In his annual ranking of farm systems, ESPN’s Keith Law recently pegged the Red Sox as having the 17th-ranked farm system among the 30 big league franchise. He suggested that the ranking reflected the fact that, while he views shortstop Xander Bogaerts as a likely future star who ranks among the top handful of prospects in the game, the Sox don’t have a great deal of major league-ready impact players coming up through the system, and that among the organization’s pitching prospects, he views few (if any) as potential top-of-the-rotation candidates. (He did suggest that Rubby De La Rosa has the potential of an ace, but that it remains to be seen how the right-hander rebounds after missing most of 2012 following Tommy John surgery in late-2011.)
“The Red Sox have a decent farm system. I think the last two drafts have helped significantly in a system that was really on the down-swing prior to that. I don’t think they have a lot of impact close to the majors, and I don’t see a lot of high upside pitching,” he said. “I think they have more back-end pitching or quality relief prospects, but not the potential No. 1 and 2 starters that other organizations have. They’re not all going to turn into aces, but at least the possibility exists for that to happen.”
While there are a number of talent evaluators and publications that have suggested that right-hander Matt Barnes projects as no worse than a likely mid-rotation (No. 3 or No. 4) starter with the ceiling of a No. 2, Law suggested that the 2011 first-rounder out of the University of Connecticut lacks the dominant secondary offerings — at least at this point of his career — to suggest a pitcher with that kind of ceiling.
“I don’t think that’s a reasonable evaluation of where Barnes is today. I give him credit for making a lot of progress out of school. His junior year at UConn was a little bit disappointing and allowed the Red Sox to get him where they did. He could have gone top 10, at least 15, going into his spring,” said Law. “The big thing with Barnes, I know the strikeout numbers were great, but he was doing a lot of it just with great fastball command — which is awesome. You love to see that. But it’s not like he has knockout stuff. And I think as he continues to move up the ladder, unless one of those pitches takes a big leap forward, like suddenly the curveball adds a grade or two on the 20-80 scale, he’s probably going to be relying on that fastball command to continue to miss bats, and that’s harder and harder to do as you continue to move up the ladder. …
“That’s not typically how you tend to pitch in the top two spots in the rotation. Most guys who pitch up there have either a clear swing-and-miss pitch or something that generates a ton of ground balls. Barnes, for me, doesn’t have any of that. And I will say also, I downgraded him a little bit because it’s not a great delivery. He’s got the size, and he actually does a great job of repeating the delivery, but it’s not the cleanest you’re going to come across. That does give him, I think, a slightly higher risk of injury than some of the pitchers that I have graded higher than him.”
At the minor league level, Law suggested the Red Sox need to find additional players with the potential to be star-caliber performers, and that the team’s highest draft pick (No. 7 overall) in 20 years will assist in that endeavor. And, at a time when he sees only a few potential impact contributors from the system in 2013, he suggested there was some skepticism about the Sox’ approach to building their big league roster this winter through free agents who fall short of star-level performers.
“There’s a lot of confusion as to why the Red Sox are suddenly playing in the middle tier of free agents, which I think historically is the most dangerous area to play,” said Law. “The premium guys — obviously, the Red Sox have had trouble there — but if you go after the stars, you do fine. And if you go into the bargain bin, you can do well. But if you go into the middle tier . . . The [Shane] Victorino deal to me was the worst free agent contract of the offseason. [Mike] Napoli, obviously they re-did the deal, but there’s no way I’m giving him three years. The guy was a part-time catcher at best and probably just a full-time DH. Those are not the players that I would recommend really any team signing. But it seems their strategy is they’re the class of free agents we want to go after, at least for the next couple of years. . . . I just don’t really understand that as a philosophy because the history of that class of free agents is not that good.”
Dale, Michael and Jerry dig into the details of this draft for the Patriots with ESPN's Mike Reiss.
Giardi and Price discuss the Tom Brady appeal getting overturned and Roger Goodell's victory tour. The guys can't believe the victory lap and some of his behavior. The more you listen to him, the more frustrating his behavior becomes.
Giardi and Price break down how the teams in the AFC East altered their futures after the NFL Draft weekend.
