The Red Sox have graduated top prospects Blake Swihart and Eduardo Rodriguez to the majors in 2015. In 2014, Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts were the two major pieces brought up from the farm for good. Despite seeing these promising youths all called up in a two-season stretch, the Red Sox farm is still loaded: ESPN's Keith Law ranked them the top farm system in the entire game in his most recent look at the state of the minors.
They have five top-50 prospects in Law's mind, as we already knew, with Rafael Devers, Yoan Moncada, and Manuel Margot the three most promising of the bunch. On top of that, though, is staggering depth, as well as the addition of 2015 first-round pick and college player of the year, Andrew Benintendi.
The Red Sox have as much potential ceiling -- in terms of players who have at least a fighting chance to become well-above-average regulars or more -- as any organization in baseball, as well as tremendous depth in both position players and pitchers.
Law also mentions that young players like Jackie Bradley Jr., Deven Marrero, and Garin Cecchini all still have promise and are deserving of chances, but they are blocked from joining the Red Sox at the moment. We already knew he liked Sam Travis a lot -- last year's second-round pick could have started at Double-A this season, per Law's winter analysis -- and he only has one nitpick with the entire system: once Henry Owens is in the majors, that's it for near-ready pitching prospects.
Who can the Red Sox trade before the deadline?
Let's take stock of all of Boston's movable pieces to get a sense of their potential trade activity for the rest of July.
It's a valid criticism, because Edwin Escobar and Justin Haley are probably the two next-best pitching prospects in the upper levels, but Escobar is still hurt and both could very likely end up as relievers, as Matt Barnes seems to have. Teddy Stankiewicz, Ty Buttrey, and Trey Ball are all still at High-A and a ways off from the majors, and there are no guarantees any of them are impact starters, either because of their ceilings (Stanky) or simply because of their distance from the majors meaning there is a whole lot of projection left to fill.
That's still a solid group that's getting closer to Double-A, though, and there is more promise further down the ladder, too, with Michael Kopech, Jalen Beeks, and last year's top pitching prospect on the international free agent market, Anderson Espinoza, standing out. Kevin McAvoy is another promising arm who was pushed aggressively to High-A and could end up spending quite a lot of time there, so there are pitchers in the system, just not in the high minors anymore.
Of course, the lack of arms in Portland and Pawtucket has a lot to do with graduating Rodriguez and debuting Brian Johnson -- it's not like it's going to be because there hasn't been anyone worthwhile in Triple-A's rotation for some time. And that's what makes Boston's ranking such a big deal to begin with. They've already moved a ton of talent to the majors of late, and there is more to come, some of it with impact potential, and some of it the kind of depth organizations need to have around for either trades or their own rosters. It's hard to remember there should be good, homegrown times ahead for the Sox in the near future during a disaster 2015 season, but it's true.