The Red Sox are coming off one of the most exhilarating season since the cavemen in 2004. Not only did the team win but they won without the huge name stars that a team like Detroit has. Last Seasons Red Sox team was as close too one of a kind that a team can get, and everything worked out perfectly on route to victory, but that was last season. Going into the 2014 season the Red Sox roster underwent its standard overhauls bringing in players like Grady Sizemore, AJ Pierzynski, and most notably losing Jacoby Ellsbury, however every player new or old on this years Red Sox roster has one thing in common, they are all one year older.
For a Red Sox team attempting to repeat last seasons success that one year can make an enormous difference. That one extra season under each players belt becomes more and more magnified when looking at the age of some key players on the Red Sox roster. Players like John Lackey (35), Koji Uehara (38), Mike Napoli (33), and David Ortiz (38) are all on the wrong side of thirty. Can these key cogs in the Red Sox roster continue to produce for yet another season of baseball? Even more troublesome for the Red Sox is the sheer volume of players over the age of 30 that could make the Red Sox roster, just looking at who played significant innings last season 14 players are 30+ and thats is not including new possible additions like Grady Sizemore (31) and A.J. Pierzynski (37). With all these Red Sox players being over the age of thirty the future of the team looks extremely shaky, and that’s why the Red Sox farm system needs to step up soon and fill the holes left by the inevitable dwindling performance of older players.
The Red Sox farm system has left a stale taste in the mouth of Sox fans over the past 5 years. Since the days of Pedroia, Lester, and Bucholtz arriving on the Big stage the Red Sox have not been able to get major production from younger players. When thinking of the most recent youth players to come out of the Red Sox farm system players like Danial Bard and Jose Iglesias come to mind. Iglesias couldn’t hit the ball past the pitcher and was promptly traded, and Daniel Bard is on the verge of being out of professional baseball. These were players that were brought up in the organization as high prospects and simply didn’t work out. The Red Sox were fortunate to make all the terrific depth signings they did prior to last season, but they won’t always be able to make the perfect signings in the off season and that’s why they need true value out of the farm system.
The Red Sox need to focus on capturing the value of the youth players because the farm system always seems to have players with ability. Daniel Bard could throw the ball 100 Mph, Jackie Bradley hits for an outrageous average in the minors and is a terrific athlete, and Xander Bogaerts is labeled the next big thing at shortstop. No matter who the next big name prospect is the Red Sox always produce potential, but for whatever reason they can’t seem to get their players to reach that potential.
Starting with Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley the Red Sox organization needs to begin truly capturing the value of their younger players, because they can’t survive much longer with aging talent. Whether it’s John Lackey, Mike Napoli, or anyone else on the team someone is going to get injured, need rest, or under perform and that is when the Red Sox farm system needs to step up to keep this team elite.