Biggest Sox Prospect Busts by Position

Jul 5, 2018
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Kyle Weiland?

In terms of overhyped, back in the day Peter Gammons would provide weekly tracking of Kevin Morton as he was progressing through the minors.
I remember Kevin Morton; he was a college teammate of Mo Vaughn and I saw his debut on TV. In a complete game win against the Tigers, he allowed 5 hits, one run off of a homer by Cecil Fielder and struckout 9. He didn't pitched well after that and never played again after that first season.
 

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Rusney Castillo was a prospect? They signed him as a 26 year old.

Not sure why Donnie Sadler was supposed to be something. He was an 11th round pick who didn't exactly show much bat in the minors.

Edit: Wilton Veras. Up at 21 but not exactly lighting the minors on fire on his way.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Rusney Castillo was a prospect? They signed him as a 26 year old.

Not sure why Donnie Sadler was supposed to be something. He was an 11th round pick who didn't exactly show much bat in the minors.

Edit: Wilton Veras. Up at 21 but not exactly lighting the minors on fire on his way.
Regarding Sadler...2B was a revolving door from in the 90s. I think he got the hype because he was a base stealer, covered a bunch of ground defensively, was a base stealer, the team was starved for a long term answer at the position, and he was a base stealer. The position was never really settled until Pedroia came up. From 1990 through 2006, the Red Sox had 13 Opening Day 2B in 16 seasons.

Veras was somewhat of the same thing...a prospect at a position for which the team wanted and needed stability. It wasn't as bad as 2B, but they went through a few 3B after Boggs left.

I wouldn't discount the Gammons effect either. He loved to build up prospects and write puff pieces about them, even if they weren't nearly as good as he made them sound. Sometimes I think the front office read his columns too much.
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

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Regarding Sadler...2B was a revolving door from in the 90s. I think he got the hype because he was a base stealer, covered a bunch of ground defensively, was a base stealer, the team was starved for a long term answer at the position, and he was a base stealer. The position was never really settled until Pedroia came up. From 1990 through 2006, the Red Sox had 13 Opening Day 2B in 16 seasons.

Veras was somewhat of the same thing...a prospect at a position for which the team wanted and needed stability. It wasn't as bad as 2B, but they went through a few 3B after Boggs left.

I wouldn't discount the Gammons effect either. He loved to build up prospects and write puff pieces about them, even if they weren't nearly as good as he made them sound. Sometimes I think the front office read his columns too much.
Only the truly "special" ones. Remember when we were told one day we'd be talking in august tones about the day the Red Sox acquired Andy Marte... who they promptly flipped in the Coco Crisp deal? With all due respect to the dead, Gammons missed by a country mile on him.

Who was the guy that Grady (I think?) used to provide updates on? Matt White or Matt Young or something like that? Did he ever amount to anything?
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Webster and RDLR were throw-ins in a deal that was mainly about salary relief. The Dodgers knew we wouldn’t let the deal fall apart over the prospects, so it’s clear the Dodgers didn’t think much of those two guys. We talked ourselves into believing they had value.

Ranaudo was a legitimate bust, but pitching prospects wash out so frequently that I think you need to be both really hyped and really bad to enter this discussion. Hansen and Ball are good examples. Ranaudo was just a run-of-the-mill late 1st-rounder who didn’t make it.

Lars Anderson was the Red Sox’ biggest prospect bust of the past decade. He was the can’t-miss guy who did.
I remember being so annoyed at Theo for being obsessed with Anderson and Khalish for nothing more than, what I recall... was their plate discipline. Granted, it's a good quality... but if you can't hit the ball it doesn't do you much good. At the time Rizzo and Reddick were IMO showing way more potential.
I have so many "what if's" during that era.... What if they signed Beltre and kept Youk at 1B for one more season then brought in Rizzo instead. They could likely have spun Anderson and Khalish at the time for someone else.... moved Reddick into RF after Drew. Ah well..... Theo had many awesome qualities as a GM but he had some obsessions in both mL and ML trade targets that he couldn't get past the warning signs.
 

jon abbey

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Only the truly "special" ones. Remember when we were told one day we'd be talking in august tones about the day the Red Sox acquired Andy Marte... who they promptly flipped in the Coco Crisp deal? With all due respect to the dead, Gammons missed by a country mile on him.
Not just Gammons, BA had him as a top 15 MLB prospect three years in a row.

