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maurice
09-22-2003, 06:10 PM
In anticipation of an offseason full of organization reports and prospect lists, I offer the following. Please note that my rankings are skewed against lower-level prospects and against pitchers, especially relief pitchers.

1. Jeremy Reed - OF: After producing a very solid .333 AVE / .431 OBP / .477 SLG at Winston-Salem (high-A ball), this rising star moved up a level and posted an otherworldly .409/.474/.591 in 242 ABs at AA Birmingham. Once considered a "reach" in the second round of the 2002 draft, Reed likely will make his major league debut sometime during the 2004 season. He even has a chance to make the team out of spring training, particularly if the Sox decide to dump salary this offseason. Though better suited for LF, he may become the next chapter in the Sox recent history of playing corner OFs in CF.

2. Joe Borchard - OF: This extremely talented, former college QB had a very disappointing 2003 season, which some have attributed, at least in part, to a nagging wrist injury. Expect him to bounce back in 2004, perhaps securing an OF spot with the big league club by the end of the season. The Sox are trying to convert him to CF, but his future may lie as a very good defensive RF. One of the oldest prospects on this list, LTP turns 25 in November and likely will open 2004 with his third stint at AAA Charlotte.

3. Jon Rauch - RHP: Once very highly regarded, Big Jon's value has decreased following shoulder problems. In 2003, he bounced back somewhat with solid numbers (7 Wins / 1 Loss / 4.11 ERA / only 35 BB in 124.2 Innings), while pitching limited innings in a small ballpark in Charlotte. It's not clear why he was passed over for promotion in favor of not-ready-for-prime-time Neal Cotts and non-prospect Jon Adkins, but it's safe to assume that health issues played a part. Like LTP, Rauch may be in for a make-or-break 2004.

4. Neal Cotts - LHP: Posted dominating numbers at Birmingham (2.16 ERA / 133 K and only 67 Hits in 108.1 Innings). Serious problems throwing strikes resulted in one good, one okay, and two horrendous starts for the big league club. The Sox unfairly rushed Cotts along, but he clearly should not return to the majors until he can throw strikes on a consistent basis. Good major league hitters will not bail him out by swinging at pitches outside of the strike zone.

5. Kris Honel - RHP: This highly regarded Illinois native and former first round draft pick is still quite young, though currently less dominating than Cotts. He spent most of the year at Winson-Salem (3.11 ERA) but made two spot starts at Birmingham (3.75 ERA), where he ought to spend the majority of the 2004 season.

6. Enemencio Pacheco - RHP: Teamed with Cotts to form a deadly one-two punch for Birmingham. Posted a very impressive 12-and-2 record and 2.56 ERA. Could be in the mix for 2004.

7. Felix Diaz - RHP: Solid numbers in relatively limited action at Charlotte (3.97 ERA / 33 BB in 115.2 Innings). A strong spring may land him a spot on the 25-man roster.

8. Ryan Wing - LHP: Teamed with Honel to form a solid one-two punch at Winston-Salem. Posted a 2.98 ERA and allowed only 116 Hits in 145 Innings. Should start the season at Birmingham.

9. Brian Anderson - CF: Five-tool player and 2003 first round draft pick was very productive in limited action for rookie league Great Falls (.388/.492/.592), before season-ending wrist surgery. May start 2004 at Winston-Salem.

10. Ryan Sweeney - OF: This very talented Iowa prep star may prove to be a steal in the second round of the 2004 draft. After signing late, made a solid debut at rookie league Bristol (.313/.387/.448) before being promoted to Great Falls (.353/.389/.412). Look for this former pitcher to develop a power stroke in the coming years.

Notwithstanding allegations that KW has "depleted" the Sox minor league rosters, these rankings reflect organizational strength in outfielders and pitchers (despite my intentional bias against younger pitchers and relievers). Prospects at other positions are concentrated in the low minors (e.g., Rob Valido and Micah Schnurstein). Look for these players to move up the charts in years to come.

Daver
09-22-2003, 06:13 PM
WSI will have the top ten list we compiled on the main page sometime this week,there are some definate similarities in the two.

PaleHoseGeorge
09-22-2003, 06:29 PM
Originally posted by Daver
WSI will have the top ten list we compiled on the main page sometime this week,there are some definate similarities in the two.

Yes, it will be published sometime next weekend. Woo hoo!

Win1ForMe
09-22-2003, 07:57 PM
Has Rauch regained any of that 92+ MPH velocity he supposedly had before the injury? Or is he still throwing 88-90 MPH.

