Stud prospects are hard to come by, and while the Red Sox have a few that could be considered studs (Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley, and Matt Barnes), most players in their system are on a more level playing field. The average prospect has his share of struggles somewhere along the line, and although 2012 was a fantastic year in the farm system, the Red Sox do have a few players like that. Ranked very highly entering the season, the stock of Anthony Ranaudo, Jose Iglesias, Ryan Lavarnway, and Brandon Jacobs has fallen. Will 2012 be an aberration, or will it be the beginning of the end?
Anthony Ranaudo- SoxProspects had Ranaudo ranked as the #2 prospect in the Red Sox’ system entering 2012. However, he came out of spring training injured and had to wait a few weeks before starting at Double-A Portland. While at Portland, he was nothing but disappointing as he posted a 6.69 ERA and walked 6.45 per nine innings, as many as he struck out. He never got a chance to recover, because he was injured again before you could say “ball four.” 2013 will be Ranaudo’s age 23 season, and while his ceiling is still high as a potential ace, 2012 was a showing of his floor of a reliever or even flameout. Ranaudo will start the season at Portland again, and if he has some success, he could reclaim his position as a top prospect in the Red Sox’ system.
Jose Iglesias- Unlike most people on this list, Iglesias actually did a pretty decent job in the minor leagues in 2012. Iglesias has shown little to no power, but he did bat .266/.318/.306 in Triple-A Pawtucket. Although those numbers are far from great, his world class defense makes up for it. The reason Iglesias is on this list is because of his terrible showing in the major leagues, as he batted .118/.200/.191 in 68 at bats. The signing of Stephen Drew will push Iglesias back to Triple-A to begin the year, where he will hopefully figure it out.
Ryan Lavarnway- Expectations were perhaps unrealisticly high for Lavarnway after a fantastic 2011 campaign which saw him hit 32 home runs between Portland and Pawtucket. He got off to a slow start in Triple-A, and while he somewhat righted the ship, finishing with a .295/.376/.439 line there, he also struggled in the majors. Brought up to Boston after the trade of Kelly Shoppach, he only batted .157/.211/.248 with bad defense behind the plate. The signing of David Ross will allow him to hit some more in Triple-A before he gets another shot in Boston.
4. Brandon Jacobs- Like Lavarnway, expectations were very high for Jacobs after a fantastic 2011 season where he batted .303/.376/.505. However, he suffered from a broken bone in his foot and dredged through a disappointing 2012 at High-A Salem, posting a .252/.322/.410 slash line while missing time. Those numbers don’t look awful, but Jacobs has the ceiling of a player who dabbles with all five tools and whether he starts back in Salem or in Portland, he’ll need to confirm or deny that prediction.