2013 Boston Red Sox Top 10 Prospects With Scouting Reports




Follow me on Twitter

Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player's long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven't exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible.

Complete Index of Top 10 Prospects
Red Sox Chat
Jim Callis
Pre-Order the 2013 Prospect Handbook
30 scouting reports on every team

RED SOX
LINKS
Red Sox Team Page
Red Sox Top 10 Prospects
Last Year's Red Sox Top 10 Prospects
2012 Draft: Red Sox
2012 Draft Report Cards: Boston Red Sox
Complete Index of Top 10 Prospects
Pre-Order the 2013 Prospect Handbook
Boston Red Sox

For the Red Sox, 2012 was as embarrassing as 2011 was painful.

Boston lost 20 of its final 27 games in 2011, with the biggest September collapse in baseball history taking the team from the American League's best record to out of the playoffs. Two days after the season ended, the Red Sox declined the option on the contract of Terry Francona, their most successful manager ever. General manager Theo Epstein, the architect of the franchise's first World Series championship teams since 1918, left to become the Cubs' president of baseball operations in late October.

Senior vice president/assistant GM Ben Cherington took over for his former boss. His first major task was to hire Francona's replacement, with Dale Sveum as his top choice. But ownership declined to make an offer to Sveum, who joined Epstein in Chicago, and pushed Bobby Valentine on Cherington.

Concerns that Valentine's outspoken personality wouldn't mesh well with a veteran club quickly came true. He alienated many of his players by calling out Mike Aviles during spring training and Kevin Youkilis in April. Four days after Valentine left Jon Lester in to give up 11 runs to the Blue Jays on July 22, players met with owner John Henry and president Larry Lucchino to blast the manager.

At that point, the Red Sox were on the fringe of wild-card contention with a 49-50 record. When Boston dropped 16 of its next 27 games, ownership and Cherington decided to blow up the roster.

The Red Sox shipped Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, who joined the club in blockbuster moves three days apart in December 2010, to the Dodgers. World Series hero-turned-malcontent Josh Beckett and Nick Punto also headed to Los Angeles. Boston not only shed $261 million in salary commitments, but also managed to acquire a pair of quality arms in Rubby de la Rosa and Allen Webster, along with James Loney, Jerry Sands and Ivan DeJesus Jr.

While the trade gave the Red Sox much more flexibility for the future, it destroyed their present. They won just nine of their last 36 games, finishing at 69-93. Boston fired Valentine the day after the end of their worst season since 1965, and traded Aviles to get manager John Farrell from the Blue Jays. Farrell worked well with the Red Sox front office when he was the team's pitching coach from 2007-10.

Farrell takes over a team that hasn't won a playoff game since 2008, its longest drought in 15 years, and hasn't reached the postseason in the last three seasons despite baseball's second-largest payroll during that time. Both the rotation and the bullpen wilted in 2012, and the club's primary focus this offseason will be rebuilding the pitching staff.

Young players did provide positive developments in Boston, with Will Middlebrooks homering 15 times in 75 games and fellow rookie Felix Doubront tying for the team lead with 11 victories. Down on the farm, shortstop Xander Bogaerts continued to develop rapidly while several 2011 draft picks (outfielder Jackie Bradley, righthander Matt Barnes, lefthander Henry Owens, catcher Blake Swihart) provided intriguing early returns. Even so, the Red Sox will need more than those youngsters to ease the pain and embarrassment of the last two seasons.

1. Xander Bogaerts, ss Born: Oct 01, 1992 B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-3 Wt.: 175
Signed: Aruba '09. Signed by:Mike Lord
Xander BogaertsBackground: The Red Sox' best international prospect since Hanley Ramirez, Bogaerts keeps raising his performance and raising expectations. Boston signed him for $410,000 out of Aruba in 2009, promising his mother that he could finish high school before making his pro debut. He hit .314/.396/.423 in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League in 2010, then came to United States. The Red Sox planned on sending him to the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in 2011, but Bogaerts so dominated extended spring training that they sent him to low Class A Greenville at age 18, and he responded with 16 homers in 72 games. He was just warming up for 2012, when he was Boston's minor league offensive player of the year and appeared in the Futures Game. Bogaerts batted a combined .307/.373/.523 and reached Double-A Portland, where he was the youngest position player in the Eastern League. About the only negative in his year came when the Sox sent his twin brother Jair, a first baseman, to the Cubs in March when the teams exchanged players as compensation for former Boston GM Theo Epstein. Chicago released Jair in June.

