Keith Law of Scout’s Inc. has released his top 100 MLB prospects for 2011 (ESPN Insider link) and the Red Sox have three of their minor leaguers being recognized. They are SS Jose Iglesias (45), RHP Anthony Ranaudo (54) and Drake Britton (90).
Law’s top five prospects are Mike Trout from the Los Angeles Angels, Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals, Domonic Brown of the Philadelphia Phillies, Jesus Montero of the New York Yankees and Eric Hosmer of the Kansas City Royals.
Here’s what Law has to say about Iglesias (ESPN Insider link):
Iglesias is the best defensive shortstop prospect I’ve ever seen. He’s not the fastest or most athletic, but he’s the one most able to make plays and to take difficult plays and make them look routine.
There’s not much flash to Iglesias’ fielding; he gets in position, the ball disappears into his glove and it’s on its way to first base before your eyes have even adjusted from watching the ball on the ground. His hands and instincts are plus. He is not wide-ranging like an Ozzie Smith but will surprise with how many ground balls he reaches despite average-at-best running speed.
Iglesias’ swing is direct with good bat speed, and he has a little pop when he gets his arms extended, although in Fenway that probably will mean lots of doubles off the Monster but few home runs. He needs to avoid barring his lead arm, and so far he hasn’t shown much patience although he has shown he can make a lot of contact. If he can draw 50 walks a year or hit .300 regularly, he’s an All-Star, and if not, he’s still an above-average regular because of the potential value of his defense.
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Here’s what Law has to say about Ranuado (ESPN Insider link):
Ranaudo might have been the second pick in the draft had he been healthy all spring, but he tweaked his elbow at the start of his season at LSU and wasn’t 100 percent again until about three weeks before the draft. Boston took him in the sandwich round and watched him dominate in the Cape Cod League all summer, after which the Red Sox gave him a bonus commensurate with a top-five overall selection.
Ranaudo is a horse, built for 220-240 innings a year, and has the aggressive approach to pitching you want to see in a potential front-line guy. He’ll pitch with a solid-average fastball at 90-93, reaching back for 94-95 when he needs it, but hitters do not pick up the ball out of his hand and he gets swings and misses up in the zone with the pitch as if it was 97 with life. His curveball is solid-average now, projecting as above-average to plus, 79-82 with varying shape, and he’s got a show-me changeup that will probably be a developmental priority for him in 2011. His arm action was unrestricted on the Cape and he was getting great extension out in front; the fact that Boston gave him all that money is a sign that his elbow is in good shape.
He might be more of a strong No. 2 than an ace, but he should move as quickly as his arm’s health will allow.
Here’s what Law had to say about Britton (ESPN Insider link):
Britton missed almost all of 2009 while recovering from Tommy John surgery, but came back strongly in 2010 and saw his velocity move upward as well. Britton worked in the low 90s all year but would touch 95-97 within outings at the end of the summer. His curveball and changeup both improved as well, although he still needs to refine his curve. He’s also worked on his tendency to rush through the end of his delivery, which the Red Sox hope will lead to improved command.
He’s aggressive and will throw strikes, if not always the quality strikes he needs, and his arm works well. He threw only about 90 to 95 innings in 2010, including work in spring training, so he’ll remain on a fairly low innings cap in 2011 and is probably a good three years out, with the chance that he’s a Jon Lester Lite down the road.