Kelly O'Connor, www.sittingstill.net
Hot: Matt Barnes, RHP, Triple-A Pawtucket
Just a few weeks ago, 2014 looked to be a lost season for Barnes. After a particularly rough start on July 12, the right-hander owned a 5.06 ERA through 74.2 innings. Passed on the depth chart by players such as Anthony Ranaudo, Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster, it looked like Barnes might be headed to the bullpen in fairly short order.
Since then, however, Barnes has done his best to redeem his season. The UConn product has posted a 1.95 ERA through five starts and 32.1 IP, notching 25 strikeouts to just 10 walks during that time. He still has a long way to go to wash away the first few months of the season, but Barnes is back on the right path.
Hot: Keury De La Cruz, OF, Double-A Portland
De La Cruz lacks the upside of many other bats in the Red Sox system, and, as a result, he doesn't receive much attention nationally. But the 22-year-old outfielder is having a strong year in Portland, hitting .303/.330/.438 through 221 PA. He's been especially good as of late, hitting .388/.456/.633 in August.
De La Cruz will need to hit for more power if he wants to profile as a player with a significant role on a first-division team, but he's hit well throughout the minors and should reach Triple-A next year. He's unheralded, but he could see the majors at some point in the next two seasons.
Not: Drake Britton, LHP, Triple-A Pawtucket
A season ago, Britton seemed poised for a long career in the majors as a left-handed middle reliever. The Red Sox began the year with Andrew Miller, Craig Breslow and Chris Capuano in the bullpen, so Britton wasn't needed, but he figured to see time at some point.
Unfortunately, Britton has been downright terrible for the PawSox in 2014. The lefty has a 6.98 ERA through 49 innings and has been especially bad as of late, allowing 12 earned runs in 5.2 IP in August. He's played himself out of a roster spot for now, and Boston can't count on him for much in 2015, given his performance.