The Red Sox have four prospects in Jonathan Mayo and MLB.com's top 100 prospects list, released Wednesday. There are no real surprises here in terms of the who, nothing that shocking in terms of the where, either. The Red Sox have plenty of depth in their system, but no one expected to be of the Matt Moore or Bryce Harper caliber. (Who, by the way, are the first and second prospects ranked by Mayo.) You should absolutely take a look at the whole list, but here are Boston's highlights:
56 - Will Middlebrooks: Middlebrooks will start the year at Triple-A Pawtucket, and is the heir apparent to Kevin Youkilis at third base. His ETA might even be 2012, if Youkilis once again sees his season end before the schedule does due to injury. Middlebrooks isn't known for his plate patience, but he has fantastic plate coverage, and his glove should be able to help carry him through any initial transitional struggles at the plate in the majors.
64 - Bryce Brentz: Brentz recovered from his initial struggles in the minors post-draft to mash at two levels in 2011. Mayo describes Brentz as being a "legitimate power bat in right field, one that should provide plenty of homers and doubles in Fenway Park in the not-too-distant future." His arm is excellent, and while his plate discipline currently leaves you wanting, the challenges of the upper levels should force him to adjust, a la Josh Reddick.
76 - Xander Bogaerts: Mayo describes Bogaerts as "a third baseman" despite his playing shortstop in 2011, but that's just cutting to the truth. Bogaerts isn't going to stick at short, but his bat's ceiling is high enough that it might not even matter where he plays. At 19 years old, he's further from the majors than any other Red Sox on the list, giving him the best chance to shoot up higher on future prospect lists. Or, you know, falling off entirely -- not every talented, high-ceiling youngster develops as teams and fans hope.
93 - Ryan Lavarnway: Lavarnway's ranking here seems to be influenced by the fact his defensive game is a work-in-progress (emphasis on progress, though!), but Mayo is impressed by his bat, and thinks he is a "complete" hitter. With Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Kelly Shoppach in Boston in 2012, there's no need to rush Lavarnway just yet until he starts to catch every day for the first time in his professional career.