Leading a trio in the Top 50 is a shortstop with a very advanced bat, Xander Bogaerts, who slots in at No. 20 -- which also happens to be his age. Twelve spots away, at No. 32, is center fielder Jackie Bradley, who's looked at as a likely replacement for free-agent-to-be Jacoby Ellsbury, if he's not a contributor sooner. Both should reach Triple-A Pawtucket in 2013.
At No. 38 is the team's leading pitching prospect, right-hander Matt Barnes. A Connecticut boy, Barnes was Boston's top pick in the 2011 Draft and should spend most of 2013 at Double-A.
In the second half of the list are two more arms, righty Allen Webster at No. 71 and lefty Henry Owens at No. 94, and one name who's already pretty familiar to Sox fans: shortstop Jose Iglesias, checking in at No. 96.
The annual ranking of baseball's biggest and brightest young talent is assembled by MLB.com's Draft and prospect expert Jonathan Mayo, who compiles input from industry sources, including scouts and scouting directors. It is based on analysis of players' skill sets, upsides, closeness to the Majors and potential immediate impact to their teams. The list, which is one of several prospect rankings on MLB.com's Prospect Watch, only includes players with rookie status in 2013.
Bogaerts is slated to be on a big stage before any of the rest as a participant in the World Baseball Classic, playing for the Netherlands.
Of the six Sox on the list, only one was outside the organization to start 2012: Webster. He was one of the top gets for Boston in the Adrian Gonzalez blockbuster with the Dodgers, and serves as a reminder that the Sox are bringing more young talent in these days than they're sending out.
But the other five are all original Boston farmhands, and three of them happen to be from the 2011 Draft: Barnes (No. 19 overall), Owens (No. 36) and Bradley (No. 40). It's not that the Red Sox's Minor League system didn't have talent a year ago this time, it's that a lot of that talent was farther down in the system.
Bogaerts made the list a year ago, at No. 76, so he's jumped more than 50 spots. He's the only repeat. Three other Sox made it in 2012: Will Middlebrooks at No. 56, Bryce Brentz at No. 64 and Ryan Lavarnway at No. 93.