This time last year, Xander Bogaerts was adjusting to the challenge of being one of the youngest players in the Carolina League.
This week, he graces the cover of the latest edition of Baseball America, hailed as the next power-hitting shortstop poised to infiltrate the major league ranks.
Speedy climbs like the ones Bogaerts is making are rare, but it's a nice reminder of how close Salem players potentially are to Boston. He's currently hitting .309 at double-A Portland, where he finished last season after playing 104 games in the Carolina League.
Here's a look at how some of the other players from last year's Salem team are faring early in 2013 (all stats through Thursday):
- Right-hander Ryan Pressley, Salem's opening day starter in 2012, has posted a 1.67 ERA in seven relief appearances with the Twins after being selected in the Rule 5 draft.
- Outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is back in the minors after a scorching spring earned him a surprise opening-day roster spot with Boston. He went 3 for 31 (.097) in 12 games with the Red Sox before being shipped to Triple-A Pawtucket, where he's batting .300 through 10 games.
- Right-hander Michael Olmsted, another Rule 5 pick, is 0-1 with a 7.71 ERA for Milwaukee's triple-A affiliate.
- Right-hander Pete Ruiz has been missing plenty of bats in the Eastern League. He has fanned 24 batters for Portland in only 11 2⁄3 innings while crafting a 3.86 ERA.
- Right-hander Matt Barnes, one of Boston's top pitching prospects, is 2-1 with a 6.75 ERA in Portland, having fanned 27 batters in 20 innings.
- Third baseman Michael Almanzar has carried over his strong 2012 season at Salem by hitting .313 with five homers and 18 RBIs in 24 games with Portland.
- Outfielder Shannon Wilkerson is batting .224 with two homers and 13 RBIs for Portland.
- Catcher Christian Vazquez, who was a Carolina League postseason all-star in 2012, is hitting .255 with two homers and 11 RBIs for Portland.