Next up in our series looking at the largest signing bonuses given to amateur players: the Red Sox…
- Jose Iglesias, $6.25MM (2009)
- Casey Kelly, $3MM (2008)
- Anthony Ranaudo, $2.55MM (2010)
- Ryan Westmoreland, $2MM (2008)
- Jose Vinicio, $1.95MM (2009)
Given their revenue streams, it should be no surprise that the Red Sox spend big. Iglesias signed after defecting from Cuban and is widely considered to be the best defensive shortstop in minor league baseball. His bat was better than expected this season, as he hit .295/.339/.379 in 284 plate appearances. A broken finger robbed him of more than two months of the season, however.
Kelly is the team's best prospect at the moment, now that he's no longer dabbling at shortstop and is focused exclusively on pitching. He reached Double-A at age-20 this year, and owns a 3.69 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 190 minor league innings. Ranaudo was arguably the best pitching prospect available in the 2010 draft but he fell to the 39th overall pick because of injury concerns. The Red Sox spent the money and took the risk as they tend to do, and they'll eagerly await his professional debut next season.
Westmoreland was an elite level talent that fell to the fifth round of the 2008 draft due to contract demands, and he was the team's top prospect before a "cavernous malformation of the brain" got in the way. He missed the entire 2010 season after having brain surgery and is recovering well, even starting to perform baseball activities within the last month or so. Vinicio was a high profile signing out of the Dominican Republic last summer. The 17-year-old shortstop hit .253/.290/.373 in 170 plate appearances for Boston's rookie level affiliate this year.
It's worth noting that Daisuke Matsuzaka received a $2MM bonus as part of his six-year, $52MM contract. He had zero MLB experience at the time of the contract, but he was certainly no amateur given all of the time he spent pitching in Japan.