Normally when a team is not playing meaningful games in September, it is construed as a bad thing, implying that the team is completely out of the race. However, that is the opposite of the truth for the 2013 Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox are eight games ahead in the AL East race and their magic number is down to three games– and only one game to clinch a playoff spot. Since it’s almost impossible for the Red Sox to not make the playoffs this year, they have given some younger, more inexperienced players a chance to audition for spots on the 2014 roster.
The big two in this regard are Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr., the consensus top two prospects in the Red Sox system. With Will Middlebrooks ailing both healthwise and at the plate, Bogaerts has gotten a fair bit of playing time in recent weeks and has performed admirably, slashing .286/.350/.429 in 39 plate appearances. Bradley’s flaws have been exposed more in the major leagues, as he is slashing just .152/.256/.278 and only .143/.250/.190 since being recalled. However, he has shown excellent defense (as has Bogaerts) and hopefully with some seasoning, could be ready to take over in 2014.
Aside from those two prospects, however, the Red Sox have been giving more playing time to a few more guys that could play more prominently into 2014′s plans. Players such as pitchers Rubby de la Rosa, Brayan Villareal, and Allen Webster. So far, none of these pitchers has really made fans say anything other than “wow” to their stuff as all three have been hit pretty hard at the major league level with 5.79, 20.77, and 9.55 ERA’s respectively.
None of these players except Bogaerts has made a case to start the 2014 season on the active roster. However, fear not. Every one of these players will presumably get more chances over the remaining nine games this year, especially once the Red Sox clinch playoff and division leads.