Jeff Goodman calls Mike and Rob to drop a ton of knowledge on the upcoming NBA Draft and some of the names available. Sorry fans - he doesn't see Kevin Durant or any big-named free agents coming to Boston and thinks they'll end up making the third pick this season. He also says that there is NO WAY he would trade next year's Brooklyn pick because the draft will be very deep. He discusses the chances of trading with Philly for Okafor, why he like Kris Dunn so much and much more.
Brad Stevens makes his first appearance on the Dale and Holley with Thornton show. We discuss the Atlanta series and what went wrong, and where the Celtics go from here.
Ian Thomsen of NBA.com joined Sam Packard and Jared Weiss to discuss the next moves for Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics with the NBA Draft Lottery rapidly approaching. They discussed the crazy ending to Game 2 of Thunder vs Spurs and picked the player they would build their pretend new franchise around.
Danny recaps the Red Sox 7-2 win over the Orioles
Danny Picard recaps the Red Sox 5-3 win over the Blue Jays.
Who is to blame for the Red Sox 10-9 loss to the Blue Jays? Danny points the finger.
DJ and Pete continue to assess the season that was for the Bruins and look toward the future for the franchise and how they can improve.
DJ and Pete are together for the final Sunday Skate of the season. They get into their overall thoughts on the season, the Bruins keeping Claude Julien on as head coach and the end-of-season press conferences last week. They discuss the rebuild process, what the Bruins need and how they can obtain it. Plenty of callers have their own theories and opinions on all of these topics as well.
Butch is joined by two-thirds of the Sunday Skate show in DJ and Pete. The guys discuss the problems with Bruins including leadership and grit, who should stay and who should go and if Claude is to blame.
Mike Mutnansky, Butch Stearns, and Jon Meterparel discuss the absence of Malcolm Butler at last week's OTAs and replay a sound byte of Butler from May 21st on WEEI not wanting to discuss his contract. Is Malcolm Butler headed for a contract dispute, and how valuable is he?
Mike Mutnansky, Jon Meterparel and Butch Stearns discuss the Celtics and their level of interest in Kevin Durant after Oklahoma City's losses in games five and six; also what should the Celtics do with the third pick in the draft coming up in June?
Jon Meterparel handles Kirk Minhane's Headlines segment with sound from Robert Kraft at a Jewish University's commencement speech, Julian Edelman screaming 'Free Brady', and Johnny Depp in trouble with his ex Amanda Heard
With Malcolm Butler, Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins all emerging as stars, it's time for the Patriots to decide who they need to make a priority. Giardi and Bradford give their take on who should be the first to resign.
Giardi and Bradford debate why kids are more into the NBA and will be watching the Golden State vs. OKC game 7 tonight, and why no young fans will watch a neutral baseball game.
Mike Giardi and rob Bradford were in on Memorial Day and Bradford had a problem with how Mut, Meter and Butch took his comments out of context on the morning show. Also, Giardi and Bradford talk about what it would take to get Kevin Durant in Boston.
Laroy Streat keeps setting fire to the airways and talks people singing his Freestyle Fridays to him when they see him on the street! Catch our guy every friday via final drive! He's must listen radio!
We end the week with the best in sound Laroy Streat continues to set fire to the airways with his music.
The guys talk Red Sox pitching and the problems that could arise with Buchholz struggles.
Jerry is joined by Graig Murphy to talk stand up comedy. Until Graig pretty much hijacks the podcast to tell his side of the "Big Show Unfiltered" story.
Ben and Russ preview the Champions League Final between Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid. Who we want to win, who we think will win, and why. We also talk about our wishes for the USMNT.
The Dennis and Callahan malcontent is joined by former WEEI personality Pete Sheppard to talk about his past involvement with the station and his current gig in New Hampshire. You'll be glad to hear Pete hasn't changed one bit.
Mike and Rob discuss how OTAs are not the forum to make decisions on the future of the team and how fans on Twitter can't accept that. They also get into the contract situations for Malcolm Butler and Dont'a Hightower.More from this show
Mike Mutnansky and Jon Meterparel are in for Memorial Day to host for Dennis, Callahan, and Minihane. Butch Stearns shows up claiming he was booked to host. Since Butch won't leave, the trio then recap the Red Sox weekend in Toronto and discuss the squad moving forward, including whether Dave Dombrowski will make trades.More from this show