The Three Bs have been split up, but the gap isn't all that great. After Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. took spots one and two in our rankings, Matt Barnes now rounds out the top-five.
It's a drop for Barnes, there's no denying that. Last year, the only question was how to rank Bogaerts, Bradley, and Barnes relative to one another. This year, however, Garin Cecchini and Henry Owens have leapfrogged Boston's top pick in the 2011 draft. That's no great surprise after a year of mediocre results from Barnes, who put up a 4.33 ERA in 108 innings of work for the Portland Sea Dogs in 2013.
While that's not exactly the figure you're looking for from a top prospect, Barnes perhaps deserves more credit than he gets for his 2013 performance. Consider the man who placed ahead of him: Henry Owens. Owens produced a 4.87 ERA in his rookie year down in Greenville, but fans and scouts alike were high on him thanks in part to his 130:47 K:BB in 101 innings of work. This year he followed through completely, dominating the competition in High-A and Double-A, and estabilishing himself as one of the top left-handed pitching prospects in baseball.
Well, Barnes' K:BB figure in 108 innings of work this past season was 135:46. He did this while making the hardest jump a prospect can make without hitting the big leagues. And given that he finished the year with a few innings in Pawtucket and is expected to start 2014 in Triple-A, the Sox don't seem to consider his development stalled at all. Is Barnes going to look back at 2013 fondly? Probably not. But it doesn't really suggest any trouble to come in 2014.
- Xander Bogaerts, SS
- Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
- Garin Cecchini, 3B
- Henry Owens, LHP
- Matt Barnes, RHP
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