Boston Red Sox

Stock Up, Stock Down for Boston Red Sox Top 10 Prospects After Week 12

Ben CarsleyContributor IJune 25, 2014

Stock Up, Stock Down for Boston Red Sox Top 10 Prospects After Week 12

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    Steven Senne/Associated Press

    We're nearly halfway through the 2014 season, and the Boston Red Sox look more and more like they'll be sellers rather than buyers at the trade deadline this year.

    On the one hand, it will be disappointing to see the reigning champs sell off veteran pieces and attempt to regroup for a run in 2015. On the other hand, freeing up some roster space could create new opportunities for many of the organization's top prospects and let fans catch a glimpse of many high-profile youngsters.

    This week, the top of Boston's prospect rankings remains unchanged, but there's significant movement at the bottom, where one former first-rounder falls while another rises.

     

    Players who have exceeded 130 PA or 50 innings pitched in the majors are not eligible for these rankings. All stats as of June 23, 2014.

Red Sox Prospects Hot/Not Sheet

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    Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

    Hot: Deven Marrero, SS, Double-A Portland

    Marrero was named the Eastern League Player of the Week for the week of June 16 to June 22 after hitting .650 (13-for-20) with a triple, a home run, four RBI, and six runs scored in six games.

    The Arizona State product is now hitting .292 with 18 doubles, two triples, three home runs and 36 RBI on the season and has gone 12-for-18 in steal attempts. Add his plus-plus defense, and Marrero is beginning to look more like a major league regular than a utility infielder. He's next in line for this list.

     

    Hot: Teddy Stankiewicz, RHP, Low-A Greenville

    Stankiewicz has yet to really distinguish himself in the Red Sox system after being drafted in the second round in 2013. But while his overall season numbers may not inspire you, "Stank" has been much better as of late.

    He threw one clunker on June 6, in which he allowed five earned runs in five innings, but he's posted a 2.25 ERA over his past 32 innings and six starts. It would be nice to see him miss more bats, but at least Stankiewicz isn't struggling with low minors hitters as a 20-year-old.

10. Trey Ball, LHP, Low-A Greenville

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    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

    Last Week's Stats

    2 GS, 9.1 IP, 8 ER, 6 K, 2 BB, 15 H, 1 HR

    I understand that it can be difficult not to overreact to Ball's horrendous 2014 campaign. The lanky left-hander has had a miserable full-season debut and now owns a 7.14 ERA in 47.2 professional innings. He's getting hit hard, he's walking too many, and he's not missing bats.

    That being said, we should emphasize that this is just a 47.2-inning sample and that Ball has a bright future. We can't ignore the reality of his struggles right now, which is why he drops from No. 8 to No. 10 here, but we don't need to press the panic button yet.

    Ball might fall off this list in short order, but he'd be a top-10 prospect in many other systems. His slide is as much due to the talent around him as it is his struggles.

     

    2014 Stats

    10 GS, 39.2 IP, 7.26 ERA, 5.7 K/9, 3.6 BB/9, 1.94 WHIP, 5 HR

     

    Stock: Down

9. Anthony Ranaudo, RHP, Triple-A Pawtucket

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    Last Week's Stats

    1 GS, 7 IP, 2 ER, 6 K, 2 BB, 4 H, 1 HR

    I may need to adjust my evaluation of Ranaudo in short order, as I did not think he'd be able to generate these kinds of numbers in Triple-A. The big right-hander has now allowed just six earned runs in his last seven starts, posting a 1.23 ERA over that span. It's an arbitrary endpoint, yes, but a telling one nonetheless.

    Ranaudo faces a crowded rotation in Boston, but he may have at least leapfrogged Allen Webster and Matt Barnes on the depth chart. He could see MLB time this year depending on what the Red Sox do at the trade deadline, but even if he's stuck in the minors, he's having an impressive season.

