July 15, 2012; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks (64) hits a single in the second inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

The Bright Future: Top Red Sox Third Base Prospects


Just a year ago, third baseman Will Middlebrooks was the team’s top prospect. Now, Middlebrooks is the starting third baseman for the Red Sox, having evacuated rookie and prospect status after a phenomenal first year where he hit .288 with 15 home runs. However, that doesn’t diminish the fact that the Red Sox still have some quality third base prospects like Garin Cecchini and potentially Xander Bogaerts, if he makes the predicted move to third base (I won’t include him in this article though). If Middlebrooks continues his development, though, the Red Sox may not even need prospects at third for several years.

1. Garin Cecchini- Cecchini spent most of his first year in the Red Sox system sitting on the Lowell Spinners’ bench after a wrist injury. The 20 year old was placed at Single-A Greenville for the 2012 season, and was fantastic while there. Even beyond raking to a .305/.394/.433 slash line, Cecchini jacked 4 home runs, plated 64 runs, and even stole 51 bases. SoxProspects states that Cecchini has a sweet swing and potential to hit for average and some power. A decent third baseman, Cecchini needs to improve his footwork and reactions if he wants to stick there. Tribulations aside, however, Cecchini is one of the more exciting prospects in the Red Sox system and will almost certainly continue his trek through High-A Salem in 2013.

2. Kolbrin Vitek- Vitek was taken in the first round of the 2010 draft and had potential to hit for average and power through his career. Since the start of his minor league career, however, he hasn’t lived up to that promise. Vitek’s disappointing and injury-riddled 2012 campaign, in which he hit just .242/.284/.339 for Double-A Portland, lines up 2013 to be a make or break year. Vitek is probably a future outfielder, so the Red Sox should keep him in Portland and move him to the outfield. If his 2013 season is another bust, then the 23 year old’s days of prospectitude a probably over.

Cecchini is an exciting bat and it’ll be fun to watch him move through the ranks. However, there’s an equal chance that he’ll be traded based on how well Middlebrooks held his own in 2012. Vitek is probably not in the future plans of the Red Sox, and they should trade him if another team sees the potential he’s so far lacked. Cecchini and Vitek rank #7 and #39, respectively on SoxProspects’ list and both could be interesting in the next year. However, it’ll obviously be more interesting to be watching Will Middlebrooks tear it up every night.

 

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