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Red Sox restocking for another run

Red Sox restocking for another run

Before the 2008 season began, MLB.com took an in-depth look at every big-league team's Minor League system. Now, it's time to recap and analyze all 30 organizations, from top prospects to the recent draft class.

Sure, they didn't make it back to the World Series, falling to those upstart Rays in the American League Championship Series. But they continue to have the combination of good scouting/player development departments to go along with outstanding financial resources to keep them competitive for a long time.

They were able to trade away some young players to bring in Jason Bay without really feeling the hurt of the loss, and they can continue to use prospect chips to bring in big league pieces as they see fit. Instead of doing that recklessly, they've found a nice balance of promoting from within and being bigger players on the trade and free-agent markets.

And there's plenty more talent to come. The Red Sox system had a .547 winning percentage in 2008, fifth-best in baseball in 2008. Every single affiliate finished over .500, with Pawtucket, Portland, Lancaster and Lowell all extending their seasons into the playoffs.

This didn't happen with backlogged talent, older guys stocked on lower rosters to jack up won-loss records. The Red Sox continue to be aggressive in both the Draft and offseason, bringing in young talent to continuously restock the system. The scouting staff is not afraid to take risks in the Draft by taking "high bonus demand" guys late, then using the aforementioned resources to get them signed. They did it again in 2008, giving the player development folks even more to work with. They may have fallen short of the Fall Classic this past season, but there's no reason to think they won't have many more cracks at it as the years go on.

Organizational Players of the Year

MLB.com Preseason Picks

Lars Anderson, 1B: We predicted Anderson would make the California League look silly and would keep on raking when he reached Double-A at age 20. What can we say? Nailed it! After hitting .317 and slugging .513 with Lancaster, he moved up to Portland, hit .316 and increased his slugging to .526.
Anderson cranks a homer

Michael Bowden, RHP: Our call was that Bowden would establish himself as the top pitcher in the organization. Once again, we were on the money. Bowden led the organization in ERA and was third in strikeouts while holding hitters to a .212 average across two levels.
Bowden fans three to pick up the win in his MLB debut


•  Monday, Oct. 6: Washington Nationals
•  Tuesday, Oct. 7: Seattle Mariners
•  Wednesday, Oct. 8: San Diego Padres
•  Thursday, Oct. 9: Pittsburgh Pirates
•  Friday, Oct. 10: Baltimore Orioles
•  Monday, Oct. 13: Atlanta Braves
•  Tuesday, Oct. 14: San Francisco Giants
•  Wednesday, Oct. 15: Cincinnati Reds
•  Thursday, Oct. 16: Colorado Rockies
•  Friday, Oct. 17: Detroit Tigers
•  Monday, Oct. 20: Kansas City Royals
•  Tuesday, Oct. 21: Oakland Athletics
•  Wednesday, Oct. 22: Texas Rangers
•  Thursday, Oct. 23: Cleveland Indians
•  Friday, Oct. 24: Arizona Diamondbacks
•  Monday, Oct. 27: Florida Marlins
•  Tuesday, Oct. 28: Toronto Blue Jays
•  Wednesday, Oct. 29: St. Louis Cardinals
•  Thursday, Oct. 30: Houston Astros
•  Friday, Oct. 31: Minnesota Twins
•  Monday, Nov. 3: New York Yankees
•  Tuesday, Nov. 4: New York Mets
•  Wednesday, Nov. 5: Los Angeles Angels
•  Thursday, Nov. 6: Chicago White Sox
•  Friday, Nov. 7: Milwaukee Brewers
•  Monday, Nov. 10: Chicago Cubs
•  Tuesday, Nov. 11: Boston Red Sox
•  Wednesday, Nov. 12: LA Dodgers
•  Thursday, Nov. 13: Tampa Bay Rays
•  Friday, Nov. 14: Philadelphia Phillies

MLB.com Postseason Selections

Lars Anderson, 1B: Not only did Anderson hit .317 combined and slug .517 across two levels at age 20, the young left-handed hitter also drew 75 walks for an impressive .417 on-base percentage. Just wait until the power starts coming even more.

