Fangraphs' Marc Hulet is the latest to update his pre-season prospect list, and the Red Sox have done very well between then and now if his mid-season top-50 is any indication. Whereas previously the Sox had two top-50 prospects and just four in total in the top-100, they now have five -- five! -- prospects in the top-50. Considering there are 30 teams, having five of the top-50 on one club is pretty impressive, especially when you consider the names that could be populating the next 50.
#2: Xander Bogaerts, SS (Previous: #5)
As you know, Bogaerts is a special talent that has shot up the prospect charts in the last calendar year. He's hitting .260/.353/.462 at Triple-A after 29 games, which doesn't sound that impressive, but this is where we remind you that he's the youngest player in the International League, with barely any experience at the level, and has an OPS 84 points better than the league average anyway.
#38: Jackie Bradley Jr., CF (Previous: #54)
Bradley's struggles in the majors have done nothing to slow his rise through the rankings, in large part due to dominance for Triple-A Pawtucket. He's hit .297/.393/.530 with a career-high seven homers at one level in just 45 games, and has plus defense in center to accompany the advanced approach. He might still need a bit more seasoning, but at least things have gone better in the majors since his initial stretch with the big-league club: Bradley has hit two homers and four extra-base hits overall in 11 post-April games.
#45: Garin Cecchini, 3B (Previous: N/A)
Cecchini hit .350/.469/.547 in the High-A Carolina League, when the average player in that league hit .256/.334/.386. The move to Double-A and the Eastern League was supposed to be the true test of his breakout campaign, though, as it was the first age-appropriate level for the third baseman -- the average player in the Eastern League is about two years older than their Carolina League counterparts. Cecchini has responded well to this gauntlet, though, and owns a .347/.456/.480 line with 15 walks against 18 strikeouts after 20 games. Like Bradley before him, Cecchini might just hit his way into a Triple-A promotion the year after a half-season with the Sea Dogs.
#49: Anthony Ranaudo, RHP (Previous: N/A)
Ranaudo is starting to slip a bit now, likely as a result of mid-season fatigue. He missed most of 2012 with injury, and 2011 was just his first -- and therefore reserved -- season as a professional. This ranking has a lot more to do with his work prior to sliding back, though, and it's deserved: if Ranaudo can work on pushing past the wear-and-tear of a full season, he could be a quality arm in the middle of a future Boston rotation.
#50: Henry Owens, LHP (Previous: N/A)
Owens added muscle and velocity this off-season, and it's helped him significantly in the second season of his pro career. He's 20 years old in a league where the average hurler is nearly 23, and has struck out over 10 batters per nine innings while showing much more consistency with his command and control than last year. There's a lot of work to be done here, as you would imagine for a lanky lefty who isn't yet old enough to drink, but there's even more promise.
In addition, Hulet had Matt Barnes in the top-50 last time, and while he's slipped a bit, it's unlikely he's fallen out of the top-100. Then there's Allen Webster, who has pitched well at Triple-A but isn't quite big-league ready yet, who ranked #54 in the pre-season. Trey Ball, Boston's first pick in the 2013 draft, is arguably a top-100 prospect as well, and if Rubby De La Rosa were still eligible, that could be another one. Then there's Blake Swihart, who has been coming along pretty nicely since a down April, finally hitting as it was hoped he would, and still young enough to improve further. The future is looking pretty good, even if not everyone does what they're supposed to, just due to the sheer volume of talent sitting on the farm right now.
Read more Red Sox:
- Red Sox position prospects, in word cloud form
- Now is not the time for Xander Bogaerts
- Andrew Bailey needs to be the closer for the Red Sox
- Red Sox pitching prospects in word cloud form
- What to expect from Red Sox prospect Brandon Workman