I would like him to get that start as opposed to Schoenweis at the end of the year.

Daver
09-22-2003, 08:20 PM
Originally posted by Win1ForMe
Has Rauch regained any of that 92+ MPH velocity he supposedly had before the injury? Or is he still throwing 88-90 MPH.

I would like him to get that start as opposed to Schoenweis at the end of the year.

He won his last 5 starts in Charlotte,how is what the gun readings are more important than that?

delben91
09-22-2003, 09:48 PM
Originally posted by Daver
He won his last 5 starts in Charlotte,how is what the gun readings are more important than that?

They probably aren't, but they might be a fair indicator of how much of his strength he's regained. Nothing more, nothing less.

Win1ForMe
09-22-2003, 10:39 PM
Originally posted by Daver
He won his last 5 starts in Charlotte,how is what the gun readings are more important than that?

You're kidding, right? Neal Cotts had a great record in Double A but couldn't get away with the same stuff in the majors. Wille Harris hit .380 in triple A. Minor league performance is only a partial indicator of how a player might do when called up.

Rauch can probably get away with throwing 88-90 and still win in Triple A but he wasn't so hot when faced with actual hitters last year.

Daver
09-22-2003, 10:49 PM
Originally posted by Win1ForMe
You're kidding, right?

Rauch can probably get away with throwing 88-90 and still win in Triple A but he wasn't so hot when faced with actual hitters last year.

If you are basing pitching talent on gun reading then this conversation is over.Rauch has never been a pitcher that relied on overpowering hitters.

The radar gun should be banned from all levels of baseball as far as I am concerned,it has ruined more pitchers than it has ever helped.

spanishwhite
09-22-2003, 10:50 PM
Ryan Franklin, Derek Lowe, John Burkett, Greg Maddux, etc.

All throw in that range (88-90), all are pretty successful.

I dont know if he has his velocity back, but he had a ridiculous
August and deserves at least a full season of the majors (ala Wells, GArland, Wright) before we write him off.

Of the aforementioned, he has the best control. He has a great curveball and the velocity on his fastball is highlighted by his height.

He deserves a chance.

Win1ForMe
09-22-2003, 11:01 PM
Originally posted by Daver
If you are basing pitching talent on gun reading then this conversation is over.Rauch has never been a pitcher that relied on overpowering hitters.

No, I am not. But what I'm saying is that there's more in projecting a pitcher than his minor league performance. You made it seem like I should disregard everything else because he's 7-1 with an above 4 ERA in the freakin' minors.

A pitcher's stuff is important.

toledosoxfan
09-23-2003, 07:31 AM
Borchard is borderline bust. From what I saw of him this year vs. last year, he still has no idea about a strike zone. This year he had 102 SO/27 BB in 431 AB. He still swings at junk way outside the strike zone and needs to learn some patience at the plate. I still like his power though. I'm just concerned that he is not another Drew Henson.

Randar68
09-23-2003, 11:45 AM
Originally posted by toledosoxfan
Borchard is borderline bust. From what I saw of him this year vs. last year, he still has no idea about a strike zone. This year he had 102 SO/27 BB in 431 AB. He still swings at junk way outside the strike zone and needs to learn some patience at the plate. I still like his power though. I'm just concerned that he is not another Drew Henson.

He's been battling wrist tendonitis all year. Affects bat speed and everything associated. TIFWIW.

Randar68
09-23-2003, 11:51 AM
Originally posted by Win1ForMe
No, I am not. But what I'm saying is that there's more in projecting a pitcher than his minor league performance. You made it seem like I should disregard everything else because he's 7-1 with an above 4 ERA in the freakin' minors.

A pitcher's stuff is important.

After he came back from a short stint on the DL mid-season (shoulder soreness), Rauch was absolutely filthy.

RichH55
09-23-2003, 11:52 AM
Originally posted by Randar68
He's been battling wrist tendonitis all year. Affects bat speed and everything associated. TIFWIW.

Very good point....I believe that hurt Nick Johnson for a year as well

Randar68
09-23-2003, 11:54 AM
Originally posted by RichH55
Very good point....I believe that hurt Nick Johnson for a year as well

I don't lay 100% of the blame for his poor season on the wrist, but his lack of power and degraded K:BB ratios were definitely affected.

jabrch
09-23-2003, 12:03 PM
Originally posted by Daver
He won his last 5 starts in Charlotte,how is what the gun readings are more important than that?

