Boston Red Sox

Stock Up, Stock Down for Top 10 Red Sox Prospects After Week 3

Ben CarsleyContributor IApril 21, 2014

Stock Up, Stock Down for Top 10 Red Sox Prospects After Week 3

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    Jeff Roberson

    It was an up-and-down week for the Boston Red Sox's best prospects. Some underperforming pitchers began turning their 2014 campaigns around. Hot-hitting batters in the minor leagues continued their torrid pace to begin the year. And some of Boston's young studs in the majors saw highs and lows as they continue to adjust to life in the big leagues.

    Right now, the sample sizes are still too small for us to make any drastic changes when it comes to long-term projections for these prospects. That's especially true as rain wiped out several games for Red Sox affiliates in the Northeast this week, depriving us of innings and at-bats we could have used to reach new conclusions.

    Still, tracking the trials and successes of these players on a weekly basis gives us a better understanding of where each prospect lies in his developmental journey. As long as you remember not to get to high or too low this early in the season, taking stock of Boston's prospects every week should prove to be a useful exercise.

    Without further ado, let's break down some prospect performances from April 14 through April 21.

Red Sox Prospects "Hot/Not" Sheet

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    Steven Senne

    Hot: Rubby De La Rosa, RHP, Triple-A Pawtucket

    De La Rosa headlined the Hot/Not sheet last week, and he finds himself back this week after another dominating start, this time against the Rochester Red Wings. RDLR is no longer technically a prospect, but he's still developing as a player, and he could be a huge boon for the Red Sox this season. That he has just three walks in 16.2 innings is a great sign.

     

    Hot: Teddy Stankiewicz, RHP, Single-A Greenville

    The Red Sox's second pick in the 2013 draft, Stanky has enjoyed some success in the low minors as of late, pitching well in each of his last two starts after a rough 2014 debut. The Red Sox tend to take it slow with pitching prospects, but Low-A is a somewhat conservative assignment for Stankiewicz, and he should be producing more along the lines of his last two outings.

     

    Not: Travis Shaw, 1B, Double-A Portland

    Shaw has had quite the rough start to the year, hitting just .205/.340/.273 through 53 plate appearances. Power is Shaw's sole calling card, so a sub-.300 slugging percentage is quite disappointing, even if the season is young. He doesn't profile as an MLB regular, but Shaw may still carve out a career as a backup first baseman/left-handed bench bat.

10. Brandon Workman, RHP, Triple-a Pawtucket

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    Gerald Herbert

    Last Week's Stats

    1 GS, 3.1 IP, 3 ER, 3 K, 0 BB, 0 HR

     

    Brandon Workman had a rough first start in Triple-A following his demotion to the minors, lasting less than four innings and giving up three earned runs. This doesn't tell us anything about his long-term future, but Workman may face a less-than-seamless transition back to starting from the bullpen.

    Ultimately, Workman should still have more value to the Red Sox as a starter than as a reliever, which means that a bumpy ride now will be well worth it in the long run. One bad start isn't enough to alter Workman's stock, but he should make two starts next week, and we can reassess then.

     

    2014 Stats

    Triple-A: 1 GS, 3.1 IP, 8.10 ERA, 5.4 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 0 HR
    MLB: 0 GS, 6.1 IP, 1.42 ERA, 9.9 K/9, 1.4 BB/9, 0 HR

     

    Stock: Neutral

9. Christian Vazquez, C, Triple-A Pawtucket

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    Associated Press

    Last Week's Stats

    20 PA, .333/.421/.467, 4/3 K/BB, 0 HR, 2 2B, 3 RBI

     

    As I've written here before, Christian Vazquez's offense will go a long way toward deciding when he sees the majors, as his defense is already considered quite polished. To that end, Vazquez has to be considered "stock up" right now, as he's performed quite well through his first real taste of Triple-A.

    What's especially nice to see is Vazquez's six doubles. High batting averages don't figure to be a huge part of his game, so the ability to hit for extra bases makes him a more valuable asset. He's still skirting the line between projecting as a starting or backup catcher, but weeks like this can only help. He should see the majors at some point in 2014.

     

    2014 Stats

    51 PA, .283/.320/.413, 9/3 K/BB, 0 HR, 6 2B, 6 RBI

     

    Stock: Up

8. Mookie Betts, 2B, Double-A Portland

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    Credit: Kelly O'Connor, sittingstill.net

    Last Week's Stats

    18 PA, .444/.444/.667, 4/0 K/BB, 1 HR, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 0 SB

     

    I wrote last week that it's getting harder and harder to stop the Mookie Betts hype train, and it didn't get any easier this week. The 21-year-old infielder continues to hit everything in sight in his first Double-A experience, continuing what's been a rapid ascent through the minor leagues.

    While it's not a surprise that Betts is succeeding to this point, it is a bit surprising that he's hitting for this much power this early. At some point, the Red Sox will need to add defensive versatility to Betts' resume, as Dustin Pedroia is entrenched at second base at the MLB level, but you can't complain about Betts' bat to this point. If he's considered a top-50 prospect in all of baseball by midseason, I won't be surprised.

     

    2014 Stats

    59 PA, .453/.492/.717, 7/5 K/BB, 2 HR, 6 2B, 6 RBI, 4 SB

     

    Stock: Up

7. Blake Swihart, C, Double-A Portland

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    Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week's Stats

    16 PA, .375/.375/.563, 5/0 K/BB, 1 HR, 0 2B, 4 RBI, 1 SB

     

    Slow and steady is the key to developing catching prospects, and that's what we continue to see with Blake Swihart and his measured progression through the minor leagues. The presumed Red Sox catcher of the future still has to work on all facets of his game, including the ones that don't show up in a stat sheet, and he likely won't see the majors until late 2015.

