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.”
Tom "Eugene" Curran joins the guys to discuss how the Patriots look coming out of OTAs. Then Christian and Lou discuss the Patriots playbook scandal.
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Chris Price discuss Tom Brady's work in mini-camp and his response to recent criticism of his play.
Former NY Giants running back, Tiki Barber talks about Stevan Ridley's fumbling problem and reflects on what he did to fix the problem while he was still playing
Jackie Mac joins the guys to discuss her thoughts on a possible mid-season tournament in the NBA, LeBron's return to Cleveland, trade rumors with the Celtics and Red Sox, and Darrelle Revis' contract situation.
Jackie MacMullan of ESPN Boston to talk about the Lebron James Saga, the possibility of Rajon Rondo being traded, and the future of Marcus Smart.
Former coach of Celtics 1st-round pick Marcus Smart, Travis Ford joins MFB to talk about what Celtics fans should expect from the strong point guard. Among other things, Coach Ford says Smart will be a hard worker, and will improve his shooting ability.
Stephen Drew joins Joe Castiglione and Rob Bradford after the Red Sox offense continues to roll in a 14-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.
Joe C. talked to the Sox ace after he
Joe & Dave talked to Rubby De La Rosa after the rookie pitcher went seven innings in the one-run win against the Royals at Fenway.
Rob Bradford is joined by WEEI.com Bruins beat writer DJ Bean, as well as Boston sports fan/blogger Turtleboy to talk all things Bruins free agency. With the B's recent moves, the conversation turns to where the Bruins might next turn and what kind of dent losing Jarome Iginla and Shawn Thornton might make.
DJ discusses Shawn Thornton's new deal, and the on going negotiations with Jerome Iginla
DJ Bean joins the program to dismiss the recent rumors that the Bruins are in discussions to trade Brad Marchand to the Sharks for Patrick Marleau
Steve Buckley joined the show to discuss Tony Dungy's comments on Michael Sam.
The top stories of the day as recounted by John Dennis.
The guys discussed Dungy's comments on Michael Sam.
Christian started the day by packing up his back pack as he always and heading to work. He noticed that the zipper was broken on one of the pockets. As the show was ending, he remembered this and reached into the bag and pulled out not ONE, but TWO New England Patriots Super Bowl rings. His response: "Oh! There they are." Much to the shock of Tim and Lou, Christian was completely unfazed by the fact that he hadn't seen his SB rings since the NCAA National Championship game 7 MONTHS AGO!
A South Carolina mother was arrested for allegedly leaving her 9 year old daughter alone for hours at a local park while she worked a shift at McDonalds. This has sparked a national debate about whether or not the mother should have been arrested, since many are arguing that 9 years old is old enough to show dependency. The question arises: Where do we draw the line?
Tony Dungy is catching a lot of backlash regarding his comments that he would NOT have drafted Missouri LB Michael Sam because of the distractions it would have brought to the team. MFB had Cyd Zeigler of OutSports.com on the show to discuss Dungy's comments.
We delve into Tony Dungy's comments on Michael Sam and drafting him, and how there may be more at work here than on the surface.
We talk Sox after a sweep over the Royals at Fenway. We look at fan interest and how nothing in the AL East is even remotely decided at this point.
We tackle four topics, all spawned by Rory McIroy's futures bet he placed on his own son 10 years ago.
Mut and Villani are talking about whether the Red Sox will give Jon Lester the type of contract he is looking for, or whether they might be shopping him with rumors of the Red Sox scouting Cole Hamels.
Mut and Villani are talking about the MLB All Star Game, Adam Wainwright and Derek Jeter, and what are some of the worst ideas in sports.
This week, Sam Packard and Zach Geld talk about the Post-Pierzynski Red Sox. Julian Edlow of the Green Street Blog, joins the program to analyze the Celtics off-season, and finally an over-eager discussion of fantasy football.
In this episode we talk about transfers across Europe, players we want to see in the MLS, and Liverpool's Joe Allen joins the show!
As we inch closer to August the initial Fantasy Football picture is starting to become more clear. Today, Jim Hackett and Pete Davidson of Rotobahn.com review Pete’s most recent article on WEEI.com featuring 20 High Value Targets to consider. The conversation features a deep analysis on upside players like Justin Hunter, Aaron Dobson, Tavon Austin, Michael Floyd and Martellus Bennett. As well as a breakdown on three Quarterbacks including Tom Brady who should be strongly considered ahead of their current Average Draft Position. Get ahead of the information while these great Fantasy Stocks are low!
Lester went 8 innings allowing only 4 hits and striking out 8 as the Red Sox swept the Royals. He walked off the mound to a standing ovation from the Fenway faithful. With every dominant performance, the price tag goes up.More from this show