Re: Felix Hernandez
posted at 12/15/2011 12:55 PM EST
In Response to Re: Felix Hernandez
[QUOTE]In Response to Felix Hernandez : Will Middlebrooks, Anthony Ranaudo and Ryan Kalish are largely overvalued on this message board. Baseball America has never ranked Middlebrooks among Boston's Top 10 prospects (although a ranking is pending) because the 23-year-old thirdbaseman's low walk rate and high strikeout rate. Ranaudo is a 22-year-old former sandwich-round draft pick who was not overly impressive last season in 26 starts at the Single A and High A levels. The MLB production of former prospect Ryan Kalish, who turns 24 in March, will likely fall somewhere between the MLB production of former Red Sox prospects David Murphy and Brandon Moss, fellow lefthand-hitting outfielders. Gio Gonzalez, who has two solid MLB seasons at age 26 and who remains under his team's control for another four seasons, is a lot to give up for three question marks.
Posted by hill55[/QUOTE]
I won't say you're wrong that some/all of these guys are overrated here, but your analysis goes too far in the other direction.Middlebrooks-
Yes, he has never been highly ranked, but that completely ignores that he had a blossom season this year! He was drafted as an unpolished high school player, slowly moved up the A level ladders, and wasn't even a top 20 soxprospect.com prospect as of April 2010. However, he showed excellent development in 2010 and was viewed as a 10-15 ranked prospect through the start of last season, before rocketing up the boards this year (including a fine power showing in the AFL)
Middlebrooks is well-regarded because he has a good frame for 3B, very strong or better defense, and has a bat with power. His developing but still inadequate plate discipline is what makes him a risk, but if he weren't at least something of a risk, he'd be in the majors this year! His floor appears to be an Edwin Encarnacion, but he was the potential to be a slightly poorer man's version of Scott Rolen. That's a fine prospect.Ranaudo-
You're way off the mark with him. He was a top-15 prospect who fell in the draft because he had an injury question and yet did not lower his signing demands. The Sox rolled the dice with him, and he answered the injury question with flying colors. He has an excellent pitcher's body with the smooth delivery, solid command, and well-rounded repetoire of a good #2 or #3 pitcher (who could always develop into more). His lack of raw stuff prevents him from projecting as an ace, but he should reliably be a major leaguer fairly soon.
Given that last year was his first season of professional ball, I think you should give Ranaudo a break. He was exactly what was hoped for in low-A ball in 10 starts (3.33 era, 1.11 whip, more K's than innings) before predictably struggling a little when he moved up a level (4.33 era, 1.36 whip, lower K rate...not a big deal at all). His trade/MLB projection value will likely be established, for good or ill, based on this upcoming season.Kalish-
He had an unfortunate setback last year, but comparing him to Moss and Murphy does him a disservice. Those two are more like Reddick (all three had decent but limited plate discipline to go with good power, athleticism, and flexible fielding ability), and all three projected a notch below Kalish. Murphy has actually not been as good as you think, as he benefits an awful lot from Texas's ballpark.
Kalish has always had more plate discipline than any of the previously mentioned OFers (he's had multiple 20+ game stints with a .400 or higher OBP), and he's a great character/hustle guy. His floor is basically Murphy, a perfect 4th OFer (can play all three spots, good athleticism, some contact, some power, good personality), and if he develops further he could be a Trot Nixon-level starter.
None of these guys is an elite-level prospect, but all offer things to like. Middlebrooks is a classic upside prospect, who needs to improve in some areas but is MLB ready in others. Ranaudo is a SP who likely will never be an ace but who is extremely projectable (the same said many times about Jon Lester, so these type of SP prospects are great to have). And Kalish probably has much more value to the Red Sox than he would in a trade, given that he is coming off a down year and has a place waiting for him on the team. Far from being a "throw in" as Jim Bowden labeled him, at worst he should provide quality bench production at little price, and at best he's a future full-time starter.