted a .722 OPS in High-A at the age of 22 and will have to switch to RF, get ranked over Sean Coyle who posted an .826 OPS in low-A at the age of 19? (he had more SB & HR and should stick at 2B)
    Is it all about the height?

    Comment by Matt — December 23, 2011 @ 3:01 pm

  6. A lot of the difference of opinion Ben notes is because these guys are mostly very young and raw – the top of the Sox system was stripped by trades and health issues (the injury disaster of ’10 started in spring training, and affected minor leaguers as well as the big team).

    Comment by Mr Punch — December 23, 2011 @ 3:13 pm

  7. I’ve seen Middlebrooks not in the top two as well. The Minor League Ball community seems more bullish on Lavarnway.

    Comment by Ari Collins — December 23, 2011 @ 3:36 pm

  8. No Kalish? I know he was hurt last year, but I really feel he is the future in Boston.

    Comment by Chris Daugherty — December 23, 2011 @ 3:36 pm

  9. Has Ryan Kalish dropped that far due to the injury? Was it the type of injury that a player never really recovers from or is there a chance he gets back to where he was in 2010? I’m not disputing the ranking, just wondering what the track record is for prospects that have a serious injury.

    Comment by Dan G — December 23, 2011 @ 3:36 pm

  10. Was Kalish considered a graduated prospect? Because there’s no way he shouldn’t be in the top 15. His injury was quite manageable, though the Sox want to be patient and give him some more time at AAA to get back in a groove. He’ll be in the majors by mid-year or 2013 at the latest.

    For reference, SoxProspects.com has him as the #2 prospect in the system.

    Comment by Shane — December 23, 2011 @ 3:49 pm

  11. Kalish is no longer considered a prospect. Soxprospects.com has different prospect guidelines therefore his #2 ranking. I agree though, Coyle should be on this list over Vitek, though Vitek’s power could still come around.

    Comment by Dakota — December 23, 2011 @ 4:15 pm

  12. Aside from SoxProspects.com, virtually every prospect ranking sees Kalish as a graduated prospect since he has 179 PA in MLB in 2010.

    Comment by jmei — December 23, 2011 @ 4:16 pm

  13. He’s not eligible anymore.

    Comment by KyleL — December 23, 2011 @ 4:47 pm

  14. Scouting reports and ceiling mean so much more than the numbers these players put up in various conditions.

    Comment by Vision — December 23, 2011 @ 5:14 pm

  15. There’s an unspoken suspicion that Coyle is actually Dustin Pedroia with a Misson Impossible disguise on.

    Comment by Mike — December 23, 2011 @ 5:24 pm

  16. I still can’t get past the 24 percent strikeout rate and 5.2 percent walk rate for Will Middlebrooks last season in the Double A Eastern League. Seattle thirdbase prospect Alex Liddi, who is only days older than Middlebrooks, put up similar numbers in a similar Double A league (Southern) a year earlier. I have serious doubts about whether either will be a significant contributor at the MLB level.

    Comment by solstice — December 23, 2011 @ 5:40 pm

  17. I must disagree with this: “The best scenario for Boston would be to have Crawford rebound, making Jacobs an attractive trade piece”

    Of all the scenarios regarding Crawford, the best one would have to involve him dying and going straight to hell. Now, sure, one might argue that some torture prior to his death is preferable, but I say just cut to the chase. Shoot him, knife him repeatedly, poison him, whatever, just end him, send his checks to his boyfriend and start anyone as an upgrade in LF.

    Otherwise, good job.

    Comment by Sultan of Schwwingg — December 23, 2011 @ 6:31 pm

  18. How does Lavarnway not have the offensive potential of Montero? He’s hit much better at the same levels recently. I think Coyle is much better than Vitek and Iglesias is way too low

    Comment by BoSoxFan — December 23, 2011 @ 10:23 pm

  19. Here was my response to Coyle in the chat today: Honestly, (Coyle) hit .247 with a 24% strikeout rate in low-A and the power is a result of the stadium/league. He’s 5-7 or 5-8… and power is not part of his game. Nice prospect but in the 16-22 range for me.

    Comment by Marc Hulet — December 23, 2011 @ 10:38 pm

  20. Interesting that Brandon Jacobs now is said to have below-average speed. In his Auburn recruit days (albeit as a power back), he was listed with a respectable ~4.55 40yd. I have absolutely no clue how those numbers would translate to baseball, if ever, but did Jacobs lose speed or gain weight in the past couple years? Just odd to me that a running back is seemingly approaching Manny levels of slow

    Comment by auburnsox — December 23, 2011 @ 10:49 pm

  21. You keep bringing this up despite the fact that Middlebrooks has much better tools. Stop overrating minor league numbers, Middlebrooks has a higher ceiling.

    Comment by EarlSweatshirt — December 24, 2011 @ 2:18 am

  22. I heard he had plus speed. He stole 30 bases with a 6.6 SPD score. I don’t know where Marc got that from.

    Comment by BoSoxFan — December 24, 2011 @ 9:21 am

  23. NO COYLE!?!?

    But seriously, most of the prospect lists I’ve read so far waaaay underrate the second-baseman. Sure he hit .247 last year, but he posted a 12.9 BB% and slugged 14 home runs.

    We should trade Middlebrooks while his stock is up, too, because Bogaerts, Cecchini, Coyle, and Swihart are the future of the ‘Sox. In three, all four of them will be at or near the major league level, and Boston will be a much younger, cost-effective squad.

    Comment by Licky Boom Boom Down — December 24, 2011 @ 9:31 am

  24. He’s 2.5 years older and playing in a friendlier home park…

    I’m not even going to mention September because of SSS.

