MLB.com’s Jonathon Mayo released his annual top prospect list last night, expanding it from his usual 50 to 100.
The Boston Red Sox had four of their prospects tapped for the list, led by third basemen Will Middlebrooks at 56. This is Middlebrooks first year on Mayo’s list of top prospect, which should come as no surprise after a break out year which included a trip to the annual Futures Game during All-Star weekend. He is the Red Sox third basemen in waiting and could push Kevin Youkilis out of the position by 2013. Middlebrooks has the power and glove to become one of the top third basemen in the game.
Following Middlebrooks were three more new comers to top prospect list in right fielder Bryce Brentz (64), shortstop Xander Bogaerts (76), and catcher Ryan Lavarnway (93).
Brentz is a legitimate threat to be Boston’s right fielder by 2013. His first appearances in professional baseball in 2010 at short season Lowell did not go as planned. He struck out frequently and didn’t hit for the power many expected he would. However, in 2011 he showed why the Red Sox took him in the supplemental first round, hitting over .300, with 30 home runs through two leagues at the A level. He should open up in double A to begin the season.
In Xander Bogaerts the Red Sox have an advanced hitter with 30 home run potential from the shortstop position. At only 18 years old he held his own at full season Greenville showing impressive power by belting 16 home runs. He is definitely the prospect to keep an eye on in Boston’s system.
It’s nice to see Lavarnway finally get the notice he deserves. He has done nothing but hit since coming to professional baseball and even showed an underrated ability to catch, possibly long term, in is cup of coffee in Boston even with scouts constantly questioning his ability to do so. However, even though Lavarnway has a shot to make the 25 man roster coming out of Spring training this year, Jonathon Mayo does not think he will be a full time player until 2014. A slight suprise due to the fact that his bat his Major League ready now, perhaps to the point where it would be tough to keep him off the big league roster has at least a bat off the bench. In any case if Jarrod Saltalamacchia does not continue to improve in 2012, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Lavarnway get his shot behind the plate sooner rather than later.
A noticeable snub from the list is shortstop Jose Iglesias. Coming into 2011 everyone had him pegged as Boston’s shortstop of the future but after a very sub par season, which included a mediocre appearance in Boston, it looks like the talking heads around baseball have soured on the former top prospect. Iglesias is still just 21 years old and has plenty of time to improve but while his defense is already gold glove caliber, his offense leaves plenty to desire. Right now Iglesias could go either way, he could become the next Rey Ordonez, all glove, no bat or the next Orlando Cabrera, very good glove with a serviceable bat in his prime. Only time will tell.