Xander Bogaerts, 4 Red Sox Minor Leaguers Among Keith Law's Top 100 Prospects
H. Darr Beiser-USA TODAY
However, four prospects, including one in the top five, made the exclusive list this year.
Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Allen Webster and Matt Barnes were featured on the Law's list of the top 100 prospects for 2013. It was the first time since 2010, more than three players were featured on the Senior baseball analyst's list for ESPN Insider.
Bogaerts ranked as high as No. 5 on the list. The 20-year-old shortstop jumped 57 spots and was ranked No. 62 in 2012.
The top ranked Red Sox prospect hit .326 and slugged .598 with 10 doubles, five home runs and 17 runs batted in over 23 games in AA. Between Salem and Portland, Bogaerts totaled 37 doubles, three triples, 20 homers and 81 RBI.
Given his hitting success for a shortsop, Law ranked Bogaerts as a top-tier prospect.
"A shortstop who can hit like this is a pretty special commodity," Law wrote. "Bogaerts has a very easy, picturesque right-handed swing."
Bogaerts is only an average fielding shortstop, but with his success at the plate, he could dethrone Jose Iglesias as the shortstop of the future.
Unlike Bogaerts, Bradley Jr. is a plus-defender with an average bat. The soon-to-be 23-year-old center fielder ranked No. 40 on Law's list.
Bradley Jr. hit .271 and slugged .437 with 16 doubles, two triples, six home runs and 29 runs batted in over 61 games in AA. Between Salem and Portland, he hit 42 doubles, four triples, nine homers and 63 RBI. He also posted a .430 OBP and stole 24 bases.
However, Bradley Jr. isn't ranked No. 40 for his bat. Law writes that he even has Gold Glove potential.
"Bradley is a potential Gold Glove defender in center," the baseball analyst wrote. "His reads on balls in center rival those of the other elite defensive center fielders in the minors."
Bradley Jr. could be Jacoby Ellsbury's replacement if the team's current star center fielder is traded or signs else where during or after his contract year.
The next two Red Sox prospects on Law's list include two right-handed starting pitchers--Webster and Barnes.
Webster was acquired with Rubby De La Rosa in the blockbuster trade with the Dodgers last season. He ranked No. 61 on last year's list with his former team.
Between Boston's and Los Angeles' AA teams, the soon-to-be 23-year-old posted a 6-9 record, 3.86 ERA, 1.49 WHIP and .265 BAA with 129 strikeouts over 130.2 innings in 2012.
His minor league statistics weren't flashy, but Webster has three plus pitches and should start "at or near the top of someone's rotation." His fastball reaches 97 mph, and he has a plus sinker and changeup to complement his high heater.
Fellow B/R writer, Andrew Martin, wrote a piece on Webster's pursuit to pitch on the major league level.
On the other hand, Barnes ranked No. 79 on Law's list. The 22-year-old is a former first round draft pick in the 2011 June Amateur Draft.
Barnes never pitched higher than A level in 2012. The UCONN alum posted a 7-5 record, 2.86 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and .225 BAA with an impressive 10.0 K/9 over 119.2 innings.
Do you think any of the four top Red Sox prospects will reach the MLB level in 2013?
The ESPN Insider writer noted that although Barnes doesn't consistently throw a 93-97 mph fastball, he has solid off-speed pitches. His "above-average downer curveball" and improving changeup complement the command of his fastball.
Like Barnes, Law also needs to see more from starting pitcher Henry Owens before he can rank the two prospects higher on his list. Owens is a 2011 first-round draft pick, as well, who fell just short of his top 100 list.
The 19-year-old southpaw posted a 12-5 record, 4.87 ERA, 1.45 WHIP and a very impressive 11.5 K/9. Owens won't blow batters away with his 88-92 mph fastball, but his "big, slow curveball" and ability to hide the ball well behind his 6'6" frame strikes out a lot of opposing hitters.
The last time the Red Sox had at least four prospects on Law's list of top 100 was in 2010. That list featured seven minor leaguers, and none ranked nearly as high as Bogaerts was.
The only players on the 2010 list that are still on the Red Sox roster include outfielder Ryan Kalish, shortstop Jose Iglesias and right-handed pitcher Junichi Tazawa.
Law only ranked the Red Sox with the No. 17 farm system in the MLB. However, his updated list of the top 100 prospects features four minor leaguers and one top five prospect that could make a huge impact at the professional level in the near future.
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