The 2011 Boston Red Sox farm system had some players that played a small role for the team. MLB.com ranked Will Middlebrooks, Bryce Brentz, Anthony Ranaudo, Félix Doubront, and José Iglesias as the top five prospects in the Red Sox farm system that season. While their careers with the team didn’t work out, it’s interesting to see what they accomplished later on.
The Boston Red Sox drafted Middlebrooks in the fifth round of the 2007 draft as a shortstop. He made his professional debut in 2008 and moved permanently to third base. In 2010, Middlebrooks set career highs in batting average, homers, and RBI, earning him a promotion to Double-A ball. From this point on, he kept hitting in every level and was seen as the Red Sox future third baseman.
In 2012, Red Sox starting third baseman, Kevin Youkilis struggled to begin the season. This set an opportunity for Middlebrooks who got a promotion to the big leagues. Middlebrooks didn’t skip a beat and made a great first impression in his first MLB season. That year he hit 15 homers with a .288/.325/.509 slash line in 75 games. The team put so much trust in him that they ended up trading Youkilis to the Chicago White Sox. This move made Middlebrooks their permanent third baseman, a move that turned out to be a mistake.
After a great first season in the big leagues, Middlebrooks struggled to replicate his success. He was optioned to Triple-A after starting the 2013 season hitting .192. Over the next two seasons, he spent some time on the disabled list and couldn’t even reach a .700 OPS. The Red Sox quickly moved on and in the 2015 offseason, traded him to the San Diego Padres.
After the Padres, he spent some time with Milwaukee Brewers and Texas Rangers, but his bat never returned to what it used to be in his first season with the Red Sox. In 2018 he was invited to spring training by the Philadelphia Phillies, but broke his leg in a spring training game and didn’t play a single game that season. Middlebrooks announced his retirement from baseball the following offseason.
The Boston Red Sox drafted Brentz in the first round of the 2010 draft. MLB.com ranked him the second-best prospect in the Red Sox farm system. From 2011-2013 Brentz had some success in the minors, hitting a total of 66 HRs and moving up to Triple-A. However, he also had some trouble staying healthy. In 2013 he missed time when he accidentally shot himself in the leg during the offseason and later in July when he tore his meniscus.
In 2014 Brentz was promoted to the big leagues thanks to his impressive power against minor league pitching. He played a very limited time of nine games posting a .308 batting average but failed to hit any homers or draw any walks. His injury problems continued causing him to play only 59 games in the 2015 season. He was called up in 2016 for another short stint in the majors but his power and plate discipline never translated to the big leagues. He ended up hitting one homer and posted a .279/.313/.377 slash line in 25 games. This would be his last couple of games in the big leagues.
After a successful minor league season in 2017, the Red Sox traded Brentz to the Pittsburgh Pirates for cash consideration. The Pirates later placed him on waivers and he was claimed by the New York Mets. In 2019 Brentz returned to the Red Sox organization for another season. His power was still there but he was struggling to hit for average against minor league pitching. He became a free agent after the season and signed a contract with the High Point Rockers, a team in the independent Atlantic League.
The Boston Red Sox drafted Ranaudo in the 2010 draft, with the 39th pick overall. MLB.com ranked him the number one pitching prospect in the organization right out of the draft. He made his professional debut in 2011. That season he posted a 3.97 ERA and finished with 117 strikeouts and 46 walks in 127 innings pitched. In 2012 he was promoted to Double-A but struggled for much of the season. This was mostly due to injury problems that caused him to end the season with only 37 innings pitched. Ranaudo bounced back in 2013 and earned a promotion to Triple-A. He put up the best numbers of his career ending the season with a 2.96 ERA in 24 starts and earning the Pitcher of the Year in the Eastern League.
The Red Sox promoted Ranaudo to the big leagues on August 1, 2017. He pitched seven games that season for the Red Sox posting a 4.81 ERA in 39 innings pitched. However, he struggled to strikeout hitters and ended the season with a strikeout percentage of 8.8%, second-worst in the majors among starters with at least 30 innings pitched.
