Sox Farmhands Among HWB "Fab 15"

The Hawaii Winter Baseball league released its list of top 15 prospects from the 2007 HWB campaign Monday. According to a press release issued by the HWB, the rankings are based on the opinions of HWB Sports Information Director Kyle Galdeira as well as input gathered from his staff, media representatives and Major League Baseball coaches, scouts and team executives.

Two Red Sox farmhands, Argenis Diaz and Daniel Bard, made the rankings at no. 10 and no. 11, respectively. Below you'll find a summary of their season and the reasoning behind their rankings, as provided by the HWB, along with their pertinent information as well as the complete rankings.

10. Argenis Diaz, SS:
The HWB Skinny: The 20-year-old led HWB with a .421 on-base percentage, and wound up second in the league with a .358 batting average after hitting over .400 through the first half of the campaign. The Venezuela native's ability to put the ball in play, and set the table for the meat of the order has Diaz high on Boston's list of middle-infield prospects. Diaz has already been named to the big league club's 40-man roster, and he expects to start the year in Double-A Portland. While he possesses average speed and range in the hole, Diaz routinely gunned down runners from the infield fringe, and finished his HWB stint with the third-best fielding percentage (.914) among everyday shortstops.
More on Diaz: Diaz, who signed as an undrafted free agent out of Venezuela in 2003, hit .270 with two homers and 40 RBI for low Single-A Greenville last season. He is ranked no. 30 in Diehard's 2008 prospect issue, the first time in his career he has earned a spot in the top 50.

11. Daniel Bard, P:
The HWB Skinny: Bard impressed fans behind the Hans L'Orange Park backstop, and intimidated opposing hitters with his blistering fastball as the former first-round draft pick honed his control in HWB. The 22-year-old was used as a one-inning reliever per Boston's orders, and managed to strike out 15 while also walking 15 through 16 2/3 innings. While he needs to harness his fastball, Bard allowed only two earned runs and improved mightily upon the 78 walks and 7.08 ERA he posted in the regular season. The Red Sox need Bard to keep whittling down his walk total as the hurler bolsters his secondary pitches consisting of a strong curve and an adequate change up. Bard should see the majority of his 2008 innings in Double-A, and depending on his progress, might warrant a late-season call up.
More on Bard: Bard, whom the Sox selected out of North Carolina with the 28th pick of the 2006 draft, went 3-7 with a 7.08 ERA and walked 78 batters in 75 innings between Greenville and Lancaster this season. He is ranked no. 29 in Diehard's 2008 prospect issue, the first time in his career he has earned a spot in the top 50.

Hawaii Winter Baseball "Fab 15" Prospects
As determined by HWB staff; HWB club in parenthesis
1.) Matt Wieters, Balt C (Honolulu)
2.) Austin Jackson, NYY OF (Honolulu)
3.) Brett Sinkbeil, Fla P (North Shore)
4.) Mat Gamel, Milw 3B (North Shore)
5.) Brandon Snyder, Balt 3B (Honolulu)
6.) Kris Medlen, Atl P (Honolulu)
7.) Michael Wilson, Sea OF (Waikiki)
8.) George Kontos, NYY P (Honolulu)
9.) Blake Wood, KC P (West Oahu)
10.) Argenis Diaz, Bos SS (Honolulu)
11.) Daniel Bard, Bos P (Honolulu)
12.) Michael McKenry, Col C (Waikiki)
13.) Bud Norris, Hou P (North Shore)
14.) Lucas Duda, NYM 1B (Waikiki)
15.) Jonathan Lucroy, Milw C (North Shore)

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