Photo Credit: David Butler II/USA Today Sports
At this stage in the season, many of the roles of the Red Sox team are very well established. Many have been constants for weeks, months, and even years. However, there are a few key areas that are yet to be determined as October nears.
Primarily in the bullpen.
There is little question that the Sox have struggled mightily in the middle innings. Heath Hembree, Blaine Boyer, Matt Barnes, Robby Scott, and Fernando Abad have all been largely inconsistent this season.
It is clear that Craig Kimbrel, Addison Reed, Joe Kelly, and Brandon Workman are all locks for the upcoming postseason roster. It is also highly likely that the Red Sox will keep a starter in the bullpen, whether that be Rick Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez, Doug Fister, or even David Price.
Enter Austin Maddox.
Maddox is a guy that many Red Sox fans may have missed pitch this season. The righty has worked in a variety of situations, but largely in low-leverage opportunities. Quietly, Maddox has not allowed a run over 9.1 innings pitched.
— James Peach (@peachy5212) June 18, 2017
While working in over 30 innings in AAA Pawtucket, Maddox compiled a 3.50 ERA. He relies greatly on the use of his changeup, demonstrating an excellent feel for the pitch in any given count. Each Red Sox reliever has a different put away pitch, but Maddox would stick out because he is the only that relies heavily on his changeup.
For example, Kimbrel relies on a knuckle-curve, Workman – curveball, Reed – slider, Kelly – fastball.
It is worth mentioning that Austin Maddox has only allowed six hits over his time spent with the Red Sox and hasn’t walked a single batter. This may be one of his most appealing traits to Sox fans. Far too often it feels like we have seen the likes of Matt Barnes enter a game late and struggle to find the zone. A strike-thrower is very important, especially in the playoffs.
There is no guarantee that Maddox will make the postseason roster as he’s most likely one of the long-shots. However, what he has demonstrated thus far in Boston is worth noting.
Let’s be honest, if it came down to Hembree, or Maddox? I’m taking Maddox.