This 30-part series will look at the projected Top 5 freshman contributors for each big league club for the year ahead. The rankings take into consideration a mixture of ceiling, readiness and potential playing time allocation, which is to say some players with lower ceilings may be ranked ahead of others with higher ceilings because they project to have a greater impact in the coming season.
In a Nutshell: The immense (and enviable) depth in the system means that there may not be many opportunities for prospects in 2015 despite the high level of talent ready to contribute. The club already has a solid mix of high-ceiling youngsters like Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts and newly-acquired veteran players like Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez to go with the established stars on the club. The biggest opportunity for youngsters to break into the Majors will likely come on the mound.
The Top 5 Freshmen for 2015
1. Henry Owens, LHP: As mentioned above, the enviable depth on the mound in Boston is evident but the back end of the Sox rotation could be vulnerable to injury and/or inconsistency — which could create opportunity for Owens. The tall, lanky southpaw spent most of 2014 in Double-A but also made six appears in Triple-A. His command and control are both hit and miss at times but, when he’s on, he can be down right dominant as witnessed by his 170 strikeouts in 159 innings last season. Just 22, he should be ready for The Show in just his fourth pro season.
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