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September 11, 2011 at 12:00 PM

2011 SoxProspects.com All-Stars

The 2011 minor league season was certainly a memorable one for many prospects. The SoxProspects.com community has voted and wishes to honor the following players with 2011 All-Star honors.

Catcher: Ryan Lavarnway
Winning the honors for catcher for the second season in a row, Lavarnway used the 2011 season to prove he was one of the top prospects in the Red Sox system. Lavarnway terrorized opposing pitching this season, hitting .290/.376/.563 with 32 home runs and 93 RBI in 116 games split between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket. The impressive season from the 6-4 catcher led to an August 18 call up to Boston. In 8 games with the Red Sox, Lavarnway is 7 for 23 with 2 doubles, 3 RBI and 4 walks. He ends the season ranked 6th in the Red Sox system by SoxProspects.com.

First Base: Miles Head
Rather unheralded following a pedestrian 2010 season in Lowell, Head broke out in a big way in 2011, rocketing him up prospect charts and the Red Sox system. The 20-year-old out of Georgia slugged his way to a .299/.372/.515 performance at the plate with 22 home runs and 82 RBI in 88 games between Low-A Greenville and High-A Salem. A 2011 South Atlantic League All Star and three time SoxProspects Player of the Week winner, Head checks in as the 18th best prospect in the Red Sox system after previously being unranked.

Second Base: Sean Coyle
After appearing in just 3 games for the GCL Red Sox in 2010, Sean Coyle put together an impressive rookie campaign for the Low-A Greenville Drive in 2011. Appearing in 106 games, Coyle hit .247/362/.464 with 14 home runs, 64 RBI and 20 stolen bases. It was an up-and-down season for Coyle who struggled out of the gate and hit just .185/.229/.369 in June, but had impressive months of May, July and September. The 5-8 Coyle also battled through injuries to pound out 27 doubles and 7 triples. Coyle ends the 2011 season ranked 11th on the SoxProspects rankings.

Shortstop: Xander Bogaerts
One of the younger players in the system, Bogaerts followed up a stellar 2010 with a 2011 season that put him high on many prospect lists. In 72 games for the Low-A Greenville Drive, Bogaerts, 18, hit .260/.324/.509 with 16 home runs, 14 doubles and 45 RBI. The aggressive placement proved no problem for Bogaerts who excelled as one of the youngest players in the South Atlantic League. Regarded by many as one of the players with the highest ceiling in the Red Sox system, Bogaerts ends 2011 ranked as Boston’s 4th best prospect.

Third Base: Will Middlebrooks
The 2011 season was a major turning point for Will Middlebrooks. Struggling to live up to the hype that surrounded him upon his arrival in the Red Sox system in 2008, Middlebrooks had been written off by some as another prospect who couldn’t realize his potential. 2011 quieted the critics, as Middlebrooks had a breakout year split between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket. In 112 games, Middlebrooks hit .285/.328/.506 with 23 home runs, 25 doubles and 88 RBI. The impressive season led to Middlebrooks appearing in the MLB Futures Game and claiming #1 prospect status.

Outfield: Bryce Brentz
A first round selection in the 2010 draft, Brentz disappointed in 2010 as a member of the Short Season-A Lowell Spinners hitting just .198/.259/.340 with 5 home runs and 39 RBI. The 22-year-old slugger lived up to his billing in his sophomore season in 2011, hitting .306/.365/.574 with 30 home runs, 25 doubles and 94 RBI in 115 games split between Low-A Greenville and High-A Salem. Brentz had the rare distinction of being named an All-Star in both the South Atlantic and Carolina Leagues in 2011. Brentz ends 2011 ranked 8th on SoxProspects.com.

Outfield: Brandon Jacobs
Brentz’s teammate and fellow outfielder Brandon Jacobs also bounced back from a difficult freshman season in Lowell, where he hit .242/.308/.411 with 6 home runs and 31 RBI. 2011 saw Jacobs, a 10th round selection in the 2009 draft, hit .303/.376/.505 with 17 home runs, 32 doubles, 80 RBI and 30 stolen bases. Doing it all for Low-A Greenville this season led Jacobs to be named to the South Atlantic League All-Star squad. Jacobs’ impressive season moved him from 33rd to 9th on SoxProspects rankings.

