ESPN has released their Future Power Rankings for MLB, and the defending champion Red Sox sit in the top spot. That's lovely for Boston fans, since it means the Sox, after succeeding in the recent past, are setup for both the present and future given the nature of their roster and minor-league system.
The methodology is pretty simple to understand. ESPN rated five different weighted categories to produce a score on a scale from zero to 100. The Red Sox came in at 89.1 points, as one of only two teams over 80, and one of just three over 70. This system likes the Sox just a little bit, it seems.
The five categories themselves are Majors, Minors, Finances, Management, and Mobility. Boston has retained most of their World Series-winning 2013 squad, and added some quality players to it, so they unsurprisingly scored 28 of 30 points in that category. As for the minors, Keith Law rated them as having the fifth-best farm system in the game not that long ago, so again, yet they scored 27 points here for minors. Quantity might have a little more value for these purposes, perhaps. The Sox also scored a 27 on finance, but ESPN might have meant 28, since the Angels also come in at 27 points for the category. "Management" is based on " Value and stability of ownership, front office and coaching staff", so the Sox' 27 points must mostly come from ownership, or they're giving credit to Boston for having a coaching staff full of guys who are both former and current Sox coaches in John Farrell and Torey Lovullo.
Last is Mobility, where Boston is at a 22, their lowest rating. They aren't burdened by long-term deals anymore, but they also aren't overflowing with inexpensive young talent -- at least, not yet anyway. This score probably has the best chance of going up in the future, and not just because it's the lowest of the bunch. Buster Olney makes a point of saying that the fact Dustin Pedroia is the only player they are guaranteed to be paying in 2016 helps them significantly. That'll likely change in a month or two, if and when Jon Lester signs an extension, but even then, that's much less money to be locked into years down the road than many rich teams across the league.
It's not all perfect through ESPN's eyes. Jim Bowden says that Boston needs help in the outfield corners in the future, though, it's not entirely clear why. Daniel Nava is 31, not 41, so two-thirds of the outfield is set for at least a few more years, especially considering Nava's skill set, one that works well with players as they age. Bowden is right that they need to find a new right fielder once Shane Victorino's deal is up, but hey, at least we've got some ideas for that. If the answer has to be internal, it's not like Mookie Betts' future has been set in stone, either: he's going to need a position eventually, and there are plenty out there who believe he's going to have a legitimate big-league bat to work with.