AL bEAST's 15 prospects on Baseball America's Top 100; Sox 3: Middlebrooks, "X-man" Bogaerts, Swihart


Baseball America, considered by many Prospect Prospectors to be the “gold standard” for rating future stars, has just released its Top 100 list; what are the implications for the Red Sox?

Taking just the fifteen AL bEAST division players on the list, the raw score is:
Yankees and Jays 4; Sox 3; Rays and Orioles 2 each.

But what slots did these phuture phenoms fall into?

Yankees: 29,63,81,85
Blue Jays: 17,39,67,91
Red Sox: 51, 58, 72
Rays: 89,90
Orioles: 10,11
[SEE list of 15 excerpted from Baseball America end of article.]

The trio of Sox prospects among the Top 100 fell below the mid-line and were:

“51 Will Middlebrooks 3b, Red Sox Age: 23. ETA: 2013. “Middle”brooks was No. 50 before Yoenis Cespedes signed. Pure coincidence.

58 Xander Bogaerts ss, Red Sox Age: 19. ETA: 2014. An Aruba native, Bogaerts apparently is Papiamento for “jaw-dropping, precocious power.”

72 Blake Swihart c, Red Sox Age: 20. ETA: 2014. He’d be on the list even if he couldn’t catch thanks to his hitting ability.”

Middlebrooks is currently the heir apparent to take the hot corner from Yook in 2013; depending on Yook’s health, the timetable may be moved up, since many say that Middlebrooks may need a half season in the minors to cut down on his Ks, before being ready for prime time. If The Yook is healthy for 2013, it might allow the Sox to slow down the “Yoot” movement and allow Middlebrooks to phase in that year.

Bogaerts has flashed surprising power, has hit for average, and is just adequate defensively at this early stage. The 22 year-old Jose Iglesias will need to add offense to his Gold Glove defense in the next two years to establish himself at SS, or face a challenge from Bogaerts.

As with many minor league shortstops, Bogaerts may either physically outgrow the position, or not develop his defensive skill enough to play SS in the majors. Or, he may be blocked at certain positions; Iglesias and Middlebrooks may have claimed the left side of the infield and, with Pedroia owning Second base, Bogaerts may find himself competing for an OF slot.

Swihart is intriguing for two reasons: he is a catcher and he can hit for average and power. In two years he may be ready to join Lavarnway and Saltalmacchia on the 40-man roster and has a ceiling that could make him a candidate for the starting catcher slot by 2015. The best news is that BA says his bat will play anywhere; minor league catchers, who can hit, frequently move to 3b or 1b.

Of all the AL bEAST prospects who made the Top 100, the Rays have the most MLB ready with Matt Moore, who has the talent to become the ace of that talent laden rotation.

The Yankees’ two “Killer Bs” are expected in the rotation by 2013 with the preternaturally poised lefty Manny Banuelos, 21, arriving first [2012], joined by righty Dellin Betances, 24. The Yankees believe that these two Bs will fit in at 2 and 3 behind the two Cs of Sabathia and form a grade-A mound foundation for a decade.

Buy this guy’s Rookie cards: Anthony Gose, of, Blue Jays, 21,  ETA: 2013.

Maybe he physically compares to Nyjer Morgan, but his tool set is All-Star quality and a better comparison might be Carl Crawford or Warren Wells; he has an impressive arm and lead the Eastern League with 70 steals. A September call-up from AAA Las Vegas would not be a surprise.

Travis d’Arnaud c, 23, ranked 17 of 100 has the talent to shove starter Arrencibia into the backup slot or DH role; J.P. hits for power; Travis for average; defensively d’Arnaud is better overall, but needs to improve his footwork to raise his throw-out percentage.

In 2013 the Orioles hope to see their SS of the Future, Manny Machado, arrive, as well as the first of the pitching Bundy Brothers. Machado has the tools to make a few All-Star game appearances, but, like Ripken, he will star on a team that might only make it to the World Series once in his career.

Dylan Bundy, 19, was the first high school pitcher taken in the 2011 Draft, while Robert, the older Bundy, 22, who has already put in a year in A-ball, may not have as high a ceiling as Dylan, but they will likely fill out the Baltimore rotation for many years and never see a World Series, except on TV.

