Many of Boston's prospects are playing like they will play in Fenway Park in the future.
The Boston Red Sox's successful 2013 season continues to march forward, as evidenced by their 20-11 record. There has also been a lot of activity with their minor league prospects, whose stock is important enough to be monitored on a weekly basis.
In addition to a major league roster with a payroll of over $140 million, the team is also heavily invested in their farm system, which is loaded with a variety of prospects who are being counted on to develop and become part of the future.
The current players on the Boston roster are playing exceedingly well, but it must be reassuring for the team to know there is such depth in the minors.
Click through for a stock update on the Red Sox’s top 10 prospects for Week 5 of the 2013 season.
The following players are the top 10 ranked prospects according to Baseball America.
2013 Stats: 14 G, .294/.400/.451, 8 2B, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 5 SB, 9 R, 9 BB
Deven Marrero, a 2012 first-round draft pick, is on the disabled list with High-A Salem Red Sox. He has not played since April 22 because of a hamstring injury. There has been no update about when he will return.
2013 Stats: 19 G, .235/.278/.397, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 3 SB, 11 R
Jose Iglesias can’t seem to catch a break. He missed several games at Triple-A Pawtucket last week after being hit on the wrist by a pitch, and when he did play, continued the offensive struggles he has experienced since being demoted from Boston.
Despite his three home runs, which already represent a career high as a professional, he continues to draw few walks (three on the season) and produce a subpar batting average.
Stephen Drew had a home run and six RBI over the past week, putting Iglesias further and further back in his rear-view mirror this year.
2013 Stats: 27 G, .243/.308/.467, 5 HR, 20 RBI, 15 R, 9 BB, 25 K
Although Bryce Brentz’s batting average dipped a bit from the .268 he had as of April 27, he still had a relatively productive week.
He popped two more home runs and continued to fine-tune his game at Triple-A Pawtucket.
The Providence Journal’s Brian MacPherson reported that Brentz has been working with legendary Boston outfielder Dwight Evans on his consistency and approach to the game.
WEEI’s Alex Speier wrote that while Brentz is still striking out at more than once a game, it’s actually the lowest rate of his career and hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Red Sox: “Team officials feel that, by and large, he’s shown an improved approach at the plate, particularly in his ability to lay off breaking balls off the plate.”
Unfortunately, Brentz was pulled from Sunday’s game because of a headache, according to the Pawtucket Times’ Brendan McGair.
It sounds like Brentz has identified the areas of his game he needs to work on most. If he can address those in positive and productive ways, he could see himself in Boston before long.
2013 Stats: 26 G, .374/.466/.636, 9 2B, 4 3B, 3 HR, 17 RBI, 10 SB, 20 R, 17 BB
Just when it seemed that Garin Cecchini’s 2013 season with High-A Salem couldn’t get any better, he put up another monster week.
WEEI’s Alex Speier reported on Saturday that Cecchini had reached base multiple times in 14 consecutive games. Unfortunately, that streak came to an end Sunday.
Since going hitless in his first seven at-bats of the season, he has scalded the ball at a .402 clip, including 16 extra-base hits.
His hot start earned him SoxProspect.com’s Player of the Month award for April.
Additionally, in an article for ESPN Boston, SoxProspect.com’s Mike Andrews named Cecchini as the best contact-hitting prospect in the Red Sox’s farm system. With a 17-15 walk-to-strikeout ratio, he is doing nothing to dispel that notion.
Right now, probably the only thing blocking a Cecchini promotion is the presence of third basemen Michael Almanzar and Kolbrin Vitek at Double-A Portland.
2013 Stats: 22 G, .266/.341/.430, 5 3B, 0 HR, 9 RBI, 2 SB, 9 R
Blake Swihart, the top-ranked catching prospect in Boston’s system, continued his consistent season with High-A Salem last week.
Although he hasn’t hit for power, he does have five triples on the year and had four multihit games last week. As WEEI’s Alex Speier reported, that included his first three-hit game of the year.
Most importantly, Swihart has looked solid behind the plate, nabbing 40 percent of would-be base stealers, after catching 31 percent last year.