    Still, Swihart's early Double-A numbers this season look pretty good. It would be nice to see the switch-hitter walk more, but his slugging percentage represents a step forward, and he's always possessed a good hit tool. Now 22, Swihart could be growing into more power, which would be a welcome step in his development.

     

    2014 Stats

    44 PA, .349/.364/.512, 7/1 K/BB, 1 HR, 2 2B, 8 RBI, 1 SB

     

    Stock: Neutral

6. Allen Webster, RHP, Triple-A Pawtucket

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week's Stats

    1 GS, 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 K, 4 BB, 0 HR

     

    Allen Webster's lone start this week serves as an appropriate microcosm of his career to this point. He has the skill to post a solid ERA and miss bats, but his command is his own worst enemy, as we can see from his four walks in 5.1 innings and his 12 total walks this year. His stock remains "neutral" for now, but the clock is ticking for this talented right-hander.

    Webster is now 24, meaning he still has plenty of time to carve out a successful MLB career but is no longer young for a prospect and should be in the majors by the end of the season. While he'll likely get another few months to remain a starter, Boston's depth on the mound and his own inconsistency could lead Webster to a bullpen role in the future.

     

    2014 Stats

    4 GS, 20 IP, 3.60 ERA, 5.9 K/9, 5.4 BB/9, 2 HR

     

    Stock: Neutral

5. Matt Barnes, RHP, Extended Spring Training

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Last Week's Stats

    N/A

     

    Matt Barnes has yet to throw a pitch in a real game this season as he battles his way back from shoulder surgery. According to WEEI.com's Alex Speier, Barnes could be reassigned to Triple-A this week after making another start in extended spring training this past weekend. As such, we can't make a judgement on his value one way or another.

     

    2014 Stats

    N/A

     

    Stock: Neutral

4. Henry Owens, LHP, Double-a Portland

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    Steven Senne

    Last Week's Stats

    1 GS, 5 IP, 4 ER, 4 K, 3 BB, 2 HR

     

    Henry Owens appears to be mortal after all. After throwing a six-inning no-hitter in his first start of the season and refusing to allow a run in his second outing, Owens finally bled a bit this week, giving up two homers and walking three in just five innings.

    Just as Owens' first two dominant starts didn't change his long-term projection, this one clunker doesn't either. He's still a probably mid-rotation arm, with the type of No. 2 starter upside that gives him the highest ceiling among the Red Sox's arms in the upper minors right now. Owens will look to regain some momentum next week.

     

    2014 Stats

    3 GS, 17.2 IP, 2.04 ERA, 11.2 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, 2 HR

     

    Stock: Neutral

3. Garin Cecchini, 3B, Triple-a Pawtucket

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    Steven Senne

    Last Week's Stats

    19 PA, .294/.368/.471, 3/1 K/BB, 1 HR, 0 2B, 1 RBI, 0 SB

     

    Another week, another string of high-OBP games for Garin Cecchini, who's acclimated to Triple-A quite well thus far. He's still not hitting for a ton of power, but the one home run this week was nice, as Cecchini continues to try to prove he has enough pop to play at a corner infield spot.

    The debate over Cecchini's ultimate position with the Red Sox will likely rage well into the 2014 season, but if he keeps hitting like this, you can bet he'll see Boston before the year is over. More power would be nice, but if Cecchini continues reaching base at a .350-plus clip by maintaining his approach, that's a trade-off the Red Sox should be happy to make.

     

    2014 Stats

    65 PA, .305/.369/.390, 11/5 K/BB, 1 HR, 2 2B, 9 RBI, 1 SB

     

    Stock: Neutral

2. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF, Boston Red Sox

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    Michael Dwyer

    Last Week's Stats

    21 PA, .118/.286/.176, 7/4 K/BB, 0 HR, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 0 SB

     

    If you were just to look at Jackie Bradley Jr.'s stat line from the past week, you'd likely think he deserves to be rated as "stock down" here. But while Bradley had an uninspiring week at the plate, he continues to excel defensively, getting his first consistent playing time in center field and showing off his plus-plus glove and arm.

    Bradley's OBP is excellent for a down-the-order hitter, but the other facets of his offensive game have been lacking so far. However, Bradley's been so effective in the field that many think he may remain in the lineup even when Shane Victorino returns, most likely at the expense of Mike Carp.

    There's still a chance Bradley is in the minors come this time next week, but the odds of him staying in Boston are much better than they were 20 days ago.

     

    2014 Stats

    59 PA, .220/.339/.280, 18/9 K/BB, 0 HR, 3 2B, 7 RBI, 2 SB

     

    Stock: Neutral

1. Xander Bogaerts, SS, Boston Red Sox

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    PAUL BEATY

    Last Week's Stats

    20 PA, .231/.500/.462, 5/4 K/BB, 1 HR, 0 2B, 3 RBI, 1 SB

     

    It's been an up-and-down week for Xander Bogaerts. On Tuesday, he cost the Red Sox a game against the Chicago White Sox when he failed to make a routine throw from first base. Yet on Thursday, Bogaerts broke up Chris Sale's no-hit bid with a mammoth homer, his first of the season.

    Overall, Bogaerts' week adequately represents his season on the whole. He's had moments of brilliance but has also looked like a rookie more than a few times, especially on the defensive side of the ball. He remains an important piece for the Sox, nonetheless, and might find himself batting second against left-handers for the remainder of the year. The future and present are still quite bright.

     

    2014 Stats

    73 PA, .271/.411/.356, 15/11 K/BB, 1 HR, 2 2B, 3 RBI, 1 SB

     

    Stock: Neutral

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