Red Sox Prospect Watch: Start of the 2019 MiLB season
By Hunter Noll
Triple-A (Pawtucket Red Sox)
Surprisingly, the Pawtucket Red Sox actually have a good amount of prospects. They usually have a lot of veteran players that could contribute to in the Majors, but most haven’t been considered anything close to a prospect in years. This year however, there’s a nice mix.
At the plate, Sam Travis is back down there after starting the year with the Red Sox. He looked solid in the Majors, going 2-for-7 and has looked ready to go in Triple-A. Although he’s only 3-for-12 (.250) he’s already drawn four walks and smacked a double. This will be a big year for Travis and he looks to correct everything from the last two seasons.
Tzu-Wei Lin did a reverse Travis. He started the year in Triple-A (1-for-4 with a walk and a steal), was called up briefly, only to be sent back down when Dustin Pedroia was activated from the injured list.
Rusney Castillo meanwhile is off to a slow start, going 3-for-15 (.200).
The big name in Triple-A is obviously Michael Chavis. Chavis is the Red Sox number one prospect and many expect him to make his MLB debut at some point this year.
As of right now though, he’s struggling in Triple-A. He’s 3-for-17 with one home run and two RBI. This really isn’t a concern yet though. It’s extremely early in the year and things can change fast. Chavis has proven to be a quick adjuster and has a legit bat.
Another major prospect in Triple-A is Josh Ockimey. Like Chavis, he’s yet to catch on at the plate – going 2-for-15. Those two hits are a double and a home run though. They’ve led to three RBI and there’s obviously a lot of raw power there.
Bobby Poyner probably shouldn’t be in Triple-A right now. He is though, and has given up one run in 1 1/3 innings (two strikeouts). This is just a waiting game for Poyner though. The Red Sox bullpen will need help at some point, especially left-handed help. Don’t expect him to be here for long.
Trevor Kelley was awesome last season. He looked strong in Double-A (3.82 ERA) and lights-out in Triple-A (1.54 ERA). It all came together for a 2.88 ERA over 56 1/3 combined innings.
So far this year, he’s thrown 1 2/3 innings without allowing an earned run. However, things haven’t exactly been smooth for the 25-year-old. He has a .286 BAA and 2.40 WHIP. Still, if he can keep runs off the board his stock will continue to rise.
Travis Lakins also saw his stock rise last year and in eerily similar fashion to Kelley. He had a great season in Double-A (2.61 ERA) but was ridiculous in Triple-A (1.65 ERA). Now the 24-year-old is starting off strong with a 3.00 ERA in 2019. He’s already struck out five in three innings and is definitely a call-up candidate this year.
Finally, there’s Mike Shawaryn. His first start of 2019 is a lot better than it looks. People will see the three runs given up in 5 1/3 innings (5.06 ERA) and immediately think the worst.
However, Shawaryn allowed just four hits and one walk (0.94 WHIP) and struck out seven in the process. Other than the three runs this was a phenomenal outing. Shawaryn is one of the top prospects in the Red Sox system for a reason. Barring an injury, the 24-year-old will at least get a spot-start in the Majors this year.