Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Eight players not currently on the team’s 40-man roster have been extended invitations to join the Boston Red Sox at Spring Training next month. None of the group is expected to compete for a spot on the team’s active roster heading out of camp, but having them participating in workouts with the veterans on the team should prove beneficial to their future development.
Matt Pepin at Boston.com has the full details on the group which includes four pitchers and four fielders. Left-hander Henry Owens will join right-handers Matt Barnes, Dalier Hinojosa, and Noe Ramirez. Catcher Blake Swihart, first baseman Travis Shaw, shortstop Deven Marrero, and infielder Heiker Meneses round out the group. Pepin also notes that all but Meneses are currently participating in the team’s rookie program.
The inclusion of Barnes, Owens, and Swihart come at little surprise. Most of the team’s other top prospects are already on the 40-man roster and will be present at Spring Training. Barnes, in particular, could be the closest from this mix to being MLB-ready and will likely slot into a deep Pawtucket rotation. Owens and Swihart are likely still headed to Portland.
Marc Normandin at Over the Monster discussed the group at length late Friday morning, particularly expressing some surprise over the inclusion of Shaw, Marrero, and Meneses. None of the three are close to reaching the Majors and have yet to spend much time at Double-A. He ultimately concludes that the team could simply be looking ahead to their exhibition schedule early on. Marrerro and Shaw both play positions that are not strongly represented in the team’s upper minor leagues, giving John Farrell and company more flexibility during the team’s early Spring Training games. Meneses fills a similar purpose.
Hinojosa and Ramirez will give the team a pair of extra arms early on. Both are likely projected for relief roles (Ramirez was converted to the ‘pen last season; Hinojosa’s track is still unclear but there is little room in the Triple-A rotation for him).