Sox Top 20 Prospects
I've been meaning to do this since the minor league season ended, and since I'm too antsy waiting for the game tomorrow to do anything productive, here it goes.
First off, only two rookies made an impact at the Major League level for the Sox: Alexei Ramirez and Clayton Richard. While that isn't a ton of help from the minors, Ramirez should be at least the runner-up ROY, and Richard came out of nowhere to have a few nice outings. It should also be noted that none of the prospects the Sox traded in the offseason did much at the majors: Gio Gonzalez got raked (although he should still be good), Ryan Sweeney had a good average but less punch than, say, Dewayne Wise, Fautino De Los Santos was out with a career-threatening injury and Chris Carter had a nice if not spectacular season in Hi A.
Despite what appears at first glance to be a strong 2008 draft, the Sox still have to rank pretty low among talent compared to the rest of the majors. That being said, the top three hitters drafted (Beckham, Morel, and Danks) have potential and several arms (Nevin Griffith, Nathan Jones, Daniel Hudson, Dexter Carter) who could breakthrough in 2009.
1. Gordon Beckham, SS - the Sox best middle infield prospect since...Bucky Dent? Luke Appling? He should start at High A next year, and I am dying to see him and Alexei up the middle for years to come.
2. Aaron Poreda, LHP - Had a good season, although he did not dominate as it may be expected from someone with his size and stuff. At a bare minimum he should have a nice career as a LOOGY, with a #3 or #4 starter as his ceiling.
3. Brandon Allen, 1B/DH - Big dropoff here from the top two. Allen hit well in two pitcher's parks, was fairly young for AA, and even stole 17 bases. Next year should tell if he continues to improve or keeps his track as a AAAA/platoon type player. I think of Dan Pasqua when I see Allen, which admittedly is an imperfect comparison.
4. Chris Getz, SS/2B - He's gotten better every year and should be a solid bench player. Another lefty bat. His injury late in the season shouldn't affect him in 2009.
5. Brent Morel, 3B - Was seen as a bit of a reach at the 86th overall pick in the 2008 draft, but turned in a solid performance at Great Falls and Kanny. He got stronger as the season went on, finding his power stroke in the last few weeks of the season and displaying a good eye at the plate. Strong fielder.
6. Garrett Johnson, LHP - Stands 6-10 and is lefthanded. Hmmmm, who does that remind you of? Unfortunately he projects more as a left-handed Jon Rauch than a Big Unit, which still ain't too bad.
7. Dexter Carter, RHP - see below.
8. Dan Hudson, RHP - see above.
(seriously, Carter and Hudson both came from Old Dominion, were born six weeks apart, and are hard-throwing rightys. Thier stat lines at Great Falls: 6-1, 2.23, 68 IPs 25 BB 89 K; 5-4, 3.36, 69 IPs 22 BB 90 K. Carter is considered the better, although more raw prospect. No word if they room together on the road. Weird.)
9. John Shelby, OF - His stock dropped when his glove forced a move from 2B to the outfield. Did have a good season at W-S: .295/15/80 37 2B, 33 SB.
10. Nevin Griffith, RHP - The Sox 2nd round pick in 2007 has been brought along slowly but has a big league arm. Could rocket up this list in 2009, as could the next three players.
11. Jaun Silverio, SS - A terrible year, but his first and he was only 17 (cough, cough). He may have to move out of short.
12. Jordan Danks, OF - Could have been drafted in the first two or three rounds of the 2005 draft, but went to UT instead where he had a solid career, although his power never came around. Had a strong few weeks at Kanny to end the season. Good batting eye, speed, and solid D in CF in college. Brother of John Danks.
13. Jose Martinez, OF - Six-five, will be 20 at the start of next season. Hit .306 in limited action at Kanny.
14. Kanekoa Teixeria - Pitched well at W-S and B-ham. Middle reliever type.
15. John Ely, RHP - Good arm, poor results so far.
16. Leroy Hunt, RHP - If he gets control he could be a poor (and slightly thinner) man's Bobby Jenks.
17. Jack Egbert, RHP - Always lightly regarded despite impressive stats, injuries slowed him down this year. His peripherals were still good.
18. Gregory Infante, RHP - Great at Bristol, got lit up in Kanny.
19. Mike Grace, C - The closest the Sox have to a catching prospect. Don't get hurt AJ!
20. Tyler Kuhn, SS - Owned the Pioneer League to the tune of .375/.424/.570. Bats lefty.