On the outside looking in:
- Trevor Kelley
- Mike Shawaryn
- Bobby Poyner
- Ryan Weber
- Austin Maddox
All of these guys will likely start the season in AAA. Trevor Kelley was solid in AAA last year but really struggled in minimal innings in the majors. He has an interesting arm slot and with last year’s AAA success he is someone to keep an eye on.
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Bobby Poyner showed the ability to pitch in the majors in 2018, but with the emergence of Hernandez and Taylor, he seems stuck in AAA for now unless someone gets hurt.
Shawaryn was off to a good start to his career but after a collapse in London was sent down to AAA and never really found his footing in the majors again.
Ryan Weber made 18 appearances for the Red Sox this season, including three starts, but really does not offer much upside and likely will not play a major role in the 2020 season. Expect him to have a similar role as a spot starter and inning eater. He has a solid chance to pass Velazquez and/or Johnson on the spot start order.
An interesting name here is Austin Maddox. In 2017, he was fantastic, posting a 0.52 ERA and a 2.64 FIP in 17.1 innings. He pitched very little in the minors in 2018 and struggled while dealing with shoulder problems. He ended up undergoing shoulder surgery at the end of the year and missed all of 2019. Now looking towards 2020, he is getting healthy and should compete for a spot in the bullpen. He will be a very interesting name to watch in Spring Training.
Last season, the long relief duo really struggled, unlike in 2018 where they both were serviceable. This could open up an opportunity for Weber to make a few starts. The Red Sox will need to fill at least one rotation spot with the likely departure of Rick Porcello and a possible second with a potential trade, but it seems highly unlikely that they fill that spot with Johnson, Velazquez, or Weber. Expect it to be filled with a free agent or top prospect.