SoxProspects News

July 30, 2020 at 12:30 PM

Revisiting the 2010 draft: The great draft that wasn't


Thank you for checking in on the newest entry in our draft retrospective series. Yesterday was a pick-by-pick rundown of 2009, while today we will dig a little deeper into a few of the more interesting and prominent draftees. For a quick list and links to player pages, check out our Draft History page.

2010 Draft

Background
Ten years gone, the 2010 draft as a whole looks like one of baseball’s best. Bryce Harper was seen as an exceptional talent at number one, but additional first-rounders such as Manny Machado, Chris Sale, and Christian Yelich emerged as franchise players. With four picks in the first two rounds, including three of the first 39 overall, Red Sox were in an excellent position to bounce back from a pair of weak draft crops. Under new scouting director Amiel Sawdaye, Boston turned to an approach that had historically served them well: a focus on polished college players.
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July 29, 2020 at 12:30 PM

Scouting Report Updates: Triston Casas, Brayan Bello and more


The latest SoxProspects scouting report update sheds light on members of last year's Greenville Drive and Salem Red Sox, including number one prospect Triston Casas and number twenty-two prospect Brayan Bello. Other reports updated today include Eduard Bazardo, who made a solid impression in major league spring training this year, and 2017 second-round pick Cole Brannen.

SoxProspects.com scouting reports are written by our scouting report team, led by Director of Scouting Ian Cundall.

Triston Casas, First Baseman

Physical Description: Strong, imposing frame. Thick, fully developed lower half. Some remaining projection in his upper body, but strong already. Will have to work to maintain body and athleticism. Very long limbs.

Hit: Starts slightly open in a slight crouch. Quiet pre-pitch. Utilizes a leg lift timing device and gets his foot down in time. Easy load, hips really fire through. Plus bat speed; whips the bat through the zone. Smooth, fluid swing, especially given his size. Strong feel for hit for a high school draftee. Utilizes all fields. Will always have some swing-and-miss and holes in his swing. Has shown willingness to try adjustments to swing and to abandon them if they are not working. Will widen his stance and choke up on the bat with two strikes. Potential to develop strong plate discipline skills in the future. Needs to continue to refine approach and pitch recognition, but has the potential to develop an above-average hit tool.
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July 28, 2020 at 12:30 PM

2010 Draft Retrospective: The picks


We welcome you to the 2010 edition of the SoxProspects.com Draft Retrospective series. Over the next several weeks, we will revisit each Red Sox draft going back to the start of the SoxProspects.com era. Each retrospective will come in two parts: The first will be a pick-by-pick recap of each selection with very brief comments, including their peak rank on the SoxProspects.com Top 60, as well as some of the notable players the team passed on to make those picks. Players who signed are in bold, those who did not are in italics. Bonus numbers are included where available. 

The 2010 draft was the first of the Amiel Sawdaye era, as he took over as Amateur Scouting Director when Jason McLeod left to become Assistant GM in San Diego under Jed Hoyer. The Red Sox were in the midst of a frustrating, injury-plagued 2010 season, but had the chance to restock a farm system that was now very depleted due to graduations, injuries, and a pair of less-than distinguished drafts. As in 2005 and 2006, the Red Sox used the free-agent compensation rules to their advantage, netting three of the top 39 picks of a draft that observers saw as being very deep. The team shifted its focus back to college talent, using its top four picks on college players. While it was a strategy that generally served the team well throughout the SoxProspects.com era, it resulted in some heartbreaking misses this season.

For a quick list and links to player pages, check out our Draft History page

1 (20). Kolbrin Vitek. 3B, Ball State
Bonus: $1,359,000
With the pick the Red Sox got for the loss of Type A free agent Billy Wagner, they made Vitek their top pick after a monster career at Ball State. As will be discussed in greater detail tomorrow, it was an exceedingly rare miss by the player development staff on a college bat, a type of pick they have generally done quite well with this century. Vitek was falling dangerously into tweener territory with solid on-base numbers but insufficient power to man a position where his bat would’ve been expected to carry him, but a back strain and bursitis in his shoulder halted his development and he retired before the 2014 season.  
SoxProspects.com peak rank: #6
Notable players passed on: Christian Yelich (23)
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July 27, 2020 at 12:30 PM

Revisiting the 2009 draft: McLeod era ends with a thud


Thank you for checking in on the newest entry in our draft retrospective series. Yesterday was a pick-by-pick rundown of 2009, while today we will dig a little deeper into a few of the more interesting and prominent draftees. For a quick list and links to player pages, check out our Draft History page.

