Top Ten Sox Prospects – 2008 Edition

Each year Baseball Americaputs together a comprehensive list of the top prospects for each team in the majors.  Today Jim Callis posted his top 10 list and reviewed the future stars of the Red Sox farm system.  Callis also made himself available for some questions during a 3 p.m. chat session.  Below you will find some of the interesting tidbits from his live chat and also his top 10 list. 

For those of you with a BA subscription, the Yankees top 10 will be posted on Monday, January 7th by John Manuel.
TOP TEN SOX PROSPECTS (according to Jim Callis of Baseball America)

content redacted pending consideration

1. Clay Buchholz, rhp
2. Jacoby Ellsbury, of
3. Lars Anderson, 1b
4. Justin Masterson, rhp
5. Jed Lowrie, ss
6. Ryan Kalish, of
7. Michael Bowden, rhp
8. Nick Hagadone, lhp
9. Oscar Tejeda, ss
10. Josh Reddick, of

Live chat follows the jump. posted for John-YF, who is having TypePad issues – ag

Q&A from the live chat:

Q: Ben from Leland Grove asks:
If Epstein doesn’t trade Lowrie, how soon could he be pushing for a starting SS job at Fenway?
A: Jim Callis: That depends on how much slack they’re going to give Julio Lugo, who is due another $30 million over the next three years. On many clubs, Lowrie would the Opening Day shortstop or get the chance to win that job in spring training. But Lugo’s contract makes it more likely that Lowrie will open the year in Triple-A. He could hit enough to play second or third base, but he’s blocked at those spots by Dustin Pedroia and Mike Lowell. I think he eventually does become a trade chip.

Q: Had Beltre not been traded to TX, would he have cracked the Top 10?
A: Jim Callis: Interesting, hadn’t thought about this . . . He probably would have just missed. He wasn’t as impressive in the GCL as Oscar Tejeda (No. 9) was, and Josh Reddick (No. 10) had a strong season, too.

Q: Jim, you rated Lars Anderson best hitter for average over Jacoby Ellsbury? We all know you love Lars but please explain.
A: Jim Callis: I do love Lars, and I think the Red Sox may love him more than I do. I talked to several sources, and the overwhelming majority believed Anderson
is a better pure hitter than Ellsbury. Ellsbury was a close second, and obviously his speed is going to help him leg out a lot of hits. I can’t wait to see what Anderson does this year in Lancaster.

Q: Better prospect and arm overall – Buchholz or Joba? Which one ranks higher on your personal Top 50 list?
A: Jim Callis: Chamberlain has a better pure arm, but Buchholz has a deeper arsenal of plus pitches. In other words, Chamberlain can throw harder, but he can’t match Buchholz’ repertoire of plus fastball, plus-plus curveball, plus slider and plus-plus changeup. I had Buchholz at No. 2 and Chamberlain at No. 3 on my personal Top 50 list, with Jay Bruce at No. 1.

Q: Hank from New York, NY asks:
Is Lester, Crisp, Lowrie, Masteron too much for Santana? And who has the better offer on the table, the Sox or the Yanks offer that’s rumored to be Hughes, Cabrera, Marquez, 4th prospect. Thanks for the chat.
A: Jim Callis: I don’t think that’s too much. From Boston’s standpoint, you’re upgrading Lester to Santana; replacing Crisp with Ellsbury; Lowrie has no place to play right now; and Masterson is a setup guy who could start or close elsewhere. That’s better than the Yankees’ offer, though I would take Hughes over any of the guys in the Boston package.

Q: Is the Red Sox ranking (2nd) due in large part to Ellsbury and Buchholz or to overall depth? Or more specifically, how would their system rate from 3-25?
A: Jim Callis: It’s a combination of blue-chip prospects and depth. After editing and writing the reports in the Prospect Handbook, to me it’s clear that the Rays and Red Sox have the best depth in their farm systems among all 30 clubs. And they have a lot of blue-chip prospects to boot.

Q: How many Sox made your top 50 list?
A: Jim Callis: Buchholz at No. 2, Ellsbury at No. 16 (and I didn’t think he’d rank that high), Anderson at No. 29. Masterson will be in the 51-60 range.

Q: Hanley Ramirez and Anibel Sanchez for Josh Beckett. Would you make that trade today? Beckett already helped the Sox win a World Series, but imagine Hanley at shortstop for the next 10 years with a rotation of Buchholz, Lester, Matsusaka, Sanchez (who was lights-out in FL), and Bowden/Masterson.
A: Jim Callis: I think both teams are happy with how that deal worked out. With Sanchez getting hurt, it’s Ramirez for Beckett as the principles right now. The Marlins didn’t want to pay Beckett, and I think it’s harder to find a No. 1 starter than it is a Ramirez.

Q: Did anything ever come of Jaren Matthews losing his eligibility? There was some discussion over at SoxProspects about whether he would based on his signing/non-signing.
A: Jim Callis: Matthews agreed to terms with the Red Sox, then changed his mind. In the past, guys have lost their NCAA eligibility over this. Not sure what makes Matthews’ case different, but the last I heard he was a freshman at Rutgers. Boston took the high road in this and didn’t try to punish the kid.

