The 2014 season is over for each of the Boston Red Sox’s minor league affiliates, and by and large, what a successful season it was.
Both the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox and the rookie ball Gulf Coast League Red Sox won their league’s respective championships, while Double-A Portland saw a deep playoff run of its own. Add in some talented young players showing off their skills at Salem, Greenville and Lowell, and fans of Boston’s farm system had plenty to watch this season.
With every MiLB season now in the books, it’s the perfect time to dole out awards to Boston’s most talented prospects. In this deep of a farm system, the competition was certainly stiff, but by pointing out the best and the brightest in Boston’s farm system, we can highlight players who should make an impact in 2015 and beyond.
To qualify for these awards, players must have started the season with prospect eligibility (fewer than 130 MLB at-bats or 50 MLB innings pitched).
MVP: Mookie Betts, OF/2B
While not all of their young talent has acclimated well to the majors, the Red Sox have been blessed with several outstanding performances from individual prospects this season. Yet, despite the fierce competition he faced for this award, no prospect has been more valuable to Boston in 2014 than Betts.
The numbers Betts put up this season as a 21-year-old are truly staggering. He hit .355/.433/.551 in 253 PA in Portland, representing his first taste of professional baseball above the High-A level. He then hit .335/.417/.503 in 211 PA in Pawtucket, learning a new position in the outfield along the way.
And in the majors, Betts has hit .291/.367/.455 in 151 PA, cementing himself as Boston’s leadoff hitter, showing defensive versatility and flashing a unique blend of power and speed. In a season that was supposed to serve as Xander Bogaerts’ coming-out party, Betts has stolen the show instead.
If we assume that Dustin Pedroia, Yoenis Cespedes and Rusney Castillo will start everyday for the Red Sox in 2015, Betts could have a difficult time breaking into the lineup this season, even with his impressive contributions this year.
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Boston Red Sox's 2014 Minor League Awards