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2015 Red Sox top prospect voting #15: Courtesy of Jake Peavy

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Perhaps the prospect most likely to see action early in 2015, Edwin Escobar takes his spot at 14.

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The Jake Peavy trade of 2014 was a rare win for both sides. Peavy was clearly struggling against American League competition in cozy Fenway Park in these later years of his career, and by the time he was sent off to San Francisco, the Sox were no longer looking to compete, just to open some rotation space to get a better look at their prospects.

Given his struggles to that point in the year, the Red Sox were probably not expecting to get anything of value back from the Giants. But, if Edwin Escobar and Heath Hembree are not exactly blue chips, they're also not nothing, as evidenced by Escobar coming in just one spot shy of one of last year's first-round picks on our top 20.

And the Giants won the World Series with Peavy pitching like he was 26 again, so they're pretty happy about that.

But I digress, back to Escobar. Sometimes all it takes for a lefty to make it in this game is a pulse, and Escobar brings more to the table than that. At 22, he's made his way through the minors in a hurry, and of all the players listed thus far might well be the first to make an impact with the big league team in 2015. The Red Sox, after all, are not exactly flush with left-handed relievers, much less those who actually excel at getting lefties out. If Craig Breslow doesn't bounce back in a hurry, it's not hard to imagine Escobar getting the quick call-up to take his place.

Of course, relegating Escobar to a reliever role right off the bat isn't entirely fair.  He's spent his entire career as a starter, and if he seemed to hit a big speed bump in Triple-A, it's worth noting that was the result of an aggressive promotion from San Francisco after fewer than 130 innings above low-A. There's no ace billing in Escobar's future--or number two, or number three in any probable scenario--but a back-end lefty for the league minimum is a potentially valuable player not only to the Red Sox, but to teams that might have an interest in trading players on the verge of free agency or those starting to get expensive in arbitration.

As a fifth starter/reliever candidate, Edwin Escobar is admittedly boring. But having seen so many teams fall victim to thin bullpens and disastrous back-end starters, Red Sox fans know better than to think that boring means bad. Sometimes an Edwin Escobar is exactly what a team needs, and it's much better to have that player in the minors than to be forced into a desperation trade at the deadline when a half year of Andrew Miller brings a return like Eduardo Rodriguez.

  1. Blake Swihart, C
  2. Henry Owens, LHP
  3. Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP
  4. Rafael Devers, 3B
  5. Manuel Margot, OF
  6. Brian Johnson, LHP
  7. Garin Cecchini, 3B
  8. Matt Barnes, RHP
  9. Deven Marrero, SS
  10. Michael Chavis, SS
  11. Trey Ball, LHP
  12. Sean Coyle, 2B
  13. Michael Kopech, RHP
  14. Edwin Escobar, LHP