Rating the Red Sox farm system 2013 vs. 2005

It looks like the Red Sox farm system is getting a bad rap these days, as Keith Law of ESPN has them ranked 17th out of 30 teams.

Jed Hoyer
Jed Hoyer

I don’t think Law knows what he is talking about.

I think the talent in Boston’s farm right now is as great as it was in the heyday of 2005.

If you look at the number of players that made it big from 2005, what we have on the farm today is as good as it was back then.

In 2005, I went to Fenway Park to meet with three members of the Red Sox baseball operations team: Jed Hoyer, Josh Byrnes, and Craig Shipley.

They showed me a group picture of all the top Red Sox prospects gathered together. Included were:

Jonathan PapelbonJon LesterAnibal SanchezHanley RamirezManny DelcarmenDustin PedroiaKelly ShoppachBrandon MossDavid MurphyJacoby EllsburyJed Lowrie, and Clay Buchholz.

When I looked at the photo, I asked which one was Pedroia.

When he was pointed out I said, “Don’t ever trade this guy. He will be the heart and soul of the team. Go ahead and trade Hanley if you want, but don’t ever trade Dustin Pedroia.”

12 players from that prospect list in 2005 went on have a successful MLB career.

Right now in 2013, I think the Red Sox farm system is as good as it was back in 2005. Here are the top 20 prospects now.

The top 10 are all going to be Big League players.

Jackie Bradley Jr.
Jackie Bradley Jr.

Xander Bogaerts, Matt BarnesJackie Bradley, Bryce Brentz, Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa, Garin Cecchini, Blake  Swihart, Henry Owens, and Jose Iglesias will all make it.

From the second ten, Brandon Workman, Deven Marrero, Brian Johnson, Alex Wilson, Brock Holt, and Brandon Jacobs are all going to make it as well.

In five years we will look back at the great Red Sox farm system of 2013, with 16 players all in the Big Leagues. From that list Xander Bogaerts is the one closest to Pedroia in 2005.

Just think if Boston kept all those homegrown guys from 2005, and added in Kevin Youkilis, Daniel Bard,  Justin Masterson, Anthony Rizzo, Will Middlebrooks, Ryan Lavarnway, Josh Reddick, Junichi Tazawa, and Felix Doubront.

Do you think that team made up from homegrown talent would be better than what Ben and Theo have left us with today?

Look at the team we could have now:

Rizzo 1B
Pedroia  2B
Ramirez  SS
Middlebrooks 3B
Murphy LF
Ellsbury CF
Reddick RF
Lavarnway C

A rotation of Lester, Buchholz, Sanchez, Doubront, and Masterson. A pen of Tazawa, Bard and Papelbon.

A bench with Youkilis, Lowrie, Moss and Shoppach.

The only outsider I need to add to this group would be David Ortiz, and he was picked up after being released.

Let’s hope the Red Sox learned the lessons of the past, and all of the 2013 prospects go on to have long careers in Fenway.

About Rick Swanson 91 Articles
Rick Swanson has been an online feature writer for numerous websites since 2005. He was also a speaker at Boston SABR meetings from 2007-2009. Rick has created three statistics for baseball.... Reaction over Range: A new way to measure defense. Divide reaction time of any play, by the range distance. Umpire Strikezone Score: Take the total number of correct pitches called, divided by the total number of pitches called. Power Pitching: Add WHIP plus ERA and subtract the number of strikeouts per inning. Rick's current title is Consultant, Red Sox and Fenway Park History. In 2007, he was nominated for President of Red Sox Nation by Red Sox team president, Larry Lucchino. You can email Rick here: rickswanson AT cox DOT net

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