Rubby de la Rosa: Pitching Prospect Will Be Key to Red Sox Rebuilding Project

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistAugust 25, 2012

The Boston Red Sox are in for a complete overhaul of the roster in the wake of the blockbuster trade that sends Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto to the Los Angeles Dodgers for four minor league prospects, a ton of luxury tax relief and first baseman James Loney.

While Rubby de la Rosa doesn't have the same name recognition or impressive résumé as the players the Red Sox gave up in the trade, de la Rosa will prove to be an extremely valuable asset as Boston tries to put together a roster that can contend again.

In de la Rosa, the Red Sox acquired a pitcher who has proven that he can be effective at the major league level but still has an incredible ceiling. 

The Dominican pitcher pitched well during his call-up with the Dodgers this season despite the fact that he is sill recovering from Tommy John surgery. In 13 appearances with the Dodgers, he went 4-5 while posting a respectable ERA of 3.71.

While those numbers aren't unbelievable, they show promise for a 23-year-old who isn't capable of throwing his best stuff at this point.

Brandon Lennox of TrueBlueLA.com ranked de la Rosa as the No. 5 prospect in the entire Dodgers farm system, stating that de la Rosa has the ability to dial his fastball up to triple digits when healthy. When explaining why he ranked de la Rosa so high, he had this to say:

...at just 22 years old his youth is just one of his many valuable assets.  With three potential plus pitches Rubby’s ceiling could be as high as a #2 starter in the big leagues, although I still have this feeling that could end up in the bullpen where he would also be very good, just not quite as valuable. 

Picking up a player like de la Rosa is always a risk—the injury concern is definitely there, but if the injuries continue to be an issue it would appear that de la Rosa could at least become a force in the bullpen where his pitch count could be monitored.

For a team in rebuilding mode, de la Rosa is a great developmental addition to the roster.

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