     

    2014 Stats

    15 GS, 83.2 IP, 2.58 ERA, 8.0 K/9, 4.2 BB/9, 1.23 WHIP, 4 HR

     

    Stock: Up

8. Manuel Margot, OF, Low-A Greenville

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    Kelly O'Connor, www.sittingstill.net

    Last Week's Stats

    24 PA, .381/.458/.619, 2 K, 3 BB, 8 H, 2 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 SB

    Another week, another dominating performance from Margot, who's using his plus speed, plus defense and developing hit tool to turn some heads in Single-A. The 19-year-old now boasts a very respectable .272/.343/.402 line on the season and has gone 24-for-29 in steal attempts.

    Margot has received plenty of coverage from national media in the past week. Baseball Prospectus' Tucker Blair (subscription required) cited Margot as "extremely impressive, displaying a quick bat and smooth path through the zone." Writing for RotoScouting.com, Chris Blessing said Margot has "four tools which project as solid-average or better at the MLB level."

    It's clear that Margot is gaining steam as a prospect, and he leapfrogs two prospects who previously ranked above him on this list as a result. He could finish the season ranked even higher.

     

    2014 Stats

    251 PA, .272/.343/.402, 12.0 K%, 9.6 BB%, 5 HR, 12 2B, 24 RBI, 24 SB

     

    Stock: Up

7. Christian Vazquez, C, Triple-A Pawtucket

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    Steven Senne/Associated Press

    Last Week's Stats

    23 PA, .150/.261/.200, 6 K, 3 BB, 3 H, 1 2B

    Vazquez had his first rough offensive week in some time over his past six games, earning just three hits and three walks while striking out six times. Given that the backstop had been hitting .333/.383/.548 in June until the past week, there's absolutely no cause for alarm.

    The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo cited a major league scout who named Vazquez as a piece the Cubs could ask for as part of a package for Jeff Samardzija. While a Samardzija deal doesn't make much sense for the Red Sox at this time, it's nice to see Vazquez mentioned as a potential centerpiece in a major deal.

     

    2014 Stats

    232 PA, .267/.322/.367, 18.5 K%, 7.3 BB%, 2 HR, 15 2B, 17 RBI

     

    Stock: Neutral

6. Allen Webster, RHP, Triple-A Pawtucket

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    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    Last Week's Stats

    2 GS, 11.1 IP, 4 ER, 10 K, 3 BB, 11 H, 2 HR

    Webster had one good start and one unspectacular start last week, which is representative of his 2014 season as a whole. Webster hasn't dominated at any point this year, but he's also been much more consistent than in years past, as WEEI.com's Alex Speier and Katie Morrison outlined.

    Speier and Morrison cite Webster's improved command of his two-seam fastball as part of the reason for his reduced walks and hit batters this season. However, they also note that Webster's strikeout rate is down and that his "performance has suggested more of a potential back-of-the-rotation starter than someone with the ceiling of a front-of-the-rotation hurler."

     

    2014 Stats

    16 GS, 91.0 IP, 2.97 ERA, 7.1 K/8, 3.5 BB/9, 1.28 WHIP, 7 HR

     

    Stock: Neutral

5. Matt Barnes, RHP, Triple-A Pawtucket

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Last Week's Stats

    2 G, 1 GS, 8 IP, 4 ER, 4 K, 1 BB, 11 H

    Barnes made one appearance in relief in deference to Felix Doubront last week before returning to his regular spot in the rotation on Saturday. He pitched well in three innings out of the bullpen but was roughed up a bit in his five innings as a starter, allowing four earned runs and 11 hits in 88 pitches.

    The 24-year-old has thrown just 56 innings on the season, but it's fair to say his results have been disappointing to this point. He began the year as the No. 2 pitching prospect in the system both here and in many other rankings, but he's in danger of losing that designation soon. If he does have to transition into a role in relief, it will be a somewhat disappointing developmental outcome.

     

    2014 Stats

    11 G, 10 GS, 56 IP, 4.66 ERA, 7.1 K/9, 2.6 BB/9, 1.41 WHIP, 4 HR

     

    Stock: Down

4. Blake Swihart, C, Double-A Portland

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    Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week's Stats

    32 PA, .321/.406/.571, 5 K, 4 BB, 9 H, 1 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 1 SB

    Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts and Henry Owens have stolen many of the headlines this season. But aside from Betts' meteoric rise, Swihart may be having the most impressive 2014 campaign of any Red Sox youngster.

