This post first appeared on BaseballDigest.com
Today, Joba Chamberlain and Jon Lester take the mound for their teams, each labeled as the future of their pitching staffs. Over the years, both of these teams have had many highly touted prospects succeed like Joba and Lester. There are also just as many players who never quite made that leap successfully. One of the more recent prospects spent some time with both organizations.
Michael “Prime Time” Coleman hit the big leagues in 1997 after putting together a solid performance at the AA and AAA minor league levels for the Boston Red Sox. He struggled in his brief stint with the big league club, and only played in 2 games with the Red Sox after the ’97 season. Following the 2000 season, Coleman was shipped off to Cincinnati for Chris Stynes, who filled in as a role-player for the 2001 Red Sox.
Just before the 2001 season began, Coleman was sent with Drew Henson to the New York Yankees for Wily Mo Pena in a swap of sputtering prospects. For Henson, it was the second tour with the Yankees in less than a year. In a roundabout way, this trade enabled the Red Sox to later on acquire Chris Carter from the Washington Nationals after acquiring Pena from the Reds for Bronson Arroyo. If Coleman and Hansen had never been traded, it is unlikely the Red Sox would have been able to pull off acquiring any prospects from the Yankees. The last trade between the Red Sox and Yankees involved Mike Stanley and a prospect from the Yankees system who was traded less than six months later in a deal with the Montreal Expos that landed the Red Sox their future ace, Pedro Martinez.
Coleman’s cup of coffee with the Yankees in 2001 was moderately better than his stint with the Red Sox, but he wasn’t able to stay at the major league level. After 2001, Coleman returned to the Red Sox system, but would never make the big league club again. He bounced around with a few more organizations including a second stint with the Yankees but hasn’t played in any MLB minor league system since becoming a free agent after the 2006 season with the Tampa Bay Rays.
As two of the best their systems square off, the hope is the Red Sox can dominate the Yankees best a little more and keep the streak alive!