Boston Red Sox: 5 Minor Leaguers That Could Be Promoted Soon
With the trade deadline looming, there are several minor leaguers that could be promoted to the Boston Red Sox in the near future.
Jacoby Ellsbury has returned from a separated shoulder and Carl Crawford is scheduled to play tonight for the first time all season long. The Red Sox now have a surplus of outfielders and could look to trade some of them, according to Mike Silverman of the Boston Herald.
Boston could also look to deal a few of their more expendable players such as Kelly Shoppach or Matt Albers, according to Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal.
The Red Sox should go after a starting pitcher towards the trade deadline which would open up some spots on the roster, giving some impact minor leaguers the opportunity to show what they’re capable of.
Daniel Bard, who has been working on his game, is one of the players that could be promoted relatively soon. Along with Bard, here are four other minor leaguers who could be in Boston before you know it.
Ryan Lavarnway, Catcher
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2012 Statistics: .299/.388/.445, 7 HR, 38 RBI, 47 R
Ryan Lavarnway made his major-league debut last season during the last few weeks and has yet to make it back to Boston ever since.
Last season, Lavarnway slugged his way to the Red Sox dugout, hitting 32 home runs with Triple-A Pawtucket in 116 games. This season, the power numbers have been way down. In 72 games at the same level, Lavarnway only has seven home runs and his slugging percentage is down over 100 points.
I analyzed whether Boston should deal Shoppach in order to promote Lavarnway and don’t think that it’s right for Lavarnway at this time in his professional career.
Although my first name is Ben, my last isn’t Cherington and he could decide to promote Lavarnway anyway. Lavarnway needs regular time if he’s going to be in the majors and as of now, Jarrod Saltalamacchia is having a career year. Lavarnway shouldn’t be promoted and Cherington might learn that the hard way.
Jose Iglesias, Shortstop
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2012 Statistics: .259/.302/.299, 1 HR, 16 RBI, 26 R
Here’s what we know about Jose Iglesias: he’s not a consistent hitter by any means and probably never will be, but he is a very good shortstop and could make a living with the Boston Red Sox just off of that.
Iglesias could’ve made the team going into this season, but it wasn’t convincing enough that he would even hit .200 against big league pitchers. The Red Sox decided to give Mike Aviles the starting job and sent Iglesias back to Triple-A Pawtucket to see if he could improve his offensive ability.
Compared to last season, Iglesias is hitting more consistently as well as getting on base and slugging more often. Is it enough to get him to the big leagues? That’s up for debate.
Aviles is having a career for himself with the Red Sox, already hitting double digit home runs just after the All-Star break. John Tomase of the Boston Herald thinks that if the Red Sox decide to shift towards the younger players, they could deal Aviles.
The Red Sox have several solid shortstop prospects in the minor leagues and it seems like it will be Iglesias’ job to lose. Even if the Red Sox are contenders, they could end up selling high on Aviles to add another piece of the puzzle and give Iglesias a shot in doing so.
Zach Stewart, Starting Pitcher
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2012 Statistics (w/ Triple-A Pawtucket): 1-1, 3.74 ERA, 21.2 IP, 10K/5BB
The Red Sox acquired Zach Stewart a few weeks ago as a part of the Kevin Youkilis deal, and instead of throwing him right into the major league rotation, they wanted to see what he was capable of in the minors.
In four starts with Triple-A Pawtucket, Stewart has been good in three games and not so good in the most recent. In Stewart’s first three starts as a part of the Boston organization, he was 1-0 and only allowed four earned runs in 18.1 innings.
Stewart was mainly used as a reliever with the Chicago White Sox, but it seems that the Red Sox view him primarily as a starting pitcher. Over the course of his professional career, he’s had limited success in both roles.
There’s no guarantee that Ben Cherington pulls the trigger on acquiring a starting pitcher as the trade deadline nears. It’s unclear of whether Franklin Morales will continue his run as a starter, but I don’t see that continuing much longer.
Without Morales in the rotation, Boston still has five capable starters. Several are still prone to injury and Aaron Cook has the worst shot out of the five to finish the season with the team, in my opinion. An opportunity could open up for Stewart and when it does, he has to take advantage of it.
Mark Prior, Relief Pitcher
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2012 Statistics: 1-0, 2.92 ERA, 12.1 IP, 25K/13BB
It’s been quite some time since Mark Prior took the mound in a major league stadium, but he’s working hard to ensure a comeback in the near future.
Prior has appeared in 10 games with Triple-A Pawtucket and has been good in nearly all of them. In just his second appearance with the club, he struck out every batter he faced in 1.2 innings of work. In seven of his outings, he’s struck out at least two batters.
The one noticeable concern with Prior is his walk total. He’s walked at least one batter in all but three of his appearances and has walked two or more in four of them.
Prior would benefit in the big league bullpen as a situational pitcher. He’s dominated right-handed batters while allowing all four of his earned runs against left-handed batters. Opponents are only hitting .125 off of him overall, but he’s struck out more right-handers and also walked less of them as well.
The Boston bullpen is never set in stone and although there are a couple of guys who could be lined up for the call before Prior, he should get his chance at some point this season.
Daniel Bard, Relief Pitcher
2012 Statistics (w/ Triple-A Pawtucket): 1-0, 7.71 ERA, 16.1 IP, 17K/13BB
This has been the worst season of Daniel Bard’s young career and it’s not even close. Starting the season in the major league rotation was a big mistake as he just couldn’t find the strike zone and constantly gave up runs.
Bard was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket to figure things out, and he’s had some highlights since then and some outings he wishes never happened. There hasn’t been much consistently since joining the Paw Sox, even after giving up hope of staying a starting pitcher.
On any given day, Bard could either strike out the side or he could walk the bases loaded and get himself into severe trouble. You just don’t know what you’re going to get from him these days and it’s a shame that this happened to him.
Bard was a brilliant setup man last season for Jonathan Papelbon but now doesn’t have much of a role going forward. Eventually, Bard is going to be back in the big leagues, even if it’s in September when the rosters expand.
Once Bard is called up again, I don’t think he’ll serve as the setup man until the start of the 2013 season. Alfredo Aceves and Andrew Bailey are both capable of closing, and whoever isn’t deemed the closer will be the obvious setup man.
It would make more sense to take all of the pressure off of Bard and to ease him back into the regular bullpen rotation, even if that’s not this season.