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Keith Law reveals his top-10 Red Sox prospects for 2016

Keith Law's top-10 (and, really, 20) prospects are out, and feature a few surprises after you get past the obvious initial spots.

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Having ranked the farm systems and released his top-100, Keith Law has moved on to his team-by-team breakdowns, bringing a top-10 (and, really, 20) for the Red Sox that has few surprises at the top, but a few at the bottom.

So let's get it out of the way: Devers, Moncada, Benintendi, and Espinoza rank 1-2-3-4 for Law, which is something we knew given that he had them at 7, 17, 18, and 38 in his top-100. Law is certainly the odd man out when it comes to Devers above Moncada, but at the end of the day they're both in his top-20, making it hard to really take much issue with either placement.

Moving on, Michael Kopech takes number five, which is if not the consensus, then at least close to it. Law cites him as a good candidate to break into the top-100 in 2016, which isn't surprising since, frankly, it seems likely he would have gotten in this year had he not missed the second half of the season.

Sam Travis slots in at number six with his pre-power Youkilis-type profile, while Brian Johnson takes seventh with Law noting that "he's a better choice for the Red Sox's fifth spot than Joe Kelly, possessing a fringy fastball but three other pitches and good command." That's a slightly simplified view of things--there's Johnson's elbow, Kelly's upside, the presence of Owens, and the basic concept of organizational depth and where you can store it to account for--but it's a nice nod to Johnson's viability as a line of defense.

Less positive are the reports on Boston's notable first-round flops. There's apparently nothing good to report about Trey Ball that you couldn't say about him on draft day, and Michael Chavis has that ever-terrifying rap as a guy who could hit the ball hard if he could hit the ball at all instead of swinging hopelessly at bad pitches. This is the sort of problem that seems to fell more players who seem like they should be top talents but never come close to reaching it than anything else.

Getting back on the brighter side of things, though, Travis Lakins makes a surprise appearance at number 10 on the list, well above where pretty much anyone else has him. Law notes that, while Lakins didn't pitch last year (technically he did get in two hitless innings at Lowell! Totally counts), his fastball already seems to be up a tick or two from where it was reported to be coming out of the draft. This is particularly good news since he'd actually sat slightly lower than expected during his last year in college. With that weapon back at full strength, and a "plus curveball" as Law grades it, he's an arm to keep an eye on.

Coming in just ahead of him is Luis Alexander Basabe, who seems to be receiving a real ground swell of support of late. He's a long way from the show with a few clear holes in his game, but he's got legs and the ability to add some power after showing the first signs of it with seven homers in 222 at bats this season in Lowell. He's not the obscure guy who'd turned heads at the DSL and is about to take the minor leagues by storm ala Xander Bogaerts. But he's a guy who could certainly surprise anyone who's not, y'know, hearing his name now and being told all this.

Of some note: the Red Sox have quite a few blocked shortstops hanging around in the system. Deven Marrero is ranked eighth and, in Law's view, "would start for a lot of teams as a plus defender at shortstop with good contact skills." Marco Hernandez fits into a similar position, though exchanging some defense for more offensive presence. Unlike the other two, Mauricio Dubon is a ways away from the big leagues, but he, too, fits that description. All three in the top-20, none of them with a clear place on the 25-man now or in the near future. Probably high on the list of Boston's trade chips in terms of priority, if not overall value.