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Keith Law says Red Sox farm system is on the rise

Thanks to breakout campaigns and a strong draft, Boston's prospects look even stronger.


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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