By Dan Charest @dannyacharest on March 16, 2014
The Boston Red Sox are the defending World Series champions, but that does not mean members of the organization will be cut any slack if they under-perform during the spring. Some position battles are still up for grabs, and there are plenty of opportunities for the club's prospects to make an impression on the decision makers. While some have shined, others continue to be on hostile terms with the fans and media. Here are five such players.
The Red Sox have received praise for their top minor league system, but the arms of Allen Webster, Anthony Ranaudo, Brandon Workman and Henry Owens all own eras over 5.00 in a combined 26.1 innings this spring (heading into Sunday).
David Ortiz once again came into camp talking about a contract extension. Although he deserves it, some viewed it as a repeat offense of Big Papi's complaining. His spring numbers aren't helping his cause either: Two hits in 25 at bats to go along with nine strikeouts.
Coming into spring, Bradley Jr. was the leading candidate for the Red Sox' center field opening. Although he still has John Farrell's backing, the 23-year-old is only hitting .182 in a team-high 33 at-bats, while his challenger Grady Sizemore has continued to impress in his first camp with the club.
Before last Thursday, only the true diehards could tell you who Jon Denney was. Now the 2013 third-round pick is known more for his police record than being a catching prospect. Denney, 19, made headlines for getting arrested for driving with a suspended license while also being belligerent with authorities.
Will Middlebrooks came to Ft. Myers off a .227 season and right off the announcement that he and former Red Sox sideline reporter Jenny Dell were an item. After the first few warm-up games, Middlebrooks made a few errors at the hot corner and the Faithful were calling for his head and Stephen Drew off the street. But he has steadied into one of the club's best offensive players in the spring (.308, two homers).
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