By Dan Charest @dannyacharest on April 24, 2014
It may have seemed like Opening Day was yesterday, but May is around the corner and the Major League season is already an eighth of the way through. That gives us just enough time to look at the progress of some of the best prospects in one of the best systems in the game (Boston Red Sox).
Developing a major-league caliber catcher has been a fiasco in the system since the Dan Duquette days, but Swihart is on pace to best the franchise's troublesome past. Debuting the 2014 season at his highest rung, Double-A Portland, the lanky Texan is hitting .346 in 52 at-bats (12th in the Eastern League). He does only have one walk to add to his offensive stats, and patience at the dish is seen as a big plus to the decision makers in Boston.
When Will Middlebrooks went down four games into the season with a calf strain, Cecchini's name was a popular possibility to fill the hole at third base. Instead, the Red Sox brought in Ryan Roberts (who has since been designated for assignment) and Cecchini has just kept hitting. He leads current PawSox in hitting at .313, but of his 21 hits, only two doubles and one round-tripper have been for extra bases.
The 2011 supplemental pick with the gangly frame (6-foot-7, 200 pounds), Owens is dazzling the Eastern League with his deep and balanced repertoire. Picking up where he left off at the end of 2013 (six starts, 30.3 innings, 1.78 era, 46 strikeouts), Owens is 3-0 with 25 Ks and a 2.28 era over 23.2 innings. A mid-season call-up to Triple A seems imminent.
Bradley Jr. did not have a stellar spring by any means and would have started 2014 in Triple-A Pawtucket had Shane Victorino not hobbled his way onto the disabled list to begin the year. Lauded for his excellent defensive play, the biggest question mark around Bradley continues to be his bat, especially against southpaws. He started off 2014 with some sparks at the dish, but has since cooled to a .228 average in 57 at-bats, with 19 strikeouts.
The No. 2 prospect in all of baseball came into 2014 with "AL Rookie of the Year" written all over him; and that still should be the case. Bogaerts, who only played in 18 regular season games a year ago, certainly is not off to a poor start to the season. The 21-year-old shortstop is hitting a respectable .271, but has shown signs of growing pains in the field and on the base paths that have resulted poorly in Boston's win-loss columns.
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