2009 MLB Draft

Background
The 2009 campaign started to mark what seemed to be a transitional season for the organization. The major league team continued to excel, winning 95 games and reaching the playoffs once again. However, the unceremonious loss to the Angels in the Division Series that fall marked the end of a seven-year stretch in which the Red Sox made the playoffs six times. Over the next six years, the team would make the playoffs only once: The odd, fluky, magical 2013 championship season. The farm system, so strong in the winter following the 2007 championship, had thinned considerably due to graduations and trades. Back-to-back mediocre drafts and some awful luck helped continue that slide.
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July 24, 2020 at 2:00 PM

2009 Draft Retrospective: The picks


We welcome you to the 2009 edition of the SoxProspects.com Draft Retrospective series. Over the next several weeks, we will revisit each draft going back to the start of the SoxProspects.com era. Each retrospective will come in two parts: The first will be a pick-by-pick recap of each selection with very brief comments, including their peak rank on the SoxProspects.com Top 60, as well as some of the notable players the team passed on to make those picks. Players who signed are in bold, those who did not are in italics. Bonus numbers are included where available.

2008 and this draft, 2009, can be seen as the "boring" part of the history of Red Sox drafts during the SoxProspects.com era. They lack notable misses, but they also lack nearly any hits. They didn't alter the direction of the franchise positively (like 2011) or negatively (like 2013). The 2009 class is headlined now by the second-round pick, Alex Wilson, who went on to have a roughly four-year stretch as a good-to-very good setup man for the Tigers. Otherwise, any value from these players came in trades, and many of those (in addition to deals for Adrian Gonzalez and Andrew Bailey/Ryan Sweeney discussed in earlier entries) were for names you probably forgot once graced the Red Sox roster: Mike Aviles, Matt Thornton, Alex Castellanos. No prospect drafted in 2009 ever ranked higher than ninth on the SoxProspects rankings.

But that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of interesting stories to tell. There's a college pitcher who the team learned it liked better as a hitter when following him that summer for the purpose of determining what kind of bonus to offer him. There are relatives of Carlos Beltran and Daniel Bard (and current Red Sox stalwart John Andreoli). There's another draftee named Blaze, even. And to top it off, an undrafted free agent who came in to work as a Lowell backup and wound up making it to the Bigs. And as we'll get to in our second part, it was the close of Jason McLeod's tenure as scouting director.

For a quick list and links to player pages, check out our Draft History page.

1 (28). Reymond Fuentes, OF, Fernando Callejo HS (P.R.)
Bonus: $1,134,000
While the Red Sox did not pass on Mike Trout like 22 other teams did (with some passing twice), reports are that if Fuentes and Trout were both on the board at pick 28, the Red Sox would have selected Fuentes. The cousin of Carlos Beltran, Fuentes had a huge amount of helium leading up to the draft, and it was no secret that the Red Sox were enamored with his tools. With plus-plus speed, excellent contact skills, and wiry strength, the Red Sox fell in love with his upside. After hitting .270/.328/.377 with 42 steals in Low A as a 19-year-old in 2010, Fuentes was traded along with Casey Kelly and Anthony Rizzo to San Diego in exchange for Adrian Gonzalez that offseason. He made his major league debut with the Padres in 2013, but he hit only .152 in 33 at-bats. He spent most of the next three years in the minors with some success, but he never hit more than 10 home runs in a season despite playing in some of the most hitter-friendly environments in professional baseball. He got the most run in the majors with Arizona in 2017, hitting .235/.278/.338, and by 2019 he was playing with Long Island in the Atlantic League. 
SoxProspects.com Peak Rank: 10
Notable players passed on: James Paxton (37), Tyler Skaggs (40), Garrett Richards (42)

