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2014 Red Sox top prospect voting #16: Drake Britton with all his spots

Separating the field from everywhere else.

Ed Zurga

It's rare that a prospect can get under fans' skins. Once a player makes it to the majors, not only are they playing for keeps, but they're given plenty of camera time to make their personality known for better or worse. Down in the minors? They're often little more than numbers and words.

Drake Britton, however, managed the feat. He did so by driving drunk during spring training last year--a mistake which has done quite a number on his reputation, making this piece naming him our #15 prospect an unusually difficult one to write.

The difficulty lies in separating the player on the field from the action off of it. This is a baseball site, and this is a baseball list. We're not ranking prospects based on personality or likability, but their potential contributions to future Red Sox teams, and from a purely objective standpoint Britton has a pretty good chance of providing value.

We've already seen him pitch in the majors, and while his debut with the Red Sox wasn't immaculate, it was solid enough relief work. Once upon a time, looking at Britton as a setup-type arm may have seemed disappointing. He came into the organization featuring some serious stuff, but he's never completely made his way back from 2008 Tommy John Surgery, struggling mightily when asked to extend his performances past two or three innings in 2011 and 2012. He finally had some sustained success upon a promotion to Portland, but with so many starters above him without his durability question marks, Britton seems unlikely to leave the bullpen now that he's seen time there.

In those short appearances, though, Britton can do work, even just by the virtue of being a lefty with some velocity. The move to relief will allow him to excise some of his less-impressive offerings in favor of his fastball-slider combination, and if more time spent on the slider takes that pitch up a notch, then the Red Sox have themselves another solid reliever who won't cost them any real money for years to come. That he can wait at Pawtucket for now--out of sight and out of mind until his presence is necessary--doesn't hurt.

  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, CF
  14. Teddy Stankiewicz, RHP
  15. Drake Britton, LHP

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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