Wondering which young players could have an impact in the majors this year? Let MLB FanHouse guide the way in Better Know a Prospect. In this edition we look at three players from the vibrant Boston system.
Michael Bowden, SP:
Daniel Bard, RP: A first-round pick in 2006, Bard flamed out as a starter in his first professional season, posting a 7.08 ERA across two levels of Single-A, but he picked himself up off the mat in 2008, converted to relief and took off. Working out of the bullpen, he struck out an absurd 107 hitters in 77 2/3 innings and put up a 1.51 ERA between Single-A and Double-A. The Red Sox are deep everywhere on their roster -- even in the bullpen -- but Bard could be a factor in the second half of the season, especially with a blazing fastball that can touch triple digits.
Lars Anderson, 1B: Easily the best prospect in Boston's system and one of the best in baseball as well, Anderson is also the least likely on this list to make an impact in the majors. Just 21, he has an advanced skill-set, with a career .304 batting average, a .404 on-base percentage and 157 walks in 252 games as a professional. He started to hit for more power last season, but it's expected that he'll start turning some doubles into home runs as he matures. Playing time isn't going to be easy to come by -- not with established stars like David Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis and Mike Lowell in Boston -- but an injury could clear the way for his debut.