The turnover among Red Sox pitchers on my list has been high over the last three seasons, including 2016. My 2014 list had many arms that were somewhat long in the tooth, UTR speaking, with most being at 23 years of age at the end of that season. I mentioned how the Boston system was weak when Pat Light worked his way into my OAS list at the end of the 2014 season. Marc and I won’t refrain from adding top prospects along with those who are true under-the-radar OAS’s. As a 2012 1st rounder, Light should have been a no-brainer, but his Factor Score was the only criteria in making the OAS posting. His .162 TPS swayed me in predicting a possible bust; and he tried to disprove that by working his way into the bullpen, advancing through Triple-A, then onto Fenway in 2016. Red Sox fans know how that went and would agree with what I said after the 2014 season. The Red Sox parted ways with Light by shipping him to the Twins in August 2016.
The 2015 UTR-OAS list looked much improved and a lot younger. Most pitchers were below the HiA level, with two spending all season in the DSL. Those DSL youngsters are now in the States, with Roniel Raudes making the 2016 list below and 19 year-old RHP Denyi Reyes getting limited innings in the GCL. There, Reyes was teammates with 2014 OAS and 20 year-old Jhonathan Diaz, who missed all of the 2015 season. Anderson Espinoza was to be a quick mover, but was traded to San Diego in late July. I only tagged one pitcher from last years’ list – Teddy Stankiewicz. I pegged him as a “solid stash,” and even though he drops off my radar being in Double-A, with a .128 TPS as a 22-year-old at that level, the “stash” tag still holds. Lastly, top prospect Michael Kopech‘s Factor Score didn’t allow him to be ranked because of the missed time with a broken hand. But his .052 TPS was best amongst all minor league Red Sox pitchers that were tracked this season.
On the International side for the Red Sox, one pitcher from the DSL is listed below (Ritzi Mendoza), but there are three others worth watching. 19-year-old Yorvin Pantoja is a small framed (5′ 11′ 175 lbs) lefty that was quickly sent state-side after only three DSL starts. On the other end of the spectrum, 6’3″ 17-year-old Bryan Mata could be an intriguing arm within the system. He’s already throwing a low-to-mid 90’s fastball along with an advanced curve. RHP Jose Gonzalez (18 yo) went 8-0 with a 1.32 ERA in 68 innings (61 K / 16 BB) with the DSL Red Sox2.
Top 5 Starting Pitchers – Factor Score/TPS
1. LHP Logan Boyd – 14.5/.114
22 years old (LoA Greenville)
19th round – 2015
Boyd is a projectable lefty who saw his first full season at Greenville after working out of the bullpen in Short Season Lowell in 2015.
Another lefty that saw his first time in the rotation. After two starts at Greenville, Kent was promoted to HiA Salem and put up respectable numbers. Kent has good pitchability with three solid offerings and deception.
What a turnaround year for Mendoza. Even though he was seeing his 4th season in the DSL, he was getting another shot at consistently starting. He made 9 starts in 2014 (4.03 ERA 16 K/15 BB) and was moved into the bullpen for all of 2015. He had a very strong 2016 (7-0, 1.05 ERA, 68.1 IP, 39 H, 8 ER, 13 BB, 48 K in 14 starts) and was named the 2016 Latin Pitcher of the Year for the Red Sox.
20 years old (LoA Greenville/ Short-Season Lowell / LoA Greenville)
International Free Agent – 2012
Gonzalez made the UTR-OAS rankings in 2014, but fell off the radar in 2015 pitching in the bullpen at Lowell. He returned to the rotation at Greenville, but got off to a rough start and was sent back to Lowell to work things out. Gonzalez is a big kid (6’5″ 210 lbs) and once his stuff matches his frame, he could be very intriguing.
Some readers were very happy that I listed Raudes on the 2105 UTR-OAS list, and were quick to stash him on their rosters. I brought the right-hander into the forefront by making him my Red Sox “One to Watch”. In that write-up, I stated that I was expecting Raudes to be assigned to the GCL Red Sox to begin the 2016 season. He was sent to LoA Greenville and showed his critics he belonged by posted very respectable numbers. He became a commodity to those in the deepest leagues when other sites began to tout him. So, our followers? You were way head of the curve. Could Ritzi Mendoza follow that same trajectory in 2017?
Poyner led all Red Sox minor league relievers with 15 saves in 2016. His TPS is higher than I like coming out of the bullpen, but it spiked during his time at HiA Salem when he posted a 4.99 ERA, caused by a .298 batting average with runners on base.
Diaz throws into the high 90’s and had a successful year in his first full season after only one season in the DSL. Look for Diaz to be a late bloomer at some point mid-to-late in the 2017 season, as he gains better control and improves his slider.