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SoxProspects News

September 20, 2008 at 3:09 PM

SoxProspects.com turns five

It’s hard to believe that today marks five years since the launch of SoxProspects.com. Its never been denied that the site came from humble beginnings. For some context, I began developing the site as a hobby in early 2003, and maintained it at a separate domain name over the course of that summer. After the 2003 minor league season ended, the site was officially "launched" at SoxProspects.com on September 20, 2003. The message board was added soon thereafter – on September 27 – and for the first few months we saw more tumbleweeds than posts. But as time went on, the board picked up, several well-informed members joined up, and some even signed on as volunteer staff members. Since then, we’ve been able to add a lot of features, including a news blog (June 2005), a “wiki” (August 2006), regular player interviews (February 2007), and a statistical database (April 2008). The board has now grown into one of the largest and most-informed communities of Red Sox fans on the Internet, with over 1,300 registered members and approximately 17-million page views over that time period.

For me, its sometimes hard to remember what it was like to be a Sox fan back in September 2003. It almost seems like a tale of two teams. Think back for a minute:

  • The Sox hadn’t won the World Series in 85 years - if my memory serves me correctly, the general outlook of the fandom was something along the lines of “if there’s a way to lose in the most heartbreaking manner possible, the Sox will find it”
  • There were not many homegrown players that made major contributions to the big league club during the first half of the decade - Nomar Garciaparra and Trot Nixon were the only Sox prospects that really ended up with Boston for an extended period of time
  • As fans, we were only starting to figure out what we had in David Ortiz – after he began the season as a platoon player – with the unstoppable Jeremy Giambi
  • John Burkett started 30 games in 2003 – the third most on the team. I think he’s a pro bowler now.
  • After the Sox "cowboyed up" to defeat Oakland in dramatic fashion in the ALDS, Grady Little indeed found a way to lose the ALCS in dramatic fashion. I don't really want to get too much into that here for fear of bringing back my post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • The system was not exactly deep back then, but there were a few strong prospects who are now on there way to solid major league careers. The top 20 prospects at the end of the 2003 season (according to the newly-founded SoxProspects.com):

    1. Jorge de la Rosa
    2. Jon Lester
    3. Kevin Youkilis
    4. Kelly Shoppach
    5. Chad Spann
    6. Hanley Ramirez
    7. David Murphy
    8. Manny Delcarmen
    9. Anastacio Martinez
    10. Jeremy West
    11. Juan Cedeno
    12. Josh Stevens
    13. Arthur Santos
    14. Carlos Leon
    15. Matt Murton
    16. Abe Alvarez
    17. Salvador Paniagua
    18. Davey Penny
    19. Kyle Jackson
    20. Justin Sturge

Since that time, we all know what’s happened. The Sox won two Word Series championships, and Theo and company made good on their promise of turning the organization into a “player development machine.” They’ve stocked the system, and only a handful of players in the organization are left over from the pre-Theo era: Tim Wakefield, Jason Varitek, Youkilis, Delcarmen, Lester, Chris Smith, Jose Vaquedano, Charlie Zink, and Dusty Brown. And the only other players that are still around since before the site’s inception are Mike Timlin, David Ortiz, Jonathan Papelbon, Beau Vaughan, Mickey Hall, and Iggy Suarez.

I want to thank all of the readers, site members, and the staff that have helped to make the site what it is today. I’ve certainly enjoyed maintaining it, and hope to keep doing so for the foreseeable future. For now, I’ll leave you with a nice discussion topic: the All-Time SoxProspects.com All-Star team, comprised of players who have been in the Red Sox minor league system since the summer of 2003. I think this team would compete in 2009 – but if you ask me, I’ll stick with the current club. Your thoughts?

1. Jacoby Ellsbury (CF)
2. Dustin Pedroia (2B)
3. Hanley Ramirez (SS)
4. Carlos Pena (DH)
5. Kevin Youkilis (1B)
6. David Murphy (LF)
7. Kelly Shoppach (C)
8. Jed Lowrie (3B)
9. Brandon Moss (RF)

Chris Coste (C)
Jeff Bailey (1B/OF)
Freddy Sanchez (IF)
Andy Marte (3B)
Matt Murton (OF)

1. Jon Lester
2. Bronson Arroyo
3. Clay Buchholz
4. Anibal Sanchez
5. Michael Bowden
- Jorge de la Rosa

Jonathan Papelbon
Brandon Lyon
Cla Meredith
Justin Masterson
Manny Delcarmen

Casey Fossum
Javier Lopez