With 2014 spring training just around the corner, the Boston Red Sox will aim to defend their World Series crown, relying on a core of players brought together by general manager Ben Cherington.
While some of their players are well-established veterans, the Red Sox also enjoy a plethora of young and talented prospects waiting to break through at the major league level.
Some appear poised to earn starting jobs while others are still a year or two away.
Nonetheless, Boston will enjoy the fact that it has a deep and talented prospect pool coming up from its farm system. In a way, 2014 will start a proverbial "turning of the page" of sorts, eventually moving away from more expensive veterans towards a reliance on young, home-grown talent.
It should be an element worth paying attention to in coming years.
In this slideshow, we will rank the 10 best prospects within the Red Sox organization. To classify as a prospect—and/or rookie—a player must have accumulated less than 130 at-bats, 50 innings pitched or spent at least 45 days on a major league roster per MLB rules and regulations.
By determining the various factors and talents of each prospect, it is easy to determine that some are on the verge of making a name for themselves at the big league level.
To determine the prospect ranking, we shall use the following criteria listed below.
1. Star Potential—To be considered a top prospect within the organization, the prospect must have an ability to become an impact player at the major league level at some point. While some are closer to reaching this potential than others, there must be some reason the team is investing time and money to develop his talent.
2. Statistics—It is impossible to evaluate a player without looking at the various numbers and statistics he has put up in the minors (and in some cases, at the major league level). We shall evaluate some of the basic statistics (batting average, RBI, etc.) but shall also consider additional stats and accolades from scouts and coaches.
3. Timetable for Big League Role—Regardless of how talented a prospect may be, it means very little if he is going to be spending significant time at the minor league level. In order to be considered for this ranking, the prospect must be in the team's future plans in the foreseeable future.