Boston Red Sox minor league players of the year announced
Pitcher of the Year (Thad Ward)
This one was a little bit tougher. You could make a really strong argument for quite a few pitchers here. Bryan Mata is a stud and Chase Shugart was great.
There was only one real answer for the Red Sox though. It had to be Thad Ward. He was easily the most consistent of all their pitchers. And that consistency was total dominance.
Ward had a 2.14 ERA over 126 1/3 innings combined between Full-A and Advanced-A. The 22-year-old righty had a .198 BAA and 1.16 WHIP and struck out 157 batters. Oh, and this was his first full year in the system.
Ward was constantly putting together scoreless streaks and never went through a serious rough patch.
The future is bright too. Ward doesn’t completely overpower with a fastball. He tops out at 96, which is really good – but my point is, it’s not like he’s just cruising by using a 100-MPH fastball.
He has a decent curveball and a solid slider that made hitters look foolish on occasion. His cutter is the main attraction in my opinion. Mixing it in with his sinker and fastball, Ward has three plus-pitches and it’s really unfair to the hitter.
His fastball and sinker both reach the mid-90s and the cutter sits just below 90-MPH and has a good cut to it. That can really confuse hitters. Throw in the slider and things just get ridiculous.
Ward won’t be in the Majors next year. He’ll likely start in Double-A, maybe start in Advanced-A for a little bit.
However, even if he starts in Double-A, Boston will likely let him develop more. Ward has the potential to be very special. Give him some time in the minors to sharpen his edges. He’s only thrown 157 1/3 innings so far – don’t rush it.
2021 though, that’s a different story.