COMMENTARY| What a season it continues to be for the Boston Red Sox. Even injuries and closer problems haven't been able to derail Beantown's team. One of the main reasons for this success is the team's outstanding organizational depth. Many players have answered the call when asked this season. And many others are just waiting for their chance. So, while the Red Sox continue to battle in the American League East, many players at the lower levels continue to battle to make it to the big club. Here's a look at some of Boston's top prospects.
Xander Bogaerts, SS, Pawtucket (AAA)- It didn't take long for Bogaerts to make his mark on the 2013 season. The young infielder was promoted to Triple-AAA Pawtucket last week after hitting .311 in Double-AA Portland. Bogaerts has gotten off to a slow start average wise (.231), but does have four home runs in just 13 games for Pawtucket. Bogaerts is just 20 years old, but is playing above his anticipated baseball maturity level at this time.
Garin Cecchini, 3B, Portland (AA)- Speaking of promotions, Cecchini was recently called up to Portland from Single-A Salem. The 22 year-old hit .350 with an OPS of 1.016 in 63 games for Salem. Cecchini has also gotten off to a fast start for Portland with a .313 average in his first four games. However, the youngster will have to improve his fielding. Cecchini had 19 errors in Salem and already has his first in Portland.
Anthony Ranaudo, SP, Portland- The big righty continues to have a fine season, posting a 7-2 record so far and a 2.28 ERA. Ranaudo also has more strikeouts (86) than innings pitched (79) and has an outstanding WHIP of .97. This is a far cry from last season, which saw Ranaudo struggle through injury and ineffectiveness. Look for a potential promotion for Ranaudo if these numbers continue.
Jackie Bradley Jr., OF, Pawtucket- After a quick stint in the majors, Bradley is back in Pawtucket and swinging a hot bat. The outfielder has a .315 average, with a .410 OBP. Bradley also continues to score runs (24 in 35 games) at a healthy rate. The outfielder also played respectably in his last trip up to the majors, even hitting his first career major league home run. Look for Bradley to get more opportunities with the parent club as the season continues.
Henry Owens, SP, Salem (A)- The young hurler continues to impress the Red Sox and fans with an outstanding season in Salem. After a dominating performance earlier this week, which saw him not allow a run over seven innings, Owens is 6-2 with a 2.74 ERA. With 86 so far, he is homing in on 100 strikeouts in just 14 starts. It's difficult to imagine Owens staying in Single-A baseball for the entire season.
Matt Barnes, SP, Portland- It was a difficult month for Barnes, who saw his ERA climb to 5.03. However, he was sharp in his last outing going five strong and not allowing a run. Barnes has been inconsistent this season, but is still young and isn't on a strict time frame to move up. Expect Barnes to continue battling in Double-A as he looks to locate that good form that he had in May.
Allen Webster, SP, Pawtucket and Boston- Webster has gotten the call once again for the Red Sox, and is expected to start this weekend. Webster has been struggling lately and has had mixed results in the majors. However, he continues to throw well in Pawtucket. Webster did pick up his first loss of the season two weeks back, but followed it up with a strong outing. Webster will more than likely continue to be a spot starter for Boston, especially if his latest outing is successful.
Rubby De La Rosa, SP, Pawtucket- De La Rosa continues to stretch out and pitch well. His ERA has stayed low (2.54) even with the extended innings. He even got a quick trip up to Boston to help out a depleted bullpen. De La Rosa has plenty of promise, and will continue to stretch out to be a future starter.
Bryce Brentz, OF, Pawtucket- Brentz continues on through a respectable season, hitting .267 with 15 HRs and 51 RBIs at the Triple-A level. The outfielder has rebounded well from a self-inflicted gunshot wound during the offseason. While the Sox would sure love to see that average up a little bit, there is no doubting the power numbers. The 24 year-old is playing his way into the extended depth chart for the Red Sox.
Drake Britton, SP, Portland- His last start was a struggle (eight runs over five innings) but overall it has been a very solid season for Britton. The lefty has battled all season to a 3.74 ERA over 15 starts. Britton has also rebounded well considering the spring included a DUI arrest in Florida. While he has said all the right things since then, it's still something he will have to deal with moving forward. Britton's bright attitude and sharp play are a good start fixing his reputation.
Michael Almanzar, 3B, Portland- After a torrid start to the season Almanzar has cooled off a bit. However the young third baseman is still hitting at a .280 clip with 11 HRs and 49 RBIs. Almanzar has also started playing some first base due to Cecchini getting the call up from Salem. Almanzar has had a very impressive first year in Portland, and it undoubtedly hasn't gone unnoticed.
Trey Ball, SP, Gulf Coast League- This year's Red Sox first round pick has officially signed a contract and will start working out down in the Gulf Coast League. Ball will start out down in Ft Myers, and is expected to start playing games in July.
Chris Sedenka is a Yahoo! Contributor in Sports covering the Boston Red Sox. You can listen to his daily radio show on 96.3FM in Portland, ME or at thebigjab.com. He is also the voice of the Maine Red Claws of the NBA D-League.
You can follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisSedenka.
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