Baseball America’s Top-10 Red Sox Prospects

Hot off the digital presses this morning comes the annual Baseball America Red Sox Top Prospects List. Eight of the 10 players are yet to play above the High-A level.

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

As noted by author Jim Callis, “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.”

Of that healthy sum went $2.5 million to 19-year-old catcher Blake Swihart.  The Bedford, Tx. native played in just two games for the GCL Red Sox last year after being selected No. 26 overall by Boston.  The Sox knew he would be one of the most difficult players to sign because he had apparently dreamed of a college career with the Texas Longhorns.

Swihart led Team USA in 2010 by batting .448 with six doubles and five home runs. (Brace Hemmelgarn/ESPN)

The signing bonus was not only enough to convince him to head east instead of south, it was also the largest bonus given out by the Sox to a high school position player under GM Theo Epstein.  Because of his potential,   Baseball America decided to rank Swihart as Boston’s No. 3 overall prospect and top ranked catcher.

Meanwhile, Ryan Lavarnway comes in as the No. 9 overall prospect for the Red Sox, their No. 2 ranked catcher.  The Yale product signed for (a mere) $325,000 in 2008 as a 6th round pick.  With Boston’s off-season signing of Kelly Shoppach, Lavarnway will seemingly start 2012 in Pawtucket where he’ll look to improve his defensive skills to compliment his major league-ready bat.

Lavarnway hit .295 in 61 games with the PawSox in 2011. (Kelly O'Connor)

It will will be a number of years before we see Swihart here at McCoy Stadium, and who knows, when it’s all said and done he may end up having the better career.  But what I do know is that I can’t wait to see Larvarnway play at McCoy this season.



Lavaranway is a beast, If he gets his defense down at some point, he can be a true Major League Starter at catcher for years.

I personally am excited to see Cecchini as he may very well be the second best prospect in my eyes behind Middlebrooks.

I love looking at this lists in the winter time when I’m dreaming of baseball, but trying to project what a Bogaerts, Swihart, or a Barnes may end up being is like trying to guess if and when you could win the lottery. All speculation.

As a big PawSox fan, I’m interested to see the team returns as winning the Division more than holding my breath on a Catcher thats probably 2 years away from McCoy,

No Jose Iglesias? That kid can play!

I’m not convinced Iglesias is a great hitter yet. Think they brought him up through the system way too soon. He was only 21 last season, still new to US, only batted 235 & he committed 12 errors, most of any PawSox player. He needs more seasoning and a chance to develop w/o the pressures of Pawtucket or BoSox.

Can’t figure ranking Swihart over Lavarnway. When Ryan had the chance at the end of the season in Boston he threw out two runners in one game and did a more than adequate job behind the plate. The kid can flat out hit. I watched Shoppach for a few years in Pawtucket and although he was adequate defensively he couldn’t hit much then and he hasn’t improved from what I can see in his stats. asr assias is concerned his glove is great as is his range but I question whether he will ever get the plate discipline to succeed in the majors at the plate.

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