Michael Bowden, RHP: Bowden started the year in Double-A, but got bumped up after 19 starts in which he struck out nearly a batter per inning, posted a 2.33 ERA and kept hitters to a .199 average. He was pretty good in Triple-A as well, with a 3.38 ERA in 40 IP. Perhaps the most amazing stat is his K/BB ratio: 130/29. That led to him making his big league debut, a win in a five-inning, two-run start.

Climbed the Ladder

Lars Anderson, 1B: See Organizational Players of the Year.

Daniel Bard, RHP: Talk about a turnaround. In 2007, the 2006 first-rounder had trouble finding the strike zone as a starter. He moved to relief in Hawaii last fall and made that league's All-Star team. The bullpen suited him and he headed to Greenville to continue that transition. After amassing a 0.64 ERA and .129 batting average-against in 15 innings, the UNC product double-jumped to Double-A and kept on dominating. Bard posted a 1.99 ERA in 31 games with Portland, giving him a 1.51 ERA for the year. In 77 2/3 combined innings, the right-hander struck out 107 and held hitters to a .158 average.

Michael Bowden, RHP: See Organizational Players of the Year.

Jed Lowrie, SS: His numbers weren't all that thrilling, what with a .268 average in Triple-A and a .258 mark in the big leagues, but he filled a huge hole for the Red Sox over 81 games and into the postseason, playing a lot of shortstop and third. His future may be as a super-utility guy, but his days as a prospect are definitely over.
Lowrie's walk-off single sends Boston to the ALCS

Justin Masterson, RHP: Masterson made just eight starts in Double-A before being moved up a level, where he made four outings -- three in relief. Then it was up to the big leagues, where he began as a starter and went 4-3 with a 3.67 ERA. After that strong showing, he moved into the bullpen and became one of the Red Sox's most reliable setup men to closer Jonathan Papelbon, posting a 2.36 ERA in 27 appearances.
Masterson fans five for his first Major League win

Josh Reddick, OF: The 21-year-old outfielder began the year at Class A Greenville and finished it in Double-A. Though he struggled with Portland, there's no question the season was a success. Across three levels, Reddick hit .311 with 23 homers and 91 RBIs, to go along with a .544 SLG.
Reddick connects on a long ball

Kept Their Footing

Aaron Bates, 1B: Though much of it was fueled by playing in hitting-friendly Lancaster, Bates opened many eyes in 2007 by leading the organization in homers and driving in over 100 runs. He moved up to Double-A full-time this year and while he wasn't bad -- .276, 11 HR, 68 RBIs -- it wasn't the kind of follow-up some were hoping for.
Bates plates seven runs

Ryan Kalish, OF: Kalish made his full-season debut at age 20 this past season and handled himself fine, hitting .281 in 96 games, with a .376 OBP and 18 steals. Not quite his outstanding numbers in the New York-Penn League in 2007 before he broke a bone in his hand, but it was enough to earn him a promotion to Lancaster late in the year. There he managed to hit just .233 over 18 games. He got some more ABs in the Hawaiian Winter League, which could help him take off in 2009.
Kalish makes a diving catch to end an inning

Oscar Tejeda, SS: Tejeda had an arm infection that slowed him at the start of the '08 season and he never really got it going. That being said, he was just 18 and playing in the full-season South Atlantic League, so hitting .261 with 11 steals really isn't all that bad.
Tejada hits a home run

Slipped a Rung

Bubba Bell, OF: His overall numbers this year weren't bad (.285/.363/.478), but were a far cry from his Cal League-induced '07 season (.337/.420/.584). He also only played in 79 games, getting shut down in July after a leg stress fracture. He still has the chance to be a reserve outfielder who can play all three spots, but he'll be 26 for the 2009 season and the clock is ticking.

Clay Buchholz, RHP: What happened here? Seemingly certain of a rotation spot for the next decade or so, Buchholz imploded a bit in the big leagues, and he got demoted after three May starts that saw him give up 13 runs in 13 2/3 IP. He pitched well enough with Pawtucket (2.47 ERA in nine starts) to get another shot, but a 8.48 ERA in seven second-half outings got him shipped all the way down to Double-A. He went to the Arizona Fall League to continue trying to right himself for another crack at the rotation in 2009.

