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.”
Patriots Safety Devin McCourty joined Glenn, Lou, and Christian, and talked about covering the Steelers Wide Receivers, and how he's helping the players who are in the AFC Championship for the first time prepare.
ProFootball Talk's Mike Florio told Glenn, Lou, and Christian that the Patriots have a quiet confidence that they can outscore the Steelers, since they've proven they have the ability.
Holley and Keefe check in with NFL Network's Heath Evans for some final thoughts on the Houston win and to look ahead at the Steelers in the AFC Championship.
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Ben Kichen of the 'Dale and Holley Show' talk about Isaiah Thomas' flagrant foul against the Heat, and also discuss why it's time for the Celtics to address their biggest need.
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Ben Kichen of the "Dale and Holley Show" discuss the latest news on the injury that has kept Isaiah Thomas off the court and how valuable it is for Marcus Smart to stay in control.
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Ben Kichen of 'The Dale and Holley Show' talk about last night's disappointing finish against the Rockets and they talk about their love for DeMarcus Cousins.
Mut, Rob, and John are talking about some of the Hall of Fame candidates who gained or lost support within the last year. Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds both gained support, while Curt Schilling lost a chunk of votes he had gotten last year.
Mut, Bradford, and Tomase are in after it was announced that Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, and Ivan 'Pudge' Rodriguez will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. They also talk about some notable candidates who weren't elected this year like Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds.
Rob Bradford is joined by Jackie Bradley Jr. to discuss race in baseball and in Boston, along with the importance of Martin Luther King Day. The Red Sox outfielder also dives into how he never really felt comfortable in a major league clubhouse until last year, the approach he's taking heading into 2017, and why he's not playing in the World Baseball Classic.
Ken, Rear and Ty get into a very solid week for the B's beating St Louis and the Flyers and losing a hard-fought game against the Predators. Is this team turning things around? Krug and Marchand are kicking things up a notch. The guys also talk about Claude and Sweeney's job security before getting into some big hits around the league this week.
Ken, Rear and Ty talk all things Bruins as they come off a 4-0 shutout win in Florida and head to Carolina later today. Did that victory save Claude's job? The boys get into Don Sweeney's recent comments on Claude's job and what the future holds for the black and gold.
Hour two of Saturday Skate as Ken Laird and Rear Admiral kick around the perception of backup goalie Anton Khudobin, B's coach Claude Julien, and possible trade target Gabriel Landeskog.
"D-Wood" Joins the show to talk Brady vs. Rodgers and predicts a Patriots-Packers Super Bowl.
Hour 4. Bill Belichick holds his Friday press conference while Mut and Kirk try and play a game. Mut has a big announcement. Gerry calls in from the Inauguration on his crystal-clear cell phone.
Hour 3. Ben Volin shares a stat about Trump that will blow your mind. Mut wouldn't answer any questions about Trump's alleged sexual assaults.
Old Friend Tim Benz joins OMF, and while they regale tales of dysfunction, Benz manages to predict that the Patriots will win Sunday.
Glenn, Lou, and Christian enjoy the festivities ahead of the Inauguration, and give their predictions for Patriots-Steelers in the AFC Championship Game.
Glenn, Lou, and Christian love how Bill Belichick reacts to the plethora of stupid questions he receives from the Media during his Press Conferences.
Dale, Michael and Rich Keefe spend the day discussing the AFC Championship.
We close out the work week with the best sound clips of the day.
We check in with hall of famer Michael Irvin to find out what happened to his Dallas Cowboys and look at the remaining playoff match-ups.
Kirk Minihane brings Chad Finn back to the show to talk about the Charlotte Wilder story about the relationship between the Pats and Trump. Chad defends Charlotte for some of the story and her previous articles, Kirk still has problems with what he thinks is lazy reporting. Kirk and Chad also talk about whether a third sports station in Boston would be viable and if Curt Schilling will ever make it into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Kirk Minihane has a loud and very confrontational argument with media personality John Ziegler about the guilt or innocence of Jerry Sandusky. Kirk believes him to be guilty, John believes beyond a shadow of a doubt that Sandusky is innocent. Yes, it may be an old case, but you all remember it and this episode may change your mind about some of the things you previously thought with regards to Penn State, Jerry Sandusky, and Joe Paterno.
Kirk Minihane wants to sit down with both sports editors at the major newspapers in Boston. Only Boston Herald sports editor Sean Leahy took Kirk up on the invitation to join the show. What you will hear is a great conversation between two people who are very interested in the newspaper business and how that business has changed over the years and what the future holds for newspapers. Kirk and Sean talk about the ongoing and longstanding rivalry between the Herald and Globe.
Uncle Buck, George from S**t Pats Fans Say, and Jerry Thornton talk about the Patriots history in the AFC Championship game, the big wins, the bad losses, and what it will take for the Pats to win another AFC Championship game.
Ken Laird and Chris Curtis wrap up the K&C week after a Friday show with Kirk, Mut and Ben Volin in studio.
Ken Laird and Chris Curtis recap the Thursday K&C show featuring Jon Meterparel back in the saddle.
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