The Boston Red Sox have one of the better minor league systems in baseball, but not every prospect is going to be a star.
Fans rely on writers to help analyze young talent and predict who will even reach the big leagues, let alone be successful there.
Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com is notorious for his annual Top 100 Prospects lists and this year’s edition didn’t disappoint. Mayo ranked six Red Sox prospects in his Top 100 including Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley, Matt Barnes, Allen Webster, Henry Owens and Jose Iglesias.
While some of those players are deserving of a Top 100 ranking, others aren’t and some players didn’t get the recognition they have earned through their hard work and dedications.
Let’s take a look at the winners and losers of the 2013 Top 100 Prospects by MLB.com.
Winner: Xander Bogaerts, Shortstop (No. 20)
There was no question that Xander Bogaerts was the top prospect in Boston’s organization, but such a great ranking proves he’s one of the game’s best young talents.
Bogaerts hit .307/.373/.523 with 20 home runs and 81 RBI last season between Single-A Salem and Double-A Portland. The 19-year-old shortstop is rapidly moving through the Red Sox’s minor league system and Mayo believes he will reach the majors in 2014.
Here’s a quick look at what Mayo had to say about Bogaerts:
He has the ability to make hard contact and can shoot the ball to all fields with excellent bat spend and a smooth swing. He has significant raw power he’s still learning to tap into and he will be a better overall hitter as his plate discipline continues to improve.
Bogaerts is likely to start the 2013 season in Double-A Portland and most likely will be promoted at some point to Triple-A Pawtucket. The biggest question surrounding him is whether he’ll be transitioned away from shortstop or if the Red Sox want to keep him there.
Winner: Jose Iglesias, Shortstop (No. 96)
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: Jose Iglesias is not going to be a star in the big leagues. His flaws outweigh his skills which is why I find it puzzling that he’d be ranked the No. 6 prospect in Boston’s organization and the No. 96 prospect in baseball.
Iglesias has played for Triple-A Pawtucket the last two seasons and although his glove has been great, his bat has yet to develop. Ever since he was signed, many thought he needed time to progress as a hitter. It’s only been three years, but I haven’t seen much progress.
In 88 games for the PawSox last season, Iglesias hit .266/.318/.306 with 11 extra-base hits. He seemed ready for the starting spot in Boston heading into 2013, but the Red Sox clearly weren’t comfortable giving it to him.
Instead of letting Iglesias and Pedro Ciriaco compete for the job, the Red Sox signed free-agent shortstop Stephen Drew to a one-year deal—virtually keeping Iglesias in the minors for the time being.
The window for Iglesias is nearly closed unless he can put together a good offensive season in 2013. But good for him for somehow convincing Mayo that he’s good enough and has the potential to be in the Top 100 to start the season.
Loser: Bryce Brentz, Outfielder (Unranked)
For whatever reason, Bryce Brentz didn’t make Mayo’s Top 100 list of prospects. Brentz has been a star in Boston’s minor league system over the last couple of seasons which is why I question his absence.
Brentz spent most of 2012 with Double-A Portland, hitting .296/.355/.478 with 17 home runs and 76 RBI in 122. He was promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket late in the year, but only played in five games. He’s expected to start 2013 with the PawSox and potentially play for the Red Sox late in the year.
Bernie Pleskoff of MLB.com recently said this of the young outfielder:
At his best, Brentz has a well-controlled, measured swing. He finishes the stroke with good follow-through. Using a slight uppercut, Brentz gets sufficient loft on the ball to carry the fence in any park. When he’s going well, his bat speed is outstanding, allowing him to drive the ball to far-away places.
One of Brentz’s biggest struggles is plate discipline and the ability to take bad pitches instead of trying to hit them out of the park. He struck out 130 times in just over 500 plate appearances in Double-A Portland.
Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus ranked Brentz as the eighth-best prospect the Red Sox have, behind all those ranked by Mayo except for Jose Iglesias.