Outfield: Chih-Hsien Chiang
Perhaps the most impressive season from any prospect in the Red Sox system came from an unlikely source, outfielder Chih-Hsien Chiang. Previously unranked and unheralded after struggles at five stops in the Red Sox system, Chiang burst on to the prospect scene in 2011. Finally figuring out a way to best manage his diabetic condition, Chiang carried Double-A Portland on his back, hitting .340/.402/.648 with 18 home runs, 37 doubles and 76 RBI in 88 games. The monster season for the left-handed hitting Chiang led to an appearance in the 2011 Futures Game as well as him being traded to the Seattle organization on July 31 as part of the Erik Bedard deal. Chiang struggled after the deal, hitting just .208/.255/.262 with 0 home runs and 10 RBI as a member of the Double-A Jackson Generals. Previously unranked, Chiang topped out at 18th on the SoxProspects rankings during 2011.

Starting Pitcher: Alex Wilson
A second round selection out of Texas A&M in 2009, Alex Wilson cruised to a near perfect debut with Short Season Lowell in 2009 before struggling with Double-A Portland in 2010. Having underwent Tommy John surgery in 2008, Wilson has battled back to become one of the most reliable pitchers in the entire Red Sox system, compiling a 10-4 record with a 3.11 ERA and 123 strikeouts in 133.0 innings pitched between Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket in 2011. The right-hander ends the season ranked 16th on SoxProspects.com

Starting Pitcher: Raul Alcantara
One of the younger players in the Red Sox system, Alcantara looked to make an impression in his first action on American soil in 2011. The 6-3 right-hander easily achieved his goal as a member of the Rookie GCL Red Sox, going 1-1 with a 0.75 ERA in 9 starts (48.0 innings), allowing just 4 earned runs and striking out 36 batters. The lights-out campaign led to his promotion to Short-Season Lowell, where he struggled to a 0-3 record with a 6.23 ERA in 4 starts. After being previously unranked, Alcantara checks in at number 26 on the SoxProspects rankings.

Starting Pitcher: Keith Couch
A player that flew under the radar for a last place Lowell team in 2010, Keith Couch proved to be one of the more dominant pitchers in the Red Sox system in 2011. Couch’s sophomore season with the Low-A Greenville Drive saw him compile a 7-5 record with a 3.54 ERA in 137.1 innings, striking out 123 batters and walking just 19. The 13th round selection out of Adelphi in 2010 is currently ranked 40th on SoxProspects.com.

Starting Pitcher: Kyle Weiland
As questions arose about whether Weiland would profile better as a starter or a reliever, he hushed doubters with an impressive 2011 season. In 24 starts for Triple-A Pawtucket, Weiland went 8-10 with a 3.58 ERA and 126 strikeouts in 128.1 innings pitched. The stellar season led to Weiland making his major league debut on July 10 and being called on again by the Red Sox in September. Weiland is currently ranked the 13th best prospect in the Red Sox system by SoxProspects.

Relief Pitcher: Michael Bowden
Seemingly stuck behind a Red Sox rotation that had a lot of depth, Michael Bowden made the transition to the bullpen in 2011. A first round selection in 2005 that was once regarded as one of Boston’s best prospects, Bowden reinvented himself as a reliever for Triple-A Pawtucket. Bowden compiled a 3-3 record with a 2.73 ERA and 16 saves and 61 strikeouts in 52.2 innings pitched. Seeing time in Boston, Bowden has put together a 3.52 ERA in 15.1 innings of relief for the Red Sox.

Relief Pitcher: Justin Erasmus
Following two stellar seasons as a member of the GCL Red Sox, Erasmus looked to replicate his success as a member of the Low-A Greenville Drive in 2011. One of Greenville’s most important players, Erasmus compiled a 4-1 record with a 1.11 ERA and 1 save in 40.2 innings of relief. The 21-year-old right-hander out of Johannesburg, South Africa currently ranks 56th on SoxProspects.com

Relief Pitcher: Chris Martin
One of the best stories of the 2011 season, Chris Martin came out of nowhere to impress followers in his first season in the Boston organization. Drafted in 2005 by Colorado, Martin tore his labrum during his sophomore season and struggled to come back from the injury, leading him to give up on a professional career. After working at UPS and Lowe’s, Martin began to throw again and realized he no longer felt pain in his shoulder. He signed with the independent league Grand Prairie AirHogs and went 4-0 with a 1.96 ERA in 36.2 innings. The impressive return to the mound led to the Red Sox signing the 6-7 right-hander for the 2011 season. Martin continued his newly found success in his first professional season, compiling a 6-2 record with 4 saves and a 2.55 ERA in 74.0 innings pitched between Greenville, Salem and Portland. Martin currently ranks 44 on SoxProspects.com.