John Danks -- LHP | 6'2" | 190lbs. | 04/15/85
Upside: Frontline starter with good stuff, projectability.
Attrition: If he falls short of his ceiling, he still figures to be a league average innings eater.
Baseball America: "three average-to-plus pitches. His four-seam fastball sits at 90-92 mph and touches 94... curveball (rated best in Rangers system) can be a plus pitch when he commands it... easy delivery... changeup that at times is his best pitch"
Cheat: I believe I called Danks the Ryan Sweeney of pitching prospects back when his name was first brought up. And I loves me some Ryan Sweeney... Danks becomes the Sox current #1 prospect over Sweeney thanks to his upside as a frontline starter being greater than Sweeney's as an eventual corner outfielder.
Gio Gonzalez -- LHP | 5'11" | 195lbs. | 09/19/85
Upside: Number 2 or 3 starter
Attrition: Small frame makes him an increased injury risk. High BB and HR rates at AA in '05 are scary. Left-handed set-up man is future if he fails as a starter.
Baseball America: "generates easy velocity -- occasionally reaching 93-94 mph -- and spins a hard curveball as his out pitch... mixes in a quality changeup."
Cheat: I've been a big fan of Gio's ever since the Sox left their mic on too long during the draft conference call. An unknown voice was heard to say of the 18-year old HSer, "He could start at Kanny, right now."
Andy Sisco -- LHP | 6'10" | 270lbs. | 01/13/83
Upside: As a reliever, Sisco has the opportunity to be one of the best lefties in the game. As a starter, which would probably require a season in the minors, his frame and stuff make him an upper rotation possibility.
Attrition: Sisco has well known motivation/work ethic problem, so he's a big risk. He literally ate himself out of his winter league job.
Baseball America: "has a mid-90s fastball and a plus curveball, but his velocity has wavered from appearance to appearance"
Cheat: Kenny claimed that he had a good changeup or a splitter, remarking, "we don't know what it is." In '06, the Sox were all over Sisco, who was reportedly tipping his pitches. It sounds like he has a mechanical flaw that the Sox know they can fix. I'm very confident that they can at least convert Sisco into a very good reliever.
Nick Masset -- RHP | 6'4" | 190lbs. | 05/17/82
Upside: As a reliever, he has closer potential. As a starter, he's nothing more than back of the rotation filler.
Attrition: After what looked like a breakout season in '04, Masset regressed and was dropped from the Rangers 40-man roster in the '05 season. So he's already shown the ability to be very volitile. He's appeared very comfortable in his move to the pen though.
Baseball America: "plus fastball that has hit 98 mph at times... hard mid-80s curveball and also uses a changeup and cutter... more likely to be a setup man than closer, at least in the near-term."
Cheat: Kenny compared his stuff to Bobby Jenks, and he appears to be ticketed for the bullpen. He might be in the competition for 5th starter role, but I'd rather him stick to the pen where his added velocity increases his value.
Gavin Floyd -- RHP | 6'4" | 220lbs. | 01/27/83
Upside: He was once thought of as the Phillies next ace, but now figures to top out as nothing more than an average innings eater.
Attrition: Any more attrition here and Floyd will be a minor leaguer for the rest of his career.
Baseball America: lively 94 mph fastball and hard, 12-to-6 curveball... seemed to lack conviction in the pitches when he struggled, causing both to lose bite.
Cheat: I really had trouble placing Floyd on this list. He's had three years to conquer AAA/MLB, and hasn't succeeded in either. He's a classic "change of scenery" guy. Hopefully, Chicago is his kinda town.
David Aardsma -- RHP | 6'4" | 205lbs. | 12/27/81
Upside: Top flight set-up man
Attrition: Lack of secondary pitches and control have caused two organizations to give up on him.
Baseball America: "brings 93-97 mph heat... shows an above-average slider at times... pie-thrower mechanics have at times short-circuited his command and his velocity"
Cheat: Aardsma closed the season with a flourish, logging a 1.59 ERA over his last 22.2 innings. He needs to work on his secondary pitches, but if he keeps his mechanics straight, he'll be a good power-righty bullpen arm.
Jacob Rasner -- RHP | 6'4" | 195lbs. | 12/04/86
Upside: back-of-the-rotation starter
Attrition: He's got a long way to go, starting with posting an ERA below 5.
Baseball America: "Rangers' No. 30 prospect due to the sink and armside run his 90-92 mph fastball possesses... touches 94... slider and changeup are both raw."
Cheat: He's worth keeping an eye on, and ranks ahead of Vasquez because he still projects as a starter.
Carlos Vasquez -- LHP | 6'2" | 220lbs. | 12/06/82
Attrition: The Cubs had no intention of keeping him on their 40-man roster. If Vasquez doesn't perform, he'll be one of the names brought up every time the Sox have a crunch on their 40-man.
Baseball America: "touched 94 mph with his sinker, but usually pitches at 88-92."
Cheat: He'll be in the competition for LOOGY dooty in camp.