Scouting Report: Bogaerts has the offensive potential to be an all-star at any position, and that position just might be shortstop. He's a confident, strong hitter who doesn't muscle up to tap into his plus-plus raw power. He has an easy swing with plenty of bat speed, and he does a nice job of keeping his weight back and using the entire field. Despite his youth, he has a feel for making in-game adjustments. He improved his selectivity in 2012, though he still expands the strike zone at times. While that flaw doesn't hurt him much because he still makes hard contact on balls off the plate, the Red Sox want him to draw more walks. His walk rate was acceptable at high Class A Salem (43 in 104 games), but he drew just one free pass in 23 Double-A contests. Though scouts look at Bogaerts' 6-foot-3 frame and wonder if he'll outgrow shortstop, he has good actions at the position and could stay there longer than expected. His plus arm isn't a question and he played more under control on defense in 2012. He made just 21 errors in 119 games, after making 26 in 72 games the year before, boosting his fielding percentage from .924 to .959. He's an average runner who's not quite as quick as a typical shortstop, but he still exhibits solid range. He's athletic and has good body control for his size. If Bogaerts has to move, he'd profile best at third base or right field. Along with his considerable tools, he draws praise for his intelligence and work ethic.

The Future: Bogaerts likely will open 2013 in Double-A to focus on his plate discipline, but Boston has had a hard time holding him back. He easily could hit his way to Triple-A Pawtucket before he turns 21. The Red Sox don't have a clear starter at shortstop, so it's not out of the question that he could put himself in the major league mix before the end of the season. More realistically, Bogaerts will make his Boston debut in 2014. Whether he does so at shortstop likely depends on how much slick-fielding Jose Iglesias shows at the plate between now and then.

Year Team AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
'10 Red Sox (R) 239 39 75 7 5 3 42 30 37 4 5 .314 .396 .423
'11 Greenville (LoA) 265 38 69 14 2 16 45 25 71 1 3 .260 .324 .509
'12 Salem (HiA) 384 59 116 27 3 15 64 43 85 4 4 .302 .378 .505
'12 Portland (AA) 92 12 30 10 0 5 17 1 21 1 1 .326 .351 .598
Minor League Totals 980 148 290 58 10 39 168 99 214 10 13 .296 .366 .495

2. Jackie Bradley, of Born: Apr 19, 1990 B-T: L-R Ht.: 5-10 Wt.: 180
Drafted: South Carolina, 2011 (1st round supplemental).  Signed by: Quincy Boyd
Jackie BradleyBackground: The Most Outstanding Player at the 2010 College World Series, Bradley slipped to No. 40 in 2011 after a wrist injury and lower production with toned-down NCAA bats. Signed for $1.1 million, he regained his form in 2012. The Red Sox named him their minor league defensive player of the year, while managers rated him as having the best bat, plate discipline, baserunning skills, outfield defense and outfield arm in the high Class A Carolina League before his promotion in June.

Scouting Report: Bradley is an outstanding center fielder who can run down almost any ball, thanks to his quickness and instincts, and he has a plus arm as a bonus. An on-base machine with quick hands, Bradley works deep counts and sprays line drives to all fields. He has enough power to hit 10-15 homers annually, though it can make him too pull-conscious at times. He's an average runner whose speed plays up on the basepaths. The Red Sox love his competitive makeup, which sparked consecutive national championships at South Carolina.

The Future: Ticketed for Triple-A to start 2013, Bradley has no major adjustments to make. He's a better center fielder than Jacoby Ellsbury, who becomes a free agent after 2013.

Year Team AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
'11 Lowell (SS) 21 5 4 0 0 0 0 4 5 0 2 .190 .320 .190
'11 Greenville (LoA) 15 2 5 1 0 1 3 0 3 0 0 .333 .333 .600
'12 Salem (HiA) 234 53 84 26 2 3 34 52 40 16 6 .359 .480 .526
'12 Portland (AA) 229 37 62 16 2 6 29 35 49 8 3 .271 .373 .437
Minor League Totals 499 97 155 43 4 10 66 91 97 24 11 .311 .423 .473

3. Matt Barnes, rhp Born: Jun 17, 1990 B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-4 Wt.: 205
Drafted: Connecticut, 2011 (1st round).  Signed by: Ray Fagnant
Matt BarnesBackground: Barnes set a Connecticut career record with 247 strikeouts and pitched the Huskies to their first-ever NCAA super-regional in 2011, before Boston drafted him 19th overall and signed him for $1.5 million. His 2012 pro debut was a tale of two halves, as he went 7-1, 0.99 before the all-star break before tiring and going 0-4, 5.74 afterward. He required just a pair of 95 mph fastballs to record two outs at the Futures Game.

