The Boston Red Sox, in the form of Boston Red Sox prospects, have a great supply of talent on the current 25-man roster in the ALDS against the Tampa Bay Rays, but there are some prospects that are highly on the rise and could make a difference in the next couple seasons.
We already know Xander Bogaerts and Drake Britton will likely start the season with the Red Sox in 2013, but what Boston Red Sox prospects are the best one in the farm system that have not found any time in the majors?
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1. Henry Owens, Portland Sea Dogs: Owens flat-out dominated this season while in Single-A to the tune of a 10.6 batters per nine innings and a 2.92 ERA through 20 starts. In six starts with the Portland Sea Dogs, the 21-year-old pick among Boston Red Sox prospects held opponents to a .167 average and 1.78 ERA in 33.1 innings of work. He also struck out 46 batters and looks to be a great pitcher even if he his a couple seasons away from his major-league debut.
2. Anthony Ranaudo, Pawtucket Red Sox: The 24-year-old had a bit of a down year in 2012, but definitely made a step in the right direction in 2013. He jumped to the triple-A squad and flourished before the August promotion. Ranaudo battled for the Sea Dogs and put together 109.2 innings of 2.95 ERA ball while in double-A and nearly averaged a 9.0 strikeout per nine. Expect this one of the Boston Red Sox prospects to be a great asset out of the bullpen or as a starter in 2014.
3. Mookie Betts, Salem Red Sox: Betts has quickly become a stellar second baseman in the Red Sox minor league system with a pretty good glove, but his real skill is his ability to get on the bases. In 51 games with Salem, he hit .341 with a .414 OBP. He walked 20 times and striking out a mere 17 times. He also stole 38-of-42 base attempts between Salem and the Gulf Coast League. The 20-year-old really showed off his improved power at the plate with 55 extra-base hits compared to nine in 2012. This included 15 home runs between the two leagues this season.
4. Garin Cecchini, Portland Sea Dogs: Let’s face it, Will Middlebrooks will be at the hot corner for the foreseeable future, but Cecchini’s glove and bat are making a strong case to push Middlebrooks to first base. The 22-year-old may need to bulk up a bit with only two homers in 66 games with Portland this season, but he still had 14 doubles and a .296 average with a .420 OBP. He finished with 51 walks and 52 strikeouts and is more patient at the plate than Middlebrooks has ever been. Cecchini will be up at some point in 2015-16.
5. Brian Johnson, Salem Red Sox: Another young pitcher who looked as if he would climb through the rankings of Red Sox prospects has to Johnson. In 15 starts with Greenville, he finished with a 2.87 ERA, but somehow ended up with a 1-6 record. He struck out 69 batters in 69 innings while walking 28. He gave up only four longballs and was really consistent with a 1.13 WHIP. In his two starts with Salem, he finished 1-0 with a 1.64 ERA and a 0.60 WHIP. The 2013 rookie prospect made his name known and will be one of the prospects to watch and will likely be up with the team by 2017.