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SoxProspects News

January 2, 2010 at 9:14 AM

Sox Prospects of the Decade: 11-20

We continue our top forty prospects of the decade with prospects 11-20. Check out the discussion thread in the SoxProspects Forum to discuss the rankings.

20. Jed Lowrie has struggled through an injury-riddled career after the Red Sox selected him in the supplemental first round of the 2005 draft out of Stanford. He's been fairly impressive over his minor league career, putting up a .282/.378/.442 line in five seasons. In 2007, Lowrie made the Eastern League All Star team and was named the Portland Sea Dogs MVP and the Red Sox Minor League Player of the Year. The infielder was then given ample major league opportunities in 2008 to fill in for Mike Lowell and Julio Lugo, but hasn't been able to grab hold of a starting role. He hit .258 in 81 games in 2008, and it was later learned that he played through the season with a sprained and fractured left wrist. He entered 2009 as a prime candidate for the starting shortstop job, but ended up missing most of the season with complications from that same injury. In those two seasons, Lowrie hit an unimpressive .235/.313/.372, but flashed adequate defense when given the chance. The uncertainty of the injury influenced the Red Sox to sign shortstop Marco Scutaro to a two-year deal this off-season. Lowrie expects to be back at full strength come spring training, but it has yet to be determined whether he will start the season in Pawtucket or in some role in Boston's infield.

19. David Murphy was selected in the first round of the 2003 draft out of Baylor. He spent five seasons in the minor leagues, hitting .273/.343/.407 in 507 games. He saw limited major league time with the Red Sox in 2006 and 2007, failing to make a major impact. Boston ultimately packaged the outfielder with Kason Gabbard, who has since returned to the organization, and Engel Beltre in a trade with Texas for Eric Gagne in July 2007. He's since gone on to grab a starting job with Texas, and has put up a .278/.336/.465 line in 302 major league games. He hit a career-high 17 home runs in 2009, to go with 24 doubles and 57 RBI. Murphy is slated to be the Rangers' starting left fielder in 2010, and is under team control through 2013.

18. Frank Francisco was signed as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 1996. He spent the first three years of the decade in the Sox minor league system, including stops with the GCL Red Sox, Low-A Augusta, High-A Sarasota, and Double-A Trenton. His best showing was in 2001, when he put up a 2.91 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP, striking out 90 batters in 68 innings. At the 2002 trading deadline, he was packaged with reliever Byeong Hak An in a trade to the White Sox for reliever Bob Howry. The following year, he was sent with two other players to Texas in a trade for Carl Everett. In 2004, Francisco was arrested and sentenced for an incident in which he threw a chair into the stands that hit a fan. In five solid seasons with the Rangers, Francisco is 11-11 with a 3.75 ERA, 30 saves, and 255 strikeouts in 230.2 innings. He is presently slated to be the Rangers' closer in 2010.

17. Kelly Shoppach, Boston's second-round pick from the 2001 draft, spent four seasons in the Sox minor league system from 2002 to 2005. In January 2006, he was traded to Cleveland with Andy Marte, Guillermo Mota, Randy Newsom, and cash for Coco Crisp, David Riske, and Josh Bard. Over the course of his minor league career, the catcher hit .260/.349/.474 with 74 home runs in 444 games. He's put up a slightly less impressive line in five major league seasons, hitting .241/.327/.449. Shoppach is considered a very good defensive catcher in all aspects of the game, so he should be in the league for years to come. Last month, Shoppach was traded to Tampa Bay for pitcher Mike Talbot. In 2010, he'll likely split time with Dioner Navarro behind the plate for the Rays, but Shoppach is probably the Rays' long-term starting solution.

16. Rafael Betancourt, a 1993 international free agent out of Venezuela, culminated his Red Sox career with Trenton in 2001, putting up a 6.75 ERA in 7 games for the Thunder. He was granted minor league free agency following the 2001 season and signed a minor league deal with Cleveland. He went on to pitch seven major league season with the Indians before a July 2009 trade sent him to Colorado. The Rockies declined his club option this off-season but offered him arbitration, which he has since accepted, meaning he'll be back with Colorado in 2010. Over his major league career, the righthander is 26-23 with 18 saves and possesses a career 3.16 ERA and 1.12 WHIP, together with 438 strikeouts in 435.1 innings.

