Boston Red Sox 2010 Draft Class: A Reason for Hope
After a lackluster effort against the Chicago White Sox over the weekend, it's finally safe to declare the Red Sox season over.
With 24 games remaining in the 2010 regular season, Boston still stands nine games out of the AL East race behind the Yankees, and 6.5 games out of the Wild Card behind the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Red Sox could win every single game they have left and still miss the playoffs as long as the Yankees and Rays continue to play at least .500 ball.
But the season was not a complete failure. The Red Sox did manage to haul in one of the strongest draft classes in baseball this year, further stockpiling their already loaded farm system.
With these assets, the Red Sox are poised to make a major splash in 2011 and return to the throes of playoff glory. Here are Boston's top 2010 draftees and what value each could potentially bring to the club.
Boston's biggest prize from the 2010 MLB Draft was Anthony Ranuado, a 6'7", 230-pound righty out of LSU who signed for $2.55 million.
Ranuado was widely considered the top pitching prospect going into the 2010 season after leading the Tigers to a national championship in 2009 with a 12-3 record, 3.04 ERA, and 159 strikeouts in 124.3 innings.
But elbow soreness caused him to miss early parts of the 2010 season and he struggled with mechanical issues throughout the season. He finished 2010 with a 7.32 ERA and only 54 strikeouts in 51.7 innings.
His poor performance allowed him to slip to 39th in the draft where the Red Sox scooped him up, hoping he would regain his touch.
The Red Sox watched Ranaudo pitch in the Cape Cod Summer League where he went 3-0 and threw 29.2 scoreless innings with 31 strikeouts. Pleased by his performance, Boston signed the Scott Boras client to first-round money.
Now, Ranaudo joins the Boston system as one of its few potential aces (along with Casey Kelly). With a plus fastball and curveball, the 21-year-old has the tools to become a dominant starter down the line.
His presence in the farm system gives Boston some flexibility and bargaining power if they want to look at trading top prospect Kelly for an impact bat.
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Vitek, a second baseman out of Ball State, was Boston's top draft selection at 20th overall. The 2010 All American signed with the Red Sox for $1.4 million.
Vitek has his best season in 2009, when he hit .389 and slugged .736 with 13 home runs and 25 doubles. In 2010, Vitek continued to pound college pitching, hitting .361 with 17 homers, 20 doubles, and an OPS of 1.136.
He is a strong contact hitter who displays average power and speed (13 steals in 56 games for Low A Lowell). His defense is below average so the Red Sox will move him to third (it's not like anyone's replacing Dustin Pedroia anyway). He compares favorably to Texas third baseman Michael Young (except with less power).
At present Vitek provides the Red Sox with further depth and instantly becomes the top third-base prospect they have. He could be ready for the big show in two to three years, but will likely take more time to develop into an everyday player.
Workman, a 6'5" righty out of Texas, was another one of Boston's late signees, finally agreeing to terms for $800,000 just before the deadline.
Once considered a first-round talent, Workman slipped to the Red Sox in the second round due to signability concerns.
In his final season for Texas, Workman went 12-2 with a 3.35 ERA and 101 strikeouts in 104.6 innings.
The 21-year-old gives Boston an additional power arm. With a plus fastball, a potentially lethal cutter, and a serviceable curveball, Workman projects into a back-of-the-rotation starter or set-up man. If he can master a fourth pitch (changeup), then he has a good chance at breaking into a big-league rotation.
He's still at least three years away from being major-league ready, so don't expect him in a Boston uniform anytime soon. But with every fringe American League starter having a career year in the National League, he could certainly be used as trade bait.
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Cecchini, like many of Boston's draft selections, was also once considered a first-round talent. He outslugged No. 1 overall pick Bryce Harper in 2009 for the under-18 Team USA club, but then suffered an ACL injury going into the 2010 season.
The Red Sox scooped him in the fourth round and gave the athletic 6'3" infielder out of Barbe High School in Louisiana $1.31 million.
Cecchini has the potential to be a five-tool player, with good power and speed. In 38 games in 2009, he had an OPS of 1.194 with six homers, 10 doubles, and 53 steals. He's also a slick fielder, playing second base and shortstop in high school and featuring a strong and accurate arm.
Since he's still only 19 years old, Cecchini shouldn't figure into Boston's plans for several more years. He may project as a third basemen, but his upside outweighs Vitek's.
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Coyle and Cecchini have very similar skill sets, so it should come as no surprise that Coyle signed for $1.3 million after being drafted in the third round.
In 2010 for Germantown Academy in Pennsylvania, Coyle slugged 11 home runs and swiped 19 bags in only 79 at-bats. He also slugged 1.127 while playing an excellent shortstop.
At 5'9" Coyle has drawn comparisons to Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia. Like Pedroia, he is an advanced offensive player and always plays hard.
If he becomes even half the player that Pedroia is, the Red Sox will have made a steal of a selection. However, Jose Iglesias is the future Boston shortstop and Pedroia is of course the second baseman, so it's difficult to see where Coyle figures into the Red Sox plans.
He's still only 18 years old so it will be at least a couple of years before Boston can make a judgment in what it has in Coyle. At the moment, Coyle will play in the low minors provide the farm system with depth at the middle infielder position.
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Bentz was another first-round selection for the Red Sox, taken 36th overall as compensation for losing Jason Bay to free agency.
The outfielder out of Middle Tennessee St. gives Boston a bat with major power potential. In 2009 he led all of Division I baseball with a .465 average, 28 home runs, and a .930 slugging percentage.
He suffered an ankle injury in 2010, but still managed to hit 15 home runs in only 43 games.
Bentz displays power to all fields and is very aggressive at the plate, drawing comparisons to Jose Guillen.
With Lars Anderson and, soon, Anthony Rizzo on their ways to Boston, Bentz becomes the top power prospect in the Boston system. He's 21 years old and will need a few years to adjust to a higher level of pitching. But if he continues to perform he has a good chance of competing with Josh Reddick to be Boston's future right fielder.
The Best of the Rest
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Kendrick Perkins—High-school outfielder with great speed and power. Tremendous athlete. Still raw. Compared to Carl Crawford.
Henry Ramos—Catcher out of high school in Puerto Rico. High power ceiling. Needs to work on defense.
Mathew Price—Tall righty from Virginia Tech. Good fastball. Curveball with plus potential.
Chris Hernandez—Lefty ace out of the University of Miami. Great command with four solid pitches. Excellent movement, but lacks velocity on most of his pitches.
Lucas LeBlanc—Athletic outfielder previously committed to LSU. Very fast with raw power. Projects as right fielder, but could be used in center.