Originally Posted by elsid13
I'm super excited, the Red Sox starting 5 has potential to be superstrong, and my only concern is the closer slot. But I hear the kid they signed from Seattle is looking good and Hanson is has his slider working.
Hansen is going back to his old delivery from when he was ranked as the most MLB ready player in his draft with the best fastball and slider in the class.
Piniero has some potential to make it as a closer I think, but thankfully we have a lot of other options.
Okijima, a lhp Japanese reliever, could do well in the closer's role, especially since many Japanese pitchers enjoy an edge over their first half-season or so while the league has no MLB level scouting on them.
Delcarmen was solid last year despite horrible luck (disgusting BABIP). If he can improve the accuracy of his curveball it'd be an excellent compliment to his fastball and he could potentially take the closer's role.
There are some other guys who have a reduced shot at creating some noise too. Big Edgar Martinez has been very good recently with a 2.61 closing in Portland and a 2.19 in the Venezuelan Winter League. He's got a beastly 97 mph four seamer and has improved very fast for a converted catcher.
Bryce Cox is nearly the exact same prospect as Hansen was too, only with a little more heat on the fastball and not quite the power slider Hansen had coming out. Shut down A ball competition last summer after being up and down during his career at Rice. If he keeps it together he could be a legit bullpen option come August.
Kyle Jackson is a dark horse after a strong season in Portland as well, but I think his poor AFL showing will limit him to a AAA promotion and no higher this year.
What I'm really happy with is the mid level talent the FO has added to the farm. Baseball America ranked the '05 draft #2 overall and our '06 draft #1 overall. We moved some upper level prospects last winter in Hanley, Anibal Sanchez, Shoppach, and Marte but we brought back Kottaras who's a better prospect than Shoppach and still have Lester and Ellsbury as two top tier guys. Murphy offers some upside still after adding about 15 pounds and reportedly showing more power this winter, that with Pedroia taking over 2B this year and Papelbon, Beckett, and Matsuzaka giving us three high powered starters 26 or younger.
Good time to be a Sox fan. Now if the Rockies would just send us Helton.