Red Sox Prospect Watch: First week of Spring Training

Feb 24, 2017; Fort Myers, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox left fielder Andrew Benintendi (16) runs out of the dugout to start the game against the New York Mets at JetBlue Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 24, 2017; Fort Myers, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox left fielder Andrew Benintendi (16) runs out of the dugout to start the game against the New York Mets at JetBlue Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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Feb 26, 2017; Port Charlotte, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox first baseman Sam Travis (59) works out prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 26, 2017; Port Charlotte, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox first baseman Sam Travis (59) works out prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Non-Roster Invitees

Ah, the most interesting part of Spring Training: Non-Roster Invitees.  These are the players who are not a part of the 40-man roster for whatever reason.  Usually, these players are either guys who sign minor-league deals to break into camp with a major league club.  The other group are prospects who are not ready to be in the majors.

For the sake of the argument, we are only going to be looking at the latter.  First up is Sam Travis. Travis is the reason why the Red Sox did not pursue a long-term option at first base.  So far, Travis is proving the front office that made the right choice.

In his first game since tearing his ACL in May, he belted a homerun against Northeastern University.  On Tuesday, he took the Yankees’ highly regarded prospect Justus Sheffield deep.  Travis is showing that he has some power in his swing, and has been playing well at first.

Travis has also been practicing at third base, which leads me to believe Pablo Sandoval might not have as long of a leash as he perceives.  If Panda falters mightily by the end of May, Travis might be replacing the $95 million man at the hot corner.

This leads me to the other big NRI: Rafael Devers.  The 20 year-old third baseman is scheduled to start the season in double-A Portland.  Whether or not Sandoval has a good year this year, it is clear that Devers is the future at the hot corner.  Hitting 1 for 5 so far, Devers is showing some of his boom or bust offensive game.

Next: Swihart getting comfortable behind plate

Having Sam Travis get experience at third base is the best of both worlds.  Do not rush Devers, Dombrowski kept him out of the Chris Sale trade for a reason.  And with Pablo having virtually no competition at third, this could open the door for Travis.