Red Sox Prospect Watch: Stars of the Future

Aug 13, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox left fielder Andrew Benintendi (40) hits an RBI double against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the fifth inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 13, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox left fielder Andrew Benintendi (40) hits an RBI double against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the fifth inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mar 8, 2016; Sarasota, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Brian Johnson (61) throws a pitch during the third inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 8, 2016; Sarasota, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Brian Johnson (61) throws a pitch during the third inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Pitchers

Unlike hitters, there are more pitchers that could be classified as prospects for the Red Sox.  There are a couple different guys who could factor into Boston’s 2017 season if the right things happen for them.

One of the debates going into the spring is who gets the last two spots of the rotation.  Eduardo Rodriguez, Steven Wright, and Drew Pomeranz are all fighting those two spots.  But what happens if two of them get hurt?  Rodriguez hurt his knee this winter, and Pomeranz has had injury problems.

Enter Brian Johnson.  Remember him?  Just a couple years ago, it seemed that the Sox had a two-headed monster for years to come with him and Henry Owens.  The Owens ship has sailed, but Johnson is a bit more intriguing.

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In 2015, Johnson had a 2.50 ERA in 18 starts in Pawtucket.  That was enough for Boston to call him up and debut against the Houston Astros.  He only lasted 4.1 innings, and it came out the next day that he had pain in his UCL.  Luckily, he did not need Tommy John surgery, but he missed the rest of the season.

He was not productive last year, and stayed in Pawtucket.  Now while I don’t think Johnson is as good as he was in 2015, I think he is better than he was last year.  At the very least, if someone needs to do a spot start, I think Johnson should get a second shot.

Some other bullpen pieces who would come up this year are guys like Luis Ysla and Kyle Martin. Ysla spent almost the entire season in Portland last year, and was an effective member of their bullpen.  If someone like Carson Smith has a setback in his recovery, Ysla could be the guy that takes his spot.

Kyle Martin is someone who could as someone who comes up for a week or two.  He spent all of last year in Pawtucket, and he did not have the best season.  Regardless, he is someone who has two plus pitches (Fastball, Changeup) that could make bats miss in a late-inning situation.