COMMENTARY| It's difficult to believe that the baseball season is nearly two months old. While the major league clubs get all the attention, there are numerous players in the system who continue the push to make it to the bigs. Here's a look at some of Boston's top prospects.
Xander Bogaerts, SS, Portland (AA)- The young shortstop continues to impress at the Double-A level. Bogaerts is hitting a respectable .281 with a .358 on-base percentage. While he hasn't shown great power this season (only two homeruns so far), Bogaerts does lead the team in runs scored (25). The 20-year-old has also been impressive with the leather, consistently making plays at shortstop while only committing five errors. Expect Bogaerts to make the trek to Triple-A Pawtucket later this season if this production continues.
Anthony Ranaudo, SP, Portland- After a disappointing 2012, Ranaudo has bounced back brilliantly this season. The right-hander is 5-1, with a cool 1.67 ERA through eight starts. Ranaudo also has 46 strikeouts in 43 innings pitched, and sports a WHIP of .91. This is a far cry from his last season that was strewn with ineffectiveness and injury. A lot of credit has to go to Ranaudo for putting the past behind him and truly showing Red Sox Nation why he was a high draft pick.
Garin Cecchini, 3B, Salem (A)- After a slow start, Cecchini has come around nicely. The young third basemen is hitting a scorching .381, with five HRs and 26 RBIs. Cecchini's glove has been shaky at third, but nothing that is overly concerning. There's a decent chance that Cecchini will be moving up in the system this year.
Jose Iglesias, SS, Pawtucket (AAA)- A season that began very promising in Boston for Iglesias has turned into a nightmare in Pawtucket. Iglesias continues to struggle at the plate, hitting just .205, with a .262 OBP. The young shortstop was also disciplined earlier in the season after struggling with the adjustment back to Triple-A from Boston. While Iglesias did do well hitting the ball for the Red Sox in early April, he won't get another opportunity any time soon if he continues to struggle in Pawtucket.
Allen Webster, SP, Pawtucket- He's had one respectable start and one horrific start in Boston. Overall, Webster has been solid down in Pawtucket. The right-hander is 3-0 with a 2.40 ERA in six starts. Webster also leads the team in strikeouts (38) and WHIP (1.03) for starters. He is still the sixth man in the rotation for Boston, so if an emergency arises, Webster will get the call up to pitch for the big club.
Ruby De La Rosa, SP, Pawtucket- After a rough April, De La Rosa has turned his season around. While working on a pitch count, De La Rosa hasn't allowed an earned run since April 18. That's a span of 18 innings for the young right-hander. De La Rosa will continue to be on a pitch count for now, which will limit his opportunity for promotion, but the future seems very bright for the young hurler.
Jackie Bradley Jr., OF, Pawtucket- The centerfielder has just come back from injury and picked up where he left off in Pawtucket. Bradley is hitting .315 with an outstanding .422 OBP. He has yet to get his power numbers up (one HR and seven RBIs), but Bradley does have 12 runs scored in 14 games. Bradley also showed maturity after being sent down from Boston earlier in April. There was never an issue and Bradley continues to help Pawtucket win games when healthy.
Matt Barnes, SP, Portland- Barnes has performed respectably in his first season in Portland. So far the young righty is 3-1 with a 4.62 ERA. Barnes started slowly, but has bounced-back well improving his WHIP to 1.43. As the season continues, Barnes will be looking to lower his ERA.
Bryce Brentz, OF, Pawtucket- By playing well in Pawtucket, Brentz is making people forget that he accidentally shot himself (literally) during spring training. The outfielder has seven HRs and 30 RBIs in 39 games played. With a respectable OPS of .802, Brentz has made it clear that he may have missed some time, but his game has not suffered. He could be a late season call-up for Boston this season.
Henry Owens, SP, Salem- The kid is holding his own in year one of Single-A baseball. Owens is 3-1 with a 3.35 ERA in eight starts. The lefty already has 49 strikeouts in a little over 40 innings pitched, while walking just 13. Owens is the top lefty prospect in the system and could find his way to Portland by the end of the season.
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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