No. 1 Xander Bogaerts, Shortstop
104 G, .302/.378/.505, 116 H, 27 2B, 3 3B, 15 HR, 64 RBI, 43 BB, 85 K, 4 SB (High-A)
23 G, .326/.351/.598, 30 H, 10 2B, 5 HR, 17 RBI, 1 BB, 21 K (Double-A)
At just 20 years old, Bogaerts showed an advanced hitting approach and better defense at shortstop than expected to make a late-season jump to Double-A Portland.
Offensively, Bogaerts has a terrific profile. He has a smooth, easy swing with a direct path to the ball and tremendous bat speed that allows him to drive the ball. He has plus power that has been showing in games for two years now. He is still learning to work the count and lay off pitchers' pitches, so there is still room for growth.
The biggest key to Bogaerts' 2012 season was his defense. For a long time it was widely assumed that he would outgrow shortstop and have to move to third base, where his bat would play but not look as good as it does at short.
At 6'3", it is possible Bogaerts still does get too big for short. But recent scouting reports (via Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com) suggest there is a good chance he won't have to move. That takes him from being a very good prospect to elite.
No. 2 Jackie Bradley, Jr., Outfielder
Age: 22 (Will turn 23 on April 19)
67 G, .359/.480/.526, 84 H, 26 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 34 RBI, 52 BB, 40 K, 16 SB (High-A)
61 G, .271/.373/.437, 62 H, 16 2B, 2 3B, 6 HR, 29 RBI, 35 BB, 49 K, 8 SB (Double-A)
The 2011 draft looks to be paying off for the Red Sox. In addition to first-round pick Matt Barnes, who we'll get to shortly, compensation-round pick Jackie Bradley looked like the player he was when he earned Most Outstanding Player honors at the 2010 College World Series before an injury-plagued 2011 lowered his draft stock a bit.
After starting 2012 in High-A, where he was more advanced than anyone else he was playing and dominated, Bradley was moved up to Double-A and continued to thrive with more extra-base pop than expected and great plate discipline.
Bradley is a very good center fielder. He has an average throwing arm and incredible instincts to make up for less-than-ideal speed.
No. 3 Matt Barnes, Starting Pitcher
Age: 22 (Turns 23 on June 17)
2012 Stats: 5 G (5 starts), 2-0, 0.34 ERA, 26.2 IP, 12 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 42 K (Low-A)
20 G (20 starts), 3.58 ERA, 93 IP, 85 H, 42 R (37 ER), 6 HR, 25 BB, 91 K (High-A)
The Red Sox played things safe with Barnes to start 2012, throwing him into Low Class-A Greenville as a polished 21-year-old college pitcher, and he destroyed the competition.
After moving up to High-A Salem, Barnes did have a very good season but also had to endure some growing pains. He allowed 40 hits in 39.1 innings pitched in July and August, and his ERA was well over 4.50 in those months.
Barnes' stuff looked more crisp last season than it did when he was drafted in 2011. His fastball sits in the 92-95 range, though I did clock it up to 97 during his one-inning stint at the Futures Game last July.
The development of Barnes' curveball last season was critical to his success. It is still not a consistent offering, but the fact he was able to show a very good one more often than not in 2012 is huge.
Barnes' ultimate ceiling will be determined by how his changeup comes along. He didn't throw it often last season because he didn't have to, but as he moves up it will become a critical weapon for him.
No. 4 Allen Webster, Starting Pitcher
29 G (24 starts), 130.2 IP, 133 H, 71 R (56 ER), 2 HR, 61 BB, 129 K (Double-A)
Webster was one of the key pieces the Red Sox acquired from Los Angeles in that blockbuster trade last August that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to the Dodgers for Webster, James Loney, Rubby De La Rosa, Jerry Sands and Ivan DeJesus, Jr. He has all the makings of a solid No. 3 starter, though he still has work to do in order to reach that ceiling.
His fastball is a plus pitch, sitting in the mid 90s. He pitches well down in the zone, as evidenced by the fact he allowed just two home runs in 130.2 innings last season. His changeup is his best weapon, as it has great movement and is very hard to square up.
The command is still lagging behind, as he walked nearly a hitter every other inning. He also needs to refine his breaking ball, as the slider is still not a consistent offering for him.
No. 5 Henry Owens, Starting Pitcher
2012 Stats: 23 G (22 starts), 12-5, 4.87 ERA, 101.2 IP, 100 H, 58 R (55 ER), 10 HR, 47 BB, 130 K (Low-A)
After the first four prospects, there are a number of players in the system vying for the No. 5 spot. Admittedly, Owens is a risky bet at this spot, but if he hits his upside he could be a tremendous prospect.
Owens is another one of those 2011 draft picks, being taken in the compensation round and showing both good and bad things in his first full season. He has a very smooth delivery, making great use of his long 6'6" frame.
He throws an above-average fastball that can eventually be plus. His curveball has the potential to be a knockout pitch once he gets more feel for it.
The biggest knock against Owens right now is command. Size can be a good thing, since it allows pitchers to get more downhill plane on the ball, but it can also lead to a lot of inconsistencies with mechanics and the release point.
Still, it is hard not to like Owens' upside and how well he carried himself in his first full season as a professional.