During the 2014-2015 offseason, Ranaudo was traded to the Texas Rangers for Robbie Ross Jr. He couldn’t replicate his minor league success in the major leagues and went on to post his worst career numbers. The Rangers converted him to a reliever for the 2016 season but he was awful in two appearances. He got traded to the White Sox and posted an 8.46 ERA in 27 innings pitched. This resulted in his release at the end of the season. He signed a one year contract in 2017 to play for the Samsung Lions in the Korean Baseball League. Ranaudo’s struggles continued in the KBO League and he became a free agent after the 2017 season. That ended up being the last time he’d play professionally in his career.
The Boston Red Sox signed Doubront as an international free agent in July 2004. In 2005 he made his professional debut at age 17 on the Red Sox rookie league. After spending the next three seasons in Single-A Doubront was called up to Double-A in 2009. Doubront had a very successful 2009 where he posted a 3.35 ERA in 26 starts for the Portland Sea Dogs. He continued his success in 2010 by posting dominant numbers in both Double-A and Triple-A. This caught the eye of the Red Sox who promoted him to the big leagues in June of that season.
Doubront spent the 2010 and 2011 season splitting time between the minors and majors. He wasn’t having the same success in the majors as he did in the minors but in 2012 that all changed. Doubront earned a spot in the Red Sox opening day rotation as the fifth starter. He stayed in the big leagues for the rest of the season and posted a 4.86 ERA in 29 starts. He played a very important role for the 2013 Red Sox pitching another good season as the fifth starter and helping the team out of the bullpen in the playoffs. The Red Sox would go on to win their first World Series title since 2007.
The effective pitcher from the last two seasons seemed to have disappeared in 2014. Doubront was demoted from the starting rotation to the bullpen after struggling to begin the year. His struggles continued as a reliever and he was eventually traded to the Chicago Cubs for Marco Hernández. From there Doubront couldn’t stop getting injured. He would pitch a total of 95 more innings in his MLB career. In 2017 he signed a contract to pitch for the Lotte Giants in the Korean Baseball League and pitched last season in the Mexican League for the Pericos de Puebla and the Saraperos de Saltillo, with hopes of someday returning to the big leagues.
Iglesias defected from Cuba in July 2008 and signed as an international amateur free agent with the Red Sox in September 2009. He made his professional debut in 2010 playing Single-A and Double-A ball. He showed great defensive awareness and contact skills but lacked power. Iglesias started the 2011 season in Triple-A where he continued to impress with his defense. However, his average dropped from .295 to .235 and his OPS from .719 to .554.
Iglesias made his MLB debut in 2011 when he played a short stint of 10 games, mostly as a defensive replacement in late innings. In 2012 he played most of the season in Triple-A but again had a short stint of 25 games. This time he received more at-bats but struggled to be effective offensively and ended up with a slash line of .118/.200/.191 with no homers. Iglesias’ contact skills proved to be no fluke.
In 2013 he was an early rookie of the year candidate and after 63 games he had a slash line of .330/.376/.409. However, the Red Sox were in the middle of a division race and needed help in their rotation. They also had a young prospect in their minor league system by the name Xander Bogaerts who showed a lot of promise. This made Iglesias expendable and the team ended up trading him to the Detroit Tigers for Jake Peavy.
He couldn’t replicate his success with the bat in the second half with the Tigers and ended up hitting .259/.306/.348 for the season and finishing in second place for the rookie of the year voting. From 2014-2018 Iglesias was the starting shortstop for the Tigers. He was an All-Star in 2015 and a Gold Glove finalist in 2016. His offensive numbers, however, would never return to what they were with the Red Sox in 2013. In 2019 he signed a minor league contract with the Cincinnati Reds and won the starting job at shortstop. After one season with the Reds, he became a free agent and signed a one-year deal with the Baltimore Orioles for the 2020 season.
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