June 21, 2011; Omaha, NE, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. (19) hits a RBI double during the first inning against the Virginia Cavaliers during the 2011 College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE

The Bright Future: Top Red Sox Center Field Prospects

In the best case scenario, the Red Sox wouldn’t need center field prospects for quite a while. However, it doesn’t appear that Jacoby Ellsbury will sign an extension in the near future and thus, the Red Sox will have to look towards the future. Luckily, they’ve got themselves a pretty good center field prospect in Jackie Bradley Jr.  who projects as a slightly less speedy Ellsbury at the major league level. Beyond Bradley, they don’t have much, but again– hopefully, they won’t need much.

1. Jackie Bradley Jr.- Entering the 2011 season, Bradley was expected to be drafted very early, maybe in the Top 10 out of South Carolina. He injured his right wrist, however, and fell to the 40th overall pick, where the Red Sox were happy to take a gamble. So far he’s looked like Top 10 Bradley in the minors, as he had a very respectable season between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland as a 22 year old. Between the two levels, he hit .315/.430/.482 with 9 home runs and 24 steals. He projects as a leadoff hitting center fielder who plays good defense.

2. Manuel Margot- An unknown outfielder from the Dominican Republic, Margot had himself a very nice summer in the Dominican Summer League this year. He’s just 18, and is a high energy type player who would probably fit into the leadoff role. Margot is very speedy and should have the ability to hit for average and steal bases. However, it’ll also be a while until one even hears his name in prospect discussions.

There you go, potentially, the center fielder of the not too distant future and the center field of the very distant future. Bradley will probably start next year in Portland, where he had his share of struggles in 2012. However, he’ll likely earn a call up to Pawtucket at some point and may even see the majors toward the end of the year. All in all, Bradley and Margot are two of the more exciting prospects the Red Sox have to offer.

Tags: Boston Red Sox Prospects

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