-Disclaimer: Since Prospect Guy is employed by the Red Sox as a consultant I always ask for the opinion of other GMs in the league with this list to help avoid the idea that there is any bias in my rankings. I had two GMs, who will remain anonymous, to rank these prospects and give their opinions. Both of their full ranking will appear at the bottom of this list.
Now on to the fun part……..
1. Xander Bogaerts-21 –SS
1. – All Bogaerts did in 2013 was fly through AA and AAA on his way to a cup o’ coffee with the big boys and help Boston win their 8th World Series. Featuring an advanced approach at the plate, Bogaerts exhibits a plus hit tool and at least plus power (maybe 7 grade at its peak) with the ability to take a walk and make in game adjustments like a veteran. And now the most exciting part…there is little to no talk of him having to move off SS due to his size. He looks to be the future SS of the Boston Red Sox.
-Outlook: The consensus #2 overall prospect in the greatest sport ever created, Xander continues to impress with the bat and maturity. I’m praying that Steve Drew takes his broken ass out of town…the Xander Show ™ needs to start immediately. The comp that continues to come up is impressive: Troy Tulowitzki . Think you’d take a SS that is a .300 hitter with 25-30 bombs and plenty of ribbies and walks? Yeah, me too….
ETA: Opening Day
2. Miguel Sano-3B-20
-Power, power….and oh, did I mention his prestigious power? The Ballplayer: Pelotero star continued his impressive power display by mashing 35 bombs across 2 minor league levels. While showing an impressive affinity to walk, Sano displays easy 8 grade power that will someday laugh at the supposed power sapping dimensions of Target Field. He may strikeout more than you’d like, but should hit and get on base at a very solid clip. While his defense needs some polishing, he should be able to stick at the hot corner.
-Outlook: 2014 may be mostly a lost season for Sano, as TJ surgery is expected to take 8 month for a positional player recovery. Reports out of MN are that Sano may be able to start swinging a bat 4 months post surgery, allowing him to DH the final months of the season…so all is not lost. Surgery should prove to be a minor speed bump on his way to the bigs in 2015, where Twins fans can daydream about Sano becoming a premier 3B that annually mashes 35-40 bombs.
ETA: May 2015
3. Lucas Giolito-RHP-19
– Giolito nearly missed being the 1st ever prep right-hander taken #1 overall in the 2012 rule 4 draft (due to an elbow injury months before the draft). Washington took the smart gamble and signed him despite the injury and will someday reap the benefits. Giolito probably has the best overall stuff in the minors, starting with an 8 grade fastball that sits 95-97 mph with devastating downward plane (thanks to his intimidating 6’6” frame). Coupled with a hammer 12-6 curve (7 to 8 grade) that’s already pretty amazing. His changeup shows plus at times, but needs more repetitions with it. He’s a good athlete that should have plus command in a few yrs once he gains more body control. Basically he just needs innings and reps. He should be on the fast-track, but after TJ surgery I’m guessing the Nats will want to take it slow (to start, at least).
-Outlook: Giolito can and will embarrass low-A hitters with only his FB and curve combo, but for the sake of his development I hope Washington makes Giolito focus on his changeup and take their time with him. He has all the tools necessary to not only be a true #1 starter, but quite possibly the best pitcher in the game.
4. Kyle Zimmer-RHP-22
-2013 was a bit of an enigma, as Zimmer flashed periods of utter dominance with periods of extreme hitability. The University of SF product packs a plus fb (that could become an elite pitch in time) along with two plus breaking pitches and a developing changeup. He has prototypical pitchers frame and has less mileage than many other advanced arms in the minors. Despite this, Zimmer was shut down due to a tight pitching shoulder at the end of the 2013 season and the issue flared up in spring training this year and had bone chips removed from his pitching elbow in 2012. He is expected to toe the rubber hopefully around mid March.
-Outlook: : There was talk of the Royals calling up Zimmer at the end of the 2013 campaign to help with their playoff push. I believe Zimmer could have been an asset had they called him up, but patience is a virtue and the Royals don’t want to rush the phenom. Assuming the shoulder issues clear up this spring, I expect Zimmer to exhibit more consistency on the way to a big league call up mid-summer. He has the stuff to be a #1 starter, but the smart money says #2 starter is more probable.
