April 2, 2013 at 8:39 PM
Despite not having one top five organizational prospect, the 2013 Salem Red Sox Opening Day roster boasts six players ranked in the SoxProspects.com top 20 -- more than any other Red Sox minor league roster.
Leading the pack is the trio of third basemen Garin Cecchini (pictured), catcher Blake Swihart, and left-hander Henry Owens, all of whom spent all of 2012 playing for the Greenville Drive.
Cecchini, who will turn 22 on April 20, posted a .305/.394/.433 batting line playing in 118 games for Greenville. But what is perhaps most impressive about the 2010 fourth round pick is his base running, as he swiped 51 bases and was caught only six times.
Swihart, a 2011 first-round pick, hit .262/.307/.395 in 344 at-bats in Salem. The 20-year-old is pegged by some as the Red Sox catcher of the future, writes Matt Huegel on ESPNBoston.com.
Owens, 20, who finished fourth in the South Atlantic League in strikeouts last year with 130, will anchor the Drive's rotation. The 6 foot 7 inch-tall left-hander posted a 4.87 ERA and 1.45 WHIP in 101 innings and 22 starts last season.
Slated to join Cecchini, Swihart and Owens, who rank seventh, eighth and ninth, respectively, in the SoxProspects.com rankings, are 2012 first round pick Deven Marrero and outfielders Keury De La Cruz and Brandon Jacobs.
Marrero, a shortstop out of Arizona State, spent 2012 playing for the Lowell Spinners after being selected by the Red Sox with the 24th overall pick. Marrero, the 11th ranked prospect on SoxProspects.com, is the only player on the Salem roster invited to Major League spring training.
De La Cruz, an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic, spent the bulk of 2012 in Greenville, where he hit .308/.352/.536 in 116 games. The 21-year-old slugged 19 home runs, 35 doubles, 8 triples and swiped 19 bases in 474 at-bats.
Jacobs, another potential power-speed combination in the outfield, spent all of 2012 in Salem. The 22-year-old saw his numbers regress a bit last year after he was slowed by a hand injury for half the season. He still managed to hit 13 home runs and steal 17 bases while posting an OPS of .732.
Other notables named to the Salem Red Sox roster include infielder Sean Coyle, right-hander Noe Ramirez and left-hander Mickey Pena.
Currently, the Salem Red Sox have 27 men on the roster. The team anticipates making moves before Opening Day, which is scheduled for Friday, April 3 at the Frederick Keys.
Photo Credit: Garin Cecchini by Kelly O'Connor.
Luke Lavoie is a Staff Writer for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on twitter @LukeALavoie.