Boston’s two best prospects were not dealt at the trade deadline last Monday and, suddenly, we’re watching Andrew Benintendi collect his first major league hits, while Yoan Moncada begins working out at other positions at Hadlock Field – with Red Sox General Manager Mike Hazen in town to watch.

Maybe Boston is serious about this youth movement.

When Dave Dombrowski took over as president of the Boston Red Sox a year ago, the speculation was that Dombrowski – aka “Dealer Dave” – would trade the best of Boston’s farm system to make the Red Sox an instant power. As president of the Detroit Tigers, Dombrow- ski was not shy about trading prospects, which is one reason why the Tigers’ farm system was ranked 26th out of 30 teams before this season by

But when Dombrowski came to Boston, the talent was abundant and major-league ready. That became evident when Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. were named All-Stars, and Travis Shaw beat out Pablo Sandoval for the third-base job.

Also, catchers Blake Swihart (recovering from an ankle injury) and Christian Vazquez (trying to fix his offense in Triple-A) should play big roles in Boston’s future.

All of the above range in age between 23 and 26. The earliest any one of them can be a free agent is 2020 (Bogaerts).


And people forget that Brock Holt is only 28 (free-agent eligible in 2020), and we’re not quite sure what to make of catcher Sandy Leon, 27, who has emerged from obscurity.

Benintendi turned 22 last month. Moncada is 21. They will be everyday major leaguers.

Don’t forget first baseman Sam Travis, 22, who may have helped Boston this year before a knee injury in Pawtucket ended his season.

There is always a danger in falling in love with your prospects, but Boston’s youth has produced at the major league level. And there is obvious confidence in the abilities of Benintendi and Moncada.

Dombrowski’s biggest challenge will always be pitching. He has a starting rotation under control through at least 2018, and he has restocked the bullpen – a never-ending process.

As far as everyday players, Dombrowski’s tasks range from replacing David Ortiz, to figuring out what to do with Sandoval, to deciding which players/prospects are expendable for trades – like he did last season when he sent prospects, including outfielder Manuel Margo, to San Diego for Craig Kimbrel.


Here is a look at Boston’s scenario with everyday players.


Dustin Pedroia, 32, the second baseman and clubhouse leader (especially after Ortiz leaves) is signed through 2021.

Hanley Ramirez, 32, talks about becoming the designated hitter once Ortiz is gone, but Boston is likely going to be flexible with the position. Ramirez may DH, but his play at first base has been fine. His contract includes a vesting option for 2019 if he stays healthy.

Pablo Sandoval, 29, may be considered a complete failure by fans, but he has three years and $58 million left on his contract. He may surprise and be of some value after his shoulder surgery. He would be a candidate to DH often.

Chris Young, 32, provides experience and a right-handed bat in the outfield when he’s healthy. Young is signed through 2017.


Ryan Hanigan, 35, is a veteran receiver with little offensive production. If Boston does pick up his option for next year ($3.75 million), he still could be traded.


Bogaerts, 23, has given Boston stability at shortstop it has not seen since Nomar Garciaparra. He has three more seasons until free agency and, with Scott Boras as his agent, Bogaerts won’t be inexpensive.

Betts, 23, is an MVP-caliber player in right field. Unless Boston locks him up with a long-term deal, he will become a free agent in 2021.

Bradley, 26, should have accumulated a few Gold Glove awards for his center field work before his free agency year (2021).

Holt, 28, is under Boston’s control until 2020.



Swihart, 24, moved to left field because of Boston’s catching glut and promptly sprained his ankle, severely. He could be out until next season, when he is expected to rejoin a catching tandem. Boston could also utilize him as a DH sometimes to keep his bat in the lineup. Free agency is not until 2022.

Vazquez, 25, reminds us of the early concerns about Bradley. The defense is strong, but he needs to hit to stay in the lineup. The once-predicted Vazquez/Swihart tandem could be ready next year. Vazquez is under team control until 2021.

Shaw, 26, gives Boston some power and versatility (third base, first base, and left field in a pinch). He becomes a free agent in 2022.

Leon, 27, is certainly a surprise to be included in this mix. His defense is sound and his hitting has come out of nowhere.



Benintendi, 22, could be the regular left fielder by the end of the month.

Moncada, 21, is making a case to join the big leagues, although he needs another position besides second base, and he could use more at-bats, especially against left-handers. The thinking here is that Moncada will join Boston as a third baseman/left fielder sometime in 2017, pushing his free agency year to 2024.

Travis, 22, is an intense competitor and a hitter who is developing power. His knee injury May 29 slowed his development, but he could find a role in Boston sometime in 2017, unless he’s used in a trade.


Mauricio Dubon, 22, is an excellent shortstop in Portland with a solid bat and some gap power. Dubon does not have to be placed on the 40-man roster until after next season, giving Boston time to find a place for him, most likely in a utility role.

Rafael Devers, 19, is a third baseman at advanced Class A Salem and is considered one of Boston’s best prospects, with power potential. He may eventually try other positions (first base and/or left field). He may become one of those redundant prospects whom Dombrowski trades, or Boston may take time to see what it has in Devers. He’s a 40-man roster candidate after the 2017 season.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said Xander Bogaerts will be eligible after the 2020 season. He will be eligible in 2020, after the 2019 season.

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