It’s time for the annual minor league organizational depth chart review! The pitchers are now up. This is being split into two parts, because there are quite a few pitchers! This list is spearheaded by Jonathan Papelbon, Jon Lester, and Craig Hansen, but a word to the wise – don’t forget about some other nice names in this list. We have a lot of nice pitching talent, which makes me wonder … we are focusing on developing pitching internally, while acquiring position players externally?
(2004 RP REVIEW | 2004 P REVIEW | 2005 P REVIEW [pt. 1])
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). Since there are so many pitchers, only those on current minor league rosters will be profiled, except for those who finished the season in the major leagues – they will be added to the review.
Sources used: TheBaseballCube.com, BaseballAmerica.com, SoxProspects.com, MinorLeagueBaseball.com, respective team websites
[[PAWTUCKET RED SOX – AAA INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE]] Cla Meredith – One thing we know, is that this guy is driven. Driven to show the Boston fans that he can contribute. At least that was the message I got when I talked to Cla when I went down to Pawtucket. After a 0.00 ERA in 12 games for Portland, he had a cup of coffee with Pawtucket then got rocked to a 27.00 ERA in Boston then went down to Pawtucket and finished with a 5.59 ERA in 48.1 IP. We haven’t heard the last of the 22-year old sidearmer, and could be the primary setup man to Craig Hansen this coming year.
Lenny DiNardo – Did you know that in 2004, Lenny pitched for the GCL Red Sox, Sarasota, Portland, Pawtucket, and Boston? Well traveled. He stuck to Pawtucket and Boston this year, and really put himself on my radar. In 23 games, 22 starts, in Pawtucket, he had a 3.15 ERA and a 6-3 record. He K’d 93 in 108.2 IP and walked 35. He went to Boston and appeared in 8 games (one start) and had a 1.84 ERA in 14.2 IP. I’m really hoping he can steal a bullpen spot. He’s the real deal in my opinion.
Jonathan Papelbon – Do I really need to cover him? Seriously, since he’s been called up, he’s gotten the majority of the press. Which is pretty impressive once you think about it. Let’s recap. For Portland, he pitched to a 2.48 ERA in 87 IP and got called up to Pawtucket after a dominating performance that I was lucky to witness and then in 27.2 IP for Pawtucket (7 G, 4 GS) he had a 2.93 ERA. Off to Boston! 17 G, 3 GS, 34.0 IP, 2.65 ERA, and a 3-1 record. A dream season for the Florida native. Can he follow it up?
Juan Perez – Perez spent the season with Pawtucket and had a 4.50 ERA. The 27-year old pitched 62 IP and still has a shot to make the majors, but it won’t be with his original team, as his contract was purchased by the Mets in November. He’ll likely report to AAA and hope an injury strikes their thin bullpen.
Marc Deschenes – A Massachusetts native and life-long Sox fan, Deschenes completed his second year in the Sox organization after seven years with the Indians, one with the Cubs and Pirates, and a tour of independent duty. This year he split time between Portland and Pawtucket. For Portland, he had a 3.74 ERA in 43.1 IP, all relieving. He moved to Pawtucket where he clocked in a 2.94 ERA in 11 games, 4 of them started. He had a 5.60 K/BB rate and if he can keep this up next year … well he may be deserving of a September call up to realize a lifelong dream.
NOT COVERED: Jack Cressend, Tim Kester, Anastacio Martinez
[[PORTLAND SEA DOGS – AA EASTERN LEAGUE]] Jon Lester – Theo has gone on record saying he expects Lester in Boston this year. The lefty who we almost traded to Texas with Manny (and who I begged to not be traded) was the Minor League Pitcher of the Year for the Red Sox after a 11-6 campaign for Portland. He had a 2.61 ERA, 163 K in 148.1 IP, and should front Pawtucket’s rotation this year. Born January 7th, he’s just turned 22 and could turn into quite the duo with Papelbon at the front of our rotation for years to come.
Craig Hansen – It’s not over yet, not for the man who we did not expect to have a 6.00 ERA in Boston this year. After blowing past the GCL and Portland for a combined 12.2 IP and an 0.00 ERA (1 BB, 14 K) he arrived in Boston with 1 BB, 3 K, 6 H, 1 HR, 2 ER. It’s obvious we haven’t seen the last of this guy, but we want to take care not to rush him too much. That’s why he should start the season in Pawtucket. After he settles into the proball routine, I’m sure we’ll be seeing him in Boston threads.