Pre-2003 #40
Pre-2004 #11
Pre-2005 #9
Pre-2006 #14
 

Harry Hooper

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I'll nominate this guy for 1B

https://seminoles.com/jeff-ledbetter-bio/
He absolutely mashed in college, and lasted until the 26th pick of the first round in the 1982 draft, where the Sox grabbed him. He was pretty highly regarded, and the neighborhood was pretty excited that the Sox got him. I cant find much on the internet, other than this, from a draft day NYT article:



Never made it above AA with the Sox

https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.fcgi?id=ledbet001jef

Good call, he was the first name that popped into my head.


Here's the training Sadler should have gotten:

 

RetractableRoof

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It's crazy to look at Hansen's minor league stats. In 2005 - the year he was drafted - he threw 12.2 IP, 14 K to 1 BB, and didn't give up a single run. The Sox brought him up, he sucked, and he was never the same again.
Wasn't that part of his contract negotiation? He had to be a Sept call up or something like that?
 

lexrageorge

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Ted Cox was the Sox first pick in 1973, 24 spots ahead of Fred Lynn. He was still considered a highly touted prospect when he was dealt as part of the deal that brought Eckersley to Boston.

Bobby Sprowl rapidly moved through A and AA before his disastrous usage in the 1978 Massacre.

Greg McMurtry was hyped pretty hard when the Sox made him their #1 pick. He ended going to Michigan to play football, got drafted by the Pats, and had a fairly brief spell as a WR for them.
 

jmcc5400

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Dernell Stenson. No. 22 prospect going into 1999. The next Mo Vaughn. Stayed in top 100 the next two years while the Sox let him depreciate in value to the point where he would be claimed off of waivers by the Reds before the 2003 season. He was decent-ish for Cinci in limited time that year before tragically being killed - shot, I think - after the '03 season at just 25.
 

richgedman'sghost

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I feel like Ryan Westmoreland needs one of the corner OF spots.
In the article Chad Finn specifically mentions that he did not consider players such as Ryan Westmoreland who suffered injuries beyond their control like cancer or brain injuries. Chad also includes Andy Yount in this class of injured players.
 

sean1562

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As a Pre-cog, I expect Durbin Feltman to make this list
man i forgot all about this guy until this post. Ranked as our 25th best prospect now on many sites. I remember the talk where he was supposed to be a sure thing closer immediately
 

richgedman'sghost

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Webster and RDLR were throw-ins in a deal that was mainly about salary relief. The Dodgers knew we wouldn’t let the deal fall apart over the prospects, so it’s clear the Dodgers didn’t think much of those two guys. We talked ourselves into believing they had value.

Ranaudo was a legitimate bust, but pitching prospects wash out so frequently that I think you need to be both really hyped and really bad to enter this discussion. Hansen and Ball are good examples. Ranaudo was just a run-of-the-mill late 1st-rounder who didn’t make it.

Lars Anderson was the Red Sox’ biggest prospect bust of the past decade. He was the can’t-miss guy who did.
Wasn't Ranaudo traded for Steven Wright?
 

E5 Yaz

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If anyone could have ever convinced Donnie Sadler that he was all of about 5'5" he would have been pretty good. But when he hit he stood stock straight and tried to hit everything out of the park.
If memory serves, Sadler had a two-homer game fairly early on (in Detroit?), and started swinging from the heels from that point on.
 

RetractableRoof

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Wesbter was a universal top 100 prospect at the time of the trade, top 50 by some lists. He was legit.


https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.fcgi?id=webste001car
Saw him throwing a bullpen in Providence with like 2-3 coaches watching over him like he was about to give birth. I don't think I saw him throw 2 consecutive strikes the whole time, and they weren't talking to him between pitches tweaking stuff, he was just throwing. He was someone I thought should have taken 2-3 mph's off his fastball if that added ANYTHING to his control. Or he should have been taught to throw inside exclusively so the batters wouldn't ever be able to comfortable. Or something... a hellacious arm though....
 

