Keith Law’s top 100 prospect rankings for 2016 should have Boston Red Sox fans smiling.
Four Red Sox farmhands appear on Law’s annual preseason list, with three ranking in the top 18: Rafael Devers (No. 7), Yoan Moncada (No. 17), Andrew Benintendi (No. 18) and Anderson Espinoza (No. 38).
The Red Sox’s minor league system has been lauded in recent years, and even Boston’s decision to trade away Manuel Margot and Javier Guerra — ranked No. 25 and No. 34, respectively, on Law’s top 100 list — in an offseason deal with the San Diego Padres for All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel wasn’t enough for the Sox to fall below the No. 10 spot in Law’s organizational rankings. But having three prospects among Law’s top 18 really speaks to the premium talent the Red Sox have stockpiled.
It’s somewhat surprising to see Devers ranked above Moncada, as the latter typically has been regarded as the Red Sox’s top prospect since signing for $31.5 million — Boston also paid a 100 percent tax to Major League Baseball — last spring. Moncada was the top-ranked Red Sox farmhand on Baseball Prospectus’ top 101 prospects of 2016 list, which featured five Sox prospects, including Devers at No. 35, Benintendi at No. 46 and Espinoza at No. 73.
All four of the Red Sox prospects on Law’s list drew high praise, including Espinoza, a 17-year-old right-hander about whom Law wrote: “He might be Pedro Martinez or he might be a right-handed Aroldis Chapman, but one thing Anderson Espinoza will not be is short of hyperbole.”
Corey Seager of the Los Angeles Dodgers is baseball’s top prospect going into the 2016 season, according to Law’s rankings. Byron Buxton of the Minnesota Twins, Lucas Giolito of the Washington Nationals, J.P. Crawford of the Philadelphia Phillies and Julio Urias of the Dodgers round out the top five.
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