ESPN's Keith Law rated various farm systems as rising and falling on Tuesday morning, and that means good news for the Red Sox. Boston was ranked just #17 heading into this season by Law, but they seem to have overcome that and are heading in the right direction in Law's eyes.
The key has been the breakout prospects: Anthony Ranaudo's health and "plus curveball" get him a nod there, and Garin Cecchini's dismantling of Carolina League pitching gets some attention from Law, which shouldn't be surprising given he pushed Cecchini into his top 25 mid-season prospects recently. Blake Swihart's catcher defense gets some love -- he's thrown out 42 percent of runners at High-A, and has seen his offense improve after a middling opening month. The Ranaudo bit is especially comforting, considering that we're all a bit more reticent than we probably should be about his success, given how hard he crashed one year ago. If he keeps it going, though, or moves on to Triple-A with similar success, it'll be that much easier to accept.
As you would expect, Law also mentions Boston's top prospect, Xander Bogaerts, as he was dominating at Double-A en route to becoming the youngest player in Triple-A's International League. Then, of course, there's last month's draft:
They also had a strong top of their draft, landing two-way athlete Trey Ball, who'll start his pro career as a left-handed pitcher, with their first pick, and grabbing out-of-favor catcher Jon Denney, who came into the spring as a potential top-15 selection, with their second-round pick.
Denney was Boston's third-round pick -- Teddy Stankiewicz was their second-round selection -- but that doesn't detract from Law's point whatsoever. The Sox got a high-ceiling pitcher considered to be the best left-handed starter in the draft as well as a potential top-15 backstop within the first three rounds, adding them to a system that's already got a lot going for it. No wonder Law has them on the rise.
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