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Organizational Rankings: Future Talent – Boston

Boston is an organization that has a lot of money but it is also a very smart organization; it’s run by people that could probably turn a team with a $40-million budget into a World Champion.

Much like the Tampa Bay Rays, whom we looked at yesterday, the organization is led by a young, aggressive general manager: Theo Epstein. Although a lot of the organization’s front office talent has been picked through over the past few years – including Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod – the club still has some very smart men overseeing the club’s future stars. Mike Hazen continues on in his role as director of player development, while the scouting department will have a new leader in 2010 with the loss of McLeod to the San Diego Padres organization.

The club on the field consists mostly of veteran players. Younger, home-grown talent includes outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury and second baseman Dustin Pedroia. Jon Lester has developed into a legitimate No. 2 starter in the rotation, and Clay Buchholz also has promise and has been coveted by a number of teams in trade talks. Closer Jonathan Papelbon, another home-grown talent, is no longer a “young player” but his eventual replacement – Daniel Bard – is.

The organization has done a nice job of developing both top tiered amateur talent (Casey Kelly, Derrick Gibson) and lower round selections (Josh Reddick). With money to burn, the club has used its monetary advantage to sign some high-risk, over-slot player such as Ryan Westmoreland, Lars Anderson, Ryan Kalish, and Anthony Rizzo. Over the past three seasons, the club has handed out more over-slot deals (outside of the first three rounds) than any other team in baseball: 16. Along with the amateur draft, the club is a major player in the international market with the signing of players such as Junichi Tazawa, Stolmy Pimentel, and Jose Iglesias.

The club is not afraid to use its young players as bargaining chips in trades for proven talent, such as catcher Victor Martinez. The organization sent young pitchers Justin Masterson, Nick Hagadone, and Bryan Price to Cleveland. One player that Boston would like to have back is shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who was part of the loot sent to Florida for pitcher Josh Beckett in 2005.

This club may technically be a veteran team, but the organization knows how to acquire, develop and utilize young talent to its fullest.