The Boston Red Sox sit at 32-38 as of June 17—good for a fourth-place standing in the American League East.
While there is still plenty of baseball left to be played, the Red Sox's 2014 season is looking like a far cry from the success the team enjoyed en route to its third World Series championship in the last 10 years.
Perhaps the biggest setback has been the lack of offense. As a team, Boston is batting a lowly .245, which ranks 21st in baseball so far.
For the most part, the Red Sox's pitching—such a critical part of the success in 2013—has held its own. A 3.70 ERA helps solidify this statement.
We could go on for hours discussing the problems that have plagued this team over the course of this season, but that is perhaps best reserved for another article at another time.
Instead, the myriad of issues that have been placed upon Boston brings up another significant question: When will the Red Sox's core of top prospects make their way into the majors?
If the 2014 season has not been to the liking of Red Sox fans so far, they can at least take comfort in the fact that Boston has one of the deepest pools of prospects in all of baseball.
Without reading too far into things, perhaps we are on the verge of witnessing the transformation from an aging core of veterans into a younger, deeper group of Sox who shall carry the team into the next era of Boston greatness.
Given some of the attributes and accolades of these young players on the verge of making it to the big leagues, it is hard to see anything but that happening.
In this slideshow, we shall evaluate the top five Red Sox prospects and try to predict when they will make their appearance at the major league level. For the sake of consistency and clarity, we will use the list of prospects provided by Alex Speier for Baseball America, released at the end of last year.
Some of the players listed—notably Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr.—are already listed on the major league roster and do not warrant consideration for this slideshow.
If the Red Sox continue to falter, we may expect some of these prospects to be called up sooner rather than later. Boston could emerge as sellers come the trading deadline, which would give general manager Ben Cherington and manager John Farrell an opportunity to see how these young players can match up with life at the big league level.
Without any further delay, let's jump into it.