Both hold some importance...winning in the minors is nice, but being an effective MLB pitcher (for a guy like Rauch) will require he be 92+. His stuff isn't that dominating and his movement isnt that sharp that he can live between 85-88.

Randar68
09-23-2003, 12:14 PM
Originally posted by jabrch
Both hold some importance...winning in the minors is nice, but being an effective MLB pitcher (for a guy like Rauch) will require he be 92+. His stuff isn't that dominating and his movement isnt that sharp that he can live between 85-88.


Spoken like someone who truly has no clue what they're talking about.

FWIW, Rauch has been in the 90-92 range. At 6'11", that looks like about 95-96 to hitters.

jeremyb1
09-23-2003, 01:04 PM
As far as the evaluation of prospects go, you can't just give a guy free pass after free pass because of issues such as injuries. An elite prospect who has one major injury that clearly derails him can continue to be highly rated but otherwise, a guy can't keep struggling without his stock dropping. In Borchard's case, he's going on two consecutive hugely dissapointing seasons with only the potential that he was hurt by minor injuries. It could turn out that the minor injuries affected him a lot and he's still going to be a great ball player but that's yet to be seen and you can't continue to give him the benefit of the doubt past a certain point.

Borchard is probably no higher than 8 on a good top ten prospects list. To put him ahead of Honel and Cotts is a terrible mistake in my opinion.

Randar68
09-23-2003, 01:21 PM
Originally posted by jeremyb1
As far as the evaluation of prospects go, you can't just give a guy free pass after free pass because of issues such as injuries. An elite prospect who has one major injury that clearly derails him can continue to be highly rated but otherwise, a guy can't keep struggling without his stock dropping. In Borchard's case, he's going on two consecutive hugely dissapointing seasons with only the potential that he was hurt by minor injuries. It could turn out that the minor injuries affected him a lot and he's still going to be a great ball player but that's yet to be seen and you can't continue to give him the benefit of the doubt past a certain point.

Borchard is probably no higher than 8 on a good top ten prospects list. To put him ahead of Honel and Cotts is a terrible mistake in my opinion.



Despite struggles and minor injuries, a prospectlist is based mostly on a player's ceiling. He still has the potential to be a power-hitting CF with above-average defensive skills(if you include arm). Those are few and far between.

IMO, he has one more season to prove himself. I have him in the 4-6 range now, but another poor season will probably drop him off my list. The time is now, and he has to start showing improvements. No more excuses.

maurice
09-23-2003, 01:51 PM
Originally posted by jeremyb1
Borchard is probably no higher than 8 on a good top ten prospects list. To put him ahead of Honel and Cotts is a terrible mistake in my opinion.

Well, I rated them 2, 4, and 5, respectively, so there's not much of a difference there. The 1-5 on my list are closely grouped and significantly more valuable than the 6-10. I'd be very surprised if the top 5 on the "good top ten prospects list[s]" to come are terribly different than mine. As for Honel and Cotts, I think my intial post was clear that pitchers, especially lower-level ones, have a strike against them in my book.

BTW: why don't you list the seven or more Sox prospects you think have more current value than LTP?

hold2dibber
09-23-2003, 01:53 PM
Originally posted by jabrch
Both hold some importance...winning in the minors is nice, but being an effective MLB pitcher (for a guy like Rauch) will require he be 92+. His stuff isn't that dominating and his movement isnt that sharp that he can live between 85-88.

I completely disagree. He has a devastating 12-6 curveball when he's on and because's so tall he releases his fastball significantly closer to the plate than other guys. He absolutely does not have to be throwing 92+ to succeed at the big league level.

maurice
09-23-2003, 01:54 PM
Like I said, 2004 could be a make-or-break year for Borchard and Rauch, I expect the top 5 to look very different next season. IMHO, either they make the team (and become inelligible) or their value plummets.

hose
09-23-2003, 05:33 PM
Originally posted by jabrch
Both hold some importance...winning in the minors is nice, but being an effective MLB pitcher (for a guy like Rauch) will require he be 92+. His stuff isn't that dominating and his movement isnt that sharp that he can live between 85-88.


Tommy John would like to sit down and talk to you about the evils of the radar gun. :D:

Thing is all clubs use them and they will continue to use them.

The radar guns are simply a tool , no more no less. It's how you evaluate the pitcher that really counts.

Here is something from the Milwaukee paper that shows grips and speeds of pitches. Note that the article is from 1998.


http://www.jsonline.com/sports/brew/sat/rep22198.stm