Stock Up, Stock Down for Boston Red Sox's Top 10 Prospects After Week 13

Ben Carsley@BenCarsleyContributor IJune 30, 2014

Stock Up, Stock Down for Boston Red Sox's Top 10 Prospects After Week 13

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    Kathy Willens/Associated Press

    Mookie Mania is officially upon us.

    The No. 1 prospect for the Boston Red Sox, Mookie Betts, got his call to the big leagues Saturday and made his MLB debut against the Yankees on Sunday night. His ascension through the minors was an incredible success in player development, as Betts began the year without a single plate appearance above High-A.

    Betts still has 127 at-bats to go before he loses eligibility on this list, but there's a new No. 2 prospect in the system nonetheless. With the season now more than half over, it's time to start rewarding minor leaguers who have performed this season and docking those who have struggled.

     

    Players who have exceeded 130 PA or 50 innings pitched in the majors are not eligible for these rankings. All stats as of June 28, 2014.

Red Sox Prospects Hot/Not Sheet

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    Keury De La Cruz
    Keury De La CruzKelly O'Connor, www.sittingstill.net

    Hot: Keury De La Cruz, OF, Double-A Portland

    De La Cruz got a late start to the season thanks to a broken wrist, but the 22-year-old outfielder has been on fire in Double-A. He's hitting .313/.327/.438 this month with two homers, six doubles and 13 RBI in his first taste of Eastern League action.

    De La Cruz lacks the upside of many other outfielders in Boston's system, but if he's performing in Double-A, he's just a stone's throw away from a potential MLB call-up.

     

    Hot: Kendrick Perkins, OF, Low-A Greenville

    Perkins is a 22-year-old outfielder in Low-A, so we shouldn't be too excited by what he's done so far this year. Still, Perkins is hitting .324/.380/.521 on the season, and he notched 11 hits and two homers over the past week. He'll need to produce in the mid-minors before he regains prospect status, but it's nice to see him succeed after struggling badly throughout his career.

10. Trey Ball, LHP, Low-A Greenville

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    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

    Last Week's Stats

    1 GS, 3.2 IP, 3 ER, 4 K, 1 BB, 10 H, 1 HR

    We saw more of the same from Ball this week, and that's not a compliment. The left-hander allowed 10 hits off of 90 pitches in just 3.2 innings, raising his ERA to 7.27 in the process. He's had a very poor season, and his struggles are starting to gain national attention.

    Here's what Baseball America's JJ Cooper had to say about Ball this week on Twitter:

    Keep searching for a scout who has seen Red Sox LHP Trey Ball good this year. It's a tough quest. No luck yet.

    — JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) June 26, 2014

    Ball's poor season is far from a death knell as far as his value goes, but it's not what you want to see from the seventh overall pick in a draft. He may fall off of this list in short order.

     

    2014 Stats

    11 GS, 43.1 IP, 7.27 ERA, 6.0 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, 2.03 WHIP, 0 HR

     

    Stock: Down

9. Anthony Ranaudo, RHP, Triple-A Pawtucket

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    Steven Senne/Associated Press

    Last Week's Stats

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

    Ranaudo had to leave his start after just five innings and 76 pitches Wednesday night after being struck in the leg by a line drive. Thankfully, according to Brendan McGair of The Pawtucket Times, Ranaudo doesn’t expect to miss any time with the injury.

    Ranaudo has now allowed just a .146/.193/.244 line against him in June, and he's walked just eight batters in his last five starts. It would be nice to see Ranaudo pitch deeper into games in which he's not hit in the leg, but that's really all you can criticize him for as of late. He's got a very crowded rotation in front of him at the MLB level and could be used as a trade chip at the deadline.

     

    2014 Stats

    16 GS, 88.2 IP, 2.54 ERA, 7.7 K/9, 4.1 BB/9, 1.19 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

    26 PA, .308/.308/.615, 3 K, 0 BB, 8 H, 1 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 1 SB

    Margot enjoyed another successful week at the plate last week, showcasing a bit more power than we've seen from him in the past by notching four extra-base hits in 26 PA. Margot's slugging percentage on the year has ticked up to .421. That's hardly elite, but it is promising for a 19-year-old in Single-A.

    Given his performance to date, it wouldn't be surprising to see Margot promoted to High-A before the season is through. That would be an aggressive assignment, but Margot doesn't have a ton left to prove in Greenville.

     

    2014 Stats

    267 PA, .271/.337/.421, 12.0 K%, 9.0 BB%, 6 HR, 12 2B, 27 RBI, 24 SB

     

    Stock: Up

7. Christian Vazquez, C, Triple-A Pawtucket

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    Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

    Last Week's Stats

    17 PA, .353/.353/.588, 4 K, 0 BB, 6 H, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI

    A quick Twitter search for "Christian Vazquez" reveals that Red Sox fans are more than ready to see the promising backstop prospect replace A.J. Pierzynski behind the plate. It's a sentiment that didn't make much sense early in the season, but it’s starting to be a more logical move, as Vazquez's bat has truly come to life in the month of June.

    After struggling in May, Vazquez has hit .293/.349/.480 over the last month, and he's finally starting to show a little bit of power. He is not a bat-first prospect, and it’s likely that he'd face some serious struggles in the major leagues. His defense is so good, though, that he might prove to be a more valuable player than Pierzynski or David Ross anyway.

     

    2014 Stats

    245 PA, .274/.325/.386, 19.2 K%, 6.9 BB%, 3 HR, 16 2B, 19 RBI

     

    Stock: Neutral

6. Allen Webster, RHP, Triple-A Pawtucket

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    Last Week's Stats

    1 GS, 7.2 IP, 2 ER, 9 K, 0 BB, 11 5, 0 HR

    Webster enjoyed one of his best starts of the season Friday, striking out nine in 7.2 innings and allowing just two earned runs against Norfolk. Webster generated 18 swinging strikes, induced 11 ground balls and didn't walk a single runner. He was dominant.