Scouting Report: Barnes pitches aggressively with his swing-and-miss fastball. He effortlessly throws heaters with riding life, usually sitting at 93-95 mph and topping out at 98. The Red Sox had him scrap a slider he started to fiddle with in college and had him focus on throwing his hard curveball, a plus downer at times. Barnes is learning the need for a changeup, which he throws a bit too hard in the upper 80s but sells well with his arm speed. He's not afraid to throw strikes or pitch inside.

The Future: If Barnes can refine his secondary pitches, he can become a No. 2 or 3 starter. After easing him into pro ball with 120 innings, Boston will turn him loose in 2013. He'll start in Double-A and could push for a spot in the big league rotation by the end of the season.

Year Team W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
'12 Greenville (LoA) 2 0 0.34 5 5 0 27 12 1 1 0 4 42 .130
'12 Salem (HiA) 5 5 3.58 20 20 0 93 85 42 37 6 25 91 .234
Minor League Totals 7 5 2.85 25 25 0 120 97 97 38 6 29 133 .212

4. Allen Webster, rhp Born: Feb 10, 1990 B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-3 Wt.: 185
Drafted: McMichael HS, Madison, N.C., 2008 (18th round).  Signed by: Lon Joyce
Allen WebsterBackground: Mainly a shortstop in high school, Webster threw 91-92 mph in a pitching appearance late in his senior year in front of a Dodgers scout who was evaluating another player. Signed for $20,000 as an 18th-rounder, he has blossomed into a top pitching prospect. Other teams marveled that Boston was able to acquire him while also dumping $261 million in salaries in the Adrian Gonzalez trade in August.

Scouting Report: Webster turns bats into kindling and generates groundballs with a 92-95 mph fastball that peaks at 97 but is most notable for its late sink and armside run. In 2012, he ranked fourth in the minors in home run rate (0.1 per nine innings). His changeup can be just as devastating with its fade and sink. His mid-80s slider lacks consistency but has the makings of a third plus offering. Webster's pitches move so much that he can struggle to command them, and he gets hit when he falls behind in the count. Scouts also pointed out Webster tends to fall into predictable pitch patterns.

The Future: Some scouts prefer him to Matt Barnes because he has a deeper repertoire, though Webster still must learn to harness his stuff. A potential No. 2 or 3 starter, he's ready to graduate to Triple-A and could make his major league debut in 2013.

Year Team W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
'08 Dodgers (R) 1 1 3.44 12 0 1 18 12 9 7 1 17 13 .179
'09 Dodgers (R) 2 1 2.08 12 8 0 48 35 19 11 0 14 56 .197
'09 Ogden (R) 2 0 3.00 4 3 0 21 23 8 7 1 4 21 .267
'10 Great Lakes (LoA) 12 9 2.88 26 23 0 131 119 55 42 6 53 114 .232
'11 R. Cucamonga (HiA) 5 2 2.33 9 9 0 54 46 18 14 2 21 62 .221
'11 Chattanooga (AA) 6 3 5.04 18 17 0 91 101 53 51 7 36 73 .270
'12 Chattanooga (AA) 6 8 3.55 27 22 0 122 120 63 48 1 57 117 .247
'12 Portland (AA) 0 1 8.00 2 2 0 9 13 8 8 1 4 12 .325
Minor League Totals 34 25 3.43 110 84 1 494 469 469 188 19 206 468 .240

5. Henry Owens, lhp Born: Jul 21, 1992 B-T: L-L Ht.: 6-6 Wt.: 190
Drafted: Edison HS, Huntington Beach, Calif., 2011 (1st round supplemental).  Signed by: Tom Battista
Henry OwensBackground: Yet another member of what is shaping up as a strong 2011 draft class for the Red Sox, Owens went 36th overall and signed for $1.55 million. Though kept on a short leash in his 2012 pro debut, Owens led the system with 12 wins and ranked second with 130 strikeouts.

Scouting Report: Owens is a rare lefthander who can get swings and misses with three different pitches. His fastball has mostly average velocity and life, ranging from 88-94 mph, but plays up because his tall body and long limbs give him deceptive angle and plane. He has advanced feel for his plus changeup and an average breaking ball. He varies his breaker, using a loopy 67-72 mph curveball early in counts for strikes and a 78-81 mph slurve to put hitters away. While Owens' lanky frame gives him plenty of room to add strength, he won't require more power to succeed. His control is better than his average of 4.2 walks per nine innings would indicate, but his command needs refinement. He's athletic and repeats his delivery well.

The Future: Owens is further away than Matt Barnes or Allen Webster but may have more upside. He'll head to high Class A in 2013 and should advance quickly as soon as he starts to locate his pitches with more precision.

