As we approach the halfway mark in this year’s spring training season, the Red Sox took their first step towards that 25-man roster roster today as they made their first round of roster cuts. While this is exciting insofar as being one step closer to the regular season, it also brings an end to the fun part of spring training to some degree. After all, watching the top Red Sox prospects is perhaps the most enjoyable element of spring training and now that that part has ended, it’s just about time to move on.
However, the Red Sox had their share of big-name prospects in camp this year– among today’s cuts are top pitching prospects Matt Barnes, Henry Owens and Anthony Ranaudo in addition to quality hitting prospects such as Bryce Brentz, Garin Cecchini, Alex Hassan, Travis Shaw, and Blake Swihart– and it just seems right to assign value to their insignificant and small-sample-size-ridden spring numbers. With that being said, let’s now take a look at a few standout performances from the offensive players in this round of roster cuts.
Bryce Brentz: Brentz is the obvious name on this list from a pure performance level, as he crushed the ball this spring and led the Red Sox in nearly every major offensive category. The 25-year old slugger slashed .409/.480/.818 with 3 home runs and 7 RBIs in 25 plate appearances and seems to have brought himself back from the dead after a relatively lost year in 2013. As insignificant as spring numbers are, Brentz may have played himself into a role with the big club at some point this year. Though he won’t likely play in Fenway Park outside of September barring major injuries, Brentz has a real possibility to be a fringe starter or solid fourth outfielder down the road and this spring was a step in the right direction.
Blake Swihart: He didn’t play much, but when the Red Sox did give Swihart a look this spring, he delivered. Swihart went 3-7 with a walk this spring. However, Swihart’s best work this spring came off the playing field. All reports regarding Swihart have been positive this spring: in addition to his phenomenal athletic ability and baseball tools, he has also displayed the intelligence and work ethic that suggest that Swihart, a 21-year old switch-hitting catcher, should develop into an excellent player if all goes right.
Garin Cecchini: Cecchini fits into a similar boat as Swihart. He didn’t impress nearly as much in his playing time (slashed just .188/.316/.250 in 19 plate appearances) as he did in his workouts and practices. Like Swihart, Cecchini has displayed a tenacious work ethic and desire to learn the game in addition to the great baseball instincts that can’t be taught. On a performance level, Cecchini should improve from this spring and we could potentially see him in Boston by the end of this season.
Those are the “big three” as far as this year’s spring performances. However, over the weekend, I will take a look at a few of the standouts from the mound this spring.