It’s time for the annual minor league organizational depth chart review! The outfielders are now up. We have intriguing players such as David Murphy (projected to be backup in the majors in 2007), Brandon Moss, and Chad Durbin. 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 OF REVIEW | 2004 OF 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).
Sources used: TheBaseballCube.com, BaseballAmerica.com, SoxProspects.com, MinorLeagueBaseball.com, respective team websites
[[PAWTUCKET RED SOX – AAA INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE]] Adam Hyzdu – Traded to the Padres prior to the season, he saw 20 AB with the major league clubs, then found himself back with Boston. He hit .254/.343/.415 for Triple-A and then in 16 AB for the BoSox, had a .645 OPS. He signed with the Rangers this off-season, but don’t be surprised to see him brought back to Boston, as he’s been in the Boston organization four different years so far. One problem Hydzu had this past season was that his power started declining – not surprising for a 34-year old. He may be done as a major leaguer.
Mike Lockwood – A free agent, Lockwood did nothing of note, amassing 327 at-bats and hitting .229/.283/.385. Lockwood was a bench player pressed into starting duty when Ambres, Stern, and others departed.
George Lombard – No longer in the organization, Lombard deserved at least a cup of coffee in the majors. Lombard hit .262/.357/.472 and if the right opportunity comes along, can cement himself as a backup outfielder. He also stole 23 bases for Pawtucket.
Justin Sherrod – His second year in Pawtucket was not as good as his first. After a .827 OPS in 2004, he followed that up with a .259/.331/.441 line for a .772 OPS. The 28-year old will repeat in Triple-A, and you never know, a strong showing coupled with injuries may see him called up to the big-leagues. This will be his sixth year in the organization, so he may depart as a free agent after this year.
Adam Stern – Pretty much guaranteed to begin the year as Boston’s backup outfielder (for 18 days) Stern also had his first taste of Triple-A, and enjoyed it, hitting .321/.385/.494. Stern seems to be locking up a future as a backup outfielder, but his time may not come until 2007. If Stern hits these levels again in 2006 in Triple-A, we may have to start looking at him as a potential regular. This year will be quite important for Stern.
NOT COVERED: Chip Ambres (traded to Kansas City after busting out in Pawtucket, signing as a minor league free agent. Did not hit too bad for KC, will fight for a job this spring training) and Gabe Kapler (called up to Boston once he was deemed healthy enough, a freak injury shelved him and as he rehabs, he should get some time with Pawtucket again).
[[PORTLAND SEA DOGS – AA EASTERN LEAGUE]] Brandon Moss – Moss followed up his breakthrough 2004 with a fine 2005, hitting .268/.337/.441 for Portland. He will probably climb the ladder to Pawtucket, but I’ve heard his name this past winter being squarely on ‘trading chip’ frequency as opposed to ‘future with Boston’ frequency. As you know, prospects are either used, or traded. I expect Moss is in the latter category, unless he turns in an amazing 2006. Since he will be 23 and in AAA, if he proves to hit for an OPS around .800, we may have to convert him to a prospect we want to keep.
David Murphy – Predictions. They’re rubbish, because if you’re wrong – they’re just predictions. If you’re right, then all hail you! Reportedly selected even though Epstein wanted Carlos Quentin (or was it Conor Jackson?) by a scout who was immediately fired, Murphy failed to impress in his first two years until 2005 rolled around. Murphy hit .275/.337/.430 for Portland, but a lot of that was tied up in a late surge. I attended a Portland game in the summer, back when Murphy was doing terribly, and had this to say: I am a fan of [Moss’] swing, and also David Murphy