2014 Red Sox top prospect voting: Dreaming on Devers

USA TODAY Sports

Rafael Devers is still a ways away, but at this point in the list, we're content to dream.

Even for the deepest of farm systems, it can be hard to fill in the last few spots on a top-20 list. Typically by this point all the upper-level talent likely to wind up as major league regulars are already placed, leaving us to choose between the upper-level players who project as little more than backups, or looking deeper and dreaming on high-upside players who are still miles away.

Well, nobody gets excited over a backup, so it should come as no surprise that we've turned to the lower levels. Actually, we've taken that to an extreme for pick no. 19: 17-year-old Rafael Devers who hasn't played any professional baseball yet.

So what earns a guy like Devers a spot despite his extreme youth and inexperience? Tools, obviously--the same tools that earned him a $1.5 million bonus. And those tools are tools that the farm system is otherwise lacking. Devers is not another Jackie Bradley Jr. or Xander Bogaerts. He's not a defensive whiz or a speedy baserunner--in fact, he's likely to end up moving off of third for first base at some point. No, Devers is just a guy who's going to go to the plate and smack the ball all over the place.

Usually that sort of statement comes with a caveat for a player so young. They've got the right body type and can swing the bat well, so if they can learn to play baseball beyond a high-school level they'll be great! Not so much with Devers. He's certainly got the physical aspect down, but Devers doesn't really look the part of a 17-year-old at the plate. There are still plenty of hurdles for Devers to clear as he is exposed to more and more challenging pitching, but he's got a sturdy foundation to build on that so many other players his age seem to lack.

Devers is not the fabled high-ceiling, high-floor prospect. At 17, that sort of status is reserved for the likes of Bryce Harper. But if his chance of being a bust is still high thanks to his youth, his chances of hitting that ceiling are not so small as so many others his age. With the Red Sox set to graduate a pair of highly talented prospects, it's good to see that the bottom of the system is not at a lack for potential impact players.

  1. Xander Bogaerts, SS
  2. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
  3. Garin Cecchini, 3B
  4. Henry Owens LHP
  5. Matt Barnes, RHP
  6. Blake Swihart, C
  7. Allen Webster, RHP
  8. Brandon Workman, RHP
  9. Mookie Betts, 2B
  10. Trey Ball, LHP
  11. Anthony Ranaudo, RHP
  12. Christian Vazquez, C
  13. Manuel Margot, OF
  14. Teddy Stankiewicz, RHP
  15. Drake Britton, LHP
  16. Brian Johnson, LHP
  17. Bryce Brentz, OF
  18. Deven Marrero, SS
  19. Rafael Devers, 3B

Alright, we're down to the last spot. Let's finish this list up.

By now you all know how this works: I'll name candidates in the comments below, and you rec the comment of the player you want to vote for. For those unfamiliar with how to go about that, just click "actions" underneath the comment and then "rec." Nice and easy, though you do have to be a member to join in.

On the off chance I forget or otherwise leave someone out, you are free to start your own voting thread for that player. I'll even give it a rec of my own to make up for your vote. As for rules, please stick to just the one vote. That's about it.

Vote away!

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