Top MLB Prospects Who Must Step Up in 2014 to Replace Free-Agent Departures

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Top MLB Prospects Who Must Step Up in 2014 to Replace Free-Agent Departures
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Top prospect Xander Bogaerts is ready to replace Stephen Drew at shortstop in 2014.

With Major League Baseball’s annual winter meetings set to begin next week, it’s seemingly only a matter of time until the free agents begin to sign and trade talks escalate.

Besides Robinson Cano, the big names in this year’s free-agent class are outfielders Carlos Beltran, Shin-Soo Choo and Jacoby Ellsbury—all of whom are expected to come at a high price tag and impact the market.

However, for teams such as the Boston Red Sox, Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals, the decision to not re-sign one of the aforementioned players could help open the door at the major league level for a top prospect.

Here’s a look at five impact prospects who must step up in 2014 to replace free-agent departures.

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