Just in time for prospect season, we take a look at the idea of "windows" and a team's prime time to win. Inspired by what seems to be a once every three years rebuild for the Oakland Athletics, is there going to be a time where all their premier prospects hit and they'll have the best chance to win? Here we present the pleasures of trying to maximize production during one's service time.
18th in the series, we look at the Boston Red Sox. Ranked 11th overall by John Sickels, they have no A-rated prospects but are incredibly deep with 14 B-rated prospects. Keith Law's 2012 organizational rankings sees a bit further down the from the top at 18th overall.
As we start looking at these perrenial playoff contending teams, rather than just the smaller payroll teams I've covered before, the question about the window changes. How long does the Red Sox window stay open? Or to be more specific, when do they chances to win the AL East, or the wild card, start to diminish?
After the historic collapse last September, the Red Sox offseason has been pretty low key. SS Marco Scuturo and RP Jonathan Papelbon left, but the Andrew Bailey trade with the A's brought them back both a great closer and also an outfielder that can play both CF and RF if needed. It looks stats are a little down due to injury, but still worth mentioning.
I personally forget how good Papelbon was when I look at the comparisons.
Here's what the Red Sox roster projects to be in 2012:
*New acquisition, Current roster info from MLB Depth Charts
Projected Disabled List
OF Carl Crawford* + UPDATE 1/17 - questionable for start of season (minor wrist surgery)
RHP Bobby Jenks + UPDATE 2/21 - placed on 60-Day DL (back surgeries)
RHP John Lackey + UPDATE 10/25/11 - underwent Tommy John surgery in November 2011
RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka + underwent Tommy John surgery in June 2011
LHP Rich Hill + underwent Tommy John surgery in June 2011
The starting line up looks to be refreshed soon as top prospect SS Xander Bogaerts will eventually replace SS Mike Aviles in 2015, and 3B Will Middlebrooks could replace 3B Kevin Youkilis as soon as next season. Their top pitching prospect P Matt Barnes (drafted 19th overall in 2011) will look to join in 2014.
While it's hard to believe the collapse will happen again, this team has been there before and poised to stay at the top of the crowded AL East. Extending Jacoby Ellsbury's contract to me is a must, (FA in 2014), but if they do that they can possibly easily extend their window to 2015 if their top of their lineup, even at the wrong side of 30, continues to perform with minimal regression.
See the previous graphics in this series: Mariners | Athletics | Astros | Cubs | Pirates | Royals | Twins | Indians | Padres | Diamondbacks | Rays | Jays | Braves | Nationals | Mets | Marlins | Phillies