The take away for citizens of Red Sox Nation: Sox will upgrade their defense on the left side of the INF with Middlebrooks at 3rd, Jose or Bogey at SS, while the Yankees will add two solid building blocks to their rotation. Matt Moore will be AL ROY in 2012. Machado and Gose will play in All-Star games. Except for Moore with the Rays, no major impact on Red Sox for 2012.
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15 AL EAST PROSPECTS [EXCERPT FROM BASEBALL AMERICA, TOP 100]

2 Matt Moore lhp, Rays Age: 22. ETA: 2012. He makes it look so easy, and he’s so good he’ll make David Price a No. 2 starter.
10 Dylan Bundy rhp, Orioles Age: 19. ETA: 2013. First goal: Beat big brother Bobby to Baltimore. Next: Make the Orioles relevant.
11 Manny Machado ss, Orioles Age: 19. ETA: 2013 Power-hitting shortstop can restore honor to the phrase “Manny being Manny.”
17 Travis d’Arnaud c, Blue Jays Age: 23. ETA: 2013. Brother Chase beat him to the big leagues, but Travis’ ceiling is higher.
29 Manny Banuelos lhp, Yankees Age: 21. ETA: 2012. Yankees player-development boss Mark Newman compared his poise to Whitey Ford—when Banuelos was 18.
39 Anthony Gose of, Blue Jays Age: 21. ETA: 2013. Physical dead-ringer for Nyjer Morgan has bigger tools than T-Plush.
51 Will Middlebrooks 3b, Red Sox Age: 23. ETA: 2013. “Middle”brooks was No. 50 before Yoenis Cespedes signed. Pure coincidence.
58 Xander Bogaerts ss, Red Sox Age: 19. ETA: 2014. An Aruba native, Bogaerts apparently is Papiamento for “jaw-dropping, precocious power.”
63 Dellin Betances rhp, Yankees Age: 24. ETA: 2013. Last year he became the 10th member of New York’s 2006 draft class to reach the majors.
67 Jake Marisnick of, Blue Jays Age: 21. ETA: 2014. Scouts doubted his bat as an amateur, but he’s putting those doubts to rest.
72 Blake Swihart c, Red Sox Age: 20. ETA: 2014. He’d be on the list even if he couldn’t catch thanks to his hitting ability.
81 Gary Sanchez c, Yankees Age: 19. ETA: 2014. Took hits for his defensive ability and makeup in his first full season, but dished them out with his bat. 82 Jonathan Schoop inf, Orioles Age: 20. ETA: 2014. His power potential and infield actions are far beyond his brother Sharlon’s.
85 Mason Williams of, Yankees Age: 20. ETA: 2014. Heads up a deep, athletic group of Yankees prospects headed to low Class A Charleston.
89 Chris Archer rhp, Rays Age: 23. ETA: 2013. Still needs to prove his 2010 breakout wasn’t a fluke, and might have more impact in the bullpen.
90 Taylor Guerrieri rhp, Rays Age: 19. ETA: 2015. High risk, but brings substantial upside to an organization known for developing pitchers.

91 Daniel Norris lhp, Blue Jays Age: 18. ETA: 2015. Toronto has tremendous pitching depth, and even though power lefty Norris hasn’t debuted yet he still tops the list.

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Tags: 21 AL AL East All-Star Baltimore Orioles Baseball America Blake Swihart Blue Jays C Cal Ripken Carl Crawford Chris Archer Daniel Norris Dellin BetancesAnthony Gose Dylan Bundy ETA. 2013 Gary Sanchez Iglesias Jake Marisnick Kevin Youkilis Killer Bees Killer Bs Lavarnway LHP List Manny Banuelos Manny Machado Mason Williams Matt Moore New York Yankees Nyjer Morgan 3b C OF Prospects Ranking Rating RHP Robert Bundy Rookie Of The Year ROY Sabathia Saltalmacchia SS Tampa Bay Rays Taylor Guerrieri Top 100 Toronto Blue Jays TRAVIS D'ARNAUD Warren Wells Will Middlebrooks World Series Xander Bogaerts Yook Youklis