OMAHA, NE: Jackie Bradley, Jr. #19 of the South Carolina Gamecocks is congratulated by teammate Whit Merrifield #5 after scoring a first inning run against the UCLA Bruins during Game 1 of the men's NCAA College Baseball World Series at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
This off-season, top 100 prospect lists were occasionally upsetting to Red Sox fans. There were Boston farmhands on the lists, sure, but they were almost entirely towards the back end, on the wrong side of 50, as it were. Thanks to a strong first half of the season from some very talented Sox prospects, though, things are looking up in most mid-season reports.
The latest of these comes from ESPN, by way of Keith Law. He doesn't think as highly of the players he's included in his mid-season top 50 as some other prospect analysts we've checked out as of late do, but there's still more than just a little progress here.
You'll have to check out Law's piece itself for the scouting reports -- it's behind a pay wall, so relaying all that information here isn't kosher -- but we'll share the who and where with you.
29 - Xander Bogaerts, SS, High-A Salem: Bogaerts started out a bit slow, but has been phenomenal as of late, bringing up his season line to .282/.360/.472 thanks to a June that saw him hit .337/.433/.624. That kind of month is ridiculous for prospects of any age, but Bogerts is all of 19 years old. He might not be a shortstop long-term, but he won't need to be if he can keep up his excellent two-year showing at the plate. For what it's worth, Law rated Bogaerts at #62 on his pre-season top 100, so this is progress being recognized for what it is.
43 - Jackie Bradley, CF, Double-A Portland: Bradley wasn't ranked on Law's top 100 pre-season list, but he's made an even more significant jump than Bogaerts thanks to his ridiculous 2012 campaign. Bradley destroyed High-A Salem, hitting .359/.480/.526 while showing the makings of a plus defender in center, and he's barely slowed since his promotion to Double-A: .350/.424/.463 with eight extra-base hits and a 20 percent strikeout rate in 92 plate appearances. Law believes there's "legitimate" improvement in his plate discipline, not just a hitter who was too good for the competition, and that's a great sign since Bradley has some power, but not a ton.