Once he is able to put together all components of his game, he should move quickly through the Boston system.
2013 Stats: 6 GS, 3-1, 2.25 ERA, 32 IP, 17 H, 8 ER, 11 BB, 40 K
Consistency has been the name of the game for Henry Owens, Boston’s top-ranked left-handed pitching prospect.
Pitching for High-A Salem, he has gone either five or six innings in every start, while not yet allowing more than four hits or two earned runs in any one game.
He struck out a season-high 10 batters in a May 4 win against Winston-Salem.
The 20-year-old southpaw has struck out 11.25 batters per nine innings, while holding opponents to a .153 batting average on the year.
Despite how well he is pitching, expect Owens to stay with Salem this season, as getting work and gaining experience are more important than testing such a young prospect at this point in his development.
2013 Stats: 4 GS, 1-0, 2.70 ERA, 20 IP, 12 H, 6 ER, 6 BB, 26 K
The 23-year-old right-handed Allen Webster had his best outing of the year last week while pitching for Triple-A Pawtucket.
In a May 3 game against the Durham Bulls, he got his first win of the year, striking out a season-high nine batters, while allowing just two hits and one run in six innings.
WEEI’s Alex Speier reported that of Webster’s 94 pitches on the night, he got 16 swing-and-misses, while showing dominating stuff.
With Boston’s fifth starter, Felix Doubront, struggling, and Webster having proven his ability in a major league spot start last month, it may only be a matter of time before he is brought back up and plugged into the Red Sox’s starting rotation.
2013 Stats: 5 GS, 2-1, 6.75 ERA, 20 IP, 27 H, 15 ER, 8 BB, 27 K
The see-saw 2013 season continued for right-hander Matt Barnes last week.
Already having three starts where he failed to reach five innings, Barnes responded by having his best outing of the year on May 1. Pitching against Double-A Reading, he scattered three hits and one run in six innings, while striking out a season-high 10 batters.
The Portland Press Herald’s Mike Drago reported that Barnes’ fastball reached 95 mph in the game, and that his curveball and changeup were also effective pitches.
WEEI’s Alex Speier speculated that the 22-year-old Barnes may have slipped down the ranks of Boston pitching prospects this season. However, as an anonymous baseball talent evaluator told Speier, “If Matt Barnes is your sixth-best pitching prospect, then your system is in pretty interesting shape.”
2013 Stats: 11 G, .302/.400/.349, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 1 SB, 7 R, 7 BB, 13 K
Although Jackie Bradley Jr. was shut down by Triple-A Pawtucket for a couple of days because of a sore right throwing shoulder, it was a positive week for the 22-year-old outfielder.
The left-handed hitter finally got his batting average over .300 and his OBP over .400 with the help of six hits and two walks over his last 14 plate appearances.
He hasn’t hit for power yet, with just two doubles since his demotion from the major leagues in April, but has played in too few games to make any suppositions.
Assuming his injury doesn’t prove to be serious, his season could really take off if he continues his hot play once he returns.
2013 Stats: 23 G, .303/.373/.465, 3 3B, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 3 SB, 17 R, 11 BB, 29 K
Shortstop Xander Bogaerts may be starting to give Garin Cecchini a run for his money when it comes to the title of hottest prospect in the Boston system.
Playing for Double-A Portland, Bogaerts finally found his power stroke last week, clubbing his first two home runs of the season, including one estimated to have traveled upward of 450 feet.
The Boston Herald’s Scott Lauber reported that Boagerts, a native of Aruba, struggled with the cold early-season conditions of Portland, collecting just seven hits in his first 41 at-bats. Since then he is a ridiculous 23-for-58 (.397).
Bogaerts’ recent stellar play is redeeming the Red Sox. NESN’s Ricky Doyle reported the team had an opportunity to acquire Josh Johnson and Jose Reyes from the Miami Marlins this past winter, but declined when it was insisted that Bogaerts be part of the deal.
Bogaerts was scratched from Saturday’s game with some tightness in his core, but it was not believed to be serious.
As the weather continues to warm up, it will be interesting to see if he can match it with continued hot play.
Statistics via Milb.com