Boston Red Sox Prospect Report: Introduction

JB McCandlesCorrespondent ISeptember 17, 2008

Over the past couple of years, the talent that the Boston Red Sox have produced through their farm system has been great.

Jonathon Papelbon, Jed Lowrie, Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Justin Masterson, Jacoby Ellsbury, Manny Delcarmen, and Jon Lester. That's not to mention traded players like Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, or David Murphy.

Ever since the Sox changed ownership in 2002, the team has changed for the better.

The Red Sox have begun to have great success with the draft. They have drafted many great players who have reached the show or are on their way to the big club in a couple of years. 

If we look at the players that the Red Sox have been drafting, they have all followed certain trends. The Red Sox look for persistent hitters and pitchers who throw strikes (with the exception of Daisuke Matsuzaka, who may have been more of a financial signing).

The Red Sox have drafted players with a high on-base percentage, and also what we are seeing is some speed. The best example of a typical Red Sox player is Kevin Youkilis. Youkilis, who attended the University of Cincinnati, had an on-base percentage of .549 in college. He set the tone for the type of player the Red Sox are looking for.

However Youkilis wasn't drafted by Epstein, but instead Dan Duquette. Dustin Pedroia, who was drafted in 2004, had an on-base percentage of .645 in college.

On-base percentage is easily the most important stat to look at when looking at young prospects. If a player can reach base, he most likely has a good eye, is a patient hitter, and can score more runs.

The Red Sox are first in the league this year for on-base percentage. They are also second in the league in runs scored. They are second only to the Texas Rangers. A good on-base percentage is best over .375.

As for pitching, the keys stats to look at are earned-run average, innings pitched, BB/9, BR/9, H/9, K/9, and K/BB.

The ERA is best under 4.00. Earned-run average can be misleading for relievers because of inherited runners, but for starters it is best under 4.00.

Innings pitched is important to see how effective a starter is. An effective starter should be able to throw over 200 innings in a season and have around 30-35 starts. Walks per nine innings is best under 2.5. Base runners per nine innings is best under 12.0. Hits per nine innings is best under 9.0. Strikeouts per nine innings is best over 7.5. Strikeouts to walks is best over 3.0. Only the best pitchers in the majors are going to achieve all of these, but a solid pitcher will achieve most of them.

Over the next few months, including the offseason, we will review the Red Sox's top prospects and try to predict who will be the most successful of them based on these sabermetrics. We will review one position at a time.