Saturday, January 30, 2010

Rhode Island's Ryan Westmoreland # 32 on ESPN's Keith Law's Top 100 Prospects List

Westmoreland was one of the top prep players available in the 2008 Rule 4 draft, but was widely considered unsignable due to his strong commitment to Vanderbilt. (Imagine how much more stacked Vanderbilt's 2011 draft class -- which still features potential first-rounders Sonny Gray, Jack Armstrong and Jason Esposito -- would be with Westmoreland in it.) The Red Sox signed Westmoreland for $2 million, but he had hurt the labrum in his throwing shoulder and ended up having offseason surgery between 2008 and 2009, limiting him to DH duty for most of last summer. He was still recovering from the original injury, playing left field rather than center when he picked up a glove again, only to break his collarbone slamming into the outfield wall while catching a fly ball, further holding back his development. Westmoreland is a top-10 talent with his combination of athleticism, power potential and feel for hitting, and he showed very advanced plate discipline in his limited season in Lowell last year while going a remarkable 19-for-19 in stolen base attempts. The combination of catastrophic injuries does raise the specter of Chris Snelling Disease, in which a prospect is so prone to injury that he can't develop properly as a hitter. But with a full season in 2010, Westmoreland could largely put those concerns to rest.


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