The Boston Red Sox got closer to finalizing their regular-season roster on Friday, when they decided the fate of their top-two pitching prospects, sending Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa to the minors.
The story was first reported in a tweet by the Providence Journal’s Tim Britton:
Red Sox announce new round of cuts: De La Rosa and Webster to Pawtucket, Vazquez to Portland.— Tim Britton (@TimBritton) March 15, 2013
Red Sox optioned Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster to Triple-A Pawtucket, Christian Vazquez to Double-A Portland.— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) March 15, 2013
De La Rosa and Webster, both right-handed power pitchers, were obtained in a huge trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers last summer, which sent high-priced veterans Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett packing out of Boston.
Although neither Webster nor De La Rosa have thrown a single pitch in a regular season game for the Red Sox, they have rapidly been anointed the face of the future for the team’s pitching staff.
The Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham wrote how the 23-year-old Webster rose from relative obscurity as a 2008 18th-round draft pick to become a top prospect.
Are the Red Sox making the right move by sending De La Rosa and Webster to the minors?
Webster dominated this spring, allowing just two earned runs in 11 innings, while striking out 14. His numbers were punctuated by stories about his high-90s fastball that wowed players and reporters alike.
De La Rosa is 24 and appeared in 14 games with the Dodgers in 2011 and 2012, sandwiched around Tommy John surgery that caused him to miss nearly a full year.
Britton reported that De La Rosa came out blazing in his first spring training game this year, hitting 100 mph with his fastball, before struggling with his command and control in his other outings. He finished with a 9.45 ERA in 6.2 innings this spring, while striking out five and walking five.
Fans started comparing De La Rosa to Boston pitching legend Pedro Martinez after ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes reported that the youngster grew up being mentored by the future Hall of Famer.
The fervor only grew when Martinez, who is in his first season as a Boston special assistant, told WEEI’s Rob Bradford that his protégé has a chance to be special.
Instead of starting the year in Boston, both prospects will begin the year in the starting rotation for Triple-A Pawtucket.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see either pitcher in Boston at some point this season, either relieving or starting. Their arrival and usage will likely be dictated by injuries or ineffectiveness impacting the big-league staff.
Also included in the cuts was catcher Christian Vazquez, who drew rave reviews this spring with his stellar defensive play. He will report to Double-A Portland and be the team's starting backstop.
Although Webster and De La Rosa were cut from camp, it appears to be only a matter of time before they’re both in the majors for good. If they are able to live up to even a fraction of the hype they experienced this spring, they will both have very successful careers.
Statistics via Baseball-Reference