    As Jim Callis of MLB.com noted this week, not only is Swihart close to contributing in the majors, but he also comes with high upside:

    Late 2015 or early 2016, all-star. @RyuSagara: When do you see Blake Swihart making it to the bigs, and what's his ceiling? @RedSox

    — Jim Callis (@jimcallisMLB) June 21, 2014

    The Red Sox are somewhat unlikely to roster both A.J. Pierzynski and David Ross for the entire season, and Vazquez is likely next in line for catchers when it comes to getting the call. However, moving Vazquez to the majors would let Swihart slide up to Triple-A, and he needs to be challenged soon given what he's done to the Eastern League.

     

    2014 Stats

    253 PA, .291/.332/.485, 14.2 K%, 5.9 BB%, 13 2B, 9 HR, 41 RBI, 4 SB

     

    Stock: Up

3. Henry Owens, LHP, Double-A Portland

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week's Stats

    1 GS, 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 8 K, 2 BB, 5 H, 0 HR

    While 2014 has been kind to many of the hitters in the Red Sox system, many of the pitchers have struggled. Owens is most certainly the exception, however, and the left-hander used another excellent start to bolster his appointment to the U.S. 2014 Futures Game roster.

    At this point, you have to believe that the only reason Owens isn't in Triple-A is because of Boston's starting pitching depth. It would be nice to see him lower his walk rate, but he really doesn't have anything left to prove in Portland. I expect him to profile as a top-50 prospect for many publications next offseason and to factor prominently into Boston's 2015 plans.

     

    2014 Stats

    14 GS, 86.0 IP, 1.99 ERA, 9.3 K/9, 3.7 BB/9, 1.04 WHIP, 3 HR

     

    Stock: Up

2. Garin Cecchini, 3B, Triple-A Pawtucket

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week's Stats

    16 PA, .267/.313/.267, 4 K, 0 BB, 4 H, 1 RBI

    There's no way around it: Cecchini hasn't made the necessary adjustments to continue his run of success in Triple-A. After hitting .312 with a .400 OBP in April, Cecchini hit just .253 with a .315 OBP in May. After a lackluster past week, he's now hitting just .204 with a .291 OBP in June.

    It was one thing when Cecchini was reaching base but not hitting for power, but now that he's striking out more and walking and hitting less, it's become clear that the Red Sox made the right decision when they declined to have him replace Will Middlebrooks. Cecchini can still factor heavily into Boston's 2015 plans, but he's not doing himself any favors when it comes to seeing MLB time in 2014.

     

    2014 Stats

    Triple-A: 235 PA, .260/.339/.323, 21.5 K%, 9.6 BB%, 8 2B, 2 HR, 24 RBI, 8 SB
    MLB: 2 PA, .500/.500/1,000, 1K, 1 2B, 1 RBI

     

    Stock: Down

1. Mookie Betts, OF/2B, Triple-A Pawtucket

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week's Stats

    43 PA, .359/.419/.487, 9 K, 4 BB, 14 H, 3 2B, 1 3B, 8 RBI, 5 SB

    It's getting to be impossible to manage expectations when it comes to the feats of Mookie Betts.

    He hasn't skipped a beat since his promotion to Pawtucket, continuing to drive the ball, make an impact on the basepaths and demonstrate an advanced approach at the plate. He's finally striking out more than he's walking, but when that's the worst thing you can say about a player, that player is having quite a year.

    Betts was rewarded for his excellent season by being named to the U.S. 2014 Futures Game roster along with Owens last week, and he's one of the higher-profile names on the team. That's insane given where Betts was to start the season. He could see Boston at some point this year, though I don't think he'll get more than 100 PA in the majors. 

     

    2014 Stats

    Double-A: 253 PA, .335/.443/.551, 7.9 K%, 13.8 BB%, 18 2B, 3 3B, 6 HR, 34 RBI, 22 SB
    Triple-A: 92 PA, .321/.402/.457, 14.1 K%, 12.0 BB%, 3 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 6 SB

     

    Stock: Up

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