With the draft coming up and two months of the season in the books, now is as good a time as any to check in on the farm, particularly since I hope some of the following will see promotions after the draft. The nice thing about nearly uniform sucking is that there's no one to block the handful that aren't. Silver linings, right?
First on deck are the position prospects. I made the age cut off arbitrarily at 25 and used Clay Davenport's free and super nifty minor league translations (scroll down for an explanation of regular and peak translations).
Jose Martinez - The lone international pool signing worth caring about outside of Silveiro, he's still only 19 and is listed as a 6'5'' corner outfielder. That itself would be enough to keep an eye on, but he's actually producing to some degree. He's banged out a .306/.359/.382 line in the SAL, which comes out to a .281/.344/.363 peak translation. He's 6th in the SAL in line drive rate according to firstinning which suggests that he's handling the pitching with ease. The average for A ball is 16-17% (if anyone can find the firstinning post that lists minor league level GB/LD/FB averages, I'd be grateful...I've got it saved on my dead ass laptop), so it's probably safe to say he's outside the standard deviation and ready in that sense for promotion. With a power upgrade, he could contribute something near JD's career line of .275/.337/.486 at his peak. Oh and he just went on the 7 Day DL. And let's hope he's not actually 23.
- The Rest - There are 3 Kannapolites hitting over .250. 2 of them are 24 and the other is Mr. Martinez. Puke? Puke.
John Shelby - Look on his works, ye Sox fans! A really real prospect! Nothing against Martinez, but he's 19 and barely removed from rookie ball. We're off in the land of wishcasting at that point, hence the JD comp. Shelby on the other hand passed through Kanny with ease. Presumably we all know his back story, so let's check out what he's done so far: .259/.289/.462. This line comes with a few caveats, namely the hamstring injury that sidelined him for two weeks and, I'm willing to bet, the poor April stat line that went with it. In May, he's hit .268/.282/.527 with a ridiculous 26% line drive rate and 7 home runs in 117 PA. I would suggest, from a balls in play standpoint, that he's dominating. The obvious problem is the lack of walks, which has dipped from poor to almost literally none. In those 117 PA, he has 112 AB and just 7 walks on the year. The other problem is one of mounting strikeouts. He's jumped from 14.3% K/PA last year to 25.6% over the past month. But it's just a month, so let's see how he develops. With luck, he'll earn a quick promotion. The Sox need a 2B next year and giving Shelby a chance to rocket through the system to be ready by next May would be the cheapest solution by far. At this point, however, he's played DH and LF, suggesting the WS staff doesn't trust his hammy just yet.
- Brandon Allen - More notable than actual prospect, he's still worth talking about. A 5th round pick in 2004, he does have some pedigree and at 22, he comes under the Carolina League average of 22.9. He repeated Kanny last year for a .283/.337/.479 line and this year has put up .294/.363/.582. His walk rate is respectable and his power has been above .220 4 consecutive months (he had 14 PA in Sept, so I didn't count it), so it is probably real. As a first baseman, his bat is his only ticket to the Show and so far his peak translation is pretty inviting: .271/.335/.523. The caveat here is his home/road splits, but, iirc, W-S isn't a hitter's paradise. At his age with few real concerns about his performance thus far, I think it would be wise to get him up to Birmingham as soon as possible.
- The Rest - There are 4 Warthogs hitting over .255 and 2 have been covered already. One is 29 (Javier Colina) and the other is C.J. Retherford, a free agent signing from Arizona State whose 2007 collegiate season likely ended in injury, though I couldn't find confirmation. He raked once he got to rookie ball and has hit .276/.300/.503 so far in Winston-Salem. He's an August 1985 birthday and the Sox had him skip Kanny, so there are a few decent signs going for him. Still, this is an obvious reach. Undrafted college hitters have like zero track record. Notable hopefuls from last summer like Francisco Hernandez and Sergio Miranda are sucking so far
- The Rest - The average age of the top 10 in untranslated EqA is 25.9.
- Chris Getz - He counts, marginally, as he is under 25 and playing fairly well. JRE finally came around, so this will be shorter than originally intended. Through his major league career so far, he's demonstrated remarkably little power. To wit, in almost 900 PA in Birmingham during his age 23 and 24 seasons, he averaged less than .100 ISO. His grindiness has got him this far and by next year or the year after, he'll probably be a useful utility/2B. But not right now.
- The Rest - The roster is chock full of filler outside of Fields, Richar and Owens, who themselves have already seen significant PT in MLB. The utter emptiness between Birmingham and Charlotte is a serious indictment of the 2003 - 2006 drafts
Even when you squint really really hard, it looks like the worst position prospect system in the game.
On that note, I'd like to ask if there's any easy way you guys can think of to aggregate and publish the career WARP of each team's drafts by year. I'd also like to do career WARP by draft pick number and round. I'm ripping on these Sox drafts by way of noting the dearth of talent on the farm, but there are obviously mitigating circumstances and other factors to include in a full evaluation. Anyone got some good ideas? Or did someone do this and I missed it?