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The Red Sox undoubtedly have one of the most productive prospect pipelines in the majors. Former GM Theo Epstein did a heck of a job keeping Pawtucket, Portland, Lowell and Salem well-stocked and primed to contribute to Boston's roster.
Jon Lester, Clay Buchholtz, Daniel Bard, Felix Doubront, Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Daniel Nava and Ryan Kalish have all come through the Sox' farm system since 2006.
It seems that nearly every year a new name joins the list and Will Middlebrooks made sure the trend continued in 2012. The 23-year-old could no longer be contained in the minors and has been just as hot through 171 at bats with Boston.
Replacing longtime starter Kevin Youkilis at third, Middlebrooks has absolutely abused the leather thrown at him. He's hitting at a .298 clip with 10 home runs and 37 runs batted in. Middlebrooks has had nearly half the at-bats of Adrian Gonzalez and only trails him by eight RBI.
If all goes to plan he'll continue growing into his new role, but Christmas came early on Yawkey Way this year. With Middlebrooks already called up there's no guarantee that another prospect will make the same climb.
Ryan Lavarnway is likely major league ready, but he's also blocked by a hot-hitting Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Most other highly touted prospects in the system are years away or simply don't have a fit right now.
The Red Sox tapped their reserves early and may now be without a late-season call-up.