Ranking Red Sox Best Minor League Bargaining Chips
The Red Sox have one of the best farm systems in baseball. Naturally, then, that means they also have a solid group of expendable prospects who could be traded for major league talent by the July 31 MLB trading deadline.
However, there are several prospects in the Red Sox system who should be deemed “untouchable” given their immense potential, while no recent draftees will be traded either.
Unless an amazing offer for a perennial All-Star like Cliff Lee lands of GM Ben Cherington’s desk, the list of Red Sox prospects who will almost definitely not be traded includes Jackie Bradley Jr., Allen Webster, Garin Cecchini, Anthony Ranaudo, Rubby De La Rosa, Henry Owens, Matt Barnes and of course Xander Bogaerts.
So, who does that leave? Let's take a look.
Michael Almanzar, 3B
The Red Sox have a wealth of third-base options up and down their minor league ranks.
Will Middlebrooks is in Triple-A working on his swing. Garin Cecchini is in Double-A developing into a star.
Next on the depth chart sits Michael Almanzar.
The powerful third baseman is enjoying a solid season at the plate in Double-A Portland, currently hitting .265/.326/.438 with 11 home runs and 54 RBI in 89 games for the Sea Dogs.
Almanzar is hardly a can’t-miss prospect. His defense in particular is an issue, as a move to first base may eventually be in his future. He will also likely never hit for a high average.
Despite his shortcomings, Almanzar’s above-average power and decent contact ability should be more than enough to entice another team for his services.
Jose De La Torre, RHP
At age 27, Jose De La Torre is not really a prospect anymore. However, he is currently enjoying a dominant season at Triple-A Pawtucket.
In 41 innings of work, De La Torre has posted a 1.74 ERA with 49 strikeouts. He’s also managed nine strikeouts in seven innings of duty for Boston.
De La Torre features a low-90s fastball that he commands fairly well. He uses an above-average slider as his out pitch, which has proven to be an effective offering against big-league hitting.
While he won’t be the centerpiece of a trade, he’s a quality arm the Red Sox could use to swing a deal their way.
Alex Hassan, LF
If there’s one thing the Red Sox have in excess this year, it’s outfielders.
Jonny Gomes, Daniel Nava, Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino, Mike Carp and occasionally Jackie Bradley Jr. have been sharing time in the three available big league outfield spots.
Alex Hassan is likely the next player on the depth chart after them.
Drafted in 2009 out of Boston College, Hassan has spent his entire pro career in Boston’s farm system.
His most impressive tool is his plate discipline. He’s always taken walks and limited strikeouts extremely well. His hit tool is barely average, however, as he has struggled to hit for average during his career. He also has limited power projection.
However, Hassan is enjoying a breakout season in Triple-A Pawtucket this year. In 85 at-bats, he has a .329/.441/.529 batting line.
His recent production may be a sign of things to come.
Drake Britton, LHP
Drake Britton is likely the best arm in the Red Sox system who GM Ben Cherington will be ready to give up via trade.
Of course, if an offer for Cliff Lee comes along, a higher quality pitching prospect may be required, but short of someone like Lee, Britton is the top arm on the block.
The well-built lefty has good stuff and decent makeup. He features a solid mid-90s fastball that he commands well. Britton also throws an above-average curveball and a slider that is a work in progress.
After an inconsistent career, Britton has enjoyed a quality season in 2013. In 97.1 innings of work at Double-A Portland, he has a 3.51 ERA and 80 strikeouts.
While he will likely never become the mid-rotation starter that many hoped he would grow into, he has a very good chance to develop into a reliable late-innings reliever.
Bryce Brentz, RF
As mentioned earlier, the Red Sox have a wealth of outfielders at their disposal.
With that in mind, their top trade chip is an outfielder.
Bryce Brentz is a strong right-handed hitter in Triple-A Pawtucket. His power is his best tool and grades as a plus. Brentz has a decent hit tool, but his patience and pitch recognition have lagged behind the rest of his offensive game. His poor plate approach may prevent him from hitting for a good average at the big-league level.
Brentz has a plus-arm in the outfield and solid overall defensive fundamentals. He should do well as a major league right fielder.
Brentz’s problems at the plate aside, his power and steadily improving hit tool make him a talented young player. With the right adjustments to his game, he has a chance to be a solid major leaguer in right field with a few All-Star-caliber seasons in his peak years.