MLB Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox Spring Training: Ranking the Top 5 Early Standouts

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Red Sox Early Spring Training Standouts

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox are not putting many games in the win column to kick off Spring Training, but what they are doing is getting ready to defend their title with many of the same faces that won it a year ago. Boston will be returning several players from the core group that led the team to an October parade just a few short months ago. Some of those players are also standing out early on in camp as well for Red Sox Nation, being led by one budding young superstar.

This year, the AL East is loaded once again with every team legitimately having a chance to win the division and go to the playoffs. The Red Sox, like the rest have little room for error, but unlike the other four teams, the Sox will be the team with the target on their backs and having everyone gunning for them.

The two biggest goals the Red Sox have in camp are not to win games, but to remain healthy and to also see what young players they have that will help contribute to the reloading of the Red Sox victory parade. Boston has the most players among the MLB Top-100 prospect list, and also one of the top five farm systems in baseball.

An honorable mention as an early standout can also be given to pitcher Ryan Dempster. As camp opened, Dempster respectfully stepped away from his teammates and guaranteed money. He put the team concept first and avoided putting them into a bind to start the year. Dempster handled the situation with class and style, which just speaks to the man and also one of the good guys within the game.

On the field, there has also been some stand out performances as well. For Red Sox Nation, here are five early standouts after the first week of games down in the Florida sun.

Nick Schaeflein is a sports writer for Follow him on Twitter @ptchr2424 or add him to your network on Google.

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5. Bryce Brentz

Derick Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Bryce Brentz is an outfielder on the 40-man roster for Boston, but does not project to make the Opening Day lineup. However, that has not stopped Brentz from having a good spring camp thus far. After the first week of games, he leads the Red Sox in at-bats, home runs, and RBIs.

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4. Daniel Nava

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Daniel Nava will likely be in a platoon role again this season for Boston as the fourth outfielder and back-up first baseman. But within this core group of players, that combination seems to work for the Red Sox. In the spring, Nava has had an excellent eye at the plate working counts. His production has led to two home runs, three walks, and a .375 batting average.

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3. Felix Doubront

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Before the Ryan Dempster decision was made, it was unclear as to what exactly Felix Doubront's role was going to be in 2014. With Dempster now gone, Doubront will be the likely fifth starter in the rotation. The young lefty is extremely capable of having a solid year with big-time numbers. Also with injury concerns capable of popping up with the other starters, Doubront could be leaned on heavily at times this year. In his lone spring start, he went two innings only allowing one hit and no runs with three strikeouts.

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2. Mike Napoli

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The bearded one Mike Napoli is off to a great start in spring training. I believe he was a more important priority this winter for Boston then was Jacoby Ellsbury. He will provide the right-handed protection for David Ortiz. In the spring he has a home run and a .571 batting average thus far.

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1. Xander Bogaerts

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The young one has not disappointed thus far in camp. Xander Bogaerts appears ready to take on a full-time role in Boston and simply run with it. The team's top prospect has played solid on defense, has showcased the power with a deep home run, and is hitting over .300 to this point. Bogaerts figures to stand out all season long as big things are ahead for Red Sox Nation's next rising star.