John Sickels of Minor League Ball has published his preliminary Red Sox prospect rankings -- the finalized version with official grading will go live on January 10 -- and there are some intriguing looks here that aren't often seen on pre-existing Boston prospect lists. Rather than just repeat the full top 20, which you can find here, the focus will be on the parts that surprised.
4, Garin Cecchini: That he's a well-loved prospect is not surprising. That he penetrated the top-five, surpassing pitching prospect Allen Webster, while also leapfrogging Bryce Brentz's proximity to the majors and Blake Swihart's upside, is. Sickels thinks he's nearly a complete package, though, one that will add power to a profile that already includes proficient patience, contact skills, and speed.
6. Henry Owens: If you're an OTM regular, you're aware of our love for Owens, who settled down after a rough start to his professional career to strike out batters in droves while limiting the opposition in their production. Nationally, though, his stock has been all over the place -- he didn't make MLB.com's list at all, ranks ninth at Sox Prospects, was seventh at Baseball Prospectus, and Baseball America thought the most of him, placing him fifth. Sickels' own rank falls in line with the latter two, as he places him sixth, giving him a grade of B, the same he attributes to Webster.
11. Pat Light: Boston's third pick from the 2012 draft, Sickels thinks he can still be a starter, but even if he can't, there's a future for him in relief. That's not a stance you see often, with many assuming the bullpen is his definite future, even if, like many future Sox relievers, he sticks in minor-league rotations for years.
13. Brandon Jacobs: I'm not as sold on Jacobs' tools as Sickels, who refers to Jacobs as a "tools hound." This rank was mostly a surprise because of the slack given him -- there were problems with his breakout 2011 season, and his hand injury last year wasn't the only reason his performance fell back.
19. Brock Holt: Holt hasn't been ranked by Baseball America since 2010, but Sickels has him in his top 20 with a grade of C+. For context, that's the same as the likes of Sean Coyle and Travis Shaw.
Now, Sickels ranked plenty of others with similar grades to Holt and the rest of the back-end of the list, so after some more thought, he might not be in the final top 20. Still, though, if you're of the same positive mind, it's solid that the Sox were able to bring someone back in the fold who is both useful and with potential.