RetractableRoof

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I remember Kevin Morton; he was a college teammate of Mo Vaughn and I saw his debut on TV. In a complete game win against the Tigers, he allowed 5 hits, one run off of a homer by Cecil Fielder and struckout 9. He didn't pitched well after that and never played again after that first season.
I wanted soooo bad for him to have been Bruce Hurst 2.0, or Tudor, or Ojeda, there was just a run of decent lefties there.
 

Ale Xander

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Does bust due to injuries count? (If it's not Westmoreland-esque) if so, I nominate Daniel Bard.
 

Granite Sox

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I feel like Lars Anderson deserves at least an honorable mention. Brian Rose was a big one, too.
My funniest recollection of Rose was that an EEI caller at that time said “Tomo Ohka was Japanese for Brian Rose.” :)
… Dernell Stenson was headed that way but was murdered.
He was already out of the Sox’ system when he met his tragic demise. RIP.
I remember Kevin Morton; he was a college teammate of Mo Vaughn and I saw his debut on TV. In a complete game win against the Tigers, he allowed 5 hits, one run off of a homer by Cecil Fielder and struckout 9. He didn't pitched well after that and never played again after that first season.
Along with Johnny Val, this was the Seton Hall crew.

Years after his career ended, Morton was my son’s pitching coach during his Little League years. During one lesson, I asked him if it was true that Clemens was juicing. “Oh HELL yeah” was his response (this was 2002’ish).
 

Savin Hillbilly

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The wrong side of the bridge....
Along with Johnny Val, this was the Seton Hall crew.

Years after his career ended, Morton was my son’s pitching coach during his Little League years. During one lesson, I asked him if it was true that Clemens was juicing. “Oh HELL yeah” was his response (this was 2002’ish).
I don't think I was aware at the time, but I just noticed looking up Morton on BBref that he was also from Norwalk, so he and Mo might have gone back as far as Little League ball.

Of course Biggio was also a member of that bunch, though they were only all four on the same team for one season (Valentin overlapped with Biggio for two). I wonder if that's the most future MLB WAR that ever played together on a college team (125.6 per BBref, 128.9 per FG).
 

amRadio

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I feel like a lot of people convinced themselves Abe Alvarez was a good prospect back in the dark times.
 

richgedman'sghost

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They played too much for this list but Juan Beniquez and Rogelio Moret were a couple players I had high hopes for.
Juan Beniquez had a very nice career albeit not with the Red Sox. In no way or manner would I ever consider him a bust.
 

Plympton91

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You're absolutely correct about the K rate and innings totals - the K rate would be an enormous red flag now.
To your point, Good organizations knew though.

I remember watching the NESN coverage on the night of the Pedro Trade. They were interviewing Jim Beattie, the Expos GM, and the interviewer said, “The Red Sox offered you a choice of Pavano or Rose, did you have to think hard about that?” Beattie looked at the camera, a little bewildered, and replied, “There was no choice. We were only in on Pavano.”

It was that night I said, “Oh crap!” about Rose.
 

Cesar Crespo

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To your point, Good organizations knew though.

I remember watching the NESN coverage on the night of the Pedro Trade. They were interviewing Jim Beattie, the Expos GM, and the interviewer said, “The Red Sox offered you a choice of Pavano or Rose, did you have to think hard about that?” Beattie looked at the camera, a little bewildered, and replied, “There was no choice. We were only in on Pavano.”

It was that night I said, “Oh crap!” about Rose.
It's interesting because the better pitching prospect in Juan Pena was mostly ignored while Brian Rose was a top 25 prospect.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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The wrong side of the bridge....
Considering there are 12 players with a bWAR above 125.6, I would guess that at least one of them went to college.
Clemens, for instance.
OK, OK....how about "the only time that three guys with future MLB WAR of 25 or more played on the same college team together"?