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July 23, 2020 at 11:07 AM

Podcast Episode #187: Happy Season Eve


Baseball games are starting at last. Chris and Ian drop in to set the stage for this most unusual of seasons. They lead off with the latest additions for the club. Welcome to Boston, Dylan Covey and Zack Godley. Then the guys go deep on the difficult decisions in staffing the big league club. The last draft signings were officially announced. And finally, news out of Los Angeles, Mookie Betts has a contract extension in place that will enable him to finish his career in Dodger Blue. And we conclude with more of your terrific emails.

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July 22, 2020 at 12:30 PM

Revisiting the 2008 draft: A small step back


Thank you for checking in on the newest entry in our draft retrospective series. Yesterday was a pick-by-pick rundown of 2008, while today we will dig a little deeper into a few of the more interesting and prominent draftees. For a quick list and links to player pages, check out our Draft History page.

2008 MLB Draft

Background
The Red Sox won their first World Series in a long three years in 2007, leading the team to pick at the back end of the draft. While Boston is typically active in the free agent market, Theo Epstein took a different approach and focused on bringing the band back together for 2008, re-signing Curt Schilling, Mike Lowell and Doug Mirabelli, in addition to picking up the options for Tim Wakefield and Julian Tavarez. Matt Clement and Eric Gagne were the only major league free agents to depart the squad and only Gagne was a Type A or B free agent, netting the Red Sox the No. 45 overall pick in the first supplemental round. Boston also did not sign Hunter Morris, its third-round pick in 2007, which gave the organization the No. 85 overall pick.
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July 21, 2020 at 12:30 PM

2008 Draft Retrospective: The picks


We welcome you to the 2008 edition of the SoxProspects.com Draft Retrospective series. Over the next several weeks, we will revisit each draft going back to the start of the SoxProspects.com era. Each retrospective will come in two parts: The first will be a pick-by-pick recap of each selection with very brief comments, including their peak rank on the SoxProspects.com Top 60, as well as some of the notable players the team passed on to make those picks. Players who signed are in bold, those who did not are in italics. Bonus numbers are included where available.

The Red Sox won the World Series for the second time in four seasons in 2007, meaning the team would select at the end of each round. With young talent like Dustin Pedroia and Jonathan Papelbon and veterans including Daisuke Matsuzaka and Josh Beckett under team control for the foreseeable future, the team was largely ready to stand pat into the new season, not losing any picks to free agent signings. This left Theo Epstein and Co. a full stable of picks, including two compensatory selections, to stock the minor league system.

For a quick list and links to player pages, check out our Draft History page.

1 (30). Casey Kelly, RHP/SS Sarasota HS (Fla.)
Bonus: $2,631,000
Kelly (pictured, above) tore up area hitters as a high school senior and showed ability with the bat as well. While the club preferred him as a pitcher, the player preferred hitting, so the Red Sox came up with a unique development plan that allowed him to split his season between the two in 2009 (after only hitting after signing in 2008, mostly to rest his arm). He moved to the mound full-time for the 2010 campaign after having far more success as a pitcher the prior season, and the 20-year-old was challenged with an assignment to Double-A Portland. Kelly battled the level to a draw, posting a 5.35 ERA while striking out 81 in 95 innings, before he was dealt to San Diego along with Anthony Rizzo, Reymond Fuentes, and Eric Patterson to acquire Adrian Gonzalez. The right-hander struggled in the major leagues through 85 2/3 innings between 2012 and 2018, with a Tommy John surgery in 2013 for good measure, Kelly has found greater success abroad, carving out a role for himself for the LG Twins in the Korean Baseball Organization, where he is in his second season.
SoxProspects.com Peak Rank: 1
Baseball America Top 100: 24 in 2010; 31 in 2011; 76 in 2012; 45 in 2013
MLB.com Top 100: 50 in 2012; 69 in 2013; 87 in 2014
Notable players passed on: Jake Odorizzi (32), Conor Gillaspie (37), Lance Lynn (39)
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July 20, 2020 at 1:44 PM

