As of today, four of the top five prospects in the Red Sox’ system have made their spring debuts (with Matt Barnes, the remainder, not invited to big league camp). Although one can’t just predict a player’s career from one or two spring training appearances, the results have been quite good so far. Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Allen Webster, and Rubby de la Rosa have all had at least one appearance to judge them on. Although there will be many more this spring, let’s take a look at the notes so far.
Xander Bogaerts- Bogaerts came into the spring opener on Saturday as a defensive replacement for third baseman Will Middlebrooks. He got two at bats and went 1-2 with a clutch RBI single up the middle in the bottom of the ninth (the Red Sox went on to lose). The 20 year old also made a nice grab at third base and got the out with good reactions in a rundown. In my limited viewing of Bogaerts, he appeared to be as advertised. He’s got a good plate presence and drove the ball up the middle; defensively, he has a good arm and looked like a natural at third base, a position he just started playing at the outset of spring.
Jackie Bradley Jr.- So far, Bradley has gotten into three big league spring training games and has looked very good. He is 4-6 with a double, a walk, and an RBI and has seemed to be handling “big league” pitching pretty well. Since Bradley is not departing for the World Baseball Classic like Bogaerts, he should continue to play nearly every day as the Red Sox want to get a good look to see if he’s the center fielder of the future. It looks like he is right now as he’s shown an ability to hit for contact and play a strong center field.
Allen Webster- Webster got his first game action today against the Blue Jays and looked pretty good. He threw two innings and allowed two hits and a run while striking out four batters (in a row) in his limited time. Even more impressive, Webster was hitting the high 90’s– hitting 98 and 99 mph on back-to-back pitches. Webster is likely to see plenty of action this spring and will probably see his major league debut sometime this year.
Rubby de la Rosa- It’s up for debate whether de la Rosa is truly a prospect anymore. However, there’s no debate that he is young and he is good. In two innings on Sunday against the Cardinals, he allowed no baserunners and actually threw a remarkable three-pitch ninth inning while also hitting 100 mph multiple times.
This abundance of big time prospects, which there has been quite a lack of recently, could make this spring a very fun one to watch. Xander Bogaerts will be off to Japan for the World Baseball Classic, but the others should be entertaining. More than anything else, it’s so nice to have some high quality pitching on the way and it looks like the Red Sox have that and then some.