Last season the Red Sox used 56 players and totaled 69 wins. This season the Sox have used 41 players already, yet they have 58 wins and the best record in the American League.
While the Red Sox can boast All-Star's in the lineup, Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz and Clay Buchholz, a lot of this years success can be contributed to the depth of the organization.
"At this point in the season we can't just say it's our bench," manager John Farrell said last week. "We've got half of Pawtucket here right now and we're still doing the job day in and day out."
So far this season the Red Sox have had to rely on prospects Jose Iglesias, Jackie Bradley Jr., Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa, Brock Holt, Steven Wright and today's starter Brandon Workman.
Farrell said, "Regardless if it's the first half or the second half, you're not going to go deep without [depth] because injuries and day-to-day situations are going to be part of this game. I think it's one of the main reasons when you look at our day-time schedule, or our [19-9] record in day games, that to me speaks to the quality of players that you have on the bench that you can turn to when the schedule calls for days off for other guys."
Later today the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game will be played at Citi Field in New York. The game, which kicks off the All-Star festivities, will bring the best young talent baseball has to offer together on one field. It's a "United States vs. the World" format and puts more than 50 of the minor league's future stars on the game's biggest stage.
The Red Sox will have three of their "futures" playing in the game, shortstop Xander Bogaerts (World team), right-handed pitcher Anthony Ranaudo (U.S. team) and third baseman Garin Cecchini (U.S.).
Red Sox farm director Ben Crockett said, "It is a bit of a stage, and it's a bit of an opportunity to be exposed in the limelight and get a chance to play at a high-level game. It's an honor for those guys to play at that stage."
Bogaerts, listed by Baseball Prospectus as the third best prospect in all of baseball, is hitting .260 with seven home runs in 29 games since moving up to Triple-A Pawtucket last month. At just 20-years-old, the Red Sox would prefer to keep Bogaerts with the PawSox for the rest of the season.
Baseball America's midseason top-50 has Renaudo its 37th ranked prospect. At Double-A Portland this year, Ranaudo is 8-2 with a 2.67 ERA and 94 strikeouts in 91 innings. It's possible the Red Sox could call him up sometime later this summer for a spot start.
Baseball Prospectus ranks Cecchini #39 in its top-50 midseason prospects. The left-handed hitting Cecchini was batting .350 with five home runs at High-A Salem before he was promoted to Portland earlier this month. The 22-year-old third baseman has not missed a beat. In 19 games he's hitting .361 with one homer and reached base safely in his first 17 Double-A games.
While the Red Sox are certainly focused on the here and now as they continue to push towards the playoffs, it's good know the future appears bright as well.
The Futures Game takes place at 2 p.m. ET on All-Star Sunday at Citi Field in New York and can be seen live on MLB.com, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD.
Thoughts on the Red Sox future this year and beyond? Comment below.