The mid-60s Arizona State teams came damn close, but Sal Bando and Rick Monday missed playing with Reggie by one year. (And then the A's drafted them all.)
 

greek_gawd_of_walks

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No. People were scratching their heads the day he was picked. A soft-tossing lefty with no upside whatsoever.
He should've worn a pirate eye patch instead of tilting he brim of his hat on a Rodney-esque axis.

Nick Hagadone isn't the biggest bust by any means, but I thought he was going to be a dominant, dominant back-of-the-bullpen arm for a lot of years.
 
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nighthob

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Chances that "Juan Bustabad" was picked just because of his name?
Over/under 99%?
Almost certainly over, he was never any good in the minors despite the 1st round pick status. His draft drop between 79 & 80 should have been a red flag. I’m not sure his OPS ever topped .600 in the minors.

The guy that got loads of hype, though, was Rey Quinoñes, he was supposed to be a future superstar. I think BA tabbed him as Boston’s top prospect for two or three years in a row. The apex of his major league career was nearly helping Boston win a World Series by being the centerpiece of the trade for Spike Owen and Dave Henderson.
 

nighthob

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Jose Malave?
In fairness the guy did hit like 25 homers in the EL, which was a feat. He also had an ungodly OPS for the EL in those days, like .950 or something. I remember thinking that he was the LF of the future. Then I saw him play LF and he made Mike Greenwell look like Yaz.

If memory serves, Sadler had a two-homer game fairly early on (in Detroit?), and started swinging from the heels from that point on.
I vaguely recall that at one of his NL stops he accumulated a negative OPS+ number, which was also an achievement.
 
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Harry Hooper

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Almost certainly over, he was never any good in the minors despite the 1st round pick status. His draft drop between 79 & 80 should have been a red flag. I’m not sure his OPS ever topped .600 in the minors.

The guy that got loads of hype, though, was Rey Quinoñes, he was supposed to be a future superstar. I think BA tabbed him as Boston’s top prospect for two or three years in a row. The apex of his major league career was nearly helping Boston win a World Series by being the centerpiece of the trade for Spike Owen and Dave Henderson.

IIRC, Ted Williams LOVED Quinoñes' potential.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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The wrong side of the bridge....
Almost certainly over, he was never any good in the minors despite the 1st round pick status. His draft drop between 79 & 80 should have been a red flag. I’m not sure his OPS ever topped .600 in the minors.
It was usually over .600 until he got to Triple-A, but never got over .700.

Looking at the record, it seems clear they rushed the living fork out of him. He was in Pawtucket at 20, despite having struggled offensively at his prior stops. I think that qualifies as developmental malpractice. I mean, obviously we don't know if a more deliberate approach would have turned him into a viable player, but it seems like it couldn't have hurt.

Seung Song
Whose nickname clearly would have been "Blue" had he ever made it....

Just checked him on BBref and he's had a long and successful career in KBO. Still pitching for Lotte as of last year, at age 39.
 

Cesar Crespo

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He was in Pawtucket at 20, despite having struggled offensively at his prior stops. I think that qualifies as developmental malpractice. I mean, obviously we don't know if a more deliberate approach would have turned him into a viable player, but it seems like it couldn't have hurt.
Reminds me of Jose Iglesias. Obviously not a bust but I was expecting more.
 

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Peter Gammons once wrote that Rey Quinones hit like Frank Robinson and fielded like Luis Aparicio.

I guess he kind of held his hands in front of him in his stance, but that's all the "hit like Frank Robinson" he ever provided.
 

lexrageorge

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Bobby Sprowl? “Ice water in his veins”
Whenever Bobby Sprowl is mentioned, it's worth noting two of the other pitchers the Red Sox had in AAA at that moment.

John Tudor, drafted by the Sox in 1976, was 24, and had gone 7-4 with a 3.09 ERA for Pawtucket that season. He turned into a decent pitcher for the Cardinals.

But one that had too short of a career was Chuck Rainey. The 23 y/o had gone 13-7 for the PawSox with 2.91 ERA and 3 shutouts. He got some folks excited in 1979 and again in 1980 when he went a combined 16-8, but then he hurt his shoulder and never did much of anything after that.

Both would have been far better choices than the inexperienced and overmatched Bobby Sprowl.