Boston Red Sox's 5 Best Prospects Who Won't Be Called Up This September
This is already a team loaded with young talent, to be sure.
Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts and Christian Vazquez play nearly every day, while Rubby De La Rosa, Brandon Workman, Anthony Ranaudo and Allen Webster are vying for starts. The bullpen has seen an infusion of youth from the likes of Heath Hembree and Tommy Layne, and relatively young players like Brock Holt and Will Middlebrooks are seeing plenty of time as well.
Yet, Boston could get significantly younger in the coming days, as the likes of many of its remaining top prospects could see their first taste of MLB action when rosters expand. Unfortunately, the Sox have so many deserving or intriguing candidates that some players will inevitably be left out.
To that end, let's look at Boston's five best prospects in the upper minors who are least likely to get a call to the majors in September, and who will have to wait for 2015 or beyond for the call instead.
Sean Coyle, 2B/3B, Double-A Portland
In a lot of other systems, Sean Coyle would get more attention. The 22-year-old is hitting .296/.373/.508 in 368 plate appearances in Portland this year, mashing 21 doubles, 15 homers and grabbing 13 steals to boot. He's played both second and third base and made the Team USA Futures Game roster.
Coyle's performance and age relative to his level suggest that he deserves a cup of coffee in Boston this September, but one probably won't be forthcoming. The Sox already have a glut of infield options with Dustin Pedroia, Bogaerts, Holt, Middlebrooks and possibly Garin Cecchini seeing time in September. And Coyle isn't on the 40-man roster, which further hurts his chances.
Despite his strong performance, expect Coyle to finish out the year in Double-A and to start 2015 in Pawtucket if he's still a member of the Red Sox organization. There's also a chance he could be used as the third or fourth piece in a deal for a MLB starting pitcher.
Deven Marrero, SS, Triple-A Pawtucket
A few weeks back, Deven Marrero was listed as one of Boston's prospects who was most likely to see a call up to the majors in September. The logic then was that Jonathan Herrera would miss the rest of the season with elbow surgery, and so, the Sox might want a backup utility infielder on the roster to spell the likes of Pedroia and Bogaerts.
But as Over The Monster's Matt Collins pointed out earlier this week, the Red Sox likely won't want to add Marrero to the 40-man roster, as he's not eligible for the Rule 5 draft until after the 2015 season. With a glut of prospects who could be lost this offseason if they aren't added to the roster, filling up a spot with Marrero a year early doesn't make much sense.
Plus, it's not as if Marrero's performance dictates that he must see MLB time. After hitting well in Double-A to start the year, Marrero has hit just .215/.265/.297 in 187 Triple-A PA since, once again raising questions about his offensive future.
Marrero will likely see MLB time at some point in 2015, but there's no reason to rush him along this September.
Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP, Double-A Portland
Acquired from the Baltimore Orioles in the Andrew Miller trade, Eduardo Rodriguez has acclimated quite well to life in Portland. The 21-year-old southpaw has a 0.86 ERA through five starts spanning 31.1 innings in the Red Sox organization, boasting a 28.7 K rate and 4.9 BB rate during that time.
Rodriguez was struggling at Double-A Bowie before the trade, so his overall 2014 stat line of a 3.71 ERA with a 21.5 K rate and a 7.2 BB rate is less appealing. But his recent run of dominance suggests that he could hold his own in a major league bullpen right now, and it would be reasonable to want to introduce him to his first taste of the MLB atmosphere.
Thanks to the glut of pitching in Boston's system, though, we shouldn't expect to see Rodriguez in September. Ranaudo, Webster and Workman are currently battling for the fourth and fifth spots in Boston's rotation, and the likes of Matt Barnes, Henry Owens and Edwin Escobar would probably get a look before Rodriguez as well.
There's a strong argument to be made that Rodriguez is Boston's second-best pitching prospect behind Owens, and we very well may see him at some point next year. But for now, fans and Rodriguez alike will likely have to wait.
Henry Owens, LHP, Triple-A Pawtucket
Owens has had a breakout year in the Red Sox's system, cementing his status as one of the best left-handed pitching prospects in the game. The 22-year-old blew away Double-A hitters in 121 innings, posting a 2.60 ERA and 25.6 K rate. He's been good, if not great, in 32 Triple-A innings since, earning a 3.66 ERA with a similar strikeout rate.
Still, based on performance alone, Owens probably deserves to be in Boston this September, and it would be fun watching him go up against MLB hitters.
Unfortunately for Owens, much of what was said for Rodriguez rings true for him as well. Though he possesses the most upside of the five, he's probably behind Webster, Workman, Ranaudo and Barnes in terms of seeing starts this season. And, like Marrero, Owens isn't Rule 5 eligible until after 2015, which further hurts his chances of seeing time this fall.
We're almost certainly going to see Owens in 2015 if he's healthy, and in fact, it's fair to say he could end up with a prominent role on next year's team if all goes well. But for this September, fans will be left waiting, seeing how Owens performs in the Triple-A playoffs should the PawSox qualify (and hoping he's not dealt this offseason).
Blake Swihart, C, Triple-A Pawtucket
It's a bit crazy that in a year headlined by Bogaerts' struggles and feats of Mookie Betts' and Owens' dominance, Blake Swihart can get overlooked in a loaded Boston system. But the switch-hitting catcher had one of the best 2014 seasons of any Red Sox prospect, and it's a credit to his performance that we'd even consider him a potential September call-up now.
Swihart hit .300/.353/.487 in 380 Double-A PA this year, striking out just 17.1 percent of the time while boasting a 7.6 BB rate. He showed us much more power than at any other point in his career, and there's an argument to be made he's now the best catching prospect in baseball.
Yet, despite all of that, Swihart probably won't see time in Boston next month. He's hit just .241/.267/.362 in a small sample in Triple-A, and he's been rested more often lately as the physical impact of catching a full season of games has begun to take its toll on his body.
Boston already has a young catcher to devote time to in the majors in Vazquez, and with David Ross and Dan Butler in tow, Swihart isn't really needed for depth right now, either.
If Swihart stays healthy and performs well in Pawtucket next season, he could be on the same schedule Vazquez was this year, seeing a promotion to the majors at some point in July. But for now, Sox fans will have to content themselves with seeing just one catching prospect in Boston, while keeping an eye on Swihart for what is a promising future.