With hyped young players like Andrew Benintendi and Yoan Moncada being called up to the big club, Red Sox faithful are obviously excited to see what these youngsters can do. Moreover, the best way to gauge the future is to look into the past, so I am starting a series of “Where Are They Now” about former top prospects over the years to see if they were worth the billing. Moving onto the 2013 season, we will look into the rearview mirror to see where these players are, and where they could end up.
Xander Bogaerts (National Ranking 8) See previous article*
Much of the excitement Red Sox Nation is feeling right now about Yoan Moncada and Andrew Benintendi pales in comparison to the frenzy of Aruban standout Xander Bogaerts who burst onto the scene in the Red Sox magical 2013 World Series run. Today, Xander Bogaerts, while slumping the past month, is everything Sox fans could have hoped and more. He is a pure hitter who has improved his power being on pace for 20 home runs and 90 RBI. After struggling in the field and moving over to third base in 2014, Xander has honed his skills at short playing above average defense. Without doubt, Xander Bogaerts will be in the upper echelon of all MLB players for the next decade. Note: Bogaerts moved up in the national rankings from eighth in baseball to number two.
Jackie Bradley Jr. (National Ranking 31) See previous article*
“As long as he hit .240 with decent pop, I’ll be happy because his glove is so good!”-Any Red Sox fan over the past three years. Bradley, commonly referred to as JBJ, is a wizard in the field with arguably the most inconsistent bats in recent MLB history. In extended callups with the Red Sox in 2013 and 2014, Bradley batted a truly pitiful .196 in 164 games. Red Sox fans, myself included, were ready to write him off as wasted talent because he was an automatic out; however, in August of 2015, Bradley turned everything around offensively. Shining down the stretch in 2015, Bradley Jr. locked up the starting centerfield spot and hit the ground running in 2016. Bradley continued to build upon his surprising 2015 by amassing an impressive 29 game hitting streak, and hitting 22 home runs so far this season. Bradley is still a very streaky hitter, but his offense is a pleasant surprise which could vault him into being a perennial all-star.
Note: Bradley slid from 31 to 50 in the BaseballAmerica.com rankings between the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
Matt Barnes (National Ranking 40)
Big-armed righty out of UCONN, Matt Barnes, was originally intended to be a starter coming up from the minors, but early struggles rendered him to the bullpen where he would be more effective. Barnes has electric stuff, and the lack of pitches in his arsenal makes him a perfect fit for a relieving role. Barnes split time between the majors and minors in 2015, but he has spent the entire 2016 season with the Red Sox. Showing signs of brilliance, Barnes leaves Red Sox fans with a lot of hope for his future as a relief ace; however his 10.13 ERA in August shows that he still needs to hone his skills and adjust himself to endure the grueling 162 MLB season.
Allen Webster (National Ranking 49)
Acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2012 blockbuster involving stars Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, and Nick Punto, Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa joined the Sox farm system along with a major salary dump. Webster was one of the better prospects in the Dodgers loaded system, but he was very disappointing with the Red Sox. Following the 2014 season, the Red Sox shipped Webster and De La Rosa to the Arizona Diamondbacks for left-handed starter Wade Miley. Since the trade, De La Rosa provided the DBacks an innings-eating presence similar to Miley’s, and Webster, on the other hand, most recently played for the Samsung Lions in the Korean Baseball organization after posting a 6.13 ERA in 120.1 Major League innings.
Henry Owens (National Ranking 91) see previous article
Standing at 6’6 as a crafty left-hander, Henry Owens was viewed to be the best pitcher to emerge from the Red Sox system since Jon Lester. Before the 2015 season, many baseball reporters suggested Owens would be a centerpiece in a deal to acquire an ace like Cole Hamels who would be a replacement for the aforementioned Lester. However, Owens’ upside quickly faded as he was exposed for being a big lefty with a small arm. Owens has been up and down with the Red Sox between the big club and Pawtuckett, and Sox fans most recently saw him get shelled by the Tigers a few weeks back.
Note: Owens appeared on the BaseballAmerica.com Top 100 Prospects list three times.
by Joe Spinosa