Wednesday, April 23, 2008

No Starting Gig: Red Sox Blocked Prospects

The Red Sox have compiled tons of young valuable talent thanks to Theo Epstien and Ben Cherington(Director of Player Development) over the years but have also improved their team via trade and free agency.  What this will do to a team isn't a bad thing it's called creating a surplus.  I'm not saying I agree with what Theo Epstien is doing(Developing these guys and then blocking them with high priced free agents) but that's not the point of this article.  The point of this article is Epstien's byproduct, his minor league talent pool.  He currently has Jed Lowrie playing SS for the Pawsox(the Red Sox AAA team) blocked by Mike Lowell-3 year $37.5M and Julio Lugo-3 year $27M.  This guy can play all infield positions really well, is an above average fielder, has an above average arm and hits well.  In AA-AAA last year Jed hit 13 homers with an OPS of .928 which is outstanding.  He has decent power, decent speed and hits for a high average.  He's also very versatile being able to play 2B,SS,3B and CF.

Ryan Kalish is on the Red Sox AA affiliate after ripping apart the NYPL in his first full season with an 1.011 OPS last year. He plays LF,RF and 1B but mostly LF.  He's a power hitter that walks and strikes out a lot but is still extremely young and bats left handed.  The one thing that he's great at is hitting.  He has a special swing and can really rake.

Chris Carter is a 25 year old in AAA.  Every level he's been at he's hit very well.  Although many people aren't high on him, I think he could make a solid type player.  He walks a lot, hits for average, cranks a few homers and rarely strikes out.  He isn't the best defensive player but can play LF and 1B.  He has a good bat so they just try to stick him in at any position although he'd really be an ideal DH.  Has league average speed, not an athlete but plays the game right, sees a lot of pitches per plate appearance, works the count and has a great eye.  One of his top comparables are Raul Ibanez who's always been a solid hitter and player.  He has the makeup to be a successful major leaguer and I think he'd be able to help out a few teams right now(Mets, Yankees, Orioles). 

Last but not least, actually the best, Brandon Moss.  This guy is going to be an above average corner outfielder/first basemen in the mold of Adam Dunn.  He has extreme power shown by his 189 ISO at AAA last year.  Has great speed for a corner outfielder/first basemen and has a great glove.  He walks and strikes out a ton but also hits a lot of homers.  He fits the classic first basemen mold that we've been talking about lately.  He's a left handed hitter and is going to peak sometime in the next 2-4 years so I'd advise any team that likes this guy to start him immediately.  

These four players are only some of the Red Sox surplus.  They also have a problem in CF with Jacoby Ellsbury and Coco Crisp, but they'll probably end up trading Crisp.  Don't be surprised to see any of these guys traded for more pitching over the course of the season.  Any team that would pick up Carter or Moss I consider lucky because I really think that they will be excellent ballplayers.  Jed Lowrie will cost a boatload and Ryan Kalish is only in A-AA so they don't need to trade him anytime soon.