With the minor league season slated to get underway today, here’s a snapshot of the Red Sox minor league rosters, as well as a quick breakdown of what to watch for this spring at each level of the system.
Breakdown: The PawSox will have the club’s most-stacked lineup in recent memory. Of the 24 players slated to open the season on the active roster, all but seven have major league experience. On top of that, the team will have well-regarded prospects manning nearly every offensive position this season, including top prospects Kalish and Iglesias, and numerous pitching prospects capable of breakout seasons, including Weiland, Miller and Rice. Left-hander Felix Doubront also is expected to join the club off of the disabled list in mid-April, and infielders Hector Luna and Brent Dlugach -- both of whom have major league experience but suffered injuries this spring -- could be activated to the roster early on. Look for rehabbing right-hander Junichi Tazawa to return to Pawtucket by midseason.
Starting rotation: Alex Wilson, Stolmy Pimentel, Stephen Fife, Brock Huntzinger, Michael Lee
Bullpen: Blake Maxwell, Eammon Portice, Caleb Clay, Seth Garrison, Tommy Hottovy, Santo Luis, Jeremy Kehrt, Kyle Fernandes
Catchers: Ryan Lavarnway, Tim Federwoicz, Will Vazquez
Infield: Jorge Pardon, Oscar Tejeda, Will Middlebrooks, Ryan Dent, Jon Hee
Outfield: Che-Hsuan Lin, Chih-Hsien Chiang, Alex Hassan, Mitch Dening
Breakdown: In Pimentel, Tejeda, Lavarnway, Lin and Middlebrooks, the Sea Dogs have five of the top 20 prospects in the system as the season opens. At just 21, Tejeda could be on the verge of cracking elite prospect status, particularly if he continues his upward trends at the plate after hitting .307 with High-A Salem in 2010. High-ceiling prospects Pimentel and Middlebrooks will be challenged at the Double-A level and may struggle early on, but expect both to show ample improvement by season’s end. Lavarnway and Lin are both headed back to Portland for return engagements -- expect big things on offense from Lavarnway, the organization’s co-offensive player of the year in 2010, while Lin should focus on adding some power to complement his elite speed, plate discipline and defensive skills. Other prospects to watch include Wilson, Boston’s second-round pick in 2009; Federowicz, a defensive-minded catcher who will work on improving his consistency on offense; Hassan, a Massachusetts native who put up an .853 OPS with Salem in 2010; and Fife, a big right-hander who could vie for a spot in Boston’s bullpen in 2012.
Starting rotation: Drake Britton, Pete Ruiz, Chris Balcom-Miller, Ryan Pressly, Chris Hernandez
Bullpen: Kendal Volz, Cesar Cabral, Tom Ebert, Jeremiah Bayer, Mitch Herold, Anatanaer Batista, Will Latimer
Catchers: Dan Butler, Matt Spring, Josue Peley
Infield: Reynaldo Rodriguez, Zach Gentile, Kolbrin Vitek, Derrik Gibson, Michael Almanzar, Vlad Frias, Drew Dominguez
Outfield: Jeremy Hazelbaker, Pete Hissey, Shannon Wilkerson, David Mailman, Ronald Bermudez
Breakdown: Britton is the blue-chipper of the group, with his mid-90s fastball, plus-curveball and developing changeup. The Red Sox took it slow with Britton in 2010, as he was still recovering from October 2008 Tommy John surgery, but the 21-year-old left-hander managed to post a 2.97 ERA with 78 strikeouts in 75 2/3 innings for Low-A Greenville. The front office will loosen the restrictions on Britton’s innings this season, and he could be poised for a breakout year. Vitek, Boston’s first-round pick in the 2010 draft, is also a top prospect. He has a polished offensive approach and excellent swing mechanics, but needs improvement on defense if he wants to stick at third base. Hazelbaker, 23, led the organization with 63 stolen bases in 2010, while also hitting 12 home runs in 116 games. He could improve on both numbers in 2011. Salem also will have an abundance of young second-tier prospects who could take it to the next level this season, including right-handers Balcom-Miller, Pressly, Ruiz and Volz, left-handers Hernandez and Cabral, along with Butler, first baseman Rodriguez, third baseman Almanzar and shortstop Gibson.
