Thursday, January 22, 2009

Three Sox Prospects to watch this Spring

Dan Bard
Age: 23 Born: June 25, 1985 Charlotte, NC
Height: 6-4 Weight: 200 Bats: Right Throws: Right
Drafted: 1st round, 2006; 20th round, 2003 by NYY
How Acquired: DraftCollege: North Carolina High School: Charlotte Christian (NC)
ETA: late 2009

Scouting Report: Live arm with a smooth delivery, although he needs to work on keeping a consistent release point. His fastball looks effortless, and consistently hits 97-98 with decent command but minimal movement. When he reaches back, he can apparently hit 101 mph on the gun. Two-seamer shows a bit more break and sits in the low-to-mid 90s. Secondary pitches are decent, but need a lot of refinement, including: (1) a high 80s cut fastball; (2) an 84 mph slider; and (3) a circle change with some downward movement. Previously Bard's breaking pitch was a high 70s slurve, but it was converted to a slider with more velocity in mid-2008. Needs some improvement on keeping all of his pitches down in the zone. Struggled through major control issues throughout the entire 2007 season, particularly with his slurve Has a strong frame and a mature demeanor, but has some confidence issues. Bard took well to a bullpen role in the Hawaii League in 2007, and was converted to a full time reliever in 2008. He changed his delivery by lowering his arm slot prior to the 2008 season, adding a little bit of life to his fastball.MLB Comparison: Kyle Farnsworth

Michale Bowden
Age: 22 Born: September 9, 1986 in Aurora, Ill
Height: 6-3 Weight: 220 Bats: Right Throws: Right
Drafted: 1st round, 2005
How Acquired: Draft - High School: Waubonsie Valley HS (Ill)
ETA: mid-2009

Scouting Report: Bowden is a big righty starter with a top-of-the-rotation ceiling, presently projecting as a solid third starter at the major league level. He is an advanced pitcher for his age, but there's some room for improvement. He has an arsenal of three pitches that could be big-league caliber: a 90-93 mph four-seam fastball that tops out around 95 mph, a very good 12-6 hard breaking curve, and an excellent circle changeup with plus potential. His main pitch - the four-seamer - has a late, heavy sinking movement, and he generally keeps it down in the zone. Bowden can also work in a two-seamer that is a few mph off of his four-seamer, with a bit more movement. His deceptive changeup sits in the low 80s, about 10 mph off of his fastball, with action moving away from lefties. His mid-70s curve is pretty sharp and he keeps hitters at bay with it. However, he can telegraph his curve on occasion. Secondary stuff is really coming along in 2008. Overall, Bowden has an excellent command of the zone. One aspect that should come with more experience is improved pitchability against advanced hitters. His mechanics are somewhat unconventional in that his delivery is quite compact and he doesn't pull back with a lot of torque. Relies more on arm strength than leverage. But he's able to maintain consistent arm action throughout his outings, so the Sox haven't messed with it. Bowden is said to be a workaholic and just loves to pitch - another player who just lives and dies for baseball. Very athletic and competitive


Age: 21 Born: September 25, 1987 in Oakland, CA
Height: 6-4 Weight: 210 Bats: Left Throws: Left
Drafted: 18th round, 2006
How Acquired: Draft - High School: Jesuit (CA)
ETA: late 2009

Scouting Report: Large, powerful slugger with a great hitter's frame, excellent present power, and an elite power ceiling. Extremely smooth and fluid swing. Impeccable batting eye with very good patience at the plate, he actually could stand to be a little more aggressive. Hits especially well to the opposite field, but also can pull the ball on occasion. His swing is tailor-made for Fenway. Still strikes out a little bit too much, particularly against off-speed stuff from more advanced pitchers. Athletic for his size, plays a pretty good first base. Digs throws in the dirt well. Makes some nice diving plays, but still can look awkward at times. Mediocre range. Not a stolen base threat, his speed is about average for a big 1B. Takes instruction well and learns fast. Strong work ethic. Intelligent and confident. Likely would have been a supplemental first round pick in 2006 if not for high bonus demands. Anderson spent significant time in left field in high school (but has yet to play there professionally), so it's not out of the question that he could spend some time in the outfield in 2009 in case his path is blocked at 1B in the Red Sox system.
MLB Comparison:
Justin Morneau

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