Red Sox Prospect Watch: Stars of the Future
By Mike El-Far
Ah, my favorite part of Spring Training. Non-Roster Invitees are players who are not on the 40-man roster who are a part of the major league camp at Spring Training. There are two big names on this list that have a bright future ahead of them in Boston.
The number 2 prospect in the Red Sox system, and soon to be #1, Rafael Devers is a NRI. The 20 year-old third baseman is hoping to gain some experience against some of the top pitchers in baseball. Devers will more than likely spend all of this year in Portland until September, when he will make his MLB debut.
Devers is known for a fluid swing that yields a great deal of power. While he is not going to be ready for the majors this year, getting some experience at Fort Myers over the next 6 weeks will help him out.
Next year, Devers has the ability to break into Boston’s roster, but it comes at a price. He is currently blocked by Pablo Sandoval, who has not had the best of times during his short Sox career. If Panda has another mediocre/terrible season, that might prompt the front office to clear the room for Devers.
The other name is Sam Travis. Travis would have most likely been the first baseman on the Opening Day roster this year, but he tore his ACL in May. The 23 year-old, who happens to be best friends with Kyle Schwarber, shares something in common with him: power.
Travis was projecting to hit around 25 home runs last season (6 in 47 G), and has the ability to drive the ball in either gap with ease. What can benefit Travis when he does come up to the majors is playing over 100 games in the AL East. These small parks are perfect for someone who might not have great power to dead center, but can get ahead of the ball and put it on Landsdowne Street.
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Travis won’t be 100% until probably April, but he should be able to get some at-bats during spring training. Like Devers, Travis should make his MLB debut in September when rosters expand. Travis was the reason that Dombrowski didn’t look for a long-term option at first this past offseason. Clearly the front office views Travis in high regard, and soon all of Red Sox Nation will.