Starting rotation: Manny Rivera, Kyle Stroup, Anthony Ranaudo, Brandon Workman, Miguel Celestino
Bullpen: Juan Rodriguez, Hunter Cervenka, Keith Couch, Dennis Neuman, Tyler Lockwood, Jordan Flasher, Garrett Rau
Catchers: Christian Vazquez, Carson Blair, Leonel Escobar
Infield: Miles Had, Sean Coyle, David Renfroe, Jose Garcia, Jason Thompson, James Kang
Outfield: Lucas LeBlanc, Felix Sanchez, Bryce Brentz, Brandon Jacobs
Breakdown: The key players to watch at this level are all 2010 draftees: right-handers Ranaudo (selected 39th overall) and Workman (57th overall), and second baseman Coyle (110th overall). Ranaudo already is considered the top pitching prospect in the system, and both Workman and Coyle are top 15 prospects in the system. The Red Sox are being somewhat cautious by starting Ranaudo and Workman, both of whom have successful college resumes, at Low-A. Expect both to excel early on in hopes of a midseason promotion to Salem. On the other hand, the club is challenging the 19-year-old Coyle with an assignment to Greenville. The smallish second baseman has excellent bat control and solid fundamentals, drawing regular comparisons to Dustin Pedroia, Other high-ceiling offensive prospects to keep an eye on in Greenville are third baseman Renfroe and outfielders Brentz, Jacobs and LeBlanc. Elsewhere on the pitching front, both Celestino and Rodriguez flashed live arms capable of mid-90s velocity this spring, but both need to work on harnessing control in 2011. Another highly-touted pitching prospect in that same mold, Madison Younginer, is expected to return from a muscle strain and join Greenville in late April or early May.
EXTENDED SPRING TRAINING
Pitchers: Tony Pena, Ryan Harvey, Charlis Burdie, Charlie Rosario, Tyler Wilson, Raynel Velette, Nefi Ogando, Swen Huijer, Mike Gleason, Justin Erasmus, Scott Swinson, Matt Kramer, Chris Martin, Jason Garcia, Sergio Gomez, Yunior Ortega, Raul Alcantara, Mario Alcantara, Renny Parthemore, Jacob Dahlstrand, Luis Bastardo, Jennel Hudson, Alex Mateo, Luis Diaz, Nelson Arguila, Francisco Taveras, John Killen, Mike Hacker
Catchers: Oscar Perez, Jayson Hernandez, Roberto Reyes, Zach Kapstein
Infield: Boss Moanaroa, Trygg Danforth, Roberto Ramos, Joantoni Garcia, Dreily Guerrero, Garin Cecchini, Nick Robinson, Xander Bogaerts, Jose Vinicio
Outfield: Seth Schwindenhammer, Keury De La Cruz, Henry Ramos, Kendrick Perkins, Matty Johnson, Moko Moanaroa, Jesus Loya, Jose Colorado
Injury rehab: Pitchers Felix Doubront, Junichi Tazawa, Kris Johnson, Miguel Gonzalez, Yeiper Castillo, Madison Younginer, Mathew Price, and Leandro Marin; catcher Adalberto Ibarra; infielders Hector Luna and Brent Dlugach; outfielders Zach Daeges, Wilfred Pichardo, and Ryan Westmoreland
Breakdown: Players slated for Short-Season Lowell or the Rookie-Level Gulf Coast League will spend the next 10 weeks in extended spring training in Fort Myers, joined by a set of players rehabbing from longer-term injuries. Some of these players will also serve as taxi-squad type fill-ins if and when injuries start to affect the full-season squads. Most extended spring training players are raw and in need of ample development time, but are young prospects with high ceilings. Of this group, the most intriguing are third baseman Garin Cecchini, Boston’s 2010 fourth-round pick; Xander Bogaerts, an 18-year-old Aruban shortstop who tore up the Dominican summer league in 2010; Jose Vinicio, a 17-year-old defensive phenom at shortstop, and outfielders Henry Ramos and Kendrick Perkins, Boston’s fifth- and sixth-round picks in 2010. In another intriguing storyline to watch, outfielder Ryan Westmoreland will continue his attempt to comeback from March 2010 brain surgery.