Kyle Jackson – Greenville and Portland saw Jackson this year. The 22-year old drafted way back in 2001 had a 4.78 ERA for Greenville, starting 5 games and relieving in 21. He had 25 walks and 92 Ks in 84.2 IP, then jumped to Portland and in 7 IP, had a 6.43 ERA with 0 BB and 7 K. Is this the classic case of TOO good control?
Edgar Martinez – The converted catcher continues to impress. The 24-year old who many expect to see time in Boston this season throws 97-mph and had a breakout season in 2005 – but it’s only termed that because he logged a lot more innings than he did in 2004. For Wilmington, he had a 2.10 ERA in 34.0 IP – 12 walks and 46 K. Up to Portland we go, where he finished with a 1.50 ERA in 18 IP (15 G) – 8 walks, 13 K. In 17.2 IP for the Venezuelan Winter League, he had a 4.58 ERA – 4 walks and 15 K. As long as he keeps missing bats, we may have developed a power reliever.
Barry Hertzler – The lifelong Sox fan (Rhode Island native) jumped up to Wilmington this past year and in 33 games (one start) had a 4.21 ERA. The 25-year old apparently “advanced well” in 2005, according to SoxProspects.com. He still has to conquer Portland, as he had a 5.14 ERA for them in 7.0 ERA in a cup of coffee.
NOT COVERED: Jim Mann
[[WILMINGTON BLUE ROCKS – HIGH A FLORIDA LEAGUE]] Brett Rudrude – The 27-year old was out for all of 2004 following Tommy John surgery. He had a quick stint in the GCL for 6.2 IP of a 2.70 ERA, then appeared in 14 games and 19.2 IP for Wilmington, checking in at a 0.46 ERA, 14 BB, 18 K.
Ryan Schroyer – The 24-year old continues to impress, as he had a 2.91 ERA for Greenville in 58.2 IP, then moved up to Wilmington and had a 4.50 ERA in 26.0 IP. He is able to handle four pitches and if he can continue progressing, could evolve into a middle relief options for us.
Scott Shoemaker – Slated to be in the rotation for Portland, Shoemaker saw four levels in 2005. The first level was Greenville, and he started 15 games (1 relief appearance) for 79.2 IP and a 3.50 ERA. He jumped up to Wilmington, where he had a 7.94 ERA in five games started. One start in Portland saw him get scored upon with five earned runs in 3.2 IP, and in two games for Pawtucket, had a 5.56 ERA in 11 IP, 7 ER, 2 HR, 4 BB, 7 K.
Justin Sturge – The 6’4″ lefty saw significant time in both Wilmington and Portland. For Wilmington, he was in 13 games, started two, and had a 3.58 ERA in 32.2 IP. He did this while walking six and striking 18 out. For Portland, he exclusively relieved – 33 games of a 4.88 ERA, 16 walks and 33 IP.
Jose Vaquedano – Continuing the trend of 24-year olds, Jose spent the entire year at Wilmington, and had a 8-7 record with a 3.75 ERA to show for it. He pitched 146.1 IP and struck 117 out while walking 50. Vaquedano is expected to headline a Portland rotation that also includes Andrew Dobies, Chris Smith, Scott Shoemaker, and Luis Mendoza.
NOT COVERED: Tommy Hottovy, Steve Langone, Travis Rios, Felix Romero
[[GREENVILLE DRIVE – MID A SOUTH ATLANTIC LEAGUE]] Beau Vaughan – Beau took a step back from a successful 2004 campaign to post a 5.81 ERA while starting ten games, relieving one, and notching a 2-5 record to go along with 52.2 IP. The 24-year old has likely seen his prospect status go up in flames, and will have to work from here on out to get a shot.
Brantley Jordan – Acquired as a minor league free agent in the summer, Brantley checked in with a 1.95 ERA in 32.1 IP of work. He went to Portland and got one out and that was the end of his AA tenure. Looking at Brantley’s stats, I can’t quite see why the Cardinals released him because he’s consistently had a low ERA except for a three inning stint at A Peoria the year he was drafted.
Kevin Guyette – Drafted in the 10th round, Guyette started off his professional season at Lowell, where he relieved in six games and did not let up any runs over 11.2 IP. He then journeyed up to Greenville and finished with a 4-0 record, 3.26 ERA in 12 games (3 GS) in 30.1 IP with 6 BB and 28 K. A promising start for the righthander.
Roger Lincoln – The 25-year old was signed out of independent baseball in the summer. For Greenville, he had a 4.21 ERA in 9 GS. In the previous two years, he had been in the Cleveland organization. Lincoln’s future is in doubt, but we may want to hold onto him.
