Highlighting top Red Sox prospects for '10

We break down the top five prospects for each organization for 2010, taking into consideration: games, at-bats, innings and major-league service time. We expect these players to have rookie status remaining heading into next year.

According to MLB rules: "A player shall be considered a rookie unless, during a previous season or seasons, he has (a) exceeded 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the major leagues; or (b) accumulated more than 45 days on the active roster of a major league club or clubs during the period of 25-player limit (excluding time in the military service and time on the disabled list)."

Note: Statistics are those at each stop in the minors this season and age represents how old they will be on opening day 2010.

Boston Red Sox

It is getting tougher and tougher for the Red Sox to keep winning and maintain an elite farm system, especially when you make some aggressive trade-deadline deals to pick up the likes of Victor Martinez and Billy Wagner. They do have strength where it matters most, though, and that's with starting pitchers ready to contribute immediately.

1. Michael Bowden, SP, 23

Bowden is ready for the major leagues, but a big-budget team like Boston tends to slot starting pitcher prospects in the minors, holding them back until absolutely needed. Bowden could open the 2010 season back in that role again. He posted a solid 3.13 ERA, .228 batting-average against, 88 strikeouts and 47 walks in 126 1/3 innings back in Triple-A this season -- even if his 9.56 ERA with Boston was less than impressive. Consider him a sleeper in any format if he is given a chance to earn a rotation spot out of spring training. Anyone getting starts for the Red Sox figures to be highly sought after on Draft Day.

2. Junichi Tazawa, SP, 23

Tazawa's first season in American pro baseball was a spectacular one, even if he had some monumental failures when called upon in a pennant race in Boston down the stretch. You could hardly expect much for a lightly tested Japanese import that never played in the top levels overseas and had only a couple of starts in Triple-A before his call-up. Tazawa numbers -- (9-7)-2.55-.219-94-27 in 109 1/3 innings between Double- and Triple-A -- were outstanding and give him a shot at earning the No. 5 starter's spot next spring, perhaps. We figure he will open the season with Bowden in Triple-A, though, biding his time before he's a hot commodity off the waiver wire in all mixed leagues.

3. Ryan Kalish, OF, 22

The Red Sox's position player prospects didn't have great seasons as a group, but this does not apply to Kalish. He easily outperformed them by hitting a combined .279 with 18 homers, 77 RBI, 84 runs, 21 steals (.364 OBP and .457 SLUG). He won't be a factor early in the season for the Red Sox, but his speed-and-power combination is far more impressive than either of the two hitters following him on this list.

4. Lars Anderson, 1B, 22

If you weren't skeptical about Anderson's bat before, you should be now. He was billed to be a future middle of the order hitter, but he hit like a bad offensive shortstop back in Double-A this season, going .233-9-51-50. That won't cut it at any level, much less at the deep first base position. Anderson will be a mulligan in Double-A for 2010, but if you are holding out big-time hope for him in long-term keeper leagues, if might be time to look for another flier to take.

5. Josh Reddick, OF, 23

Reddick was impressive in Double-A (.277-13-29-47-5, .352-.520 in 256 at-bats) before doing very little in Triple-A (.127-0-6-1-0, .190-.183 in 71 at-bats). Many will question why we don't list Casey Kelly in the Red Sox's top five, but Reddick's numbers were better last year and Kelly is still years away from making a true Fantasy impact.

Best of the rest: Casey Kelly, SS; Ryan Westmoreland, OF; Felix Doubront, SP; Kris Johnson, SP; Che-Hsuan Lin, OF; Aaron Bates, 1B; Michael Almanzar, 3B; Reymond Fuentes, OF; Stolmy Pimentel, SP; Yamaico Navarro, SS; Anthony Rizzo, 1B; Kyle Weiland, SP; Oscar Tejeda, SS; Luis Exposito, C; Hunter Jones, RP; William Wilson, SP; Brock Huntzinger, SP; Will Middlebrooks, 3B; Pete Hissey, OF; Derrik Gibson, 3B; David Renfroe, SS; Jeremy Hazelbaker, OF; Jose Iglesias, SS; Stephen Fife, SP; Zach Daeges, OF; Mitch Dening, OF; Dustin Richardson, SP; Mark Wagner, C; and Richie Lentz, RP.

2009 rookies to exhaust eligibility (expected): Daniel Bard, RP; and George Kottaras, C.

Last year's top five here: Bowden, Anderson, Chris C. Carter (designated for assignment), Reddick and Bard.

You can e-mail Emack your Red Sox prospect questions to DMFantasyBaseball@cbs.com. Be sure to put Prospects in the subject field. Please include your full name, hometown and state. Be aware, due to the large volume of submissions received, we cannot guarantee personal responses to all questions.

Crave freelancer Eric Mack is a writer, radio producer, and podcaster based in Taos, N.M., but he lives in Google+. He's also managing editor of Crowdsourcing.org... Full Bio

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