MLB.com Ranks Boston's Top 20 Prospects

Kansas City, MO, USA; World designated hitter Xander Bogaerts hits a single during the third inning of the All Star Futures Game at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: H. Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports via US PRESSWIRE

Jonathan Mayo and MLB.com have re-ranked their prospect lists, now that the regular minor-league seasons are over, rosters have expanded, and prospects have lost their rookie status. There are some very good signs for Boston here, and then just some odd decisions for player inclusion, either because MLB.com doesn't value Boston's depth as much as others, or because they just like some oddball players more than other rankings.

Boston has five players in MLB.com's revamped top 100, with Xander Bogaerts (#35), Matt Barnes (#42), Jackie Bradley (#45), Bryce Brentz (#78), and newly acquired Allen Webster (#80) all on the list. You can find Boston's own top 20 list after the jump, but the commentary will have to be found at MLB.com. Their setup doesn't allow links to profiles, so you'll just have to start at the beginning.

  1. Xander Bogaerts, SS
  2. Matt Barnes, SP
  3. Jackie Bradley, CF
  4. Bryce Brentz, RF
  5. Allen Webster, SP
  6. Ryan Lavarnway, C
  7. Anthony Ranaudo, SP
  8. Brandon Jacobs, LF
  9. Blake Swihart, C
  10. Garin Cecchini, 3B
  11. Jose Iglesias, SS
  12. Deven Marrero, SS
  13. Kolbrin Vitek, 3B
  14. Drake Britton, SP
  15. Brian Johnson, SP
  16. Jose Vinicio, SS
  17. Sean Coyle, 2B
  18. J.C. Linares, OF
  19. Miguel Celestino, SP
  20. Chris Carpenter, RP

Things start out well enough, as I have zero complaints about the first six players ranked. Maybe you switch Brentz and Webster, but that's quibbling. It's strange to see Ranaudo at #7 given his struggles with command and consistency -- he might end up in relief after all, though, it's too early to know for sure. Brandon Jacobs belongs in the top 20, but ahead of Swihart, Cecchini, and Marrero? Questionable, given the positions and the ceilings of those players, compared to Jacobs' more limited toolbox.

Vitek included in the top 20 is a bit of a stretch for me, and not just because of injuries sustained in 2012. He's been unexciting since he was drafted, and hasn't shown the bat he's going to need when he moves to a corner outfield spot, nor much in the way of that bat developing to the point it needs to. There was still enough to get him drafted in the first round to begin with, but this seems like a stretch given the depth Boston has in their system.

Britton isn't done baking, but his resurgence merits inclusion on this list. It's good to see another pick from this year, Brian Johnson, getting some recognition, and the same can be said about 18-year-old Jose Vinicio. I'm surprised to see J.C. Linares here, given he hasn't exactly taken Pawtucket by storm, and struggles with non-fastballs. Also, the fact he's here, while Travis Shaw and Keury De La Cruz, both of whom enjoyed breakout campaigns, are not, is a bit odd.

Celestino is another surprise* -- MLB.com even admits this is mostly on projection, but I might be more inclined to include Alex Wilson, or even someone like Chris Hernandez, Keith Couch, Noe Ramirez, Mickey Pena, or others (even Stolmy Pimentel!) in this spot, if the idea is to get a pitcher who might be a major-league hurler someday. There's also Aaron Kurcz, who struck out pretty much everyone in Double-A. That's why Chris Carpenter is at #20, isn't it?

*For more on Miguel Celestino, check out our Salem Red Sox Update from August 22.

None of those guys are the right answer, though, just pitchers in a similar situation I personally prefer to Celestino. No, the guy who is the obvious miss from this list is Brandon Workman, who pitched exceptionally at High-A Salem before ending the year in Double-A Portland. If Workman isn't your thing, how about Henry Owens, who, ERA aside, had a great first pro campaign as a teenager? If we're talking low-level pitchers with upside in their arms, isn't Owens your guy?

As I said, there's a lot to like, but some oddities here. Then again, I'm not a prospect expert -- this is simply my take on the list given the scouting reports I've read and the coverage we've given the group in 2012. What do you think? Is the list accurate? What would you change, if not?

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