MLB.com has been busy over the past two weeks, unveiling their Top 10 prospects by position as they worked up to the Thursday evening reveal of their overall Top 100 Prospect list – a list that included a total of nine Boston Red Sox prospects, more than any other team in Major League Baseball.
Minnesota Twins outfielder Byron Buxton took the top spot on the overall list, as expected after an impressive debut season but he’s yet to play above High-A ball so he shouldn’t be expected in the Twin Cities for some time. Coming in at #2 behind him, however, was Boston’s own Xander Bogaerts.
One of just two players in the Top 10 who are projected to break camp with their team (Seattle’s Taijuan Walker being the other), Bogaerts is penciled in as Boston’s starting shortstop on Opening Day and he’ll do so with high expectations. He became the youngest position player to suit up for the Red Sox in 41 years and did enough to ride the starting lineup through the World Series. Boston’s had an inconsistent string of shortstops ever since they dealt Nomar Garciaparra during the 2004 season. Bogaerts just might be the best offensive infield prospect they’ve brought up since.
Henry Owens is the next player to appear on the list, checking in at #30. Having been #94 on the list one year prior, his 64 place jump constitutes the largest of any player on this year’s rankings. A 21 year old left-hander, Owens topped out at Double-A this past season and at least initially will head there again to begin 2014. Here’s some of the scouting report on Owens:
Owens throws his fastball in the low 90s and it plays up thanks to his deceptive delivery and long arms. His changeup gives him a second plus pitch and his slow curveball flashes the potential to be a third above average offering, though it remains inconsistent.
Owen’s command isn’t great and he proved to be vulnerable against left-handed hitters. But he has a good feel for pitching, giving scouts confidence he will make the adjustments necessary to reach his potential as a middle of the rotation starter.
Jackie Bradley Jr. is next at #33, perhaps a little higher than some might expect. He didn’t make much of an impression at the plate in some limited time this past season, but played well enough at Triple-A Pawtucket to still figure prominently into the team’s plans in 2014 and beyond. Part of the reason the team felt comfortable not breaking the bank to retain Jacoby Ellsbury, Bradley projects to be an equally strong defensive option in center field who’ll ultimately develop into a consistent on base threat.