The top prospect in MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 preseason rankings won't be classified as a prospect for much longer. Andrew Benintendi, who draws that lofty honor, is slated to open the season as the starting left fielder for the Boston Red Sox.It has been a fast rise through the farm system
The top prospect in MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 preseason rankings won't be classified as a prospect for much longer. Andrew Benintendi, who draws that lofty honor, is slated to open the season as the starting left fielder for the Boston Red Sox.
It has been a fast rise through the farm system for the diminutive left-handed hitter, who was drafted in 2015 and vaulted from Double-A to the Majors last August.
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Though the Red Sox gave up some top Minor League talent to acquire Chris Sale, including No. 2 overall prospect Yoan Moncada, the farm system is hardly barren.
Boston has two other prospects in the Top 100 -- third baseman Rafael Devers (No. 17) and left-hander Jason Groome (No. 41).
The annual ranking of MLB's Top 100 Prospects is assembled by MLBPipeline.com Draft and prospect experts Jonathan Mayo, Jim Callis and Mike Rosenbaum, who compile input from industry sources, including scouts and scouting directors. It is based on analysis of players' skill sets, upsides, proximity to the Majors and potential immediate impact to their teams.
Only players with rookie status entering the 2017 season are eligible for the list. Players who were at least 23 years old when they signed and played in leagues deemed to be professional (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Cuba) are not eligible.
With Moncada off to the White Sox, Devers is going to draw a lot more attention from a Red Sox fanbase that is always trying to spot the team's next potential star.
"I think Raffy has such a great skill set," Red Sox director of player development Ben Crockett said. "He's a really impressive hitter. Defensively, he really took some steps forward this past year."
Devers, the top-ranked third-base prospect overall, spent all of last season at Class A Advanced Salem, hitting .282 with 32 doubles, 11 homers and a .779 OPS. The 20-year-old is expected to develop more power in the coming years.
Speaking of power, Groome -- Boston's first selection in the 2016 Draft -- has an electric arm, and the Red Sox feel he will develop into a front-line starting pitcher.
After being drafted out of high school, Groome made two starts in the Gulf Coast League and one for Class A Short-Season Lowell in 2016. This will be his first professional season, and Boston is eager to see how he handles it.
Based on the players the Red Sox have in the Top 100 list, MLBPipeline.com ranks Boston seventh among the 30 teams.
"Obviously, you have to trade some high-value prospects to get better quickly, but we feel we've got a very strong farm system and there are a lot of players that we're encouraged about," Red Sox chairman Tom Werner said.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and **Facebook**.