Brian Marshall – In 2005, he took on a sidearm delivery and improved his overall game. The 23-year old, who has a chance to become a lefty specialist, started in Lowell and pitched 23.0 IP of relief ball and a 2.35 ERA. A 2.08 ERA followed that in Greenville in 13.0 IP. The reason why he did not pitch a lot is because he spent the first half of the season in extended spring training to recover from tendonitis in his arm. A full year from Marshall at an advanced level should tell us the potential we have in him.
[[LOWELL SPINNERS – LOW A NEW YORK PENN LEAGUE]] James Baxter – Villanova’s top pitcher in 2003, he missed 2004 due to Tommy John and then struggled through a 2005 campaign with ‘Nova. However, after being drafted, he relieved in ten games with a 3.27 ERA. The fact that he was able to pitch effectively after a 6.14 ERA for ‘Nova earlier in the year is promising. What we see next year should be who the real Baxter is, as it commonly takes a year of pitching to fully recover.
Chris Jones – The 21-year old drafted in 2005 in the 29th round started a game for GCL and went 1.2 IP of scoreless ball, then went to Lowell and relieved in 11 games with a 2.59 ERA. He missed a lot of 2005 due to a ruptured plantar plate in his right foot, and also missed 2004 in college due to arm woes, so his arm is incredibly fresh.
Blake Maxwell – Coming out of Methodist College (division III) he continued his effectiveness as a closer, notching seven saves (had nine for Methodist) with a 2.76 ERA in 45.2 IP – 26 games. Standing at 6’5″, SoxProspects.com contends that he could be a sleeper.
Mario Pena – Efficient in the DSL in both 2003 and 2004, Pena moved to the US and had a 4.50 ERA in 16 games started, and walked only ten batters compared to 31 Ks. Still only 21, he’s got a ways to go.
J.T. Zink – Drafted in the 8th round and best buddies with Clay Buchholz, JT had a 2.63 ERA in 14 GS for Lowell. His reportoire (sinking low 90s fastball, low 80s slider, change up) can turn into a weapon if harnessed correctly. Even if he’s never able to put it all together, he could still fashion a career much like another sinkerballer I know, Mike Timlin.
NOT COVERED: Gene Flores, Argimiro Guanchez, Matthew Hancock, Hunter Jones, Modesto Ozuna, Yader Peralta
[[GCL RED SOX – ROOKIE GULF COAST LEAGUE]] Remos Linares – The 20-year old went from the VSL to the GCL and in 13 relief appearances, he notched a 2.31 ERA in 23.1 IP, with 9 BB and 20 K. The numbers look nice, let’s see if he becomes anything.
Jose Francisco Ortiz – Following Remos over to the GCL, but he didn’t have as much success as Remos. He had a 3.82 ERA in 35.1 innings of relief, and struck 39 out while walking 17. He’s also 20, but unlike Remos, is a lefty.
Billy Phillips – Short and lean, Billy was signed as an undrafted free agent and checked in with a 4.15 ERA in nine games for a total of 17.1 IP.
Victor Prieto – Purchased from Washington December of 2004 (but he never played for Washington, he spent five years with Florida) Prieto barely pitched. All he had was 0.1 IP of a 27.00 ERA in 2005. The 22-year old has promise, but clearly was injured for all of 2005. We’ll see what he brings to the table next year.
Dane Towery – Towery is so unknown, he’s not even on SoxProspects.com! The page on Minor League Baseball.com shows that Dane had a 1.48 ERA in 24.1 IP and struck 16 out. From the Mid Continent Conference homepage, we find that:
Towery recently completed a two-year career with the Golden Eagles. A right-hander, Towery appeared in 17 games with four starts in 2005, going 3-2 with a 3.45 ERA. Towery pitched 47.0 innings, allowing 51 hits with 38 strikeouts and 15 walks.
His best performance came when he defeated Wichita State on March 22nd in Tulsa. Towery limited the No. 22 Shockers to one unearned run on five hits in 8.1 innings, earning Mid-Continent Conference Pitcher of the Week.
NOT COVERED: Junior Frias, Rich Garces, Alex Gonzalez, John Jefferson, David Pahucki, Miguel Socolovich
That’s the end of the entire depth chart review. It’s not easy to cover this and I think you can tell I ran a bit out of gas this column, but there was surprisingly not much to say about the pitchers in part two that I thought there would be. I’m pretty pleased about what we have in the pipe for pitching. As I alluded to earlier, perhaps Theo’s drafting pitching 100% with only high ceiling position prospects because position players can be acquired easier. Now in Spring Training, it’s time for all these prospects (plus much more) to earn their spot on the 2006 Organizational Depth Chart Review…
That’s the end of 2005 reminiscing, I believe. Play ball!