Keith Law ranks Allen Webster as 'just missed' prospect

Greg Fiume

In addition to the seven Red Sox prospects in his top-100, Law has one more Boston farmhand to praise.

If seven prospects in Keith Law's top-100 just wasn't doing it for you, he's got a bonus farmhand for you. Law released his "just missed" list at ESPN on Wednesday, and on said list is right-handed starting pitching prospect, Allen Webster.

If you're curious how he ended up just missing out on the top-100, Law has the same kind of questions about his future that everyone else seems to:

Webster still shows lots of pluses -- mid-90s velocity, good sink and a swing-and-miss changeup -- but he's also shown two big minuses that knocked him from a top-100 spot last year. One is that he still doesn't have a consistently average breaking ball, with a slider ahead of his curve, but neither there yet as a strong second pitch. The other is command; for a guy who can really sink the ball, Webster pitches up in the zone with his fastball far too often.

Law goes on to say that Webster is still just 24, so there's time for him to reach that mid-rotation level Sox fans are hoping to see out of him, but the longer it takes for him to fix the above issues, the less likely we'll see him as anything but a back-end arm or a reliever. At least if it's the latter, Webster has the potential to be dominant, as he could work a two-pitch repertoire effectively given just how good those two pitches are.

What's fascinating about Law's "just missed" list is that both Webster and former Red Sox farmhand Casey Kelly are on it. While that in and of itself isn't that interesting, both Webster and Kelly were involved in trades with Adrian Gonzalez -- Kelly to bring Gonzalez to Boston, and Webster in order to get him out of there. You could argue the Red Sox ended up coming out ahead in the end, since Anthony Rizzo, partnered with Kelly in the deal, has nowhere near the value that dumping Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett on the Dodgers did, and the Red Sox brought in Rubby De La Rosa alongside Webster on top of that.

Both Kelly and Webster could end up as mid-rotation arms, though, Kelly seems the more likely candidate: the primary reason he's this far back on Law's list is because he underwent Tommy John surgery and missed all of 2013 and the precious development time contained within. That season should have been used to improve his fastball command (hey, sound familiar?) and work on pitching, rather than just throwing. Webster likely has the higher ceiling, but Kelly's floor is a bit higher, and he's in a much easier environment for pitchers, too.

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