You know spring training is coming soon, because Keith Law has started ranking prospects over at ESPN. While specific prospects haven't been organized for our consumption just yet, Law kicked off his prospect week with organizational rankings.
Despite trading away Manuel Margot and Javier Guerra, despite promoting Eduardo Rodriguez, Henry Owens, and Blake Swihart in 2015, the Red Sox are still a top-10 farm system according to Law. They rank 10th, so just barely, but that's still better than 20 other teams. And those 20 others don't have that trio of 2015 debuts, nor do they have Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts.
Law describes the Sox system as "decimated by promotions" and that's hilarious. Not in the sense his description is wrong -- more so because of everything you read in the previous paragraph. The Sox have taken a hit in the prospect rankings, yes, but find a better top-10 under-25 list. We'll wait. In case you've forgotten what Boston's looks like, this is my interpretation:
- Xander Bogaerts
- Mookie Betts
- Yoan Moncada
- Eduardo Rodriguez
- Blake Swihart
- Andrew Benintendi
- Rafael Devers
- Anderson Espinoza
- Henry Owens
- Michael Kopech
Pretty, pretty good. Swap the names around a bit if you want, but it's those 10, and they're a special group.
Law specifically cites Boston's signings on the international market -- think Yoan Moncada, Anderson Espinoza, and Rafael Devers for specifics -- as well as the drafting of Andrew Benintendi, who, per Law, showed his last season at the University of Arkansas "wasn't just a four-month fluke" as the reasons that the Sox still remain this high in spite of promotions and the Craig Kimbrel trade.
While Guerra and Margot are gone, you can still thank Boston's developmental program for identifying and producing them in such a way that they brought back Kimbrel, too. The Sox are in a good spot in this regard, and with any luck, the standings will reflect as much shortly.
Law will also be releasing his top-100 prospects list -- which has four Red Sox on it, and we can probably guess the who but not the where right now -- as well as just missed explanation on Friday. Hopefully, Michael Kopech is in that just missed discussion, but we'll know soon enough.