Home... Transactions... Team Rosters... 40-Man Roster... 2025 Projected Rosters... Podcast
News.... Lineups.... Stats.... Draft History.... International Signings.... Scouting Log.... Forum

SoxProspects News

March 11, 2010 at 1:56 PM

2010 Organization Outlook: Outfielders

(For prior editions of the Organization Outlook, click the "Positional Outlook" label tab)

The outfield in the Red Sox farm system has formed two main groups. At the top, we find the players ready or nearly ready for the majors, a group headlined by Josh Reddick and Ryan Kalish, both Top 100 talents currently playing center field that may move to a corner. Joining them are Che-Hsuan Lin, the athletic Taiwanese center fielder, and a few older players with solid minor league resumes that may not have the tools to break through to the majors. In the lower half of the system, we find a slew of young players with plenty of promise, headlined by the consensus top position player in the system, Ryan Westmoreland. While many of these players, like Reymond Fuentes and Pete Hissey, have great potential, they also have a long way to go to reach that potential. With such talent at the position, predicting where players will start the season is more guesswork here than at any other position, as the majority of players in need of playing time are clumped at the Triple-A/Double-A and Low-A levels.

MLB: Mike Cameron, J.D. Drew^, Jacoby Ellsbury^, Jeremy Hermida^, Darnell McDonald
AAA: Bubba Bell^, Zach Daeges^, Josh Reddick^
AA: Reid Engel^, Ryan Kalish^, Daniel Nava#, Jason Place, Matt Sheely
A+: Chih-Hsien Chiang^, Che-Hsuan Lin, David Mailman^
A: Mitch Dening^, Jeremy Hazelbaker^, Pete Hissey, Kade Keowen, Shannon Wilkerson
SS-A: Ronald Bermudez, Alex Hassan, Willie Holmes, Wilfred Pichardo#, Ryan Westmoreland^
Rk: Reymond Fuentes^, Brandon Jacobs, Moko Moanaroa^, Bryan Peterson^, Felix Sanchez#, Seth Schwindenhammer^, Tyler Yockey^
DSL: Keury De La Cruz^, Curtney Doran, Dreily Guerrero#, Javier Gutierrez, Alfredo Soto
YTD: Raoell Kortstam
Gone: Brian Anderson (MLB), Rocco Baldelli (MLB), Jason Bay (MLB), Chris Duncan (MLB), Joey Gathright^ (MLB), Mark Kotsay^ (MLB), Chip Ambres (AAA), Jeff Bailey (AAA), Chris Carter^ (AAA), Jeff Corsaletti^ (AAA), Sean Danielson# (AAA), Freddy Guzman# (AAA), Jonathan Van Every^ (AAA), Brad Wilkerson^ (AAA), Brad Correll (A+), David Marks (A), Roberto Feliz (SS-A), Juan Bonifacio (Rk), Pedro Gonzalez^ (DSL)

The Lead Story: Westmoreland was impressive in his debut last season despite that recovery from labrum surgery kept him from playing the field for more than a couple weeks before his season ended with a broken collarbone. He arguably would have started in Greenville last year were it not for the injury, but still just 20 this season, he has not fallen behind at all and should be ready to go full-tilt – including playing the outfield – once the season starts. Given his impressive tools and advanced approach, it would not be surprising if he forced his way to Salem by year’s end. Reddick is presently raking in his second major league camp after scuffling at the end of last season, the result of losing the improvements he had made in his approach. He is destined to start the year in Pawtucket, the scene of his poor finish to the year, but his momentum from his spring performance should help him exorcise his demons at that level and get back to being the best-slugging outfielder in the system. With Boston’s outfield set for the next two years, he will get plenty of time to marinate in Triple-A, but will be the first player called upon if injuries come up in the bigs. Kalish is not far behind Reddick after strong showings in Portland and the Arizona Fall League in 2009. At the plate, he is the yin to Reddick’s yang – a speedy on-base machine with a patient approach, perhaps the polar opposite of the slugging, (perhaps overly-)aggressive Reddick. Kalish will return to Portland to start the year, but would probably need to fall on his face not to advance to Pawtucket by the end of the year.

Lin struggled early last season, perhaps the result of playing in the World Baseball Classic, but once he got his legs back underneath him, he got hot in May and June, getting on base at a .407 clip. Already a well-established baserunner and defensive wiz, the last part of Lin’s game to develop has been his power, which is still sorely lacking. He should break camp with the Sea Dogs at age 21, but his stay there could last into next season until that final tool develops, which would be fine given his youth. Last season’s first-round pick, Fuentes continues a cycle of sorts – like Ellsbury once reminded fans of Johnny Damon, so does Fuentes draw comparisons to Ellsbury. Already a good contact hitter as seen in the GCL last summer, Fuentes should head to Greenville to share the outfield with Westmoreland at age 19. Lowell would not be out of the question, but he seems destined for full-season ball and presently sits near the head of the pack of outfielders fighting for spots at that level.

Below the Fold: Few players in the system have produced at the plate like Nava. Since signing as an Independent Leaguer, he has put up a .345/.438/.527 line, forcing his way into the lineup in Lancaster in 2008 and recovering from missing significant time with a strained oblique in 2009. Despite his unreal short stint in Portland last season (.364/.479/.568 in 118 at-bats), the club’s outfield depth will keep him there to start his year as well, where he will get a chance to prove, perhaps finally, that he is no fluke. Place has become an afterthought to some, but he has continued to make strides in his approach since being drafted. After a (perhaps undeserved) promotion to Portland after a year and a half in High-A, this is his make-or-break year, as production is all that will keep him from being caught under the wave of talent surging behind him. He could spend the season in Portland and be fine, but if he is unable to finally put up the numbers expected of a former first-round pick, he may run out of chances.

