Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley among five Red Sox prospects in Baseball America’s top 100
|02.19.13 at 11:48 pm ET|
Baseball America named five Red Sox prospects among its top 100 in the game, with shortstop Xander Bogaerts leading the way at No. 8. The Sox joined the Cardinals as the only two organizations with four or more prospects ranked among the top 50. A look at the Sox’ prospects who landed in the top 100 with a snippet from the publication’s evaluation of each (with one disclaimer: Rubby De La Rosa, a highly regarded right-hander, was not eligible because of the number of innings he accumulated in the big leagues in 2011 with the Dodgers):
No. 8: Xander Bogaerts, SS, 20 years old
Bogaerts ranked as the top power hitting prospect and top athlete in the Sox system. He’s expected to start the coming year in Double-A Portland. Though the Sox believe that Bogaerts can remain at short for the season to come (and perhaps beyond) despite a powerful frame that seems more typically suited for a corner position, he’s getting his first exposure to third base right now in preparation for the World Baseball Classic.
Outlook: “Bogaerts likely will open 2013 in Double-A to focus on his plate discipline, but Boston has had a hard time holding him back. He easily could hit his way to Triple-A Pawtucket before he turns 21. The Red Sox don’t have a clear starter at shortstop, so it’s not out of the question that he could put himself in the major league mix before the end of the season. More realistically, Bogaerts will make his Boston debut in 2014. Whether he does so at shortstop likely depends on how much slick-fielding Jose Iglesias shows at the plate between now and then.”
No. 31: Jackie Bradley Jr., CF, 22 years old
The publication named Bradley the best defensive outfielder, best outfield arm, best hitter for average and hitter with the best strike zone discipline in the Red Sox system.
Outlook: “Ticketed for Triple-A to start 2013, Bradley has no major adjustments to make. He’s a better center fielder than Jacoby Ellsbury, who becomes a free agent after 2013.”
No. 40: Matt Barnes, RHP, 22 years old
Barnes was credited by the publication as having the best fastball and curveball in the Red Sox system. (For what it’s worth, based on its inconsistency to date, I would rank his curveball behind that of other pitchers in the system, including Brandon Workman. According to talent evaluators, it does have a chance to be a plus pitch, but it’s not there yet.)
Outlook: “If Barnes can refine his secondary pitches, he can become a No. 2 or 3 starter. After easing him into pro ball with 120 innings, Boston will turn him loose in 2013. He’ll start in Double-A and could push for a spot in the big league rotation by the end of the season.”
No. 49: Allen Webster, RHP, 23 years old
Webster, who combines a power sinker with an excellent changeup and a slider that is, at times, a swing-and-miss pitch, was acquired from the Dodgers in the blockbuster trade of last August. He’s slated to open the year in the rotation of Triple-A Pawtucket.
Outlook: “Some scouts prefer him to Matt Barnes because he has a deeper repertoire, though Webster still must learn to harness his stuff. A potential No. 2 or 3 starter, he’s ready to graduate to Triple-A and could make his major league debut in 2013.”
No. 91: Henry Owens, LHP, 20 years old
Owens should spend the coming season in High-A Salem after an intriguing professional debut in 2012 that saw him strike out 11.5 batters per nine innings in Single-A Greenville. He was one of the youngest pitchers in the South Atlantic League. Baseball America rated his changeup as the best in the system.
Outlook: “Owens is further away than Matt Barnes or Allen Webster but may have more upside. He’ll head to high Class A in 2013 and should advance quickly as soon as he starts to locate his pitches with more precision.”
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