Year Team W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
'12 Greenville (LoA) 12 5 4.87 23 22 0 102 100 58 55 10 47 130 .247
Minor League Totals 12 5 4.85 23 22 0 102 100 100 55 10 47 130 .246

6. Blake Swihart, c Born: Apr 03, 1992 B-T: B-R Ht.: 6-1 Wt.: 175
Drafted: Cleveland HS, Rio Rancho, N.M., 2011 (1st round).  Signed by: Matt Mahoney
Blake SwihartBackground: The 26th overall pick in 2011, Swihart was the highest-drafted player out of New Mexico since Shane Andrews in 1990, and it was the earliest Boston has taken a catcher since John Marzano in 1984. Adjusting to tougher competition while becoming a full-time backstop, Swihart hit just .198 through mid-May but rallied to bat .289/.329/.439 afterward.

Scouting Report: As an athletic catcher who projects as an above-average hitter, in his overall tools package at least Swihart is similar to a young Buster Posey. Swihart has a good swing from both sides of the plate, with bat speed and the ability to keep the bat in the hitting zone for a long time. He's still learning to recognize pitches and tone down his aggressiveness. He makes a lot of hard, line-drive contact that should produce average power once he adds strength and loft to his stroke. Swihart is still learning behind the plate but has made progress with shortening his release and cleaning up his footwork. He threw out 31 percent of basestealers in 2012 while showing average arm strength. He has quick feet and soft hands but needs to quiet down his receiving. He's an average runner.

The Future: Swihart is a long way from becoming the next Posey, and the Red Sox will develop him patiently. He'll likely spend all of 2013 in high Class A.

 
Year Team AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
'11 Red Sox (R) 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 .000 .000 .000
'12 Greenville (LoA) 344 44 90 17 4 7 53 26 68 6 2 .262 .307 .395
Minor League Totals 350 44 90 17 4 7 53 26 70 6 2 .257 .302 .389

7. Garin Cecchini, 3b Born: Apr 20, 1991 B-T: L-R Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 200
Drafted: Barbe HS, Lake Charles, La., 2010 (4th round).  Signed by: Matt Dorey
Garin CecchiniBackground: After blowing out his right knee as a high school senior and having a pitch break his right wrist in his pro debut, Cecchini finally stayed healthy in 2012. The $1.31 million bonus signee ranked third in the low Class A South Atlantic League in doubles (38) and steals (51 in 57 attempts) and was named Red Sox minor league baserunner of the year. The Mets drafted his younger brother Gavin 12th overall in June.

Scouting Report: Cecchini is a pure hitter who excels at controlling the strike zone, managing at-bats and making adjustments. He has enough bat speed and strength to develop average power once he learns to load his hands better in his swing. It's hard to believe considering his 51 swipes, but Cecchini is a below-average runner out of the box. Though he has a quick first step and tremendous instincts on the bases, he won't be a huge basestealing threat at higher levels. He's also savvy in the field, leading SAL third basemen in fielding percentage (.944). He moves well laterally, and managers rated his infield arm as the best in the league.

The Future: He has the tools to be a solid regular at third base, but Will Middlebrooks and possibly Xander Bogaerts may preclude Cecchini from playing there in Boston. If his power comes, he'd profile well on an outfield corner. He'll open 2013 in high Class A.

Year Team AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
'11 Lowell (SS) 114 21 34 12 1 3 23 17 19 12 2 .298 .398 .500
'12 Greenville (LoA) 455 84 139 38 4 4 62 61 90 51 6 .305 .394 .433
Minor League Totals 569 105 173 50 5 7 85 78 109 63 8 .304 .395 .446

8. Bryce Brentz, of Born: Dec 30, 1988 B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-0 Wt.: 190
Drafted: Middle Tennessee State, 2010 (1st round supplemental).  Signed by: Danny Watkins
Bryce BrentzBackground: Brentz topped NCAA Division I in batting (.465), home runs (28) and slugging (.930) as a sophomore in 2009, then went 36th overall in the next year's draft and signed for $889,200. He hit 30 homers in his first full pro season and reached Triple-A in his second. He batted .333/.385/.792 in the International League playoffs to lead Pawtucket to its first championship in 28 years.

Scouting Report: Brentz has the two most important tools for a right fielder, as both his power and arm grade as better than average. His bat speed and pure strength give him at least 65 raw pop on the 20-80 scouting scale. He'll always pile up strikeouts, but he has shortened his swing and used the whole field more often as he has risen through the minors. He still can get out of control at times, trying to uppercut and pull pitches, and his biggest weakness is a propensity to chase breaking balls. Managers rated Brentz's outfield arm as the Eastern League's best in 2012, when he recorded 10 assists and cut down on needless throws that led to errors in the past. He's a below-average runner with average range in right.

