Boston Red Sox Bobby Poyner was nothing short of dominant in the minors last season. He’s looked just as good this Spring. How far is he from the Majors?
Last season can be summed up in one word for Bobby Poyner. Dominant. The Boston Red Sox prospect went into 2017 with a pretty solid track record. He ended the year looking untouchable. Pretty soon the question became just how much longer would it take for Poyner to find his way to the Majors. Let’s look at his path to this point and where he’s going.
Poyner’s first two years in the Red Sox minor league system went pretty well. In 2015, the left-hander appeared in 17 games for the Short-A Lowell Spinners, throwing 23 2/3 innings. During that time, he posted a 2.28 earned run average and picked up 10 saves in 12 opportunities.
2016 saw the reliever split time between the Full-A Greenville Drive and Advanced-A Salem Red Sox. He was lights-out in Full-A but stumbled somewhat in Advanced-A. Still, by the end of the year, Poyner held a 3.15 ERA and 1.01 walks plus hits per inning pitched (WHIP).
Finally, there’s 2017.
Poyner worked out his kinks in Advanced-A and looked fantastic for the first portion of the season. He threw 22 innings over 16 Advanced-A appearances in 2017. In that time, he posted a 2.45 ERA and 1.18 WHIP, converting all six of his save opportunities.
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Not only did Poyner top those numbers in 38 1/3 Double-A innings (27 appearances), he obliterated them. Posting a 0.94 ERA and 0.78 WHIP is impressive enough. Adding a .142 batting average against and 52 strikeouts is otherworldly. The icing on the cake was converting 9-of-10 save chances.
At this point, Poyner’s first opportunity in the Majors seemed to be right around the corner. It didn’t come during September last year though.
Fast-forward to Spring Training 2018 and once again he’s dominating. Poyner has appeared in nine games, throwing 9 1/3 innings. Over those innings, he’s allowed one run (0.96 ERA) on three hits and one walk. His WHIP is a minuscule 0.43 and opponents are hitting just .103 against him. Finally, he’s struck out eight batters to combat that one walk.
The verdict is out on Poyner, and he’s got very little to prove at this point. That being said, there’s a case both for – and against – him making the Opening Day roster.
Then again, there’s Roenis Elias. Elias has been vying for a roster spot as well and hasn’t looked bad at all. He has Major League experience and could add more versatility as both a starter and reliever.
Then there’s the option of just going with one left-handed reliever to start the year. When the rest of the rotation returns healthy, then the Red Sox could just slide Johnson into a bullpen role.
In the end, it seems more likely that Boston will choose to go another route than Poyner. There are plenty of options, and they might want to give him some Triple-A time before anything.
With that being said, how close can you be to the Majors without actually being there? That’s where Bobby Poyner is. He’s not in the MLB just yet, but don’t blink, or you might miss his debut.