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John Sickels ranks Red Sox top 20 prospects

The top is what you'd expect, but the rest is worth paying attention to, and there's a whole lot of rest.

Vazquez is part of a ridiculously deep farm system.
Vazquez is part of a ridiculously deep farm system.

Fellow SB Nation author John Sickels has released his top-20 Red Sox prospects, and the start of the list is right about what you would think it to be. Xander Bogaerts ranks first, with Jackie Bradley Jr, Garin Cecchini, and Henry Owens following -- the two through four slots are generally some combination of those three names. It's the list as a whole that merits our attention, though, because of the way Sickels formats his team lists.

He uses a grading system, with A through C, with the latter the most common grade. Sickels states that's he a "tough grader", though, and that a C+ is "actually good praise", especially when we're discussing lower-level players who haven't had much of a chance to succeed or fail professionally yet.

It's probably worth mentioning right about now that the Red Sox have 23 prospects with a grade of C+ or better on Sickels' 2014 list. The first C+ doesn't even show up until the 12th spot, with lefty reliever Drake Britton following the B- that is 2013's seventh overall pick, Trey Ball. The full list of C+ prospects in the Boston organization:

12. Drake Britton (LHP)

13. Simon Mercedes (RHP)

14. Christian Vazquez (C)

15. Deven Marrero (SS)

16. Bryce Brentz (OF)

17. Teddy Stankiewicz (RHP)

18. Jamie Callahan (RHP)

19. Brian Johnson (LHP)

20. Ty Buttrey (RHP)

21. Jon Denney (C)

22. Manuel Margot (CF)

23. Daniel McGrath (LHP)

Now, I'm not saying that's a group of players who would make any team's top-10 jealous or anything -- okay, maybe the Angels or Brewers -- but when this is the back-end of a top-20 (and then some), you're talking about some serious organizational depth. Manuel Margot has the potential to be a serious prospect and major-league outfielder once he's all grown up, Christian Vazquez might be a quality starting catcher in the bigs, and there are a few potential mid-rotation starters on this list, or, at the least, back-end guys, which is impressive in its own right given where they rank in the system.

Past the C+ guys, there are a few more worth discussing. Corey Littrell and Myles Smith both come up in the "OTHERS" section of Sickels' list, and there's plenty of reason to believe both of them will be big-league starters someday: as they were just selected in this past summer's draft, though, we can be patient with those declarations. Lefty Cody Kukuk is primed for a breakout, and he's in "OTHERS." He's not alone, either, as Rafael Devers, one of the best bats on 2013's international market, is there, as is outfielder Henry Ramos, second baseman Wendell Rijo, big-league backup-in-waiting Dan Butler, and more -- this system is just stacked.

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