Originally Posted by Britt Burns
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.
Britt Burns did a great job with this list. Kudos.
I don't profess to know as much about the minors, but there are a few players that are missing from my top twenty. I won't go into details on any duplications, but here is my top 20 with notes on new names.
1. Gordon Beckham
2. Aaron Poreda
3. Chris Getz
4. Brandon Allen
5. Dexter Carter
6. Daniel Hudson
7. Brent Morel
8. Jorge Castillo -- A 26th round pick this year, he started in Bristol and hit .365 and then went to Kannapolis and continued to be an on-base machine. He batted .394 in 16 games. He has no power but gets on base at a better than .400 clip. Is a DH and 1B. Came out of Florida International.
9. Lucas Harrell -- A 4th round pick in 2004, missed all of 2007 after surgery on right shoulder. Was 3-3 in 11 starts in 2008 at Birmingham with 3.46 ERA. Sox think enough of him to put him on their Arizona winter team.
10. Cole Armstrong -- Made an impression in spring training and then went to Birmingham and then to Charlotte, hitting .275 at AAA. He is a lefty, like AJ, so being a backup to AJ may not be in the cards, but he showed last spring that he was in the mix.
11. John Shelby
12. Jon Link -- Obtained last year in the Mackowiack deal, he went to Birmingham this year and had 35 saves and an ERA of 3.02. He blew some games late in the year, likely due to having so many outings. He made 56 appearances, striking out 66 in 56 2/3 innings.
13. Justin Cassel -- 7th round pick in 2006. Missed almost 3 months in 2007 with shoulder strain. This year, at Birmingham, he was 10-4 with 3.11 ERA. His brother Matt is a QB for New England; his other brother Jack pitched for San Diego.
14. Henry Mabee -- From Morehead State, like Jon Rauch, he has been a reliever since being drafted in 2007. He has a good fastball and sinker and has steadily moved up. He saved 17 games at Kanny this year with 1.33 ERA, and then at Winston-Salem was 3-1 with 3 saves.
15. Juan Silverio
16. Steven Upchurch -- Just 19 years old, he was at Bristol and was 2-2 with 3.26 ERA. Had some nice outings. He is 6'4" but just 180 pounds. A lot of upside as he fills out his frame.
17. Kanekoa Texeira
18. Tyler Kuhn
19. Mike Grace
20. Jacob Rasner -- Came as the third player in the deal that brought the Sox Danks and Masset. Rasner has done well in middle relief. Had 88 Ks in 106 innings. He is 6'4" and has a power arm. He'll be 22 in December.