Boston Red Sox Top 10 Prospects
The Boston Red Sox farm system has produced a lot of talent in recent years that was supposed to help keep the Red Sox at, or near, the top of the American League East. However, Clay Bucholz, Jon Lester, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Daniel Bard, all hit bumps in the road, either through injury or struggling on the diamond.
The talent is still there but the Red Sox high hopes for their young stars have been tempered a little bit. Will Middlebrooks caused enough excitement last season and had the Red Sox believing they found their third baseman of the future.
The Red Sox reinforced their pitching depth in their farm system with their trade of Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, and Carl Crawford to the Los Angeles Dodgers which was needed after their farm system had taken a hit from the top ten in Major League Baseball to the middle tier, stuck at fifteenth with an apparent lack of impact prospects outside of Middlebrooks and another infielder who will appear on this list.
GM Ben Cherington has his work cut out for him as he tries to restock the farm system and keep the Red Sox in contention.
Many of the Red Sox prospects had excellent years and some exceeded expectations which should help the Red Sox rise in the rankings in 2013.
However, many of the Red Sox top prospects aren’t ready to assist at the MLB level and might not be for another two years but when they are ready a couple could quickly bring Boston back into the playoff picture for many years to come. Here are the Red Sox Top 10 prospects:
#10 Jose Iglesias, SS
10. Jose Iglesias, SS – The defense is there and can even be considered to be a future elite defender. However, his offense is missing. Iglesias played 25 games with the Red Sox last season and hit only .118/.200/.191. In 88 games at AAA, Iglesias only hit .266/.318/.306 but if he could do that at the MLB level the Red Sox might take that. Think Rey Ordonez.
#9 Devin Marrero, SS
9. Devin Marrero, SS – Another shortstop in the Red Sox system that has more glove than bat but he has less glove and more bat than Iglesias which means he might have a greater chance of sticking long-term in the Majors. The good news for the Red Sox is he still has time to develop.
#8 Bryce Brentz, OF
8. Bryce Brentz, OF – Brentz has raw power with a very fast swing which could generate lots of home runs in Fenway Park. However, he is in love with going for the home run at times and takes some bad hacks. Projects to right field. He struggled after getting promoted to AAA but it was only five games. This year will probably decide if he will be a part of the Red Sox future.
#7 Garin Cecchini, 3B
7. Garin Cecchini, 3B – There is a lot of potential here. I see Cecchini as a third base version Dustin Pedroia with his dedication to the game. He still needs to work on his ability to hit lefties, something that might never change but he still has time to work on it in the minors. There is a lot of room for him to develop his power and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him hit 25-30 home runs in his prime.
#6 Blake Swihart, C
6. Blake Swihart, C – There is still a lot of development that needs to take place on both sides of the plate for Swihart. However, his projection is high and he has plenty of time to develop. He could be a star or he could be forgotten in a few years.
#5 Henry Owens, LHP
5. Henry Owens, LHP – Owens has stuff that will miss bats but he will need to improve his command and control. At 6’6” and 190 pounds, he a is tall and lanky with a lot of moving parts in his delivery. He will need to be more consistent with his delivery. However, he does not throw as hard as one would expect, staying in the high 80s to low 90s and will touch 94 MPH from time to time. He will only be two years out of high school next season so there is still plenty of time to work on his delivery. Probably a middle to back of the rotation arm but might see more success out of the bullpen.
#4 Allen Webster, RHP
4. Allen Webster, RHP – Acquired from the Dodgers in the Beckett, Crawford, Gonzalez trade, Webster should begin the year at AAA but could soon factor into the Red Sox rotation. He features a plus fastball and has developed his changeup and slider to make him a viable option in the rotation. His control could use a little refinement but he misses bats and induces a fair share of ground balls. He could be a middle rotation guy or a borderline frontline starter. It all depends on the refinement of his command. At worst, he can be a dominant late-innings reliever but that is worst-case scenario.
#3 Jackie Bradley, OF
3. Jackie Bradley, OF – A superior defender who seems to know where the ball is going before it is hit, putting him in excellent position. He doesn’t hit a ton but could be a solid option in center field but he doesn’t have prototypical speed of a centerfielder. He will still hit at the big league level, even if it won’t be elite level. He may not be elected to any All-Star games but he will win a couple of Gold Gloves. You just can’t teach his instincts in the field.
#2 Matt Barnes, RHP
2. Matt Barnes, RHP – Barnes was the Red Sox first selection in the 2011 draft and dominated in his first taste of pro ball, posting a 0.34 ERA with 42 strikeouts in 26.2 innings at Low-A Greenville. He was quickly promoted to High-A Salem and struggled a little but still posted decent numbers of 3.58 ERA and struck out 91 in 93 innings. He consistently touches 93-95 MPH with his fastball and can dial it up to 96 or 97 MPH at times with good movement. He will still need to develop his secondary pitches and did fall in love with fastball at times. If he develops a secondary pitch or two he could be an ace. If he doesn’t he could be a superior late-inning reliever but he will stay in the rotation.
#1 Xander Bogaerts, 3B
1. Xander Bogaerts, 3B – The biggest question is, what position will the Red Sox play him at? He has the tools to hit anywhere on the diamond but he might be better suited for third base or first base. He will be an All-Star in the Majors. There are still a few years before Bogaerts makes the majors but if he hits like he did last year, .326/.351/.598 at AA Portland with 15 extra-base hits in 23 games he could quickly move up the system. Still only 20 years-old.