Five Red Sox Prospects Named Baseball America All-Stars

July 8, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; World designated hitter Xander Bogaerts hits a single during the third inning of the 2012 All Star Futures Game at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: H. Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports via US PRESSWIRE

Baseball America has named its 2012 Minor League All-Stars, and the Red Sox are well represented.

While they haven't taken any spots on the first team, Xander Bogaerts, Matt Barnes, and Jackie Bradley Jr. all appear on the second-team, with Keury De La Cruz and Travis Shaw earning honors at the Low-A and High-A levels respectively.

Anyone who's even glanced at the minors this year will know about Bogaerts, Barnes, and Bradley. Jackie Bradley proved not only healthy, but remarkably adept at getting on base, flirting with a .500 OBP for much of his time with High-A Salem. A promotion to Double-A slowed him, but he still managed to hit .271/.373/.437 with twice as many homers as he'd hit in a similar time frame at Salem.

Barnes would likely have fought for a first-team spot had he not tired late in his first full season of professional baseball. Completely outclassing Greenville with 42 strikeouts, 4 walks, and a 0.34 ERA in nearly 27 innings of work, Barnes was initially just as impressive in Salem, producing a 1.93 ERA with 36 strikeouts and three walks in 28 innings. July and August would drag him down, but he still finished the season with a 3.58 ERA in High-A.

Xander Bogaerts is the one who was arguably deserving of a first-team spot. To be certain, Jurickson Profar is a monster of a prospect--likely the best in the game now that Trout is a clear major leaguer. But had Bogaerts been given more time to prove himself at Double-A, he may well have come away with the win. After an impressive show of plate discipline earned him a line of .302/.378/.505 in 435 PA at High-A Salem, Bogaerts proceeded to just plain hit the cover off the ball in a month-long Double-A stint, hitting to the tune of .326/.351/.598 with surprisingly positive reports of his shortstop defense. Profar, meanwhile, hit "just" .281/.368/.452. Had Bogaerts been doing his thing in Portland all year, he'd probably have gotten the nod.

Those three players performing was hardly surprising. Even if they managed to exceed expectations, Bogaerts exploded onto the scene in 2011, and both Bradley and Barnes were early picks in last year's draft. The performances from Shaw and De La Cruz, however, were not so easy to see coming. Shaw, a 22-year-old first baseman out of Kent State, had been good in his first exposure at Lowell, but that's to be expected of a guy his age playing rookies. Making the big jump up to Salem, Shaw did his hitting in phases, first hitting for average, then drawing a ton of walks, then hitting homer after homer. By the time he was given the bump to Portland, he had done it all: a .305 average, .411 OBP with a walk rate around 15%, and 16 homers to boot. While the power fell off after the promotion, he still showed good discipline and should be an interesting candidate to really make his name with prospectors come 2013.

Keury De La Cruz, meanwhile, did not show Shaw's discipline, but put on an impressive display of power as a 20-year-old in Greenville, slugging 19 homers over the course of the season and stealing 19 bases besides. He fits the profile of an aggressive power hitter to the tee, but given his young age could well develop into a more rounded outfielder. Given that Soxprospects had him listed as a future 4th/5th outfielder before the year, it's easy to overlook his flaws. It's all upside for him.

Interestingly enough, Xander Bogaerts did not make his mark in the level-by-level awards like Bradley and Barnes did, but I suppose that's to be expected when you're up against Billy Hamilton of the 104 stolen bases.

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