The Future: The Red Sox view Brentz as a potential solid regular in right field. After some Triple-A seasoning, he could compete for a starting job in Boston in 2014.

Year Team AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
'10 Lowell (SS) 262 28 52 14 4 5 39 21 76 5 4 .198 .259 .340
'11 Greenville (LoA) 170 43 61 10 3 11 36 14 35 2 2 .359 .414 .647
'11 Salem (HiA) 288 48 79 15 1 19 58 26 80 1 1 .274 .336 .531
'12 Portland (AA) 456 62 135 30 1 17 76 40 130 7 5 .296 .355 .478
'12 Pawtucket (AAA) 17 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 6 0 0 .118 .167 .118
Minor League Totals 1193 181 329 69 9 52 209 102 327 15 12 .276 .335 .479

9. Jose Iglesias, ss Born: Jan 05, 1990 B-T: R-R Ht.: 5-11 Wt.: 185
Signed:  Cuba '09 Signed by: Craig Shipley/Johnny DiPuglia
Jose IglesiasBackground: A Cuban defector, Iglesias signed in 2009 for an $8.25 million major league contract that included a Red Sox-record $6.25 million bonus. He made his major league debut in 2011 but spent the bulk of 2012 in Triple-A.

Scouting Report: Iglesias may be the best defensive shortstop prospect in the game. Rated as the International League's top defensive shortstop for two years running, he has exceptionally quick hands and feet. His arm is strong and former manager Bobby Valentine said Iglesias has more range than Rey Ordonez, the Gold Glover he had with the Mets. The problem is that Iglesias has hit .251/.302/.287 in Triple-A and looked helpless at the plate with Boston. While he has bat speed and makes contact, he draws few walks and offers no power. With average speed and good instincts, he can steal 10-15 bases a season.

The Future: After trading Mike Aviles to the Blue Jays in order to get new manager John Farrell, the Red Sox will give Iglesias the opportunity to win the shortstop job in spring training. His defense can make him a valuable regular, even if his bat relegates him to the bottom of the lineup.


Year Team AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
'10 Lowell (SS) 40 8 14 2 2 0 7 7 8 2 1 .350 .458 .500
'10 Portland (AA) 221 29 63 10 3 0 13 8 49 5 2 .285 .315 .357
'11 Pawtucket (AAA) 357 35 84 9 0 1 31 21 58 12 4 .235 .285 .269
'11 Boston (MAJ) 6 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 .333 .333 .333
'12 Lowell (SS) 8 1 3 1 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 .375 .444 .500
'12 Pawtucket (AAA) 353 46 94 9 1 1 23 27 46 12 3 .266 .318 .306
'12 Boston (MAJ) 68 5 8 2 0 1 2 4 16 1 0 .118 .200 .191
Major League Totals 74 8 10 2 0 1 2 4 18 1 0 .135 .210 .203
Minor League Totals 979 119 258 31 6 2 74 64 162 32 10 .264 .313 .314

10. Deven Marrero, ss Born: Aug 25, 1990 B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-1 Wt.: 194
Drafted: Arizona State, 2012 (1st round).  Signed by: Vaughn Williams
Deven MarreroBackground: Marrero entered 2012 as a potential No. 1 overall draft pick, but he lasted until No. 25 after hitting just .284 as a junior at Arizona State. A rare college shortstop who looks like a good bet to remain at the position, he signed with the Red Sox for $2.05 million. His cousin Chris was a Nationals first-rounder in 2006 and has appeared briefly in the majors.

Scouting Report: Marrero reads balls well and has fluid actions at shortstop, with the above-average range and arm strength to make all the plays. He can improve his focus and consistency on defense, though that can be said of most players entering pro ball. Marrero hit better with wood bats in summer play than he did with metal bats during the college season, and the Red Sox think he'll produce at the plate. He stays inside the ball well, controls the strike zone and may flash enough pull power to hit 10 homers a year. With solid speed, a quick first step and keen instincts, he could add 20 steals a year.

The Future: He isn't in Iglesias' class defensively, but Marrero is a plus defender with much more offensive upside. Those two represent Boston's future at shortstop if Xander Bogaerts outgrows the position. Marrero figures to skip a level and start his first full pro season in high Class A.

Year Team AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
'12 Lowell (SS) 246 45 66 14 3 2 24 34 48 24 6 .268 .358 .374
Minor League Totals 246 45 66 14 3 2 24 34 48 24 6 .268 .358 .374