Photo Credit: AP Photo/John Raoux
The Red Sox left handers are very underwhelming which could leave the door open for a dark horse candidate.
The Red Sox have a major hole in the bullpen with their lefty specialist. Robby Scott showed flashes of brilliance, but struggled mightily on the road and towards the end of the season. Brian Johnson will get a chance out of the bullpen, but has experienced little MLB success – outside of his complete game shutout last season.
Jon Heyman reported that the Red Sox were previously interested in free agent lefty, Tony Watson. This further proves that Dave Dombrowski is not satisfied with the current state of the bullpen,
Enter Bobby Poyner.
Poyner was a 14th round draft pick out of the University of Florida in 2015 and was promoted to Portland (AA) last season.
Most scouts will affirm that the Eastern League can either make, or break a prospect. Poyner experienced great success during his time with Portland, posting a 0.94 ERA in 2017. Perhaps what is more impressive is the .142 batting average against.
The Red Sox have a need for strike throwers, as there are plenty of guys at the back end of the bullpen that get behind batters. The lefty had a mere 11 walks in Portland, showing his ability to work ahead and get hitters out.
Furthermore, he pitched in the Arizona Fall League – a prestigious offseason league that is extremely difficult for young arms.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fk6UQQaaTYE&w=560&h=315]
The left handed pitcher has appeared in 6 innings thus far in Spring Training yielding a mere one hit – a solo homerun. The Red Sox recently optioned a number of players back to the minor league camp with Poyner as a clear omission.
Remaining in camp is a big step, but it certainly does not indicate that he is here to stay. However, the immediate success allows Poyner to remain on track to become a dark horse for the Opening Day roster.