Nick Hagadone, LHP: It's never fun to penalize a guy for an injury, but Hagadone did go from a potential fast-track guy to a derailed guy in a hurry. He made three starts with Greenville and hadn't allowed an earned run, with the potential to move up several levels a distinct possibility. But he blew out his elbow in his third start and had Tommy John surgery, ending his season. He was recovering quickly and could be back on the fast track at some point in 2009.

On the Radar

Zach Daeges, OF: The 2007 MLB.com Class A Advanced Offensive Player of the Year, Daeges needed to prove to many that his award-winning season wasn't solely a product of Lancaster and the California League. While his power production dipped quite a bit with a move to the Eastern League, the senior signing out of Creighton finished fifth in the circuit with his .307 average and second with his .412 OBP.
Daeges cranks a homer

Felix Doubront, LHP: Doubront finished sixth among full-season pitchers in the organization with his 3.69 ERA, third with 13 wins and led the system with 138 K's in 129 1/3 IP. Most of it was accomplished with Greenville, where he was a South Atlantic League All-Star, but the southpaw didn't seem too intimidated in three starts with Lancaster in the California League at age 20.
Doubront notches his ninth K in his Class A Advanced debut

Che-Hsuan Lin, OF: Not that prospect hounds didn't know who Lin was prior to this season, but he did increase his profile a bit in '08. It wasn't his regular season so much -- Lin hit .249 and amassed 33 steals in 91 games with Greenville -- as it was his Futures Game experience. He was named the game's Most Valuable Player for the home run he hit to give the World team the win. His season here ended in July when he went and represented Chinese Taipei in the Olympic Games.
Lin hits a walk-off blast

Charlie Zink, RHP: Who can predict what a knuckleballer will do? In '07, it looked like the experiment to have Zink turn into a knuckleball artist would fizzle. Then last season, he was an International League All-Star and the circuit's Most Valuable Pitcher. He went 14-6 with a 2.84 ERA for Pawtucket and even made it up to the big leagues for a start.
Zink finishes off a complete-game shutout

2008 Draft Recap

1. Casey Kelly, SS: He "grew up around the game," the son of Pat Kelly, the one-time bench coach of the Reds. He can play shortstop with the best of anyone in the Draft class. He also can pitch pretty well, though he prefers to be a position player. He hit .215 between the Gulf Coast League and Lowell, striking out 42 times in 36 games.
Kelly doubles in a run

2. Bryan Price, RHP: Boston's sandwich pick was a reliever at Rice, but in his debut, the Red Sox let him give starting a try with decent results. Price had a 3.83 ERA in 12 outings -- nine of which were starts -- striking out 43 over 40 innings. He was much better, however, in his three relief outings (1.13 ERA) than as a starter (4.50), so it will be interesting to see if the Sox continue to stretch him out.
Price notches his sixth K

3. Derrik Gibson, SS: A toolsy high school athlete, Gibson was impressive in his pro debut, hitting .309 in 27 games in the Gulf Coast League before moving up to Lowell and going just 3-for-35 there. He's got outstanding speed and used it to go a perfect 16-for-16 in stolen bases this past summer. The Delaware native played primarily shortstop in high school, but Boston had him play all over the infield, partially because of a glut of talent at short and partially to increase Gibson's versatility and value.
Gibson's first Lowell hit drives in a run

Others of Note: RHP Stephen Fife (third round) was a quick riser on draft boards coming out of the University of Utah and he kept on pitching well in his pro debut. He had a 2.33 ERA as a reliever, adding two saves while striking out 41 in 38 2/3 IP. The New York-Penn League hit just .196 against him. ... RHP Kyle Weiland (third round), the Notre Dame product, excelled for Lowell in the NY-Penn League. He posted a 1.50 ERA over 60 innings, striking out 68 and walking only 10. The league hit .166 against him. ... OF Pete Hissey (fourth round) didn't play a whole lot in his debut (15 games, 14-for-55, nine steals), but the Sox have high hopes for him after giving him a $1 million bonus to sign rather than go to the University of Virginia. ... OF Ryan Westmoreland (fifth round) signed too late to play, agreeing to an above-slot $2 million bonus to keep him from heading to Vanderbilt.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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