The Red Sox are just a few years removed from the wild spending and dealing of top prospects which highlighted the later Epstein years. However, they’ve already developed an excellent farm system even after trading away big name prospects like Casey Kelly and Anthony Rizzo. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be highlighting the top three Red Sox prospects from every position across the diamond, starting with right-handed pitchers today. The Red Sox don’t have a ton of top notch pitching prospects, but I can easily see Matt Barnes, Allen Webster, and Brandon Workman leading a Red Sox rotation before too long.
1. Matt Barnes- The Red Sox took Barnes out of UConn in the first round of the 2011 draft and so far have not come to regret it. In his first season in the farm system in 2012, Barnes dominated the lower levels of the minors, pitching between Single-A Greenville and High-A Salem. As a whole, his debut season was very impressive, as he pitched to a 7-5 record and 2.86 ERA in 25 starts, even being nominated to the MLB Futures Game for Team USA (right). Barnes is a tall, projectable right-hander who throws a hard fastball in the mid 90’s as well as potentially above average offerings in his curveball and changeup. The 22 year old will probably start next season at Double-A Portland and will shoot for a mid-season promotion to Triple-A Pawtucket and possibly Boston.
2. Allen Webster- Acquired in the mega-trade with the Dodgers this August, Webster has immediately slotted into high rankings in the Red Sox farm system. The 22 year spent the entire 2012 season at Double-A and did a pretty decent job, going 6-9 with a 3.86 ERA along with strong strikeout totals. For a sinker baller, Webster has consistently compiled these high strikeout numbers (along with high walk numbers) and throws relatively hard, often reaching the mid 90’s with his fastball. If he fails to develop his secondary pitches, he could be better suited as a reliever. However, there’s still plenty of time for the young Webster to develop and he’ll probably start 2013 in Triple-A Pawtucket with a shot to join the majors mid-season.
3. Brandon Workman- Since being drafted in the second round of the 2010 draft, Workman has been the epitome of consistency in the Red Sox organization. He continued that trend in 2012 by putting up strong stats between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland, with a combined 10-8 record and 3.50 ERA. His strikeout to walk numbers are excellent, with a ratio of over 5.00 split between the two levels and he’s generally kept baserunners to a minimum, recording a WHIP of 1.10. Similarly to Webster, there are a few doubts over whether he can continue as a starter, as his fastball and cutter are his only true plus pitches. However, he’s shown no signs of weakness yet and will probably pitch at both Portland and Pawtucket next season.
As anyone can see, there’s plenty of hope to go around with these three starting pitchers, whom SoxProspects.com rank as 2nd, 4th, and 12th in the Red Sox system, respectively. These are just three of a large group of prospects that will probably debut with the Red Sox within the next couple of years and bring hope to a depleted franchise. I’ll be posting sometime later this week on the left-handed pitchers of the future, and it should be very exciting to watch all these players develop.