Red Sox Minor Leagues: Quick glance at the Pawtucket Red Sox roster

KANSAS CITY, MO -JUNE 20: Sam Travis
KANSAS CITY, MO -JUNE 20: Sam Travis /

Help will be on the way for the Boston Red Sox from Pawtucket (AAA) – if the need arises. Just who may be on the short list for a call-up?

The Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA) roster is provisionally set for the 2018 International League season.  The roster has the usual mix master swirl of the roster and no-roster players – some are promising prospects and others are veterans with that thin thread of hope. Injuries happen, and the Red Sox have a small cache of veteran talent to provide sustenance to the “Big Club.”

Is Pawtucket (PawSox) worth the attention? The most obvious on the watch list are prospects who may be brought up or can be valuable trade chips. Sam Travis leads the way on the prospect parade with versatile Tzu-Wei Lin close behind.  Both surfaced during the 2017 season and will be favorites for a return visit. After that, there is a drop-off. The roster eventually will be finalized by opening day, but the major roles are ready.


The focus is on the left-handers who may be called upon for relief.  The Red Sox have entrusted the lefty role to Bobby Poyner who won the competition in spring training, but he’ll be on a short performance leash.

Roenis Elias has accomplished nothing (0-1, 12.38) since arriving in Boston. Elias has simply stalled with a significant issue being injuries, yet he remains on the 40-man roster, so no roster move is necessary.

Robby Scott (2-1, 3.79) appeared in 57 games for Boston in 2017. Last season Scott held lefty hitters to a .121 average and .111 BABIP. Last on the list is the non-roster Tommy Layne who appeared in 13 games (0-0, 7.62) for the Yankees in 2017. Layne has held lefties to a .187 average in his MLB career.

First up? – Scott is the most likely if Poyner has issues or the Red Sox need depth. Expect prospects Williams Jerez and Jalen Beeks to get more seasoning before being called up.  Both are on the 40-man roster.

Brandon Workman (1-1, 3.18) lost his slot in spring training, but the right-hander may be first out of the minors if a righty is needed.  Prospect Chandler Shepherd is also on the 40-man roster – always a plus on maneuverability – but will need some further experience.

Bullpen specialist Kyle Martin appeared in two games for Boston and is not on the 40-man roster. Justin Haley appeared in 10 games (0-0, 6.00) for the Twins in 2017 before being picked up by Boston. The last prospect on the PawSox list is Ty Buttery who will be working out of the bullpen.

Unless Workman continues his poor spring training performance he’ll be considered the favorite for advancement if an arm is needed. Workman had respectable control in 2017 (2.5 BB/9), but that 1.6 HR/9 certainly gets attention from the free swingers in the lineup.


Much of the mobility regarding the PawSox catchers revolves around how the Red Sox utilize Blake Swihart. With Christian Vazquez and Sandy Leon locked in as a duo, the assumption is Swihart would be short and possibly long-trim replacement in case of injury. All four PawSox catchers are also non-roster.

Jake Romanski is now serving a 100-game suspension and that means his career may be in jeopardy. The suspension certainly places the 27-year-old on the outside looking in. The next three on the roster has limited MLB experience and are noted for their defensive abilities.

Oscar Hernandez will join Romanski on the suspended list with a 50-game absence. Hernandez is an excellent defender with just a .167 career average in 22 games. Hernandez may have closed off his career with the Red Sox thanks to his suspension.

Mike Ohlman played briefly with the Blue Jays (.231) in 2017 for his only MLB experience. The 27-year-old right-handed hitter will share duties with seasoned minor league veteran Dan Butler. Butler – a right-handed hitter – had a cup of coffee with the Red Sox in 2014 hitting .211 in seven games.  Both Ohlman and Butler could be serviceable defensive replacements for a few games but opening up a roster slot is unlikely.


Travis and Lin have the experience and represent the only remaining players on the 40-man roster – hence no roster manipulation. Mike Miller saw action in one game for the Red Sox in 2016 and is at 28-years-old a career minor league player. Miller can play just about anywhere.

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Two possible players of interest are Mexican League veteran Esteban Quiroz and Ivan De Jesus, Jr. Quiroz is a 26-year-old infielder with a career average of .289 spread over seven seasons in Mexico. De Jesus – soon to be 31-years-old – has a career average of .242 in 228 MLB games. Both are long shots for Boston.

Rusney Castillo would be a lock for Boston and just about every other team in MLB, but oh that contract! As the years increase the contract decreases.  Maybe another team with payroll flexibility will make an offer? Castillo will be the key outfielder for the PawSox.

Aneury Tavarez will be the projected center fielder for the PawSox. Tavarez has little power, above average speed and is a good defender. A possibility exists for Tavarez to be a reserve outfielder at the MLB level, but the 25-year-old lefty hitter had just a .244 average in 33 games with Pawtucket in 2017.

Massive Jeremy Barfield is an interesting possibility for someone if he continues with his specialty – home runs. The 29-year-old right-handed slugger hit 27 homers with Portland (AA) in just 92 games. Can Barfield get a look? Maybe in Boston or elsewhere if he hits like he did at Portland.

Next: David Price has put 2017 behind him

That is about it for Pawtucket. As the season moves forward expect the usual roster shifting especially as hot prospects – usually via Portland (AA) – get their opportunity. That is usually at the expense of a non-roster vet being let go.