Edwin Escobar: What are the Red Sox planning for him?


After Rusney Castillo, there aren’t that many players Red Sox fans will be very interested in over the Winter. An exception to that is left hander Edwin Escobar who came over with right handed pitching prospect Heath Hembree in the deadline deal in July that sent Jake Peavy to the San Francisco Giants.

Escobar has been almost exclusively a starter in the minors over his professional career. Over 119 career games, 111 of them have been starts. It was in 2013 that Escobar pitched his way onto prospect lists with a 2.80 ERA over 26 games (24 starts) at the High-A and AA levels in the Giants system. Before the 2014 season started he was ranked #95 on the MLB.com’s top prospect list and #56 on Baseball America’s top 100 list.

2014 was something of a step back for Escobar. He started the year at AAA for San Francisco, posting a 5.11 ERA in 20 starts striking out a career-low 7.8 batters per nine innings. After his trade to Boston, his ERA improved to 4.28 with AAA Pawtucket, striking out 6.6 batters over 27.1 innings. In August, the Red Sox promoted him to the big league club. Escobar appeared in two low leverage situations, one a 5-2 loss and the other an 11-3 win, pitching two innings allowing one earned run.

The Red Sox appear to be either trying to build up his innings to be a starting option, or getting him used to a bullpen role. For Lara of the Venezuelan league, Escobar has pitched in 18 games, but has not started any games. He was cruising along through 15 innings with just a 3.00 ERA, but has been roughed up his last two outings, allowing three homers over three innings after not allowing any through the first 15. He had not been scored upon for his prior eight appearances. At 155.1 innings for the year 2014, perhaps Escobar has hit a wall. His previous high for innings was 128.1 in 2013. With his Lara team in last place, perhaps it is time to shut him down for the season.

What should the Red Sox do with Escobar? Should he be developed into a short inning reliever or lefty specialist, in which his proven ability to strike people out (8.8 per nine innings over his minor league career) could be used in high leverage situations? Should he continue as a starter to add to the Red Sox minor league strength in that area?

Feel free to leave a comment. Stay tuned to BoSoxInjection for more profiles of prospects and major league players as we count down to the start of Spring Training.