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2014 Boston Red Sox Top Prospects: Fantasy Baseball Analysis

The defending World Series champs boast one of the deepest farm systems in baseball-- and therein lies the problem. Boston's top prospects have some pretty stiff competition, both from each other and from the 25 men that form the roster that took home baseball’s biggest prize last October. Beyond the two youngsters slated for starting roles, its hard to say with any certainty which of the Red Sox prospects will be contributors in 2014,but given their respective talent levels, it behooves you to familiarize yourself with all of them.


Xander Bogaerts - Shortstop

Xander Bogaerts Boston Red Sox MLB News

Talent 10 / Opportunity 9.5

Highest 2013 Level: MLB

By now you’ve probably heard of Xander Bogaerts. As far as prospects go, it doesn't get much better than the 21-year-old shortstop. He’s a high-upside bat, all but assured of an everyday job playing a position thoroughly lacking in fantasy talent. The only thing that prevents Xander from earning a perfect 10 / 10 score is the remote chance that the Red Sox bring Stephen Drew back to play short-- and even then, Bogaerts would probably play enough short to earn himself eligibility and enough third to make himself fantasy relevant. He’s only 21, so expectations must be tempered, but shortstops capable of hitting 30 home runs and batting .300 don’t come along that often. Target Xander in the middle rounds of your draft and earlier in keeper formats.


Jackie Bradley - Center Fielder

Talent 7.5 / Opportunity 8.0

Highest 2013 Level: MLB

The signing of Grady Sizemore certainly knocks Bradley’s opportunity score down a notch, though perhaps not as much as some people think. Even in an optimal scenario, Sizemore’s injury history will prevent him from becoming an everyday player. And given that the Sox have long viewed Bradley as their centerfielder of the future. Jackie should have every chance to prove himself at the big-league level. While Bradley’s glove is his most impressive tool, he’s no slouch at the plate. He doesn't project to hit 20 home runs or steal 30 bases, but he’s capable of hitting for a high average with good on-base skills and some modest power. He probably doesn't need to be drafted, but should Sizemore fall victim to injury, and should Bradley establish himself as legitimate on-base threat, he could eventually score runs in bunches at the top of a potent Red Sox lineup.


Garin Cecchini - 3rd Baseman

Talent 8 / Opportunity 5

Highest 2013 Level: AA

Cecchini is an interesting prospect that’s gained some buzz among Red Sox fans over the last six or so months. In a breakout 2013 campaign, he demonstrated elite on-base and hitting tools (.322/.443/.471 across two levels), and even managed to steal an impressive 26 bases. While he mustered only seven home runs, most scouts think that there’s more power to come, especially given how often he squares the ball up. Cecchini finished 2013 in Double-A, but with Will Middlebrooks having fallen out of favor with the Red Sox front office, it's not inconceivable that Cecchini could see some time in the Show in the second half of 2014. Don’t draft him, but be ready to pounce should opportunity knock.


Henry Owens - SP

Talent 8.5 / Opportunity 3

Highest 2013 Level: AA

What Owens lacks in opportunity, he makes up for in talent. Owens is a polished lefty with an impressive three-pitch repertoire (low-90s fastball, solid curveball, plus changeup) and solid command. While he’s a potential #2 starter, he has yet to rise above the Double-A level, and is therefore effectively a year or two in development time behind the other four arms on this list. The likelihood of him contributing in 2014 is not high, but he’s not as far away as he seems, and his talent makes him a player worth monitoring.


Allen Webster - SP

Talent 7 / Opportunity 5

Highest 2013 Level: MLB

After coming over from the Dodgers with a top-prospect billing in the 2012 Crawford/Beckett/Gonzalez blockbuster, Webster had an up-and-down 2013. He showed flashes of brilliance in AAA, and even showed some real promise in his first major league start last April, but he struggled mightily in his six MLB appearances thereafter (8.60 season ERA with the big club). He’s probably just a tick behind Workman on the depth chart, but with better raw stuff (mid-90s sinking fastball, plus changeup), he’s just as fantasy relevant. He’ll need to improve his command and breaking ball, but he certainly bears watching in 2014.


Brandon Workman - SP

Talent 5 / Opportunity 6

Highest 2013 Level: MLB

While probably the least talented pitcher of this group, Workman is likely the next in line for starts should two of the Red Sox’ top six starters suffer injuries. Workman got the call for three starts in 2013 and ended up sticking around as a very effective reliever through the Sox’ playoff run (0 ER in 8.2 playoff innings). Despite a rough patch in September, the Sox liked what they saw from Workman, and have indicated they’ll stretch him out this spring to provide added roster flexibility going forward. As a righty with a herky-jerky delivery coming from a three-quarters arm slot, he doesn't have the look of a prototypical starter, but having demonstrated the ability to miss bats at the major league level (47 K in 41.2 innings), he’s worth keeping your eye on.


Matt Barnes - P

Talent 7.5 / Opportunity 4

Highest 2013 Level: AAA

Barnes is a right hander with an elite high-90s fastball, but like so many other pitchers of his ilk, he needs to work on the command and consistency of his secondary offerings. His arm makes him an intriguing prospect, but he’s got some more development to display before the Sox will give him the opportunity to contribute in the Show.


Anthony Ranaudo - P

Talent 7.5 / Opportunity 4

Highest 2013 Level: AAA

Once considered a potential top-five pick in the amateur draft, Ranaudo’s stock took a huge hit in his junior year at LSU after injuries and ineffectiveness cast doubt in the minds of MLB GMs. Ranaudo then struggled in his first two years in the Red Sox system, but he made major strides in 2013, earning his way to AAA. He’s a huge (6'7") righthander with a good fastball and impressive curve, but he lacks overall command and consistency. Like Barnes, he’s not worth drafting but has enough upside to warrant a spot on your watch list.

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