Hissey struggled for much of the year in his full-season debut, but finally got scorching hot in August. Although he would not be hurt by more time in Greenville, the club’s depth could push him up to Salem, and he may be fine there if his late-season improvement is for real. Hazelbaker, last year’s fourth-round pick, struggled mightily in Greenville as well, but earned honors as the top player in the Fall Instructional League. It looks like someone from last year’s draft will have to start in Salem, and after his performance this fall, the center fielder looks like the leading candidate. Mailman put together a solid half season in his second Greenville stint, being named a South Atlantic League All-Star before a promotion to Salem, but after that promotion, he floundered to the tune of a sub-.500 OPS. He will return to Virginia and try to get back on his feet following those late-season struggles.

Wilkerson was the NCAA Division II Player of the Year in 2009, and acquitted himself well in Lowell. He will be relatively ancient on what promises to be a young Greenville squad, where he should provide stability with strong defense and on-base ability, possibly setting the table for players like Westmoreland and Fuentes. Local boy Alex Hassan, who was drafted as a pitcher but impressed the Sox more as an outfielder in the Cape Cod League, should join him in Greenville, where he performed quite nicely as an emergency injury call-up for just under 40 at-bats. The speedy Pichardo took a month or so to adjust to the New York-Penn League, but was solid once he got going. He would be deserving of an opportunity in Greenville, but may have to wait behind in extended spring training for an opening to appear due to injury or promotion.

The club also boasts a number of intriguing prospects in short-season ball. Jacobs has unbelievable raw power, which combined with his football commitment to Auburn earned him a $750,000 signing bonus. He will be looking to refine his approach at the plate and in the field, and could get the bump up to Lowell if he performs well in extended spring training. Schwindenhammer also has power potential, if not necessarily the same chance of reaching it as Jacobs, but after struggling to adjust to pro ball in his first GCL go-round, he may be well served by taking another quick spin through the circuit to work out last season’s kinks. Keury De La Cruz should be one of two position players graduating from the DSL this year, along with catcher Oscar Perez. He was one of the few DSL players to show a little power last season, and shared his teammates’ ability to get on base. He is reportedly solid in most aspects of the game, and will have the opportunity to show as much in Ft. Myers.

Sidebars: Bell, now two full seasons removed from his monstrous 2007 in Lancaster, looked exposed after a midseason promotion to Pawtucket. He will return there this season, but will need to impress to pass Reddick and the newly-signed McDonald on the depth chart for a big league call-up … Speaking of McDonald, he brings needed experience – both in the majors and in general – to the Pawtucket lineup. Well-established at the Triple-A level, where he first played in 2001, he will hope for an opportunity in Boston due to injury, but likely will spend the year as the figurative Crash Davis mentor to the club’s collection of up-and-coming Nuke LaLooshes … Daeges missed nearly all of 2009 with an ankle injury, then became the first player demoted from major league camp this spring after hurting his back. It may not be fair, but it would be quite easy for the club to stash him on the DL to start the year until an opening arises due to another injury or a player’s release … Dening was streaky in his full-season debut, although he did see a good amount of time in center field, which came as a surprise. He will fight for playing time in Salem … Once an intriguing young prospect as a fifth-round pick, Engel’s progression has been strange. After an injury-plagued 2008, he was promoted to Portland last year where he was a backup for nearly the whole season despite being just 22. He will need to fight for a roster spot this season, now two full years removed from his 2007 breakout in Greenville … Sheely is speedy and plays good defense, but appears to have maxed out in Double-A, where he has looked overmatched at times while admittedly playing only sporadically. Either he or Engel will man the Portland bench, with the other perhaps on the phantom DL or gone …

Chiang was moved to the outfield last year in Salem and had a strange pattern of playing time, often spending week-long stretches or more without playing in the field, where he did not exactly shine. He needs to prove he can play defense at the Double-A level, where his bat could be fine after two years in High-A … Keowen’s production has not matched his tools. Also an occasional first baseman, he will need to start looking like the potential five-tool player he could be to earn playing time in Salem this year, especially given his age … Bermudez has spent two summers in Lowell, but has quietly developed well in the eyes of the front office, even earning Defensive Player of the Month honors to close 2009. Still, it is time for him to earn a spot in Greenville, and he may have to fight Pichardo off to get it … Sanchez was a surprise graduate from the DSL last year, but was not great in limited time and will repeat the level … Peterson has suffered through two injury-plagued seasons and was barely able to string together any runs of playing time in 2009. His health will be the biggest factor in his placement in Lowell or a third time in the GCL, but the once-promising young player needs to get on the field this year … Yockey overcame ineffectiveness and reported attitude issues in 2008 to put up decent numbers in 2009, particularly late in the season when he may have saved himself from the chopping block. He could move up to Lowell depending on how the draft shakes out … Moko Moanaroa has been unimpressive since signing, and will need to show something in extended spring training to keep up with his brother Boss’ progression … In the DSL, Doran started well but proved very streaky in his debut, falling in the team’s batting order after beginning the season near the top of it. Soto, who seemingly signed once Gutierrez suffered an injury that cost him most of the year, started strong as well then tailed off. Guerrero was an on-base demon with little power who moved all around the diamond and would seem ready for a shot at one position full-time … Netherlands native Kortstam will likely make his debut in the DSL.