Weekly Notes: Baseball set to return & 2007 draft retrospective


Here are Monday's minor league notes:
  • The new draft retrospective series kept rolling this week covering the 2007 draft. The first part covered all the draft picks, detailing every Red Sox pick, from University of Washington righty Nick Hagadone with the 55th overall pick to Liberty University outfielder Garrett Young in the 46th round. Overall, the Red Sox selected 47 players, signed 28, four of them turned into Baseball America Top 100 Prospects, and six players who signed went on to play in the major league.
  • The second part focused on some overarching themes from the 2007 draft. This included a focus on players who were drafted - first baseman Anthony Rizzo (pictured, above) who signed and catcher Yasmani Grandal who didn't - who turned into future stars. Other narratives were on the developmental success of the 2007 Red Sox high school draft selections, draftees who went on to be top prospects in third baseman Will Middlebrooks and right-hander Drake Britton, and high school starters who developed into good relievers with Ryan Pressly and Hunter Strickland.
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July 15, 2020 at 12:30 PM

Revisiting the 2007 draft: Anthony Rizzo & success with mid-round prep players


Thank you for checking in on the newest entry in our draft retrospective series. Yesterday was a pick-by-pick rundown of 2007, while today we will dig a little deeper into a few of the more interesting and prominent draftees. For a quick list and links to player pages, check out our Draft History page.

2007 MLB Draft

Background
It was too early to know that the 2005 and 2006 drafts would be successful ones for the Red Sox, but Scouting Director Jason McLeod had to know the task would be tougher in 2007 after the Red Sox sacrificed their first-round pick to sign shortstop Julio Lugo. The departure of free agents Alex Gonzalez and Keith Foulke in free agency did help to offset this loss, netting two supplemental round picks. Gonzalez hit .245/.286/.401 over the rest of his career and Foulke, made expendable by Jonathan Papelbon's breakout 2006 season, threw only 31 more innings for the Athletics before retiring. The class's depth took another hit when second-round pick Hunter Morris went unsigned after disagreements on pre-draft agreement. 

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July 14, 2020 at 12:30 PM

2007 Draft Retrospective: The picks


We welcome you to the 2007 edition of the SoxProspects.com Draft Retrospective series. Over the next several weeks, we will revisit each Red Sox draft going back to the start of the SoxProspects.com era. Each retrospective will come in two parts: The first will be a pick-by-pick recap of each selection with very brief comments, including their peak rank on the SoxProspects.com Top 60, as well as some of the notable players the team passed on to make those picks. Players who signed are in bold, those who did not are in italics. Bonus numbers are included where available.

After strong seasons in 2003-2005, the Red Sox had their first sub-par year in 2006, finishing the season 86-76 and third in the AL East with a team focused on newly acquired third baseman Mike Lowell and right-hander Josh Beckett. After getting sub-par performances out of Alex Gonzalez and Alex Cora, the Red Sox made a move in free agency, signing 30-year-old Julio Lugo. That series of moves combined with prospect promotions would build the foundation for yet another World Series Championship team.

Lugo had strong years with Tampa before being traded to the Dodgers, but the move cost the Red Sox the 20th overall pick in the 2007 draft. However, the Red Sox were also able to add two supplemental round picks as a result of Gonzalez signing with the Cincinnati Reds and Keith Foulke signing with the Cleveland Indians. Those moves will be discussed more in tomorrow's part two of our look back at the 2007 draft. 

For a quick list and links to player pages, check out our Draft History page.

1 (20). (Pick surrendered as compensation for signing Julio Lugo)
This was the only pick surrendered in 2007 as they moved towards what would be a World Series Championship team. This pick went to the Los Angeles Dodgers who selected Chris Withrow, a right-handed pitcher out of Midland Christian High School (Texas).
Notable players missed out on: Rick Porcello (27), Todd Frazier (34), Brett Cecil (38), Sean Doolittle (41), Josh Donaldson (48).

