Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE
SB Nation's own minor-league expert lists his top prospects in the game, in a list with plenty of Sox farmhands on it
Minor League Ball's John Sickels released his top 150 prospects list on Wednesday morning. It's kind of like his top 170, really, as he lists 20 players who nearly made it, but as far as official ranks go, it stops at 150. Wherever you cut Sickels off, six Red Sox prospects made the list. While you can probably guess who at least the first four are, as it's basically the first four, in some order, that everyone else with a list has, lucky prospects five and six are, as usual, a little less predictable.
4. Xander Bogaerts, SS: No huge surprise here, as Bogaerts' is Boston's consensus top prospect, and anyone who thinks he has a change at sticking at shortstop has him ranked way up high. That being said, fourth might be the loftiest anyone has placed him, even under those conditions.
59. Matt Barnes, RHP: With few exceptions, the right-handed Barnes is Boston's top pitching prospect. A strong year at Double-A in 2013, where he is expected to be in the rotation along with the likes of Drake Britton and Brandon Workman, could push him further up the top 100. If he looks more like he did in the second half of 2012, however, you could see him sliding back somewhat -- still high-ranking, but without quite so many appearances near the top 50.
88. Allen Webster, RHP: I can understand some skepticism regarding Webster, as he hasn't, in games that count, exhibited much command or control over his impressive repertoire. If he ever consistently gains full command of his arsenal, however, rankings like this (and not just that of Sickels' -- basically everyone else's, too) might look a little silly in retrospect, if someone were to post them sans context. That's not to say people shouldn't rank Webster for what he is, because as of this spring, Webster is a young pitcher with ridiculous stuff that hasn't learned to fully harness it -- the line between front line starter and impact reliever is very, very blurred for Webster at present, and this ranking reflects that.
117. Garin Cecchini, 3B: If Cecchini does indeed grow into the power that many are envisioning for him, it's easy to think he'll vault well into the top 100. Until then, his impressive contact skills and patience have landed him on the outside, but still in a better place than most.
137. Henry Ownens, LHP: For some, Owens potential is enough to mix him in with many who are much closer to the bigs. Sickels does think highly of proximity, though, and Owens at this point is mostly made up of promise, rather than any potential that's been delivered on. You can envision a 2014 list where Owens has jumped up considerably in the rankings due to a strong 2013 season where his control improves and he meets the expectations of a loosened innings leash, but until then, here he sits.