State of the (Red Sox) Farm System
In light of last night’s State of the Union Address, I thought it might be good timing to examine the State of the (Red Sox) Farm System. And don’t worry, much to the displeasure of my office-mate, Rick Medeiros, there will be no further talk of politics.
I was an avid follower of the Red Sox farm system in 2009 when I was the No. 2 broadcaster with the Portland Sea Dogs (best summer of my life). For the last two years I’ve done my best to check up on things while I was broadcasting games in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for the Frisco RoughRiders (Double-A, Texas Rangers). I’ll share with you some of my findings over the last month on how the “experts” believe the Sox system looks heading into 2012.
1) MiLB.com recently ranked the Top-10 prospects at each position (LHP, RHP, C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, OF). Of these eight positions, the Sox had a Top-10 prospect in the following four:
- Second Base: Oscar Tejada, ranked 4th
- Catcher: Ryan Lavarnway, ranked 8th
- Third Base: Will Middlebrooks, ranked 6th
- Shortstop: Xander Bogaerts, ranked 10th
2) Former Bill James research assistant and current SB Nation minor league guru John Sickels ranked the Sox farm system as the 11th best among the 30 major league teams.
3) Who is the Red Sox No. 1 overall prospect entering 2012? Well, pretty much everyone agrees.
- Baseball America: 3B, Will Middlebrooks
- SoxProspects.com: 3B, Will Middlebrooks
- Diehard Magazine: SS, Xander Bogaerts
According to SoxProspects, “the key story to watch in 2012 may be how Bogaerts fares against more advanced pitching, especially pitchers with refined off-speed offerings. Fans may also want to keep an eye on him in the early spring, to see how much he’s physically matured during the offseason. If he continues to grow, he could end up moving to third base or right field down the line.”
Red Sox fans will enjoy plenty of interesting minor league story lines throughout 2012 thanks to some promising young players. Some will be seen on a nightly basis here at McCoy Stadium, others at Hadlock Field in Portland, and many more at the lower levels.
There’s no doubt Boston has invested heavily. According to Baseball America, “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.”
As a result, on paper there’s a good group of minor league talent in the system – especially offensively. Now it’s up to the coaches and the work ethic of these young teenagers and twenty-somethings to truly develop.