ETA: Sept 2014
5. Julio Urias-LHP-17
– The southpaw spent most of the 2013 season as a 17 year old doing what few 17 year olds do…carving up low-A hitters with an advanced approach while flashing 3 pitches that all have the potential to be above average. His fastball is already plus pitch, working in the low to mid 90s (LAD says he touched 98 once) with solid control for his age. His curveball is further developed than his changeup, but both have the potential to be 6 grade pitches. Put that together with a potential 7 fastball from the left side and that my friend is a potential stud in the making. The only knock on Urias is his conditioning, as he is already a tad on the hefty side.
-Outlook: A southpaw with 3 above average pitches and the potential for plus command do not exactly grow on trees. Add in the fact that the Dodgers are not shy about challenging young arms and you have the potential for Urias to throw his first big league pitch before his 20th birthday. I think he has to potential to be a #2 FBLO starter, but feel a tad more comfortable throwing a #3 label on him until we see what he does to more advanced hitters.
ETA: Late 2015
6. Travis d’Arnaud-C-25
- d’Arnaud is a frustrating prospect. The rare unicorn known as an offensive catcher that is actually expected to catch in the bigs, he teases you with his above average hit tool and plus power, but suffers from injuries like they’re going out of style. He could hit .275 with 20+ bombs in the bigs if he could log a full season’s worth of at-bats, but there’s the rub. What good is the talent if he can’t stay healthy? I’d love to see what a healthy d’Arnaud could do in the show, but given his track record and the fact that he plays the most physically demanding position on the diamond…I am not optimistic. I would expect him to hit in the .270 range with 10 to 15 or so bombs a year with plenty of time on the Kemp. If he manages to stay healthy, then he will make this prediction look horrible.
7. Gary Sanchez-C-21
- The good: The backstop in the NYY system continues to display well above average power and has shown improvement in the defensive aspects of his game. The bad: makeup concerns and the Yankees giving McCann a 5 yr deal aren’t doing him any favors. Blessed with plus power, Sanchez should be a lock to hit 20+ bombs wherever he plays, but there are two burning questions…Will he stick at catcher in the bigs? And if so, for which team will he be playing? He could be a huge trade chip for the Yanks, and everything I have read leads me to believe he sticks at catcher while hitting in the .250 range with 20-25 bombs.
8. Jon Singleton-1B-22
– The large first baseman in the Houston org had a second positive test for marijuana in 2013, granting him a 50 day ‘vacation’ and responded by showing up (surprise) out of shape. No worries, as the sweet left-handed swing and plus power are still there for the 22 year old and the numbers should return this year with improved conditioning and refocus (Singleton opened up about prior alcohol and drug addiction in spring training this year). If Singleton figures out how to hit lefties with regularity, watch out.
9. Alen Hanson-SS/2B-21
- Hanson followed his breakout 2012 campain with a solid, if unspectacular 2013. He continues to show solid gap power and aggressive baserunning with a solid approach at the plate. Even if his below average arm moves him to 2B, I can see him hitting close to .300 with solid pop and 20-30 steals a season, while getting on base at a healthy clip.
Other GMs Rankings:
-GM1- Bogaerts, Sano, Zimmer, Giolito, d’Arnaud, Urias, Singleton, Hansen, Sanchez
-GM2-Bogaerts, Sano, Giolito, Zimmer, Urias, Sanchez, Singleton, d’Arnaud, Hansen
2013 Top Prospects:
1. Jurickson Profar-SS
2. Wil Myers-OF
3. Aaron Sanchez-RHP
4. Noah Syndergaard-RHP
5. Trevor Rosenthal-RHP
System Overview (Written by PG):
-The Red Sox are another team that has walked the tightrope between contending for championships and also putting together a solid farm system. The Red Sox focus has been on finding impact pats in the past and we have seen the fruits of that labor with Wil Myers providing a big boost last year and Xander Bogaerts and Miguel Sano about to add even more impact on the big league club (note: this was written before we learned Sano would miss 2014 with TJ surgery). The Sox focused o pitching this offseason by adding impact arms in Giolito, Zimer, and Urias. The clock is ticking on Sanchez, Hansen, and Singleton as the Sox have two first rounders in what looks to be a deep June draft and it would be safe to assume that that those three need an impressive first half in the minors to keep themselves on the roster.