In the 2019 MLB Draft, the Boston Red Sox have signed RHP Noah Song from U.S. Naval Academy. What do Red Sox fans need to know about the situation?
As per Fox Sports, the Boston Red Sox have signed Naval Academy’s right-handed pitcher Noah Song. Song was a fourth-round pick of the 2019 MLB Draft, but the kicker of the whole situation? Noah Song might not be able to start his professional career until 2021.
"“The 22-year-old Song must serve at least two years of military duty before he can petition to finish his five-year commitment as a reservist. The right-hander will pitch for short-season Lowell this summer before reporting for duty on Nov. 1 to train as a flight officer.”"
We all know one of the biggest areas of weakness for the Red Sox is the pitching staff. Does anyone else see the irony in signing a pitcher who is most likely to be unavailable for 2 seasons? It begs the question of the direction the Sox baseball operations team is going in.
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Should we expect some big pitcher signings soon or are we making do with what we have and stocking up for the future? Could I be jumping to conclusions? It’s very possible, but I find myself head scratching more and more decisions by the Sox lately.
Song is the highest draft pick in history for the Naval Academy. He was among four finalists for the Golden Spikes Award (given to the best amateur baseball player in the US). In addition, he was named the Perfect Game Pitcher of the Year. Song tallied up a 1.44 ERA, accumulated 161 strikeouts (a program record), and he went 11-1 in 14 starts.
Noah Song is 6’4” and 200 pounds. His career highlights include pitching 9 innings twice in his career, achieving the accuracy of pitching 16 strikeouts twice, his longest outing with 1 hit was 7 innings (which he reached 4 times), and his longest outing without a walk was 7 innings which (reached twice). He was named National Player of the Week on 5 separate occasions.
He led NCAA Division 1 in strikeouts per innings, the 15.41 strikeouts per nine innings that he forced hadn’t been done since 2009 (it’s also tied for 6th in Division 1 history). He broke Naval Academy’s program records attaining 32 wins, 428 strikeouts, 334 1/3 innings pitched, and tied with 9 shutouts. 2019 marked a big year for Song. He was a College Baseball Hall of Fame National Pitcher Finalist, First Team All-American, and a Patriot League Pitcher of the Year.
The United States Naval Academy is an undergraduate college preparing young adults for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. Graduates leave the school with Bachelor of Science degrees and are signed to either the Navy or as second lieutenants in the Marine Corps, serving at least 5 years. The school prides itself in developing morally, mentally, and physically strong individuals who are enabled with the qualities to be great leaders. The school is classified as being a Division 1 college.
Given the background of education that Song was exposed to, I can understand why the Red Sox would find him an attractive prospect. He has the physical talent and has been trained in many aspects that are hard to teach in professional sports. Song is likely very respectful, a hard worker has mental toughness, and will be able to lead in stressful situations.
MLB 2019 Prospects To Watch List ranks Song at 68 of 200. Song is a starting pitcher, his fastball consistently hits 96 mph on the radar gun, his slide is ranked above average, has the potential (if given more practice) to have a solid curveball, he utilizes the changeup. It seems that Song needs both practice and more training to hone his skills, which is expected from a young player.
The big problem with the decision that the Red Sox have made is that Song is a long shot probably requiring the two years before he can play. In addition, as mentioned on the Prospects List, only two players from U.S. Naval have played in the majors (Mitch Harris and Oliver Drake).
Both players took nearly 7 years before they made it into the majors. Signing Song is definitely a risk, but it is a long-term investment. For a team that has a weak farm system as well as the issues with the pitching position, the signing makes sense.