1s (55). Nick Hagadone, LHP Washington
Bonus: $571,500
Hagadone (pictured, right) was selected in the 36th round by Seattle in 2004, but really didn't see his stock skyrocket until his junior year with Washington, where he added velocity and refined his mechanics. Despite pitching mostly out of the bullpen while at Washington, the Red Sox drafted Hagadone with the intention of turning him into a starter. He was initially very successful, dominating at stops at Lowell and Greenville before being traded to the Indians as part of a package for Victor Martinez. He made his major league debut in 2011, and overall threw 118 innings out of the bullpen through 2015 with a 4.72 ERA.
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 6
Baseball America Top 100: 44 in 2010.
Notable players passed on: N/A
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July 13, 2020 at 1:00 PM

Minor Notes: Draft Retrospectives continue; Rankings updated


Here are Monday's minor league notes:

  • On July 3, the rankings on SoxProspects.com were updated, with some significant movement for several players. The main piece of the update was the inclusion of the 2020 draft class, but that was far from the only major change. Executive Editor Chris Hatfield outlined the thought process behind the re-rank which helps give readers some more insight to process and help interpret some of the big moves. 
  • Chris and Ian talked more about the rankings update on the most recent episode of the SoxProspects.com Podcast, while also covering some other relevant news and answering some interesting mailbag questions. 
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July 10, 2020 at 12:30 PM

Revisiting the 2006 draft: Josh Reddick and the heartbreakers


Thank you for checking in on the newest entry in our draft retrospective series. Yesterday was a pick-by-pick rundown of 2006, while today we will dig a little deeper into a few of the more interesting and prominent draftees. For a quick list and links to player pages, check out our Draft History page.

2006 MLB Draft

Background
Depending on your perspective, 2006 could be regarded as either outstanding or disappointing, one of the best drafts, talent-wise, in team history, or a huge missed opportunity. The Red Sox again had a bevy of high draft picks due to free agent departures, with four picks in the top 44 and seven of the top 103, giving them a shot to replicate the franchise-altering 2005 edition. On top of that, the team had a newfound commitment to spending money later in the draft on players who dropped due to signability issues rather than talent. 

The influx of talent to a system that had already greatly improved its regard in the game was immense. Boston signed only 29 players that it drafted, but 16 of those received six-figure deals, and nine signed for more than $400,000. For comparison’s sake, due to the capped pool system implemented in 2012, the team signed nine players to deals worth more than $400,000 in the 2018 and 2019 drafts combined.
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at 7:32 AM

Podcast Ep. #186 - There’s summer camp happening


We have real news. Lots of it. News from camp. Juice Pigs news (yes, that’s a thing). And new rankings news. We start off with Nick Yorke signing, and the guys speculate about how soon the rest of the draftees will sign. They go over news from summer camp, including the players diagnosed with COVID-19. Get well soon, guys. Before getting to our new rankings, they go over MLB Pipeline’s Position Group rankings. They talked about the possibility of minor leaguers playing in independent leagues. And then it’s time for our mid-season rankings. Several interesting moves both up and down and Chris and Ian share their thoughts and reasoning. Finally, it’s back to the mailbag for a pair of interesting questions.
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July 9, 2020 at 12:30 PM

2006 Draft Retrospective: The picks


We welcome you to the 2006 edition of the SoxProspects.com Draft Retrospective series. Over the next several weeks, we will revisit each Red Sox draft going back to the start of the SoxProspects.com era. Each retrospective will come in two parts: The first will be a pick-by-pick recap of each selection with very brief comments, including their peak rank on the SoxProspects.com Top 60, as well as some of the notable players the team passed on to make those picks. Players who signed are in bold, those who did not are in italics. Bonus numbers are included where available.

The year after a draft with six picks in the top 57 stocked the system with high-end prospects, the Red Sox would again have multiple opportunities to add top talent. The departures of Johnny Damon and Bill Mueller in free agency sent four picks the Red Sox way, and this time they had not signed anyone with compensation considerations attached, meaning Boston would have four of the first 44 picks and seven of the first 103. 

