2014 Red Sox top prospect voting: That's a wrap

Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE

Alex Hassan finishes it off: we have ourselves a list.

Ladies, gentlemen, we have ourselves a list:

  1. Xander Bogaerts, SS
  2. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
  3. Garin Cecchini, 3B
  4. Henry Owens LHP
  5. Matt Barnes, RHP
  6. Blake Swihart, C
  7. Allen Webster, RHP
  8. Brandon Workman, RHP
  9. Mookie Betts, 2B
  10. Trey Ball, LHP
  11. Anthony Ranaudo, RHP
  12. Christian Vazquez, C
  13. Manuel Margot, OF
  14. Teddy Stankiewicz, RHP
  15. Drake Britton, LHP
  16. Brian Johnson, LHP
  17. Bryce Brentz, OF
  18. Deven Marrero, SS
  19. Rafael Devers, 3B
  20. Alex Hassan, OF

Alex Hassan is the last initiate. 25 years old with zero major league at bats to his name, Hassan still carries a reputation for putting up big performances in the minors as he made his way up through the system. Often this came on the back of big walk totals and high OBPs. Even when he stumbled in 2012, producing an OPS of just .743 in his first exposure to Triple-A pitching, Hassan still managed a .373 on-base figure.

2013 was not entirely kind to Hassan, who only managed to fit in 210 at bats before a short and thoroughly miserable campaign in winter ball. But what time he did manage to spend in Pawtucket was very productive indeed, resulting in a line of .321/.431/.460. It's perhaps up for debate if that's a sign of a hit tool or one of luck--Hassan enjoyed a BABIP north of .400 on the year--but even if he got lucky, there's no denying that discipline. He's got at least that much locked down, and if Daniel Nava has taught us anything, it's that plate discipline makes for a fantastic foundation for even the less physically gifted major leaguers.

So let's go ahead and put this list up against last year's:

  1. Xander Bogaerts, SS
  2. Jackie Bradley, OF
  3. Matt Barnes, RHP
  4. Rubby De La Rosa, RHP
  5. Allen Webster, RHP
  6. Garin Cecchini, 3B
  7. Henry Owens, LHP
  8. Bryce Brentz, RF
  9. Blake Swihart, C
  10. Brandon Workman, RHP
  11. Jose Iglesias, SS
  12. Deven Marrero, SS
  13. Brian Johnson, LHP
  14. Jose Vinicio, SS
  15. Drake Britton, LHP
  16. Brandon Jacobs, OF
  17. Anthony Ranaudo, RHP
  18. Pat Light, RHP
  19. Manuel Margot, OF
  20. Christian Vazquez, C

The first thing I'd note: 75% carryover. A full 15 prospects have managed to survive, and only Pat Light and Jose Vinicio have simply fallen off the list, though Brandon Jacobs certainly would have as well had he not been traded.

Our newcomers are Mookie Betts, Teddy Stankiewicz, Trey Ball, Rafael Devers, and Alex Hassan. The middle three are the obvious ones: our first two draft picks and our top international signing. They're what each team expects to add every year. Hassan isn't terribly surprising either given his position in the list. Someone has to be #20, after all.

Mookie Betts is the big surprise of the year, and honestly might be the difference between stagnation and improvement. If you look at the players whose stock rose significantly this year, many of them were already being given the benefit of the doubt headed into the year. Henry Owens, Blake Swihart, and Manuel Margot all fit that bill. Only Christian Vazquez and to some extent Anthony Ranaudo have really gone above-and-beyond, and even now neither one is in the top 10.

That's not to say stagnation would have been such a bad thing. Boston's system was plenty strong last year, and so long as those expected additions don't see an unusually high rate of attrition year in and year out, it won't fall too far from its current heights. But for all the positive steps we've seen many prospects take, for my money it's the arrival of Betts on the scene that has taken a solid year and put it over the top.

So what should we be looking for next year? Well, another Betts situation would be just fine. To that end there's a few guys to keep an eye on--the likes of Wendell Rijo and Jon Denney. There's also plenty of fairly anonymous arms running around from the 2012 draft class, and a bunch of 2013 picks waiting for their chance to really make an impact.

Really, what we should be looking for is the next wave. We've had a couple looks at the situation before, and there are a number of players who show promise, but right now it feels like we're still waiting for that group to coalesce. Trey Ball, Manuel Margot, and Teddy Stankiewicz are the sort of players who could provide a sort of nucleus at the lower levels, but right now it just doesn't exist. A bigger year from Margot might have done it, much as a big year from him could do it in 2014. But for now, we'll just have to wait and see.

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