The Red Sox have one of the best systems in baseball. This is rare for a team like the Red Sox that has so much success as well as so many players that have been graduated from prospect status over the last couple of years.
The system's absolute strength is its pitching depth. There is still a lack of power hitters and shortstops in the system, though there is a lot of raw talent in the lower levels. (Note: The best pitcher in the minors, Clay Buchholz, is not considered a prospect anymore because he lost his rookie status last year.)
Here is the midseason top 10:
1. Casey Kelly SP/SS – A/High A 7-5 2.08 ERA 95 IP 74 K .85 WHIP
Casey Kelly topped off an impressive season by throwing a perfect inning in the Futures Game. He will now transition into a shortstop role, but it is hard to see how he could be more valuable on the field then he was on the mound. Kelly simply dominated competition in A and went to High-A and showed that he is well-advanced for his age. Kelly has several different pitches that have plus potential and can generate groundballs. He could be starting in Portland next year.
2. Josh Reddick CF/RF – AA .271/.341/.542 12 HR 5 SB
Reddick is good defensive outfielder with an arm that can play in right field and enough range to be a full-time center fielder. Reddick got injured in lat April and came back to a slow start but is starting to pick up his game again. He can be a bit more selective at the plate and needs to improve hitting against lefties (he has 15 strikeouts in 48 at-bats against southpaws). Reddick is looking like the heir-apparent to J.D. Drew in right.
3. Junichi Tazawa SP – AA 8-5 2.79 ERA 87 IP 79 K 1.11 WHIP
Tazawa was a major coup for Sox GM Theo Epstein. It was like grabbing an extra first-round pick, though it looks like Tazawa is far more polished than any draft pick. Selected as the starter for Futures All-Star Game for the World Team, Tazawa has shown himself a capable starter. Tazawa also looked good in Spring Training. A promotion to Triple-A should be coming soon for the talented Japanese Industrial League Import.
4. Lars Anderson 1B – AA .272/.363/.413 8 HR 1 SB
Anointed "the chosen one" after having an unsustainable stretch in Double-A last year similar to Jacoby Ellsbury's 2007 MLB stretch, people jumped on the talented left-handed first baseman. This year he was hampered with an injury but tried to play through it, giving a line of .065/.147/.097 from May 3 to May 11. Still, the power has not returned. It looked last year that Anderson would be competing for a spot on the team this year, but it now looks like he's a more than a year off.
5. Michael Bowden SP – AAA/MLB 3-4 3.32 ERA 81.1 IP 54 K 1.24 WHIP (in AAA)
Bowden pitched well in his cup of coffee relief stint. He started the year off blazing hot competing with Buchholz for best starter in Triple-A. Bowden has a rough June, giving up eight home runs in six starts. He looks like he will be a major league starter; the question is if he is more mid-rotation starter or end-of-the-rotation guy.
6. Yamaico Navarro SS – Low A/High A .300/.357/.507 2 HR 2 SB
The sure-handed shortstop has continued what he started in Lancaster last year. Capable of playing a good second, third, or shortstop, Navarro has gap power and decent plate patience. If he can continue to hit, his glove will make him web-gem staple in the big leagues.
7. Stolmy Pimentel SP – A 8-3 2.66 ERA 74.1 IP 68 K 1.39 WHIP
The 19-year-old Pimentel is tearing up Greenville with his considerable control and his biting curve. Pimentel could stand to fill out a little more and probably will on his road to the majors but he controls his pitches already and can get by with his average fastball with his advanced changeup.
8. Tim Federowicz C – A/High A .332/.378/.539 11 HR 1 SB
Federowicz came out of college as a highly regarded defensive player. He has more than lived up to that expectation. What is surprising people is his ability to put bat to ball. Now sharing time with Luis Exposito in Salem, the tandem is looking to be the catching prospects the team has lacked over the last couple of years.
9. Stephen Fife SP – A/High A 0-3 2.70 ERA 36.2 IP 35 K .98 WHIP
Fife is an extreme groundball pitcher who is striking out his competition. His repertoire includes his nasty sinking fastball as well as a good slider and curve. Started the year off with shoulder weakness but is starting to come along now and has recently been promoted to Salem.
10. Ryan Kalish OF – High A/AA .265/.352/.397 8 HR 15 SB
The newest minor league fan favorite, Kalish came back strong after a season where wrist injuries hindered him at the plate. After initially struggling in Double-A, Kalish is starting to come around. Kalish has great baserunning instincts and is good fielder with a decent enough arm to play right field.