Power Ranking Red Sox Top 10 Prospects Based on Spring Training Performance

Jess Lander@@jesslanderContributor IIIMarch 14, 2013

Power Ranking Red Sox Top 10 Prospects Based on Spring Training Performance

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    Spring training still has some innings to be played, but when it comes down to the Opening Day roster, more than just camp performance will come into play—like experience and past production.

    For example, Jackie Bradley Jr. has emerged a star, but don't expect to see him at Fenway anytime soon.

    That being said, this isn't the Boston Red Sox clubhouse. Here you will find Red Sox prospect power rankings that are solely based on the 2013 spring training camp. 

    Who's living up to the hype, who's crept up on us and who's found themselves shipping back down to the minors?

10. Steven Wright

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    Knuckleballer Steven Wright garnered a lot of attention at the beginning of camp, working with Tim Wakefield on his elite pitch. 

    His first outing was in front of the watchful eyes of both Wake and R.A. Dickey (the only knuckleballer currently throwing in the majors), and Wright impressed with a pair of scoreless innings with three strikeouts. 

    But things went downhill from there, as Wright went on to allow seven runs in five innings, walking seven and striking out just another three batters. Subsequently, Wright was optioned to Pawtucket. 

9. Juan Carlos Linares

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    Juan Carlos Linares is a 28-year-old prospect, but he's hit well in spring training. He's gone 8-for-22, with one home run, a double and a walk. His line is strong: .364/.375/.545.

    And as far as this list goes, what's happened in spring training is all that matters. 

    Linares was sent down to the minors early this week, but his numbers speak for themselves.

8. Brock Holt

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    Utility player Brock Holt was acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Joel Hanrahan trade and hasn't grabbed too much attention in spring training so far. 

    He did impress from third base on March 6, diving for a ground ball and making a of couple strong throws for some outs.

    But aside from a good game against his former team at the beginning of March—he went 2-for-4 with a walk and two runs—Holt has done very little at the plate.

    The Red Sox are still waiting to see what Holt can bring to Boston. 

7. Daniel Nava

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    Daniel Nava deserves props for his ability to move from the outfield to first base—a position he hasn't played since college—and back again without issue.

    Though the Red Sox haven't quite decided where he fits in their plans, Nava has been solid throughout camp, proving that he's both wiling and able to compete at either position.

    Consistency gets Nava on this list, but he's yet to do something spectacular, which otherwise might bring him up higher. 

6. Jose Iglesias

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    Nobody questions Jose Iglesias' talent on defense; in fact, that part of his game is virtually flawless. The problem is that the shortstop hit an abysmal .118 in the majors last year.

    But this spring, he's emerged as a different hitter.

    Maybe it was the work he reportedly put in with Dustin Pedroia in the offseason, but Iglesias is giving the Red Sox a reason to take another look at him when it comes to a backup for Stephen Drew. With Xander Bogaerts nipping at his heels, he better be motivated. 

    In Iglesias' first 18 at-bats at spring training, he boasted a pleasantly surprising .333 batting average and hit one dinger, three doubles (two in the same game) and five RBI.

    His 0-for-3 performance on Monday, however, was a bit of a downer. 

5. Xander Bogaerts

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    Xander Bogaerts is the top Red Sox prospect, so it might be surprising that Boston's shortstop of the future is just No. 5 on this list.

    But these power rankings are based solely off spring training performance, and the Sox have seen very little of Bogaerts this camp as he's been off at the World Baseball Classic playing for the Netherlands. 

    Still, the little peek the Red Sox have had is a promising one.

    The 20-year-old efficiently handled two grounders in the Sox's 11-1 victory over Boston College and hit a double—while playing third base for the first time in his life. Then in his last at-bat before shipping off the the WBC, he hit an RBI single in the ninth to lessen the gap in an eventual 4-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.

