26. Eduard Bazardo
You’ll never guess it – we’ve got a “Hunter Noll Guy” – crazy right? Eduard Bazardo spent his first three seasons with the Red Sox in Rookie Ball. This season he made the jump to Short-A, but that didn’t last long. After just nine starts in Lowell, he was promoted to Full-A, where he made five more starts there.
The numbers were great this year, as the right-hander posted a 2.67 ERA and 0.93 WHIP. Opponents hit .217 against him and he struck out 84 batters in 77 2/3 innings. The ridiculous part was the walks though, as he allowed eight free passes all season.
There’s a lot to like about Bazardo, but it’s the command that really makes him intriguing. This is even more impressive because his best pitch is his curveball. Finding a way to not walk batters when you’re throwing curveballs isn’t exactly easy.
Bazardo also has a changeup with potential. If you’ve heard me talk about pitching before you know how I feel about changeups – a good one is the best pitch in baseball. While it’s behind his curveball, as a secondary pitch it’s still solid.
Bazardo’s fastball has plenty of movement while sitting in the low-90s. So although it’s not overpowering it’s a plus pitch at the moment.
The 23-year-old dominated this season but doesn’t have “dominating” stuff. Maybe that’s why he’s been so overlooked to this point. He seems to have a good mix of pitches though and his command in 2018 was off-the-charts. That can go a long way for pitchers. If you can put the ball where you want, it’s going to get you to the next level.