    Like Ranaudo, Webster is behind a long line of MLB starting pitcher options but doesn't have much left to prove in Triple-A. Between 2013 and 2014, Webster now has more than 200 IP at the minors' highest level, and he's ready for a new challenge. Whether that comes in Boston or in a different city remains to be seen.

     

    2014 Stats

    17 GS, 98.2 IP, 2.92 ERA, 7.4 K/8, 3.2 BB/9, 1.23 WHIP, 7 HR

     

    Stock: Up

5. Matt Barnes, RHP, Triple-A Pawtucket

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    Kelly O'Connor, www.sittingstill.net

    Last Week's Stats

    1 GS, 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 K, 3 BB, 5 H

    It took Barnes 102 pitches to get through just 5.2 innings against Norfolk on Wednesday. The right-hander did throw 69 of those pitches for strikes, and he did manage to generate 13 swinging strikes on the game. However, Barnes also walked three batters and gave up another home run—his fifth in just 61.2 innings this year.

    2014 has hardly been an inspiring year for Barnes, but he should have another 10 starts to make an impression. He'll need to learn to pitch deeper into games, miss a few more bats and limit his walks if he wants to re-establish himself in the system.

     

    2014 Stats

    12 G, 11 GS, 61.2 IP, 4.52 ERA, 7.2 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, 1.41 WHIP, 5 HR

     

    Stock: Neutral

4. Henry Owens, LHP, Double-A Portland

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week's Stats

    1 GS, 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 K, 2 BB, 5 H, 2 HR

    Henry Owens is mortal after all. Coming off an incredible streak in which he had allowed just two earned runs in 43.2 innings pitched, Owens was roughed up Wednesday against Reading. The left-hander allowed seven baserunners in six innings and gave up his fourth and fifth homers of the season, leading to four earned runs.

    Owens' ERA "jumped" from 1.99 to 2.25 in the process, which tells you all you need to know about the kind of year he's having. He really has nothing left to prove in Portland, and if the Red Sox manage to free up a roster spot at Pawtucket at the deadline, I'd expect to see Owens move up in short order.

     

    2014 Stats

    15 GS, 92.0 IP, 2.25 ERA, 9.3 K/9, 3.6 BB/9, 1.04 WHIP, 5 HR

     

    Stock: Neutral

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

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week's Stats

    32 PA, .200/.250/.367, 6 K, 2 BB, 6 H, 1 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBI

    I've been saying all year that we need to see more power out of Cecchini, and the left-handed hitter obliged this week by hitting a triple and a homer. Unfortunately, such power came at the expense of Cecchini's ability to reach base, and the 23-year-old now has just a .333 OBP on the year.

    Quite honestly, I'm surprised Cecchini has failed to make the necessary adjustments to hit Triple-A pitching as the season has progressed. After a terrific April, Cecchini has hit just .232/.302/.315 since May 1, and rating him as the No. 3 prospect here is generous.

    I still think he'll be a productive major leaguer, but 2014 is starting to look more like a bump in the road than a next step to greatness.

     

    2014 Stats

    Triple-A: 235 PA, .255/.333/.333, 21.2 K%, 9.5 BB%, 8 2B, 3 HR, 30 RBI, 8 SB
    MLB: 2 PA, .500/.500/1,000, 1K, 1 2B, 1 RBI

     

    Stock: Down

2. Blake Swihart, C, Double-A Portland

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    Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week's Stats

    30 PA, .292/.400/.458, 5 K, 5 BB, 7 H, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 SB

    Swihart enjoyed another productive week at the plate, hitting another homer, swiping a base and earning five free passes, upping his season walk rate to 7.4 percent. The switch-hitter is showing no meaningful platoon split, is hitting over .300 this month and is still just 22 years old. There's a strong argument to be made that he's the best catching prospect in the minors.

    It's harder to quantify catcher defense than offensive success, but this piece by Julian Benbow of The Boston Globe chronicles the strides Swihart has made behind the plate as well as with the bat this year.

    Catchers generally progress slowly through the upper minors, so we might not see Swihart in the majors until late 2015, but he's the Red Sox's starting backstop of the future.

    As such, he moves up to the No. 2 prospect in the system.

     

    2014 Stats

    272 PA, .292/.342/.480, 13.6%, 7.4 BB%, 14 2B, 9 HR, 42 RBI, 4 SB

     

    Stock: Up

1. Mookie Betts, OF/2B, Boston Red Sox

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week's Stats

    39 PA, .318/.483/.318, 2 K, 7 BB, 7 H, 2 RBI, 3 SB

    It's finally Mookie time in Boston. Betts' meteoric rise through the Red Sox system culminated in his first call to the majors this week in what would prove to be a week of firsts. We only go Saturday to Saturday here, so Betts' MLB performance doesn't "count" here yet, but Betts notched his first hit, his first walk and his first run scored Sunday night against the Yankees.

    It looks as though he'll play right field in the majority of his starts for now, though it's possible he'll get some time in center at Jackie Bradley Jr.'s expense, and he could also play in left field if Brock Holt mans right. But Betts is up for his bat, not his defense, and he'll look to provide the Red Sox with a much-needed spark at the bottom of their order.

    It's pretty incredible that Betts began the year with no Double-A experience and is in the majors just three months later. It will be even more incredible if he can duplicate his MiLB success in Boston.

     

    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, 12.3 K%, 15.1 BB%, 3 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 6 SB

     

    Stock: Up