As the calendar turns to September, there are plenty of young Red Sox prospects that will get a shot in Boston.
The Red Sox have had a fantastic season thus far, but there is certainly reason to believe that regular players will begin to see some rest before the postseason begins. Bullpen struggles have become more prevalent, as Matt Barnes, Heath Hembree, Hector Velazquez, and even Craig Kimbrel, have all had struggles in the second half of the season.
As of now, it seems like the Red Sox will not be making any last-minute moves to improve the bullpen, or overall state of the team, which will rely heavily on September call-ups to provide a late spark.
For the sake of this article, we’ll break the potential September call-ups into three tiers: those who are going to be called up, those who are deserving / may not make it, and those that won’t see Boston this season.
Tier One – The “Locks”
For the most part, the tier one list includes Red Sox that have already grabbed a cup of coffee in Boston, but haven’t had sustainable playing time. They’re members of the 40 man roster, which makes it extremely likely that they’ll see time in the coming days. The likes of Sam Travis, Tzu-Wei Lin, Bobby Poyner, and Robby Scott have all seen solid playing time in Boston. However, due to positional log jams, have not been able to stay with the Red Sox for an extended period of time.
Meanwhile, Marcus Walden, Tony Renda, Justin Haley, and William Cuevas have all seen time with the Sox this season. These are the list of players that may see their names removed from the roster in order to open up a position for other players. If Dave Dombrowski opts to keep all of these prospects, they are likely to get another shot in the coming weeks.
Additionally, Brandon Phillips is not on the 40 man, but will almost certainly get an opportunity as he’s settled into a .307 batting average in Pawtucket.
Tier Two – On the Fence
Mike Shawaryn and Travis Lakins are the two players here that aren’t currently on the 40 man roster, but will likely find a way to Boston in the coming days. Shawaryn is a pitching prospect that has come into his own, resulting in a promotion to Pawtucket. The right hander posted a 3.59 ERA in Portland, but has shifted into a bullpen role lately. The aforementioned transition begs the question, will he end up in Boston this season?
Lakins was transitioned into a full-time reliever this season and has dominated. After transitioning to the bullpen, he’s posted a 1.32 EA over 34 innings. The Red Sox bullpen has struggled mightily and adding Lakins may be a solid option for Dana Levangie and Alex Cora.
Michael Chavis has been red-hot in Pawtucket, but as this point is unlikely to see a shot with the Red Sox – barring an injury. Rafael Devers is coming off the DL and the Sox have hinted at the chance of Dustin Pedroia returning to Boston which would leave no room for Chavis. There are plenty of fans that would love to see Chavis’ raw power on display in Boston, but as for now, it appears that it won’t be a reality this season. Josh Ockimey, a fellow Pawtucket teammate, is likely to be left off the September call up list due to being blocked by Mitch Moreland / Sam Travis / Steve Pearce, despite having a solid season.
Tier Three – Not This Season
The final tier includes a couple names that have been excellent this season, but aren’t Major League-ready just yet. The Red Sox closer prospect, Durbin Feltman, immediately won over fans with a high 90’s fastball and wipeout slider upon being drafted in June.
The ex-TCU closer was pegged as a prospect that may reach the big leagues this season, and while he may be able to get the job done, he would have to make the jump from High A Salem to Boston in a mere couple of days. Feltman has posted a 2.18 ERA & 13.5 K/9 in the minors this season, but such a jump may not be prudent to the development of a future Red Sox closer.
Perhaps the biggest riser of the entire season is Bobby Dalbec. The University of Arizona product has come into his own during the 2018 season, launching 32 homeruns and earning a promotion to Portland. He does have 170 K’s this season, but the good certainly outweighs and struggles. The Red Sox prospect has MLB-ready power, but his contact rate won’t be ready to see Boston this season.
As Red Sox fans, we hear too often about the “depleted farm system,” but there’s plenty of talent residing in the minor leagues. Unfortunately, the majority of that talent won’t see Boston for a couple of more seasons.