U.S. Futures All-Star Will Middlebrooks of the Boston Red Sox throws the ball to first base during the 2011 XM All-Star Futures Game at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Baseball America is the last of the major publications to release their top 100 prospect list to the public this year. If you're a Red Sox fan, it's worth the wait, though, as it's further confirmation that us Red Sox fans should be excited about at least three of the team's prospects.
Baseball America's Red Sox selections are different than the other lists we've seen, just as Keith Law and Kevin Goldstein have differing opinions on who Boston's top prospects are. The names won't be new to you, just their order:
51 - Will Middlebrooks: Baseball America lists Middlebrooks ETA as 2013, and while it's no guarantee he'll be in the majors when the guaranteed portion of Kevin Youkilis' contract is up, at least everyone seems to think he'll be ready.
58 - Xander Bogaerts: Bogaerts, for many, is the top prospect Boston has. Goldstein rated him #32, Bullpen Banter had him #25 in their top 100, and Keith Law had him ranked at 62. Fans of Will Middlebrooks should be pleased to see him rated ahead of Bogaerts, though it's clear from these four rankings that there isn't a consensus yet on just how good Bogaerts might be. Baseball America does have his ETA as 2014, though, meaning that, despite being just 19, they don't think he's that far off.
72 - Blake Swihart: Some Red Sox fans -- including some of our own community here at Over the Monster -- think Swihart's rankings have been a tad high, given he has just six professional at-bats and the assumption he'll be a catcher. Baseball America disagrees, though, saying, "He'd be on the list even if he couldn't catch thanks to his hitting ability." Like Bogaerts, Baseball America sees Swihart being ready in 2014.
There are some former Red Sox in the top 100 as well: Anthony Rizzo, now with the Cubs, comes in at 47, and Casey Kelly sits at 76 with the Padres. If you're upset about only having three in the top 100, think of it this way: your average team has 3.3 prospects in the top 100, and the Red Sox would have five if not for Adrian Gonzalez. Would you rather have two more lottery tickets, or Adrian Gonzalez?
Outside of Baseball America's top 100, they ranked seven other Red Sox prospects for their top 10. There are no profiles available here -- that's what Baseball America's annual is for -- but there are still things we can glean from it.
They like Anthony Ranaudo more than basically everyone except for Sox Prospects (#2), ranking him as the fourth prospect in the system. (Goldstein has him at nine, Law has him at six). Bryce Brentz comes in ahead of Brandon Jacobs, and Brentz is considered the best power hitter in the system, too. The 40th pick overall from the 2011 draft, Jackie Bradley, makes an appearance in the top 10, joining Bullpen Banter as the only other outlet we've featured here to rank him that well.
It's unlikely the newest Red Sox, Chris Carpenter, would have made the top 10 of any of these lists. He wasn't in BA's top 10 Cubs, was just a two-star prospect for Goldstein, wasn't top 10 for Law, who ranked the Cubs behind the Red Sox as an organization, and made just one Bullpen Banter top 10, at #8. That's not a bad thing, though, as he wasn't that far off for Baseball America, who had him #13 in that organization. What the Sox lack in star power, they are making up for in depth.