The organization's focus also seemed to shift in 2006. The system was now one of baseball's deepest, a major change from 2003 when Theo Epstein took over, and it put them in a position to take more risks on some high-end prep talent. The baseball ops team also was able to successfully convince John Henry to open his wallet, reportedly using the Pedro Alvarez non-signing the previous year as an example of the kind of player that can get away, resulting in 15 players getting deals worth more than $100,000. 

For a quick list and links to player pages, check out our Draft History page

1 (27). Jason Place, CF, Wren HS (S.C.)
Bonus: $1,300,000
Place was the first and most notable miss of the Epstein years. A five-tool athlete who was named a second-team All American by Baseball America as a high school senior, Place never made consistent enough contact to tap into his power and speed. His development seemed to come in fits and starts, with occasional improvements that never seemed to be sustained. His best season came in 2009 while still only 21, when he had a solid first half with Salem and hit .262/.348/.390 after a promotion to Portland. He slumped badly in 2010, going 10 for 79 to start the year, and was sent back to Salem before getting released the following spring. Place’s serious and confident demeanor also rubbed some coaches and teammates the wrong way, leading to occasional confrontations and at least one confirmed fistfight with a teammate.
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 9
Notable players passed on: Adam Ottavino (30); Chris Coghlan (36)
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July 8, 2020 at 12:30 PM

Revisiting the 2005 draft: Ellsbury, Buchholz, and sustaned success


Thank you for checking in on the newest entry in our draft retrospective series. Yesterday was a pick-by-pick rundown of 2005, while today we will dig a little deeper into a few of the more interesting and prominent draftees. For a quick list and links to player pages, check out our Draft History page.

2005 MLB Draft

Background
Coming off the team’s first World Series win in 86 years, the Red Sox were primed to build a foundation that could propel them into the next decade. Maneuvering in free agency set the team up with six of the top 57 picks, a departure for an organization that was without a first-round pick in three of the four previous drafts. While the 2011 draft has become the franchise’s gold standard, the 2005 edition was the precursor, establishing the Red Sox at or near the top of organizational prospect rankings for the next three years and setting the stage for the next two World Series championships.
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July 7, 2020 at 12:30 PM

2005 Draft Retrospective: The picks


We welcome you to the 2005 edition of the SoxProspects.com Draft Retrospective series. Over the next several weeks, we will revisit each Red Sox draft going back to the start of the SoxProspects.com era. Each retrospective will come in two parts: The first will be a pick-by-pick recap of each selection with very brief comments, including their peak rank on the SoxProspects.com Top 60, as well as some of the notable players the team passed on to make those picks. Players who signed are in bold, those who did not are in italics. Bonus numbers are included where available.

In 2004, the Red Sox were slumping after the devastating end to the previous season and did not have a chance to pick until the 65th selection in the draft. A year later, they were the reigning world champions, were leading the American League East into June, and possessed six of the first 57 selections in what was thought to be a very strong draft class. Free agent maneuvering allowed Boston to add three additional draft picks by letting three of its own players go (Pedro Martinez, Derek Lowe, and Orlando Cabrera) and signing replacements on the market (David Wells, Matt Clement, and Edgar Renteria). The 2005 draft would also be the first for Jason McLeod as amateur scouting director. The longtime Theo Epstein confidante took over the role following the departure of David Chadd to the Tigers organization. 

For a quick list and links to player pages, check out our Draft History page

1 (23). Jacoby Ellsbury, CF, Oregon State
Bonus: $1,400,000
The Red Sox received this pick as compensation for losing Cabrera in free agency, and for the third straight year the team used its top pick on a polished up-the-middle player. Ellsbury came exactly as advertised and he rose quickly, reaching the major leagues one day before the second anniversary of his signing. He is the best first-round draft pick (by bWAR) by the Red Sox since Nomar Garciaparra in 1994.  Ellsbury is currently a free agent after an acrimonious departure from the Yankees. 
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 1
Baseball America Top 100: 33 in 2007; 13 in 2008
Notable players passed on: Matt Garza (25)
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July 6, 2020 at 7:00 AM

