Final Pawtucket Red Sox grades
Sep 6, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez (52) delivers against the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Pawtucket’s primary function is the development of talent for Boston and they certainly accomplished that in 2015. The core of the PawSox offense ended in Boston – Blake Swihart, Rusney Castillo, Jackie Bradley and Travis Shaw all are regulars in the Boston line-up.
Eduardo Rodriguez, Steven Wright and Henry Owens are all in the Red Sox rotation. A very successful output from Pawtucket for the staff. Brian Johnson certainly was on the fast track to get some Boston starts until an elbow issue intervened, so that is the heart of the Pawtucket rotation.
When you subtract the above talent from Pawtucket it explains how the PawSox could go from first to worst in a few months. The replacements were either roster filler, players who moved up within the system or were signed during the season. Just that influx of talent gives an indication of just how important the young talent was at Pawtucket. Grade A
The secondary function at Pawtucket is to provide replacements to Boston for injuries, trades or performance incompetence – generally the players in this category are fringe players with extensive minor league experience and/or limited MLB experience. That is where the grade slips – especially with the bullpen. Jeff Bianchi, a spot player, actually looked as serviceable out of the bullpen as the “pitchers” did with two garbage time performances for a 2.25 ERA.
Matt Barnes to Heath Hembree with all in-between doing little to fortify the dismal bullpen in Boston. They may have earned it via a performance in the International League, but the IL is not MLB. So that brings down the overall grade.
Spot position players such as Bianchi and Jemile Weeks become trivia questions in a few seasons. The real downfall was, quite naturally, the support for the bullpen. No fruition there. That drops the grade. Give the secondary talent a C-.
Final Grade B+