15. Anibal Sanchez has had a roller-coaster career since being signed by the Red Sox as an international free agent out of Venezuela in 2001. He spent four seasons in the Red Sox minor league system. In 2005, the righthander went 9-6 and put up a 2.85 ERA, while striking out 158 batters in 25 starts and 136 innings between High-A Wilmington and Double-A Portland. In November 2005, in one of the biggest trades of the decade, Sanchez was sent to Florida with Hanley Ramirez, Jesus Delgado, and Harvey Garcia for Josh Beckett, Mota, and Mike Lowell. He made his major league debut on June 25, 2006, and later that season pitched a no-hitter against Arizona. He struggled through shoulder problems in 2007 and 2008, appearing in just sixteen major league games. Apparently back to full health in 2009, Sanchez went 4-8 with a 3.87 ERA and 71 strikeouts over 86 innings in sixteen starts for the Marlins. He'll only be 26 in February, and should open the 2010 season as Florida's third starter.

14. David Eckstein was selected in the nineteenth round of the 1997 draft out of the University of Florida. The diminutive shortstop played four seasons in the Sox farm system from 1997 to 2000, including stints with Lowell, Sarasota, Trenton, and Pawtucket. During that time, he hit .292 with an impressive .406 OBP. In a move that the former front office regime undoubtedly regrets, Eckstein was designated for assignment in August 2000 to make room for Ed Sprague. Eckstein was claimed off waivers by the Angels, where he would play through 2004; Sprague hit .216 in 33 games with Boston. The former prospect has gone on to play in nine major league seasons with the Angels, Cardinals, Diamondbacks and Padres, winning a World Series with St. Louis in 2006. Over his career, he has hit .282/.348/.358, while stealing 115 bases in 1,195 career games. He is under contract with San Diego through 2010, and he is expected to start at second base for the club come opening day.

13. Ryan Westmoreland is presently the second-ranked prospect in the Red Sox system despite only playing in 60 professional games, none of which were above short-season ball. As you can imagine, there's quite a bit of projection in that ranking. Drafted in the fifth round of the 2008 draft out of Portsmouth High School in Rhode Island, Westmoreland signed a $2 million deal at the 2008 signing deadline. His pro debut was postponed in 2008 due to a partially torn labrum. He ultimately made his debut with short-season Lowell in June 2009, and put up a .296/.401/.484 line with 7 home runs in 223 at-bats. During that time, the outfielder demonstrated plus tools in every aspect of the game and a polish beyond his years at the age of 19. Unfortunately, his 2009 campaign was cut short when he broke his collarbone running into an outfield wall. He's expected to be back at full strength come 2010. While he's a long way from the majors, he has nearly limitless potential, and if he can stay on the field and continue refining his tools, Westmoreland should move up the organizational ladder quickly. Look for him to start 2010 with Greenville, and if all goes well it's not out of the question that he could see time in Double-A Portland by season's end.

12. Justin Masterson, a second-round pick in 2006 out of San Diego State, pitched four seasons in the Red Sox system from 2006 through 2009, ranking as the top prospect in the system by June 2008. During his minor league career with the Sox, he went 19-12 with a 3.79 ERA and 193 strikeouts in 233 innings. Masterson made his major league debut on April 24, 2008, and proved quite effective as a spot starter and a late-inning option out of the Boston bullpen for parts of two seasons. At this year's trading deadline, he was sent to Cleveland with Nick Hagadone and Bryan Price for Victor Martinez. In 78 major league games between Boston and Cleveland, the tall righthander is 10-15 with a 3.97 ERA. He's slated to be the Indians' third starter in 2010.

11. Freddy Sanchez was drafted in the eleventh round of the 2000 draft out of Oklahoma City University. Playing mostly shortstop in five stops on his way up the organizational ladder, Sanchez hit .317/.371/.438 in his minor league career with the Sox. He was ranked as the top prospect in the system in April 2003. In July of that year, the infielder was traded to Pittsburgh with Mike Gonzalez for Jeff Suppan, Brandon Lyon, and Anastacio Martinez. He went on to become primarily a second baseman with the Pirates, and was named a National League All Star in 2006, 2007, and 2009. In 2006, he also led the National League with a .344 batting average and 53 doubles. Sanchez was traded to San Francisco on July 29, 2009 for pitcher Tim Alderson. He has since signed a two-year deal with the Giants, and he'll start at second base for San Francisco in 2010. In eight major league seasons, Sanchez has hit .299/.344/.417 with 178 doubles.