    Yet Bogaerts' spring highlight came Monday at the WBC. In a big pressure situation in front of possibly the largest crowd he's ever played for, Bogaerts hit a single in the ninth which loaded the bases and led to a walk-off win over Cuba.

    The hit proved that Bogaerts can handle the big leagues, whenever that time comes.

    He then went 2-for-3 in the Dutch's loss to Japan on Tuesday as well. 

4. Rubby De La Rosa

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    Rubby De La Rosa immediately emerged as a pleasant surprise this camp.

    He was the bright spot in last summer's megatrade with the Los Angeles Dodgers and based on spring training, it looks like we could already see the 24-year-old making a positive impact from the Red Sox mound sometime this season, filling in when needed.

    Tommy John surgery doesn't seem to have set De La Rosa—who's a distant cousin of none other than Pedro Martinez—back even a little bit, for he hit triple digits on the radar gun more than once this camp.

    And even more important than his fastball, is the obvious control he has shown over his secondary pitches, especially his changeup.

    The right-hander was nearly perfect in his first two outings, pitching four scoreless innings total.

    In the first, he closed out the win for Boston in the ninth with just three pitches and arguably took the spotlight from Jon Lester's first outing of the spring.

    Then in his second, De La Rosa struck out two batters, one of which was former All-Star Brandon Inge on three pitches.

    Because of the limited time De La Rosa has gotten since surgery, Farrell wants to ease him into a starting job, and it's probably not a bad idea.

    And then he struggled in his next pair of outings, which consequently dropped him down few spots in these rankings. Against the Pirates last week, De La Rosa gave up three runs—two earned—on three hits. He struck out two, walked one and helped Pittsburgh extend its eighth-inning lead with a throwing error.

    His outing on Monday got especially ugly. De La Rosa allowed five earned runs, closing in a 7-1 lead for the Red Sox, who ended up losing, 8-7. He walked four batters and allowed two hits, one of which was a three-run double.

    It's yet to be seen if a few bad innings will be enough to change anyone's mind about him, but hopefully the De La Rosa that started camp is the one the Sox see in the future.

3. Allen Webster

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    If these were prospect pitching power rankings, Allen Webster would be at the top.

    Webster was acquired in last summer's megatrade with the Dodgers, but as the move was mostly a salary dump, the Red Sox didn't quite know the value they were getting in return.

    His 97 mph fastball has been a topic at camp on repeat, and he's retired many big-time hitters. Among his strong outings so far is last Friday's, when he struck out five batters in three innings.

    Following Tuesday's game, for which he earned the save, Webster is now posting a very impressive 1.64 ERA for camp.

2. Christian Vazquez

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    Christian Vazquez is at the end of a deep list of Red Sox catchers, but he's managed to make headlines this spring more so than anyone in front of him—and in a good way.

    Put simply, Vazquez has a cannon for an arm. And it's one that even Jarrod Saltalamacchia can't compete with, no matter how well he bats.

    The 22-year-old has unleashed bullet after bullet (or lasers, missiles and anything else that travels at the speed of light) from the plate, sending each shot right to its target and beating out anyone who dares attempt to steal against him.

    Last Friday, he sent a throw to second base in 1.82 seconds and on Monday, he picked off his fourth of four steal attempts for a perfect record in camp thus far.

    He's not too shabby from the plate either, batting .321.

    Like Bradley, Vazquez looks big league-ready but will have to wait his turn.

1. Jackie Bradley Jr.

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    This shouldn't surprise anyone. The 22-year-old outfielder has been hotter than hot at the plate, but he has also turned heads with his natural instincts on defense.

    No buts about it—he's the big story of Red Sox spring training.

    Bradley is leading the Grapefruit League with a .536 spring batting average, and he's been producing off some big-named pitchers too.

    After his spring performance, it would be somewhat of a travesty if he doesn't make the big league roster out of camp, but don't count on it. The reality is, he's at the front of the line behind the trio of Jonny Gomes, Shane Victorino and Jacoby Ellsbury, and might have a bit of a wait before he boards the ride.