BA: Westmoreland, Kelly top prospects

December, 23, 2009

Nineteen-year-old Ryan Westmoreland and 20-year-old Casey Kelly, the prospects you hear most often linked to a potential trade for San Diego strongman Adrian Gonzalez, rank 1-2 on Baseball America's list of Boston's top 10 prospects, which the esteemed trade publication released Wednesday.

Westmoreland, who underwent surgery for a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder before he made his pro debut, the injury limiting him to DH duty initially, had his season end prematurely at Class A Lowell when he fractured his collarbone crashing into an outfield wall. He supplanted slugging first baseman Lars Anderson as the team's No. 1 prospect as selected by BA; Anderson slipped to fourth after struggling last season in Pawtucket.

"Former Red Sox scouting director Jason McLeod says Westmoreland has more upside than any player the club selected in his five years running its drafts,'' BA writes. "His skills are just as impressive as his considerable tools. Westmoreland has an advanced approach for a teen-ager, with a short stroke, control of the strike zone and a willingness to use the entire field. His hand-eye coordination allows him to barrel balls consistency, and he has above-average power potential. He has plus-plus speed and knows how to use it, swiping 19 bases without getting caught at Lowell.

"Westmoreland has above-average range and should be a quality defender in center field. He also starred as a pitcher in high school, and his arm should grade as at least average once it's back to 100 percent. He's an intelligent player with the makeup to succeed.''

Kelly, who split last season between shortstop and pitching, has elected to pitch full time and is already considered the team's top pitching prospect. You can be sure Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos was asking for Kelly and Westmoreland in discussions with Theo Epstein about Roy Halladay before Halladay was dealt to the Phillies.

"Kelly's stuff and aptitude were on display at the Futures Game, where he needed just nine pitches to work a perfect inning, recording all three outs on 93-94 m.p.h. fastballs,'' BA wrote. "His heater usually sits at 89-92 m.p.h., but plays up because he can cut it or sink it and command it to both sides of the plate. He throws his above-average changeup with the same arm speed and slot as his fastball. His 12-to-6 curveball has plus potential as well. He repeats his fluid, athletic delivery with ease.''

Outfielder Josh Reddick, who logged some time with the big-league club last season, was ranked third, with BA opining that once he becomes more selective at the plate, he'll be able to take advantage of five tools that are all average or better.

The rest of the Red Sox's top 10: Anderson, outfielder Ryan Kalish, pitcher Junichi Tazawa, outfielder Raymond Fuentes, first baseman Anthony Rizzo, shortstop Jose Iglesias and shortstop Derrik Gibson.

Fuentes, who has evoked comparisons to Johnny Damon, was the team's top draft pick last season; Rizzo has overcome Hodgkins lymphoma, and Iglesias is the Cuban defector who could begin his pro career, BA speculates, in Double-A Portland.

Here's the link: ». You must be a BA subscriber to read detailed reports on the top 10.

Gordon Edes

ESPN Staff Writer



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