Boston Red Sox Prospects Destined to Have a Great Spring
After an August that saw the Boston Red Sox trade away three of their biggest names, the team has made a full commitment to its prospects.
The Sox have returned to the roots that made the 2004 and 2007 teams so good. Build a base of top-tier prospects and fill in the holes with good players who have clubhouse presence.
While the Sox lack a lot of overall depth in the system, it's hard to argue the talent of their top prospects.
The majority of these youngsters have made their way to the top of the minors and are knocking on MLB's door. Many of them have been invited to spring training with a chance to prove themselves.
Here are Boston's top prospects destined to have a great spring training in 2013.
Rubby De La Rosa
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Of all the prospects acquired by Boston in last August's blockbuster with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Rubby De La Rosa was the only one with MLB experience.
The right-hander was limited to just 15.0 innings in 2012 while recovering from Tommy John surgery, but he's been making waves this spring.
Some have compared De La Rosa to Pedro Martinez, and the former Sox ace—a special assistant to the club this spring—has called the 23-year-old "something special." (per weei.com)
The Pedro comparison is a bit of a stretch at this point, but there's no doubt that De La Rosa has great stuff. The big question marks revolve around his recovery and his ability to start long-term.
No matter where De La Rosa ends up in the staff, the talent and tools are there. With big league experience and hopes of impressing his new team, De La Rosa is bound to have a strong showing this spring.
Jackie Bradley Jr.
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No prospect has had a more astronomical climb through the Sox's system than Jackie Bradley Jr.
The 22-year-old has needed just two years in the system to get to Double-A, and it seems inevitable that he'll break the big league roster this year.
When asked if the outfielder could break camp with Boston, manager John Farrell was surprisingly noncommittal. He didn't say "yes," but he didn't say "no" either (per the Twitter account of the Providence Journal's Tim Britton).
There's a slim chance that Boston does call up Bradley that soon, but it could be just a matter of time.
The left-hander's glove is MLB-ready, and he has great offensive upside—especially as a leadoff man. And with Shane Victorino headed for the World Baseball Classic, he'll get plenty of playing time in spring.
All eyes are on this young man, and now's the best time for him to prove himself. Just as he's done in the minors, Bradley Jr. will rise to the challenge.
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Allen Webster was a huge part of the Los Angeles blockbuster, and he's been impressive for Boston so far.
The 23-year-old is a ground-ball pitcher who's very Derek Lowe-esque. But he's also got a power arm—something Lowe never had—posting a career 8.5 K/9 in the minors.
So far this spring, he's already been clocked at 99 miles per hour.
Webster won't break spring with Boston, but he'll be the first call-up option if anything happens with the big league club—or if John Lackey pitches like, well, John Lackey.
The right-hander has a big chance to prove that he's ready for the Show. If he can keep throwing like he has, it'll be a big spring.
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At this point Jose Iglesias has to have a good spring.
It was once believed that the 23-year-old would be the shortstop of the future. But after struggling at the major league level, his future remains up in the air.
Boston already appears ready to move on. It signed Stephen Drew this offseason and spent its first pick of last year's draft on Deven Marrero.
Not to mention the emergence of No. 1 prospect Xander Bogaerts—who has made significant upgrades on defense—makes Iglesias expendable.
Iglesias still has the upside to make it with the Red Sox. His glove is golden—there's no doubting that—and he got to camp early and in great shape.
If the right-hander can show some life with the bat, he could be starting in Boston in no time. That challenge starts at spring training.
So with his job and future on the line, there's no better time than the present for Iglesias to have a big spring training.