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2015 Red Sox top prospect voting #17: Yoan Moncada takes second (and Sam Travis 16th)

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The list shifts as Moncada takes second and Swihart maintains first.

Blake Swihart has retained his spot, taking the runoff against the newly-arrived Yoan Moncada to stay locked in at number one. Meanwhile, before all the Moncada madness, Sam Travis took down what was, at the time, the fifteenth spot on our list. It's all a bit confusing, so let's start off with this:

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

Swihart over Moncada is an interesting choice, and also one that largely goes against the general Moncada > Swihart consensus that most evaluators have come to. And for many teams I could see this vote going the other way. Perhaps in terms of pure talent and promise, Moncada does beat out Swihart, even if it is a 1A vs. 1B situation.

But this isn't a list of the top 100 prospects in the game. This is coming specifically from a Red Sox viewpoint, and that certainly makes a difference. Probably the biggest reason: Blake Swihart hasn't had any articles like this written about him. Sure, the Red Sox have Christian Vazquez, but the fanbase has been looking for a Jason Varitek replacement for years now. Someone who can hold their own both at the plate and behind it. Blake Swihart is the first Red Sox who seems to have a good chance of being that since Varitek declined.

Moncada, on the other hand, is a luxury. An amazing one to have, granted, but not quite the key part of the plan that Swihart is. That would not cover a major disparity in talent, but again, this is about a top-20 vs. top-15 talent. Or top-15 vs. top-10. When the gap is that small, need can come into play in a big way.

As for Sam Travis, he's a rare thing in this Red Sox farm system: a career first baseman. Ironically, though, that's been one of the system's best positions in terms of production this past decade having seen two All-Stars rise through the ranks in Kevin Youkilis and Anthony Rizzo. Travis is smaller than either of those two, but shares the same profile as a discipline-first hitter without the elite power that typically marks top players at the position.

And y'know what doesn't hurt? A good word or two from Keith Law:

Travis is the best candidate to race through the low minors; he is advanced enough a hitter that he could start in Double-A, and I'm willing to bet his power will be more than the consensus expectation -- 20-25 homers a year at his peak, which is enough to push him on to the top 100 next year.