State of the Red Sox Farm System

Prospects are like Spring Training. All’s we see is the upside.

Every top prospect will be a star. Fed by the hype of the organization – and the media that’s plays them up (probably more so in Boston with its media overload than other cities – like this John Tomase story).

So it’s good to review independent assessments – like the ones that ESPN’s Keith Law recently published.

Law looked at (sorry, ESPN insider subscriptions required), the Top 100 Prospects in baseball and the Top 10 prospects of each team in AL East.

Overall, the state of the Red Sox is good – which should be encouraging for fans that are looking for Boston to build its next pennant contending team.

But, patience will be required. The strength of the Red Sox organization is in the lower minors – with not too much talent deemed by Law to be big league ready in 2013.

The Top 100

The big news here is SS Xander Bogaerts landed in the number five position with Law writing a shortstop who can hit like Bogaerts is a “special commodity.”

This position is the highest spot Bogaerts has placed in prospect rankings. For instance, Jonathan Mayo ranked him number 20 in the MLB.com prospect watch. (Still waiting to read Baseball America’s lists.)

Boston scored three other players in the top 100 – OF Jackie Bradley Jr. (# 40), RHP Allen Webster (# 63) and RHP Matt Barnes (# 79).

No big surprises here – except maybe that Law likes Webster better than Barnes, which is not the typical evaluation of other prognosticators.

Note: Mayo also had LHP Henry Owens and SS Jose Iglesias on his top 100 list. Law placed Owens at number 101.

It’s worth noting that RHP Rubby De La Rosa is not listed because he has major league experience – even though, from a Red Sox perspective, he is still a prospect.

Most likely, De La Rosa would fall in the Webster – Barnes range, maybe higher because of the heat he brings to the plate.

AL East

One thing we all know is the American League East is very competitive.

It’s not surprising the high level of competition extends to farm systems.

So, as well as the Red Sox are doing with prospects, it is worth noting their competition is not standing still. In fact, according to Law, they are doing better for the most part.

Here are Law’s AL rankings:

  • Tampa Bay – # 3 in MLB overall, with six top 100 prospects
  • New York – # 10 in MLB overall, with four top 100 prospects
  • Baltimore – # 13 in MLB overall, with four top 100 prospects
  • Toronto – # 24 in MLB overall, with two top 100 prospects

Toronto probably gets a pass this year – they typically have a top-tier farm system – after cleaning out their prospect list in the Miami and Mets trades.

Given Boston’s strength is in the lower minors, the team could move up the team rankings this season if players like Blake Swihart and Garin Cecchini take expected big steps in their development.

Which Sox prospects do you see making an impact in 2013? And which prospect do you see making the biggest leap forward in the coming season?

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