July 3 Rankings Update: How to re-rank without baseball


Last week, we updated our site rankings, our first “full” update since the end of the 2019 season (1-20; 21-60). To give you peek into our process: We distinguish a “full” update, in which the three of us each create a list out to 70 or 75, average them, then talk through our rankings and make adjustments to our own lists before settling on a final ranking, from a “partial” update in which we would add new players or move a few odd players based on some specific new data. Since the end of last year, we have ranked several new minor leaguers, none more significant than number 2 prospect Jeter Downs. We also moved some players based on updated scouting reports from publications and our sources, such as Brainer Bonaci, who jumped into our top 20 after our Spring Training trip was scuttled back in March.

“But wait!” you say, “How can you be doing a full rankings update when there hasn’t been any baseball since the last one?” Great question, hypothetical reader! Such a great question, in fact, that we wanted to give you all a glimpse into our thinking: why it made sense to do a re-rank, and why some players moved the way they did.
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July 4, 2020 at 9:39 AM

Podcast Ep. #185 - Get things started and ramp up


Major League Baseball has announced plans for a return to the field. Meanwhile, Minor League Baseball cancelled its 2020 season. That gets Chris and Ian back behind their mics. Leading off, Noah Song finally has direction for the next 12-18 months of his military career. Then on to the big news of the week. MLB imposed a 60-games-in-66-days framework. They discuss how the 60-man player pool will work. From there, the guys break out who is on the Sox squad and debate which players should be added to the 60-man. Then it’s time for a somber topic, the cancelation of the minor league season. Finally, Chris and Ian reach into the deep mailbag and answer your excellent questions.

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July 3, 2020 at 10:00 AM

Revisiting the 2004 draft: Pedroia symbolizes Red Sox successes


Thank you for checking in on the newest entry in our draft retrospective series. Yesterday was a pick-by-pick rundown of 2004, while today we will dig a little deeper into a few of the more interesting and prominent draftees. For a quick list and links to player pages, check out our Draft History page.

2004 MLB Draft

Background: 
After a solid 2003 draft, the Red Sox had two consecutive franchise-altering editions in 2004 and 2005. Today we focus on the former, as the Red Sox found a cornerstone who would spend a decade and a half defining Boston's success.

For the third time in four years, the Red Sox were left without a first-round pick because of the signing of a marquee free agent. In each instance, the free agent signee became a key part of the 2004 championship team (Manny Ramirez, Johnny Damon, and Keith Foulke), while the latter two second-round picks (Jon Lester and Dustin Pedroia) proved to be cornerstones for the 2007 and 2013 titles. While the debate over traditional closer usage patterns rages on, the 2003 season clearly displayed the value in having a more traditional bullpen anchor; people may debate how you should use your best reliever, but nobody questions that a team needs relievers who are very good. To fill that role, the team set its sights on Oakland closer Foulke. The system was seen as being on the upswing after getting gutted at the tail end of the Duquette years, with Lester, Hanley Ramirez, and Kevin Youkilis getting attention from national publications. 
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July 2, 2020 at 12:30 PM

2004 Draft Retrospective: The picks


We welcome you to the 2004 edition of the SoxProspects.com Draft Retrospective series. Over the next several weeks, we will revisit each draft going back to the start of the SoxProspects.com era. Each retrospective will come in two parts: The first will be a pick-by-pick recap of each selection with very brief comments, including their peak rank on the SoxProspects.com Top 60, as well as some of the notable players the team passed on to make those picks. Players who signed are in bold, those who did not are in italics. Bonus numbers are included where available.

Headed into the 2004 draft, the landscape looked much different for Boston than it did in 2003. A year after having four picks in the top 52, the Red Sox would not be selecting at all until the 65th-overall pick. After coming tantalizingly close the World Series the previous year, the team gambled that bolstering the major league bullpen with an elite reliever in the short term would be worth a potential sacrifice in long-term value. 

For a quick list and links to player pages, check out our Draft History page.

