The 2015 season isn't going well for the Red Sox, but there are signs that suggest the future will be better. In addition to the farm system and the decent graduations of Eduardo Rodriguez and Blake Swihart, they also have successful campaigns from second-year players Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts. Their efforts have been recognized nationally, too, as MLB released a list of the top-25 players who are 25 or younger, and both Betts and Bogaerts made the cut.
Their inclusion is not surprising -- after all, these are two very talented pieces the Red Sox are and will continue to build around. Where they rank, though, is a surprise, at least initially, as Betts comes in at 20th while Bogaerts rounds off the list at 25. Before you grab your torches and/or pitchforks, know this: Yasiel Puig is ranked 17th, Kris Bryant didn't even make the top-10, and guys like three-time World Series champion Madison Bumgarner are still eligible for lists like this one -- Bumgarner doesn't turn 26 for another three days, and we're well past the seasonal-age cutoff, too.
It's an absurd list, but not because the rankings are off. There is just a ridiculous amount of young talent in the majors right now: this is a world where Giancarlo Stanton ranks fourth, because Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, and Manny Machado exist. Bumgarner is the third pitcher on the list, because Sonny Gray and Jose Fernandez are also in the league. Carlos Correa, Anthony Rizzo, and Gerrit Cole round out the top-10, while Nolan Arenado -- a player so talented the Rockies wanted to trade Troy Tulowitzki now to make room to extend him in a few years -- doesn't even show up until 12th.
There are nitpicks to be made -- what is George Springer doing ahead of Joc Pederson, Puig, Betts, Bogaerts, and so on? -- but it's much easier to swallow the idea of Boston's representation on this list when you consider Mookie is right up alongside the likes of Michael Wacha, Shelby Miller, and Carlos Martinez. There is so, so much young talent in Major League Baseball, and the Red Sox have managed to get two of their under-25s into this national list. And hey, maybe by the time Yoan Moncada and Manuel Margot join the party, Betts and Bogaerts could still be under 25.
That might sound ambitious, but Betts is still just 22 and won't be 23 until after the season, while Bogaerts is just six days older than his teammate. That gives you three years to make this look like a prescient closing statement, everyone!