With the Red Sox sitting at 59-63 and in fourth place in the dog days of summer, this season is beginning to look pretty hopeless. The lack of winning this year, though, has opened up some doors for the Red Sox. Normally come September call ups, the Red Sox are in the heat of the pennant race and have no room for prospects, but this year we’ll get a good look at a number of prospects from the higher levels of the minors. There’s a very good chance that come September, we’ll see plenty of younger guys starting games for the Boston Red Sox.
With a season-ending wrist injury for third baseman Will Middlebrooks and a struggling shortstop Mike Aviles, the Red Sox should move Pedro Ciriaco to third base and play Jose Iglesias at shortstop. Normally a light-hitting, slick-fielding shortstop– he’s kept his side of the bargain with the fielding but at the moment has been hitting up a storm at Triple-A Pawtucket. Despite unimpressive numbers on the season– .269/.321/.309 with 1 home run and 23 RBIs– Iglesias is hitting .348/.423/.420 in August. He may not be a tremendous upgrade over Mike Aviles right now, but it’ll be good to get him acclimated to the big leagues and his defense is always fun to watch.
Iglesias is the main position player, but also on the 40-man roster are Che-Hsuan Lin and Ryan Kalish. Neither of those players has hit a ton down in the minors this year at .248/.328/.318 and .268/.349/.455 respectively, but we could see them in limited outfield roles with Carl Crawford headed for Tommy John Surgery. Another outfielder that the Red Sox could see a bit of is J.C. Linares, who has put up a .298/.324/.471 slash line in 50 games with Pawtucket. The 27 year old is yet to make his major league debut but could do so in 2012.
Finally, it never hurts to have some pitching, especially with the 2012 Red Sox, and some rookies may be the answer. 25 year old relief prospect Alex Wilson will almost certainly make his major league debut this year– he is 5-3 with a 3.42 ERA with Pawtucket. The Red Sox will probably also get their first look at Theo Epstein’s compensation Chris Carpenter (1-0, 0.64 ERA in Pawtucket), Kevin Youkilis trade product Zach Stewart (3-4, 4.13 ERA in Pawtucket), and Kelly Shoppach trade product Pedro Beato (4-4, 3.56 between Triple-A Buffalo and Pawtucket). All of those pitchers will likely make appearances out of the bullpen and we could even see Stewart start a few games down the line.
While it’s true that the Red Sox have a fairly bottom heavy farm system with little to no elite talent at the upper levels of the minor leagues, this should be a fun September. Since the Red Sox aren’t winning, seeing all the new faces from Pawtucket should be a bright spot as the Red Sox kind of cut loose. Who knows, some of them could even impress the way Pedro Ciriaco has. In any case, it can’t be worse than last year’s September, right? Right!?