Boston Red Sox: 5 Prospects Who Never Lived Up to the Hype
With the 2013 MLB first-year player draft set to begin on June 6, teams are excited about the prospect of replenishing their organizations with young and promising talent.
The sad fact of the matter is that for every young player who pans out, there are dozens who fade into obscurity.
The Boston Red Sox have seen their share of both. Over just the past decade, they have seen the likes of Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz and Jacoby Ellsbury—to name a few—come up through their farm system and thrive in Boston.
They have also had players who have fizzled out without meeting their promise. These are the kind of players whose underwhelming careers disappointed the Red Sox fans who anticipated watching the young stars light up Fenway Park.
This list is by no means comprehensive, but it is a sample of some of the biggest disappointments to roll through the Red Sox farm system.
For years, it seemed like Lars Anderson was the first baseman of the future for the Boston Red Sox.
After being selected in the 18th round of the 2006 draft, Anderson flashed his potential in the minor leagues, and subsequently earned the regard as a quality prospect.
The 6'4" California native seemed to have the kind of opposite field power that can help a hitter exploit the monstrous left-field wall at Fenway Park. He also showed the kind of plate discipline the Red Sox value so highly.
As one might surmise from his inclusion on this list, Anderson never showcased those skills. He made stints in Boston each year between 2010 and 2012, compiling a grand total of 48 at-bats and clocking zero home runs.
The Red Sox finally divorced themselves from Anderson at the trade deadline in 2012, when they dealt him to the Cleveland Indians for pitcher Steven Wright. Since then, he has bounced around to three other organizations, where he has rotted in the minors. Still just 25 years old, Anderson has a fighting chance to find a niche in the major leagues, but as of now there is little reason for optimism.
With their first pick in the in the 1994 first-year player draft, the Red Sox picked Nomar Garciaparra, a future six-time All Star shortstop and fan favorite in Boston.
With their second pick in that draft, the Red Sox selected a high school pitcher named Brian Rose.
Rose was born and raised in Massachusetts, and turned down several scholarships for the opportunity to play for his hometown team.
He enjoyed success in the Red Sox farm system. The right-hander dazzled in 1997 with the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox, posting a 17-5 record to go along with a 3.02 ERA. Those numbers were good enough to earn him the distinction as the 1997 International League Most Valuable Pitcher.
Those numbers were also impressive to the Red Sox, who let him make his major league debut at the ripe age of 21. A July 25 start against the Anaheim Angels, which ended after he surrendered four earned runs over just 3.0 innings, was the only big league action Rose would see that season.
His career didn't go much north from that point. The pinnacle of his playing days came in 1999, when he contributed 98.0 innings over 18 starts to go along with a less-than-stellar 4.87 ERA.
Rose was promptly chased from town, getting moved in the middle of the 2000 season to the Colorado Rockies. His career flamed out soon after that, as he never played a game in the majors after 2001.
The Red Sox seemed fortunate to land Seung Song in 1999.
Originally the first overall selection in the 1998 amateur draft of the Korean Baseball Organization, Song opted instead to sign as an amateur free agent with the Red Sox.
He took the world by storm with a spectacular 2001 season. In time split between Single-A Augusta and Single-A Sarasota, Song posted a 11-6 record and a 1.90 ERA. That ERA was the second best in the minor leagues in 2001, behind future Red Sox ace, Josh Beckett. He also fired 135 strikeouts in just 123.1 innings that season. That domination was enough for Baseball America to dub him the Minor League Player of the Year.
Song never again matched those peak numbers. In 2002, he played with Double-A Trenton, where he struggled with a mediocre 4.20 ERA and 7-7 record.
The Red Sox parted ways with Song at the trade deadline of that year, when they included him in a package to the Montreal Expos in exchange for Cliff Floyd. Song never played in a major league game, and joined the Korean Baseball Organization in 2007.
When Jonathan Papelbon became the Red Sox closer in 2006, there was another relief pitcher in the Boston farm system many suspected might end games for the Red Sox in the future.
Craig Hansen was that relief pitcher with so much promise. The 6'6" right-hander was picked in the first round of the 2005 draft, largely due to the overpowering stuff he showed at St. John University.
In his junior season at St. John's, he posted 85 strikeouts in just 64.1 innings, demonstrating the dominant potential he had. When he arrived in Double-A Portland, all the Red Sox needed to see was 10 strikeouts in just 9.2 innings of work before calling him up to Boston.
The promotion proved to be a mistake, as the 6.00 ERA he posted in four appearances with Boston was nearly his ceiling.
In 2006, Hansen struggled mightily, posting a 6.63 ERA in 38 appearances for Boston. That number lowered to 5.58 when Hansen got another chance with the major league club in 2008.
With Pittsburgh, Hansen's mediocrity continued until his release in 2011. He signed with the Mets in 2012, but was released during 2013 spring training.
Like Brian Rose, Steve Lomasney was a Massachusetts kid who had the good fortune of being drafted by his hometown team.
Also like Rose, Lomasney now holds the notoriety of a being Red Sox bust.
He was picked in the fifth round of the 1995 draft, and quickly established himself as the Red Sox's catcher of the future. Since the departure of Carlton Fisk in 1980, Red Sox fans had been eager to get another star catcher on their favorite team. The fact that Lomasney, like Fisk, was a New England native, added to the anticipation.
In 1998, he popped 22 home runs with Single-A Sarasota, and followed that up with 20 more in a 1999 season split between Sarasota and Double-A Trenton.
He got an opportunity to play in Boston during the final game of the 1999 season. He spelled Jason Varitek in that contest, and struck out in the only two at-bats he had that day. Unfortunately, that pair would be the only major league at-bats he would ever see.
A frustrating 2000 season in the minor leagues was followed up by an injury plagued 2001. Lomasney was hit in the eye with a batted ball late in the 2001 season with the Pawtucket Red Sox. That incident damaged his eyesight, as well as his chances of making it big in baseball.
After he left the Red Sox in 2002 as a free agent, he bounced around several teams' farm systems, until a 2006 release from the Minnesota Twins ended his baseball career for good.