    Comment by YanksFanInBeantown — December 24, 2011 @ 12:55 pm

  25. It’s amazing you came up with 15 names for this list.

    Comment by Tom B — December 24, 2011 @ 1:40 pm

  26. Agree on Coyle … he should be on list. In his case, you can’t look at average – the kid was 19 playing in low-A. He plays the game hard and is an impact player on the field – should be on this list. Stats don’t always tell the whole story.
    On the other hand, Cecchini is over-rated at #3 on the list. First, the kid appears to be injury-prone. He was out his senior year in hs due to a ACL tear and goes down again in his first year of pro ball. He was 20 playing in Rookie short-season ball and only saw 114 at-bats. We need to see a greater sample before he is this high IMO. Way to aggressive to think he would be in High-A by mid-year.
    Bogaerts, Middlebrooks are the real deal and I look for Jacobs to move up on this list after 2012.

    Comment by joe barber — December 24, 2011 @ 1:58 pm

  27. I could be wrong but from what I recall Jacobs has avg/above avg speed, though he’ll lose some once his body fills out.

    Comment by bk — December 25, 2011 @ 12:30 am

  28. We have a good not great system. A 19 yr old who hit for more pop but for less average, K’d a lot more and walked for a decent amount less in single A is now our top prospect? Just seems like we gotta keep re-tooling.

    Comment by Chris H — December 26, 2011 @ 5:45 am

  29. He had a BABIP more than 20 points below the league average and still hit better than league average (league triple slash was .254/.324/.368, Bogaerts hit .260/.324/.509) and he did it as an 18yo in a league where the average age was 21.5, after jumping from the DSL straight to full season ball.

    It’s a ranking based on potential, but he’s got tons of it.

    Comment by KyleL — December 26, 2011 @ 11:45 am

  30. Yeah, minor league statistics should always be taken with a grain of salt when evaluating prospects, particularly with the organizational philosophy of the Red Sox. Evaluating prospects is a lot more about projection and ceiling than actual on-field performance and the Sox typically place their prospects at advanced levels. The prevailing notion there is if the prospect isn’t struggling, he’s not learning.

    By this time next year, XB could be one of the top prospects in the game.

    Comment by Kirkwood — December 26, 2011 @ 1:10 pm

  31. Anthony Ranaudo was 3rd last year not off

    Comment by BoSoxFan — December 26, 2011 @ 1:50 pm

  32. Yep there is no difference from a top 5 prospect in baseball and a guy whos never cracked the top 100

    Comment by Jon — December 26, 2011 @ 9:05 pm

  33. Middlebrooks will never have the plate discipline in the majors to be a star. The guy has walked 121 times in 1600+ PA’s in the minor leagues while K’ing 431 times.

    If he is your #2 prospect, your system is overrated.

    Comment by Steve — December 27, 2011 @ 8:55 am

  34. Well, Will Middlebrooks probably isn’t the Red Sox #2 prospect. Many would have a heap of 2011 draftees as well as players such as Garin Cecchini, Brandon Jacobs & Ryan Lavarnway higher.

    Comment by Dick Whitman — December 27, 2011 @ 10:12 am

  35. No, he’s off here. Jacobs runs well & has actually toned up quite a bit the past year or so. He’s lost weight since his SS days.

    Comment by The Goblin King — December 27, 2011 @ 10:14 am

  36. Rookie eligibility, and thus prospect rating, is lost at 130 AB’s. WTF is SoxProspects thinking? Let’s rank Heyward on the Braves prospect list too?

    Comment by SKob — December 27, 2011 @ 2:54 pm

  37. The community poll at minor league ball has lavarnway as the 32nd ranked position player prospect. There tends to be some ground swell for certain players that push them ahead of the more well-known prospect gurus and sites (for example, Oscar Taveras is pretty high on that list, although I confess I’m high on him myself). I do give that community credit as a group and think Lavarnway is too low on the above list. I’d rank him second behind Bogaerts until I saw some pro numbers from Barnes.

    Comment by wobatus — December 27, 2011 @ 3:09 pm

  38. I agree with you. Ryan Lavarnway is easily Top 3 in this system for me.

    Comment by Annie Savoy — December 28, 2011 @ 9:08 am

  39. no more no. 15, hello Andrew Bailey

    Comment by j bones — December 28, 2011 @ 5:12 pm

  40. Where does LHP Drake Britton stand now? He was a hot prospect coming into last year but struggled mightily last year. He could bounce back this year and leap back into the picture. What you guys think?

    Comment by Jim — January 19, 2012 @ 9:24 pm

  41. And yet the rule still holds true: if any of those guys are your number 2 prospect, your system is mediocre.

    Comment by AndrewYF — February 20, 2012 @ 6:55 pm

  42. If Boston’s system had a wide gap between #2 and #3, perhaps “mediocre” would be correct (or “average” if you want to be kinder with your connotation). But the point is that they have several #2-level prospects, and the drop-off isn’t steep after that, either.

    It’s like having a rotation with 3 #2 pitchers. It may not have an ace, but it’s got good depth and is above-average.

    Most of the serious prospect mavens consider Boston an above-average system, but if you don’t think that the level of prospect beyond the 2nd prospect in your system matters, feel free to consider them “mediocre.”

    Comment by Ari Collins — February 24, 2012 @ 11:20 am

  43. Middlebrook isnt doing so bad so far, he may not be a star but he is doing pretty good at his age. Take a look at the Sox prospects now and tell me our system is looking good.
    Especially the guys playing in low A and high A that sre still teenagers. The Sox are pretty consistent in having there prospects play below lg age average.

    Comment by Toby — June 11, 2012 @ 4:31 pm

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