Tuesday July 16, 2013 | 05:34 AM

This past off-season, the two prospects who generated the most buzz, and deservedly so, were shortstop Xander Bogaerts and outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr.

They were invited to the major league spring training camp and fans wondered when they might make it to Fenway Park (Bradley has been on the Boston-Pawtucket shuttle all year, while Bogaerts' big-league debut should not be too far away).

The next "star" prospect is becoming apparent. Garin Cecchini is batting .349 this year, combining his Class A and Double-A statistics. That is 50 points higher than any other player who is playing a full season.

Cecchini highlights the organization leaders.

AVERAGE: Cecchini .349 (101-for-289); Mookie Betts .299 (68-for-301); Bogaerts .294 (95-for-323) ; Keury De La Cruz .286 (103-for-360).

HOME RUNS: Bryce Brentz 16; Bogaerts 13; David Chester 13; Michael Almanzar 11.

ERA: Anthony Ranaudo 2.67; Henry Owens 3.14; Brandon Workman 3.21.

STRIKEOUTS: Workman 108; Owens 97; Ranaudo 94; Matt Barnes 88.

Betts, 20, a fifth-round draft pick out of high school in 2011, plays second base. He was recently promoted from Class A Greenville to advanced Class A Salem. He also has a .414 on-base percentage.

De La Cruz, 21, an outfielder from the Dominican Republic, hit .308 for Greenville last year and is rebounding from a slow start in Salem. He is hitting .327 since the end of May.

Chester, 24, is slowing moving up the system. A 33rd-round draft pick out of college (Pittsburgh) in 2011, Chester is batting .262 for Greenville. The power potential for Chester, a 6-foot-5, 270-pound first baseman, is intriguing.

Owens, 21, has been mentioned in this space often. He is a prime prospect and Sea Dogs fans hope to get a glimpse of him in Portland this year.





About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

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