The last question interests me since I had the privilege of coaching against Jaren. He is a super talented kid. This is definitely a win for Rutgers baseball program. – John-YF

16 comments… add one
  • thanks, John!!

    SF January 5, 2008, 5:59 am
  • You do realize you aren’t supposed to post content that is for subscribers only, right? The live chat, now archived, is a harder call, but the scouting reports are definitely a no-no. The list is free but after that you have to pay. Too bad this wasn’t posted by Paul and I would have at least had some fun calling him a racist thief.

    Mike YF January 5, 2008, 9:22 am
  • My intentions were NOT to violate any rules, simply to provide the YFSF readers with some prospect info. YF and SF have will review and make the final decision.

    John - YF January 5, 2008, 9:58 am
  • Far be it from me to tell you what to do, but I’d suggest editing out the scouting reports at least. The top ten lists are given away to get more subscribers for things like the scouting reports. Since those cost significant money to acquire, there seems to be something really wrong with posting them for free.

    Mike YF January 5, 2008, 10:06 am
  • What I posted was only part of the SR. That is not the complete SR. My knowledge of the legal aspects of the internet and internet content is limited, so that’s why I said the review would be done by YF and SF and they can make a decision.
    Just a side not though, people post and reference PECOTA, Bill James, info from BP all the time, so to me I don’t know where the line would be drawn? Not only this site but, but at others as well. Again in the end this is YF and SF’s call.

    John - YF January 5, 2008, 10:24 am
  • I think the grey area is giving away a little (sort of like an advertisement) rather than the whole thing. When in doubt, I think a good rule is “Would someone pay for this?”. I think the scouting reports, even partial, cross into firm ‘yes’ territory, especially since that their business model. A few James or PECOTA numbers probably not so much.
    You could also send a note to the good folks at Baseball America. I’m sure they’d be happy to clarify.

    Mike YF January 5, 2008, 10:56 am
  • Well, at least do it for the Yankees prospects too!

    AndrewYF January 5, 2008, 11:14 am
  • Again its only part of the scouting report. It is not the whole scouting report. Providing partial scouting reports vs. Providing PECOTA or BJ projections seem identical. As long as its not the entire report or put across as my words I don’t think a line was crossed.
    The Yankee info doesn’t come out until Monday.

    John - YF January 5, 2008, 11:31 am
  • Personally, I’m all for reading stuff without paying for it.

    doug YF January 5, 2008, 3:57 pm
  • I think a lot of people would agree with you Doug. Just keep in mind what I posted is only a small portion of what Callis provided for us “Subscribers.”
    One thing I find real interesting is his feelings on Lars Anderson. I wonder if the Sox thought about not signing Lowell and moving Youk back to third in light of how good this kid is? I don’t know a lot about him, but if he is as good as Callis is saying maybe not signing Lowell was the way to go? I think this goes to show you how much can change year to year. Lowrie/Lugo, Ellsbury/Crisp, Lowell/Anderson.
    Also, I learned that Papelbon has a brother who is in the Sox farm system. According to Callis he is not the player that Jonathan is.

    John - YF January 5, 2008, 4:17 pm
  • Anderson is still a ways away, as I understand it. I wonder if his ascension played into the Sox’ wanting to go no further than three years with Lowell (probably not as much as Lowell’s age, but still). Three years strikes me as about right for Anderson. He could be a great backup for Youk in that third year of Lowell’s contract, and assuming he continues to progress, could be good insurance if Lowell’s age starts to really hamper him in 2010.

    Paul SF January 5, 2008, 4:44 pm
  • Anderson just finished playing 124 games in mid A-ball, the Sox equivalent of Charleston. Signing Lowell for three years is actually just the right amount of time, I think.

    AndrewYF January 5, 2008, 6:37 pm
  • Went back and re-read the article. Callis is calling for Anderson to be in the bigs (possibly) by 2009.

    John - YF January 5, 2008, 7:17 pm
  • Redacted?? Lame.
    Summaries should be fine. It’s not like the feared Baseball Prospectus legal hammer is going to come down on this site for that. If he just c&p’ed the entire report, only then can I understand how that’d be sketchy. Even if personally, I’d like to read the whole thing for free.
    So bring back the summaries. If they aren’t up for the upcoming Yankees Top 10 list because of this, I’m going to be pretty disappointed.

    doug YF January 6, 2008, 9:17 am
  • Nor do I welcome being a spoiler sport (well, not for all things Yankee at least). But Baseball America does good work and their subscription is not overly expensive. I’d have no problem with summaries, but even there you’re treading into stuff they had to pay to acquire (a scout sitting in the stands or talking to scouts who do). If someone asked them, I’m sure they have guidelines.
    For the Yanks, just be sure to participate in the live chat on Monday. And if you really want to read the scouting reports, I’d suggest subscribing. You won’t be disappointed.

    Mike YF January 6, 2008, 10:01 am
  • Doug, I will talk to YF and SF and come up with a gameplan for Monday’s Yankee report. You are correct in what you are saying, we just all need to be on the same page, that’s all.

    John - YF January 6, 2008, 5:23 pm

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