Though their record does not reflect it, injuries have taken a huge toll on the Red Sox lately. Season-ending injuries to Andrew Miller and Andrew Bailey have forced the Red Sox to make moves to keep their bullpen intact. They have already acquired left-handed reliever Matt Thorntonfrom the White Sox, and are likely in the market to make another move. However, the Red Sox are giving a trio of Triple-A pitchers a trial run; Ben Cherington has stated that if these pitchers perform well before the Trading Deadline, the Sox may not need to make a move.
The first of these pitchers is Pedro Beato, a reliever acquired from the Mets in return for Kelly Shoppach last year. Once a top prospect, Beato hasn’t had a whole lot of success in the majors. He has a career 4.41 ERA in 83.2 relief innings. However, he has been stellar in Pawtucket this year with a 2.18 ERA and 34:18 K:BB ratio in 41.1 innings. In limited time, he also has had success in the majors as is yet to allow an earned run in 4.2 innings pitched.
Another pitcher, one with a much higher ceiling is Drake Britton. He is in the majors due to an emergency of sorts, as he has been a starting pitcher throughout his minor league career and has only made one start at Triple-A. However, he has looked quite good in his first two major league appearances out of the bullpen, allowing no runs so far.
The final rookie pitcher in the majors is Jose De La Torre. Like Beato, he has been excellent in Triple-A this year; however, he has struggled in a couple of brief stints with the Red Sox. He has a 6.52 ERA in 9.2 innings, the main issue being his control as he has walked 8 batters while striking out 12. It could be an anomaly, as his Pawtucket walk rate of 4.57 is not nearly as extreme. Walk rate regardless, De La Torre can provide effective relief over multiple innings, as he indicated with a 2.2 inning appearance, allowing one run.
Obviously, all of these pitchers have microscopic sample sizes this season. However, one has to wonder if one or two of them can be like Junichi Tazawa from last year, who was shuttled between Pawtucket and Boston all year, but in Boston posted a 1.43 ERA in 44 innings. I have faith that Beato can stick in the majors at least as a middle relief arm. Both Britton and De La Torre have control issues, but if they can harness that going forward, the Red Sox could have two young, dominant long-relief arms.