Red Sox may have a few diamond in the rough prospects
By Rick McNair
The Boston Red Sox may not have a farm system that is among the best in MLB, but that does not mean certain prospects may have greater value than assumed.
The July shop until you drop general manager version is now in full operation. The sellers are loading up their stalls with possible luxury items for the takers and haggling negotiations will most certainly begin. The buyers will show up in droves with offers of their own and in baseball parlance that means prospects. The Boston Red Sox will be – we are informed – absent from serious dealmaking since our farm system has no “Blue Chip Prospects.”
Just what is this “Blue Chip?” Evaluators use all the resources available to decide just who is the best of the best within a system. There is “Old School” type rubric assessments that allow a numbering system so you can score a prospect, but sometimes buried within the bowels of a farm system is that potential nugget. Maybe overlooked or underappreciated? Maybe a diamond in the rough?
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A few years ago the Red Sox traded Andrew Miller for Eduardo Rodriguez. Going back in time, just who was this pitcher?
Rodriguez was not on the top-20 within the Orioles system. E-Rod was not in the top 100 on MLB Prospect Watch. The Red Sox system had Blake Swihart as 24th on Prospect Watch top 100 and the departed Henry Owens 20th.
Those of us checking and worshipping the all blessed statistics were not impressed. This kid was a wreck in the Eastern League (3-7, 4.79 ERA).
With a change of uniforms, Rodriguez had a turn around of epic proportions in the EL (3-1, 0.96 ERA) and now we collectively commensurate about his seemingly untapped ability. Did the scouts (evaluators) get it wrong? Sometimes digging deep occasionally throws the book out the window. That lowly prospect may actually be a hidden gem. That happens. A diamond in the rough.
If you abide by assessment criteria then Jalen Beeks would just get a nod before you passed on to a more worthy prospect. Being selected 12th certainly leaves the fireworks damp and sitting in the 15th slot in the Red Sox system does not add any sheen to Beeks. He’s simply not a “Blue Chip” in evaluation despite arguably being one of the top three pitchers in the International League (AAA).
I used Beeks as an example as the Red Sox system on first glance may not have any “Blue Chip” prospects, but buried within the system is a nugget that the team is aware of and just maybe other teams are. Sometimes the brightly wrapped package does not have the best present.
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The Red Sox may not be on the outside looking in when premier players become available. That little known or recognized prospect may have significantly more value than we assume. So I will not exclude the Red Sox being active participants based on collective player assumptions. A non-Blue Chip could become an eventual MLB All-Star.