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Xander Bogaerts is ranked the second-best prospect by MLB.com
(Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports)


Ben Whitehead
Contributing Writer

Thursday evening, MLB.com unveiled its list of the Top 100 Prospects in the game and the reigning World Champs look to be set for years to come.

The Boston Red Sox led MLB with the most players on the list with nine prospects. A few have already made their mark for the big club while the rest are waiting in the wings to make a splash. Because of the strong farm system, the Red Sox were ranked the No. 2 behind only the Houston Astros as having the best group of prospects.

Leading the way was Xander Bogaerts, one of a few on the list who have already spent time on the Major League roster. Bogaerts was ranked the second-best prospect in the game behind Byron Buxton of the Minnesota Twins.

Bogaerts, right now, is slated as the starting shortstop entering Spring Training. Unless the Sox make a move to bring back Stephen Drew or sign another infielder, the job is Bogaerts to lose. He filled in nicely at third base down the stretch in 2013 when Will Middlebrooks struggled. Bogaerts will get his chance to show Red Sox Nation what the future holds.

Left-hander Henry Owens came in at No. 30, surprising in some regards, but not so in many others. Owens spent most of 2013 at Single-A Greenville before being called up to Portland. He went 8-5 (2.92 ERA) with the Drive and was 3-1 with a 1.78 ERA with the Sea Dogs.

At No. 33 is Jackie Bradley Jr., who was in the starting lineup for Boston on Opening Day 2013. He went back to Triple-A Pawtucket for the majority of the season. MLB.com writer Jim Callis had this to say of JBJ:

“He’s the best defensive outfielder in Minor League Baseball,” adding that Bradley is an “upgrade over Jacoby Ellsbury.” Bradley is locked into Red Sox control until 2019 and if Callis’ words are true, these next five-plus years could be spectacular.

Rounding out the players in the top 50 is right-hander Allen Webster at No. 46. Webster has huge potential and upside, according to many scouts. He, however, struggled during his time with Boston.

Third baseman Garin Cecchini is No. 57, and many think he is the future at third base instead of Will Middlebrooks. His progression could strengthen trade rumors surrounding Middlebrooks.

Catcher Blake Swihart and second baseman Mookie Betts come in back-to-back spots at Nos. 61 and 62. Right-hander Matt Barnes is No. 86 and the Sox first round draft pick from 2013, left-hander Trey Ball, is No. 96.

These prospects and many others throughout the farm system have Sox Nation optimistic about the years to come. Their rankings are a testament to their work ethic and dedication. It should also bring attention to the work the scouts, managers and coaches down on the farm are doing by training these young players and elevating their games.

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Ben Whitehead 1/25/2014 07:30:00 AM Edit
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