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Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Projecting Sox roster for 2016

By Gordon Edes

BOSTON -- Never mind next season, want to know what the Red Sox will look like in 2016?

As part of their annual rankings of a team’s top prospects, the trade publication Baseball America projects a team’s lineup in 2016, when some of those prospects will be ready for the major leagues. Here’s how they view the Sox in 2016, as reported in their Nov. 13 edition:

C Blake Swihart
1B Jerry Sands
2B Dustin Pedroia
3B Will Middlebrooks
SS Xander Bogaerts
LF Jacoby Ellsbury
CF Jackie Bradley Jr.
RF Bryce Brentz
DH Garin Cecchini
SP Jon Lester
SP Clay Buchholz
SP Matt Barnes
SP Allen Webster
SP Henry Owens
Closer Rubby de la Rosa

It’s more a conversation piece than a predictor of the future, since BA can’t foresee trades, free-agent signings, injuries and the like, but it offers a window into the players Baseball America projects as having big-league futures.

The magazine tabbed Bogaerts as the team’s top prospect in 2013, the Aruban-born shortstop moving up one spot to claim the position Middlebrooks held last year.

“Bogaerts has the offensive potential to be an all-star at any position, and that position just might be shortstop,’’ writes BA’s Jim Callis, adding that Bogaerts could project to play either right field or third base if Jose Iglesias proves to be a long-term answer at short. “He’s a confident, strong hitter who doesn’t muscle up to tap into his plus-plus raw power.’’

Bogaerts, 20, is projected by BA to be in the big leagues by 2014, although Callis suggests he could warrant a call-up late next season.

The rest of the top 10:

2. Bradley Jr. OF
3. Barnes, RHP
4. Webster, RHP
5. Owens, LHP
6. Swihart, C
7. Garin Cecchini, 3B
8. Brentz, OF
9. Iglesias, SS
10. Deven Marrero, SS

Webster came over from the Dodgers in the Adrian Gonzalez deal. Owens, a 6-foot-7 left-hander who was a first-round supplemental pick in 2011, is making his first appearance on the list, as is Marrero, the team’s top pick in the 2012 draft.
Dropping out of last year’s top 10 are Middlebrooks and catcher Ryan Lavarnway, having received too much time in the big leagues to be called “prospects”; 6-foot-7 right-handed pitcher Anthony Ranaudo, who was plagued by injury in an off year at Double-A Portland; and outfielder Brandon Jacobs.