Boston Red Sox Top Prospects for 2014

Everyone knows the Boston Red Sox have great players such as David Ortiz and Dustin Pedoria, among Red Sox  Top Prospectsothers. What you may not know is the Red Sox have a tremendous amount of talent in their farm system.  Here are the top five prospects in the Red Sox farm system.

Xander Bogaerts, Shortstop/Third Base:  Red Sox fans got a glimpse of what Bogaerts could do last post season. The 21-year-old hit .296 in 12 playoffs games last October. The right-handed hitter was even better in the minors in 2013 as he hit .297 with 15 home runs and 67 RBIs while playing in Double-A and Triple-A.

His strong offensive potential and solid defense makes him number one on the list. If Stephen Drew does not return to the Red Sox in 2014, expect Bogaerts to become the full-time starter at shortstop.

Jackie Bradley Jr., Outfielder: Bradley also debuted with the team in 2013. The 23-year-old left-handed struggled in his 37 games with the team as he hit .189 with three home runs.

When Bradley was sent back down to Triple-A, his played like the player Red Sox fans expected him to be in the majors. He hit .275 with 10 home runs, 35 RBIs and had an impressive .374 OBP. In 80 games with the Pawtucket Red Sox.

With the departure of Jacoby Ellsbury, expect Bradley to be counted on more in 2014.

Allen Webster, Pitcher: Despite the fact that Webster struggled in his eight games in 2013. The right-hander had an 8.60 ERA and hitters averaged .308 against him. Despite his struggles, Webster showed potential last season. In six innings against the San Diego’s on the Fourth of July, Webster only allowed two runs on five hits. His command is still a concern as he walks a lot of batters, but the 23-year-old still has time to improve on that in Pawtucket.

Henry Owens, Pitcher: Owens is arguably the best pitching prospect the Red Sox have in their farm system. The 20-year-old left hander consistently throws an 88-92 mile per hour fastball.  Owens has already won Carolina League Pitcher of the week and was a 2013 Carolina League All-Star.

Owens is ended last season in Double-A Greenville, so don’t expect to see him in the majors in 2014. But when he is called up, he could be a solid starter in the Red Sox rotation.

Garin Cecchini, Third Base:  A lot of scouts and baseball websites think Cecchini could be the best prospect in the Red Sox organization. In 129 games between Single-A and Double-A last season, the 22-year-old hit .323 with seven home runs and 61 RBIs. Scouts love Cecchini’s bat speed and his on-base skills, according to Baseball America.  If Cecchini and Bogaerts are as good as projected, the Red Sox left side of the infield will be set for years to come.

Webster Solid In First Win

Webster

Back in spring training, perhaps Allen Webster dreamt of a June call up.  Maybe spell a starter or two in the dog days of summer.

Well June is over now, and Webster has seen his fair share of action.  The rookie hurler has now started five games for the Sox, earning his first win against the San Diego Padres.  A lingering shoulder injury to Clay Buchholz has warranted the starts, not necessarily Webster’s performances.

In his five starts, Webster owns a 7.88 ERA and a glaring 4.50 walk rate.  I’m not bashing Webster here.  Surely no one expected him to come in and dominate.  In fact you should have expected him to get roughed up a bit.  He’s faced the teeth of the AL central in the Tigers and the much improved Royals.  He faced the Royals in his first start and pitched his best then, allowing only one walk while striking out five.  His next two starts were ugly.  He lasted only an inning and a third against the Twins, and the Tigers knocked him around for five in four and a third innings.

The last two starts have been better.  In Toronto he was able to battle through six innings to keep the Sox in the game, eventually winning it.  Then, Thursday night, he was even better.  He scattered five hits and four walks through six innings to keep the Friars to two runs.

My knock on Webster is the walks. Even in the minors his walk rate is consistently high, but the strikeouts have always been there too.  We’ve seen both so far in his young career.  If he can command his pitches better he could be potent.  His fastball lights up the gun at 98 and his slider is nasty.  These two pitches are good enough to keep him around.  He just needs to command them.

De La Rosa and Webster Have Impressed in Spring Training

spring trainingspring training

 Spring training is a valuable experience for young players. It gives them an opportunity to showcase their skills against big leaguers and in turn work on their game.  Pitching prospects Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster have impressed in Spring Training with their raw ability.

Near the end of August last season, the Red Sox completed a historic trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers.  It was a nine player deal and the Sox cleared a little over 250 million dollars.  But the deal wasn’t just a financial move. The Sox got four promising prospects in the deal as well: pitchers Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster, plus outfielders David Dejesus Jr. and Jerry Sands.  The two outfielders have since been traded to Pittsburgh in the deal that brought closer Joel Hanrahan to Boston.

Meanwhile, pitching studs, De La Rosa and Webster have impressed in spring training.  Before the trade, De La Rosa quickly rose through the Dodger system until he was derailed with an elbow injury, requiring Tommy John surgery.  De La Rosa’s first spring with the Sox was tough.  He allowed seven earned runs over 6.2 innings. But he certainly showed he has the raw talent—he touched triple digits on the radar gun early in the spring.  Webster has had a much more efficient spring, striking out fourteen batters while allowing only two runs over eleven innings.  While he doesn’t have a triple digit heater, Webster appears to be a more refined prospect than La Rosa.

It’s clear that both pitchers have loads of potential and could be the future of Red Sox staff. They aren’t quite ready yet though—both were optioned to Pawtucket on Friday as the final 25 man roster is being finalized.  Look for these guys to pitching at Fenway soon though as they both have been called up by the Dodgers in the past.