1 (24) (Pick surrendered as compensation for signing Keith Foulke)  
For the third time in four years, the Red Sox did not have a first-round pick due to the signing of a free agent. Foulke had only one effective season with Boston, but it was one of obvious historical importance to the franchise. The Oakland Athletics used this pick to select catcher Landon Powell from the University of South Carolina. 
Notable players "passed" on: Gio Gonzalez (38), Huston Street (40) 

2  (65). Dustin Pedroia, SS, Arizona State
Bonus: $575,000
Dominant in the Pac-10 despite being undersized and with an uppercut swing, Pedroia proved Boston scouts correct. His 51.6 bWAR for the Red Sox is 10th best in team history and fourth all-time among players they drafted. Only Justin Verlander has a higher mark among 2004 draftees. 
SoxProspects.com Peak Rank: 3
Baseball America Top 100: 77 in 2006
Notable players passed on: Kurt Suzuki (67), Jason Vargas (68) 
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July 1, 2020 at 12:30 PM

Revisiting the 2003 draft: Epstein era dawns


Thank you for checking out the second part of our 2003 draft retrospective. Yesterday was a pick-by-pick rundown, while today we will dig a little deeper into a few of the more interesting and prominent draftees. For a quick list and links to player pages, check out our Draft History page.

2003 MLB Draft 

Background
As mentioned in yesterday's introduction, the 2003 draft is an interesting place to start not just because the hiring of Theo Epstein marks the unofficial start of the modern Red Sox era, but also because the Red Sox were slotted 17th, the same position they were in when they drafted Nick Yorke two weeks ago. 2003 was also the year that statistical analysis really seemed to get a lot of press around draft time. Sabermetrics, rather than analytics, was the buzzword of the day, and Moneyball’s release was nigh. Organizations, at least the smart ones, were approaching the draft very differently than they were just a couple years earlier. The misinterpretation of the Michael Lewis bestseller that OBP-equals-good and high school pitchers-equals-bad seemed to play out—lots of college bats got priority, while Peabody High School phenom Jeff Allison, with a profile that would have made him a certain top-ten pick in the past, fell all the way to 16th.
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at 8:00 AM

Minor Notes: Minor league baseball season cancelled


Here are Wednesday's minor league notes:

  • After getting Jim Callis' immediate thoughts on the Red Sox draft, the SoxPrsopects podcast team of Chris Hatfield and Ian Cundall did their own recap of the draft as well as the undrafted free agent signing period thus far. Unexpectedly, much of the discussion was spent on the two highly rated high school bats, Blaze Jordan and Nick Yorke, who the podcast team feels will need to be carried by their bats.
  • On Tuesday, SoxProspects.com kicked off a new project that aims to look back at the successes and failures of Red Sox drafts past. The draft retrospective project kicked off by looking at the 2003 MLB Draft, which was Theo Epstein's first draft in charge and saw the team select the likes of Jonathan Papelbon, David Murphy, and current manager of the Lowell Spinners, Iggy Suarez
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at 7:00 AM

Scouting Report Updates: Focusing on some DSL bats


The latest SoxProspects scouting report update sheds light on a group of teenage international signees, including power-hitting Albert Feliz. Feliz, at 18, will require a great deal of development as a hitter, but possesses impressive raw pop that is among the best in the system. 

Today's reports are all compiled from sources. They'll all be updated once we see the players in person.

SoxProspects.com scouting reports are written by our scouting report team, led by Director of Scouting Ian Cundall.

Albert Feliz, First baseman/Outfielder

Physical Description: Thick, physically mature frame. Very strong already. Minimal projection remaining.

Hit: Starts with a wide base. Utilizes a short leg lift. Long swing. Very rudimentary approach. Pitch recognition skills are very basic. Needs to improve contact skills.

Power: Plus-plus raw power. Generates massive raw power due to his strength. Has shown the ability already to drive the ball out of the ballpark. Power is almost exclusively to the pull side.

Run: Well below-average speed already and likely will get slower as he gets older.

Field: Raw. Limited mobility and instincts. First base or left field profile.

Arm: Average arm strength.
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