Iglesias crown jewel of Boston's farm system
Doubront, Reddick, Ranaudo making progress in Minor Leagues
BOSTON -- Jose Iglesias got his first shot in the Major Leagues last month, spending a couple weeks with the Red Sox while shortstop Marco Scutaro was on the 15-day disabled list with a strained oblique.
Iglesias spent most of his time on the bench, observing the big league pros and how they go about their everyday business.
But he did appear in six games, being used a defensive replacement late in the game and a pinch-runner in key situations, even scoring the game-winning run his first time on base.
Iglesias is Boston's No. 1 prospect, according to MLB.com, with a slick glove and a great arm, his name has been discussed in connection with future Gold Gloves. But the Cuban defector could still be years away with his bat.
The 21-year-old was 0-for-4 in his brief stint with Boston, striking out twice, and he's struggled to hit at the Triple-A level this season as well. In 41 games with Pawtucket, Iglesias is batting .238 with just one extra-base hit in 151 at-bats.
But the Red Sox will likely be patient with him, and with Scutaro's two-year contract up at the end of the 2011 season, Iglesias could be on Boston's roster to begin next season. Iglesias profiles as an eventual No. 2 hitter, but he's been hitting out of the eight-hole in Triple-A and will need to show some strides before he gets his big league chance.
Left-hander Felix Doubront, perhaps the next guy on the prospect list to join the Red Sox, needs to keep himself healthy. The Venezuelan spent some time with Boston earlier in the season, making three appearances out of the bullpen, but his left elbow was at about only 80 percent.
Manager Terry Francona has said multiple times that the organization has a lot of faith in the 23-year-old, but the Sox want to take their time with him. Doubront is being stretched out as a starter with Triple-A Pawtucket right now, but an injured groin delayed his progress yet another few weeks.
In his last three starts at Triple-A, Doubront has thrown 12 1/3 innings, allowing two runs, and striking out 17 batters.
His nametag sits above the trainer's room in Pawtucket, perhaps a joke to his fragile body he's shown recently, but there will likely come a time this season when he's needed in Boston, and it could be sooner rather than later.
Josh Reddick is a name many Red Sox fans are familiar with, as the 24-year-old outfielder has been up and down with the club the past three seasons. Reddick struggled his first two years, but he looked like a much different hitter when called upon this season, going 5-for-13 with four RBIs during his stay with Boston.
The problem, as he looked around the clubhouse last week and admitted, is that he's a left-handed outfielder and fourth on the Sox's depth chart. There just aren't any at-bats for him with the Red Sox right now, and unless an injury or roster move occurs, Reddick may be slated for consistent at-bats with Pawtucket for the majority of the season.
Another club might be happy to have him, as he is tied for third in the International League with 12 home runs. He's waiting for everyday playing time in the Major Leagues, and the Georgia native has handled his role like a professional.
Anthony Ranaudo has flown threw the Minors in his first full season as a professional. After being drafted in the sandwich round last June, slipping in the Draft because of right elbow issues and command problems, the 21-year-old righty went 4-1 with a 3.33 ERA in 10 starts for Greenville.
He was promoted to the Class A Advanced level and made his first start for Salem on Wednesday night, needing just 63 pitches to hurl six shutout innings, allowing just two hits and striking out three.
If Ranaudo can stay healthy and continue to make progress, the youngster could move quickly through the Minor Leagues.
Jason Mastrodonato is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.