On Tuesday night, Jonathan Mayo and the MLB Network unveiled MLB.com's top 100 prospects list for 2013. The Red Sox were well represented, with six members of their eventual top 20 making the cut. There are some oddities worth discussing, as we'll get into. The six:
20: Xander Bogaerts, SS: Bogaerts is the obvious choice for the top slot among Red Sox prospects, given his ceiling, the fact he's all of 20 years old in 2013 and will be in Double-A for the second time, and that it's entirely realistic he's a big league player by 2014. Mayo actually seems to think that Bogaerts could play short, as he gives him high grades for his arm, and better-than-average overall fielding marks. Curious, that, though, certainly welcome. Bogaerts, along with everyone else, was given an ETA: his comes in for 2014.
32: Jackie Bradley, CF: Bradley's defense is considered by some to be big-league ready right now, thanks to a plus arm, high-quality instincts, and the speed and range to get to anything hit to center. Like with everyone else, Mayo thinks that Bradley will be ready to step in for Jacoby Ellsbury should he depart via free agency in a year, though, he lists his ETA as being 2013.
38: Matt Barnes, RHP: Barnes also gets a 2014 ETA, and, while there is no room for him in the projected rotation for that season, a lot could happen between now and then both to Barnes and its current members. Mayo believes that, while his change-up remains a work in progress, Barnes has the command to help Boston out on the mound sooner than later.
71: Allen Webster, RHP: What's most intriguing about Webster's rank is that he comes in just two spots behind Casey Kelly, whom the Red Sox dealt for Adrian Gonzalez prior to the 2011 season. If those two are a wash as these rankings suggest, and Rubby De La Rosa turns out to be a valuable starting pitcher, then the Red Sox have reset to pre-2011 in more ways than just financially. Also of interest: Webster rates seven spots ahead of Dodgers' hurler Zach Lee, who was considered the better pitching prospect of the two by many prior to the Nick Punto trade.
94: Henry Owens, LHP: Owens has all kinds of things to work through, but that's not unexpected for a pitcher who just turned 20 at the end of last season in his first year of pro ball. Mayo notes that, despite Owens' walk rates, he can locate the ball inside the strike zone. That's a key point in his favor, as a pitcher with control problems can still thrive if they have command, especially if they know when and where to utilize their stuff.
96: Jose Iglesias, SS: Seeing Iglesias here is a little perplexing. It's not that Iglesias doesn't have the ability to still be a big-league shortstop -- the fact his glove is so far ahead of his bat developmentally, combined with the contract he's on that has already consumed three options and is primed to use a fourth, has made it easy to be impatient and unsatisfied with his progress. It's that the Red Sox surely have better prospects who should rank ahead of Iglesias, some of them (say, Blake Swihart) even at positions with as much scarcity as short. That being said, it's good to see someone still has faith in Iglesias.