Red Sox fans can rest assured that while last season was one of the more disappointing in recent memory, the future looks extremely bright for the Boston organization.
MLB.com on Tuesday unveiled its Top 100 Prospects list for 2013, and six Red Sox farmhands appear on the list, which is an increase from the four who represented Boston in 2012. The six prospects have the Sox tied with four other teams — Marlins, Twins, Cardinals and Rangers — for the most in baseball.
Shortstop Xander Bogaerts is the Red Sox’ top-ranked prospect. He checks in at No. 20 on the MLB.com list, and for good reason. The 20-year-old Aruba native has torn apart minor league pitching over the past three years, and he’s quickly gaining recognition as a future franchise cornerstone.
Bogaerts, who is expected to play for Team Netherlands in the upcoming World Baseball Classic, hit. 307 with 20 home runs and 81 RBIs in 127 games split between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland last season. There’s some question as to whether he’ll eventually grow out of his shortstop position and transition over to third base, but if he does, it should be a seamless move, as Bogaerts has a terrific arm. It’s Bogaerts’ smooth swing, though, that has really captured the attention of scouts.
The second-highest Red Sox prospect on the MLB.com list is center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., who many to figure to be Jacoby Ellsbury‘s replacement if Ellsbury eventually heads elsewhere. Bradley, who checks in at No. 32, hit .315 with a .430 on-base percentage in 128 games split between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland last season. The 22-year-old also swiped 24 bases in 2012, and his defensive skills should also translate well at the next level.
The Red Sox’ top-ranked pitcher, meanwhile, is Matt Barnes, who is listed at No. 38. Barnes dominated Single-A Greenville at the beginning of last season, which earned him a promotion to High-A Salem. Overall, the 22-year-old went 7-5 with a 2.86 ERA in 25 starts between the two squads. While Barnes did endure some second-half struggles, the right-hander, who can hit 96 mph on the radar gun, showed he has the potential to be a front-line starter for Boston before long.
Also included on the Top 100 list is Allen Webster, who the Red Sox acquired from the Dodgers in last August’s megadeal.
The complete list of Red Sox prospects to appear on MLB.com’s Top 100 Prospects list is below, along with each player’s rank in parentheses.
Xander Bogaerts, SS (20)
Jackie Bradley, Jr., OF (32)
Matt Barnes, RHP (38)
Allen Webster, RHP (71)
Henry Owens, LHP (94)
Jose Iglesias, SS (96)
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Photo via Facebook/Xander Bogaerts