Before this review, if you click on this link, you will find a Hall of Fame Ballot I participated in (along with many other MVNers and an actual Hall of Fame voter Bob Rosen, Elias Sports Bureau and former major leaguer and also current broadcaster for the San Diego Padres, Bob Scanlan). Unfortunately, no one was inducted. I personally voted for Jim Rice and Bert Blyleven, and Blyleven missed out on two ballots to be inducted. The inductees will be announced today at 2 PM EST, so be sure to see who gets in … if anyone does.
It’s time for the annual minor league organizational depth chart review! The third basemen are now up. This is the home of Andy Marte (not profiled here because he didn’t play in the organization in 2005) and also some other interesting candidates, such as Andrew Pinckney. As we look at the future of the Red Sox, we’re continuously reminded that for all the improvement we’ve had in the farm system, we’ve quite a ways to go…
(2003 3B REVIEW | 2004 1B + 3B REVIEW)
How do I choose who to profile? The criteria are thus: Must have had the majority of their games at the position profiled (rosters taken from the Minor League Baseball website). I also will only choose no more than five players, those that spent the most time at said position. I will note who I have left out. For those that are utility men and deserve to be profiled but might not have as many games started at a specific position to justify being put in the top five, they will be placed in the position they played the most. This is not meant to be a top prospects review! This is meant to give people recognition for the seasons they had regardless of age or if they are still with the organization (although comments about their future with the Red Sox will be said). Also, last year, I profiled the major league club along with the minor league club. That is changing this year as I will profile the major league positions individually from this review.
Sources used: TheBaseballCube.com, BaseballAmerica.com, SoxProspects.com, MinorLeagueBaseball.com, respective team websites
[[PAWTUCKET RED SOX – AAA INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE]] Tim Hummel – Traded to St. Louis in June, Hummel had been claimed off waivers from Cincinatti September 2004 (and spent the rest of the season on the bench of the Red Sox) and then reported to Pawtucket for 2005. He hit .250/.341/.393, but after going to St. Louis lost his batting eye, hitting .275/.324/.434. What it sounds like to me is that the Red Sox preach OBP constantly, and Hummel was one who actually had his other skills (contact, power) decrease because of the focus on OBP. Much like David Ortiz didn’t mesh with the Twins’ style, we have to make sure we don’t inadvertently let a star depart because he can’t get on base. (Not that Hummel is a star in the making, he’s 27 years old, but in general.)
Kevin Youkilis – It looks as if the Red Sox will enter 2006 with Youkilis as the primary first-baseman, with JT Snow backing him up. If Youkilis hits great, Snow will become a late-inning defensive replacement. If Youkilis does not, we have an option in Snow, hence me being in favor of the signing. Youkilis has displayed over the past two years he is ready to contend, but the Red Sox just were not able to find him a spot. Finally, with Mueller leaving along with Millar, Youkilis now is being written into the team’s plans. Youkilis hit .322/.459/.592 (8 HR in 152 AB) for Pawtucket, and in 2004 for the Red Sox in 208 AB, hit .260/.367/.413. I expect Youkilis to hit somewhere around .280/.380/.450, which should cement him as the full-time first baseman.
[[PORTLAND SEA DOGS – AA EASTERN LEAGUE]] Bret Levier – Levier can play virtually every position. The 22-year old saw time in Greenville, Wilmington, and Portland. He did not have an OPS above .671 at any level with zero power and low contact, but a good OBP. He was the Defensive Player of the Month for June of 2005. 2005 was the first time he got any modicum of regular playing time, as he was (and is) usually a bench player. For Greenville he got 229 AB, hitting .245/.286/.341.
Jared Sandberg – Do we all remember Jared? The nephew of Ryne Sandberg, the third-sacker of the Devil Rays for years to come? A career line of .221/.297/.406 has put an end to that, but played full time for Portland after escaping the Tampa organization. He hit .233/.335/.413 and was an All-Star. I can’t see Sandberg ever making the majors again.
Chad Spann – Spann is moving to first base and after getting on the map with a strong 2003 campaign, but suffered through an injury-filled 2004. Healthy again in 2005, he hit .248/.322/.423 for Wilmington then got a promotion to Portland where in minimal time he hit .207/.281/.276. It’s too early to write off the 22-year old as his power is showing signs of developing (13 HR for Wilmington) so Spann is a possibility for a future breakout candidate.
[[WILMINGTON BLUE ROCKS – HIGH A FLORIDA LEAGUE]] Claudio Arias – Listed under The Baseball Cube as a 3B, he actually moved to the outfield in 2004 and is projected to DH this upcoming year. He hit .312/.359/.603 (15 doubles, 2 triples, 13 HR). Always one for power, Arias has so far been able to progress at every level and the 23-year old should try his craft at Portland. If he can hit Portland with authority, we may have a true, legitimate, homebred power option in the minor leagues.
Patrick Boran – The last gasp for Boran. After doing nothing of significance in 2004, he saw 12 at-bats for Wilmington (.250/.357/.297) and now has vanished off the face of the earth.
Scott White – Strong work ethic, but White has yet to translate that to any type of success. The 3rd rounder of 2002 tried his hand at Wilmington and hit .238/.316/.384. The 22-year old still has a few years to develop, and seems to be rounding into his power potential, having hit 13 HR while only 6 the previous year and 0 in 2003.
[[GREENVILLE DRIVE – MID A SOUTH ATLANTIC LEAGUE]] Andrew Pinckney – After a dissapointing transition from college to the pro leagues in 2004, Pickney justified his 34th round pick (what an understatement) quite well, by hitting .311/.362/.535 with 21 HR. The 23-year old would certainly have to be moved now that Andy Marte is in Boston should Pinckney continue at this rate, but it’s certainly pleasing to see his success thus far.
[[LOWELL SPINNERS – LOW A NEW YORK PENN LEAGUE]] Matt Mercurio – Drafted in the 16th round this year, Mercurio showed no power in his time with Lowell. He hit .225/.341/.307, so his eye is fantastic. If the 23-year old’s power develops, I could see him as another Kevin Youkilis. He’s never been known for his power, though, not even in high school, so I can’t really see him projecting anywhere.
[[GCL RED SOX – ROOKIE GULF COAST LEAGUE]] Manuel Arambarris – Arambarris tried his hand at the GCL this year after destroying the DSL in 2004. The 20-year old hit .247/.319/.329, so he still has a way to go but Arambarris has potential at the hot corner for Boston. Time will tell…
These aren’t as deep as the shortstops, but I’m more encouraged by this crop of third basemen than I am of the Cs and 1B. There’s no virtual studs that we had in the system in 2005 (clearly, we acquired someone who makes our 3B depth change quite a bit…) but there are some that are solid all-around players and some potential creeping up here. I like what Pinckney is up to because aside from Pickney, we don’t have that many 3B to get excited about now that Youkilis is in the majors, Arias is a OF/DH (and 3B by name only at this point, apparently) and as for Marte, he’s going to be in the majors sooner rather than later, so I hesitate to include him in this listing, so this listing is spearheaded by Pinckney and some other possibilities who may pan out.