Spring training is here, but there is still one major prospect rankings to get through. Baseball America has finally unveiled their top-100 prospects for the 2014 season, and, as one would expect after a winter of coverage reading all about them, the Red Sox are well-represented, with eight entries.
The scouting reports are only available to subscribers, so, in the interest of fairness, we'll just quote a little bit from each of the eight reports of Red Sox prospects, along with their ranking. The rest, you can find at Baseball America itself thanks to your subscription, or you can purchase their annual, which has scouting reports for the top-30 prospects for each club.
2. Xander Bogaerts, SS: "October may not have been so much Bogaerts' coming-out party as a tantalizing scratching of the surface. 'They may end up making a statue of this guy,' one evaluator said. He's major league ready as a shortstop or third baseman, one who will hit lower in the order to begin 2014, with a likely peak of 25-plus homers a year in the middle of the lineup."
40. Henry Owens, LHP: "He works mostly at 88-92 mph, but has touched 95, and hitters struggle to pick up the ball out of his hand, resulting in swings and misses on his fastball and excellent changeup... Owens should be at least a No. 4 starter with the upside of a very good No. 3 or perhaps a No. 2."
50. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF: "After being beaten by inside fastballs in his first big league callup, he showed signs during 2013 of addressing that deficiency. Evaluators are convinced his aptitude, pitch recognition and strike-zone awareness will permit him to make the necessary adjustments."
73. Blake Swihart, C: "He's an unusually-athletic catcher who moves well and can control the running game with above-average arm strength, while possessing tremendous intangibles that suggest an ability to lead a pitching staff."
74. Garin Cecchini, 3B: "Cecchini has what one evaluator called a "magic barrel" that allows him to send liners up the middle and to left-center field, a trait amplified by tremendous strike-zone judgment. Though he's strong, scouts question whether he will (or should) sell out his approach to generate prototype power for a corner."
75. Mookie Betts, 2B: "Betts has the body control and athleticism to maintain balance, the quick hands to let the ball travel and the hand-eye coordination and bat speed to produce extra-base power... he has the athleticism and range for the Red Sox to consider shortstop and center field as possibilities."
88. Allen Webster, RHP: "Webster's stuff is outrageous, suggesting top-of-the-rotation potential, but his inability to command his fastball and questions about his confidence raise real concerns about whether he'll reach his ceiling."
89. Trey Ball, LHP: "Ball is one of the top athletes in the system, underscoring the idea that he can have the body control and strength to repeat his delivery as well as command three solid to plus offerings... With the potential for three plus pitches, he may represent the greatest potential for a true No. 1 in the Sox system."