This is ESPN Insider content, so I'll only post relevant snippets here. First, the rankings in groups of 5:
STL, MIN, TBR, HOU, CHC
SDP, PIT, SEA, TEX, NYY
KCR, CIN, BAL, NYM, ARI
MIA, BOS, LAD, CLE, ATL
WAS, OAK, COL, TOR, DET
SFG, PHI, CWS, MIL, LAA
After seeing the Sox ranked 17th, he seems to be unreasonably bearish. But what really jumps out at me is that 3 other AL East teams are ranked above the Sox, with the Jays (as expected) the lone divisional laggard.
17. Boston Red SoxA lot went right on the farm for Boston this year, with Xander Bogaerts looking like he can stay at shortstop, Jackie Bradley Jr. lighting everyone up with his plate discipline and Matt Barnes and Henry Owens posting very strong full-season debuts. The system's real shortage is in big league ready talent, with right-hander Allen Webster probably the closest.
Hard to argue with his verbal assessment of the Sox' system in a vacuum. The real issue I have is that Law doesn't consistently apply the bolded statement to some of the systems he ranks above the Sox.
FWIW, John Sickels also has the Cards at the top and the Rays #3. But he has Boston #9, ahead of the Cubs, Astros, Mets & D-Backs. In addition, he has the Yankees 14th, the Orioles 18th, and the Jays 22nd.
The three rivals Law says we're chasing (and I don't dispute the Rays' place on this list):
3. Tampa Bay RaysThe Rays had some setbacks among their highest-profile prospects this past year, but added a top-10 prospect in Wil Myers, a top-100 prospect in Jake Odorizzi and a former top-100 prospect in Mike Montgomery in the James Shields trade. They're deepest in power arms, although many of them are a grade or two of command below where they'll need to be to profile as starters, and right now their next impact bat after Myers would be in low Class A or short-season ball.
10. New York YankeesIt's a top-heavy system, but the group of position players who started in low Class A Charleston last year, some of whom finished in high-A Tampa, could produce as many as three above-average or better regulars plus several other guys who'll have big league value. They'd rank even higher had they not lost two major starting pitching prospects to season-long injuries, with one, Manny Banuelos, probably out now until 2014.
13. Baltimore OriolesDylan Bundy emerged as the minors' best pitching prospect in 2012, while their first pick from last year's draft, Kevin Gausman, was one of the hottest names in Florida instructional league in September. They'd rank higher had Manny Machado not lost his rookie eligibility in September.