It sure is a good thing that the Red Sox have perennial All-Star second baseman Dustin Pedroia locked up for a long time. Beyond the fact that he’s a great player and it would hurt tremendously to lose him, the Red Sox have no heir apparent. They really have no highly ranking second base prospects, and while they do have plenty of shortstop prospects that could eventually slide over, their lack of second basemen might wind up being a problem one day. When Sean Coyle (#34 prospect according to SoxProspects) and Heiker Meneses (#48) are one’s top two prospects at any position, that’s a bit of an issue, and there’s no exception here.
1. Sean Coyle- When Coyle was drafted in the third round of the 2010 draft, many viewed him as a potential heir to Pedroia. While it’s true that he has a similar size (5’8″, 175 lbs), his hitting has not backed up those comparisons. He’s still young at 20 years old, but his .249/.316/.391 slash line at High-A Salem was disappointing enough to drop him from #11 at the beginning of the season to #34 now. Although strikeouts have been a big issue for Coyle, he also has plenty of power, knocking 9 home runs and 31 doubles this year. Despite his offensive struggles, he is a decent defender and may eventually fill a utility infielder role, but probably not much more.
2. Heiker Meneses- The small-framed middle infielder from Venezuela enjoyed a good year in 2011 between Salem and Portland, batting .356/.416/.575 and .265/.311/.301, respectively. However, at those same spots in 2012, he struggled. He had passable numbers in Salem, .272/.313/.392 with 2 home runs and 18 steals, but struggled mightily in Portland, hitting just .197/.282/.244 at Double-A. Although Meneses will probably never be a great hitter, he’s quite speedy and is a good, versatile fielder who could occupy a utility spot one day.
Because of this lackluster appearance on the farm, I would strongly recommend the Red Sox hold on to Dustin Pedroia. As he is one of the top two or three second basemen in the league, that would be an obvious decision anyway, but this just emphasizes it further. If absolutely necessary, the Red Sox can rely on 26 year old Pedro Ciriaco, whom I’d trust before Coyle or Meneses. Hopefully, they won’t have to worry about Pedroia’s departure for a while though.