The 2013 campaign is likely to be a so called "bridge year" for the Red Sox, in that expectations for the team are as low as they've been in recent memory and the front office seems to be looking more to small moves than blockbuster deals to shore up the roster this off-season.
It's also doubtful that Boston will choose to spend the millions it saved in jettisoning Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto west to Los Angeles last August in a weak free agent class, preferring instead to get back to the build-from-within philosophy that made it successful in the previous decade.
With that in mind, I wanted to take a look at five prospects in the Boston's farm system that could potentially impact the 2013 club, either as a short-term call up late in the year, or as an unavoidable promotion from the minor leagues up to the big show, a la Will Middlebrooks last year.
In putting together my top five, I've relied on the always excellent analysis by the folks over at Baseball America, who recently put out a piece ranking the best prospects in the Red Sox' stable.
One player not on the list that may come to mind is recently acquired starting pitcher Rubby De La Rosa, as his major league service time exceeds what is allowed by Baseball America in determining prospect status. Given that, he's not included in this article, however I am of the opinion that he will play a major role in the Red Sox starting rotation at some point next season.
That said, let's take a look at the prospects that could potentially become instant celebrities in Boston over the coming months.