The Boston Red Sox non-roster invitees have some familiar faces that are in the organization or have returned after trips elsewhere. Here is a breakdown of the eight men in.
Just when you thought the Red Sox were doing very little they did just that – a very little. The Red Sox announced the annual plethora of minor league contracts each team engages upon with the idea of throw it against the wall and occasionally one may stick. This year’s Christmas signings are a veritable potpourri of diverse talent covered in a recent BSI post. This is a bit more of a profile of the latest group.
First up out of respect for a season of labor at Pawtucket (AAA) is 29-year-old right-hander Domingo Tapia. Tapia appeared in 44 games for the PawSox posting a 5-4 record and a 5.18 ERA. Boston is the third organization the Dominican native has been with since signing with the Mets as a free agent. Tapia tossed 66 innings all but one in relief with attention-getting 4.4 BB/9.
Another right-hander is 28-year-old R.J. Alvarez who last pitched in “The Show” in 2015 with Oakland. That season in 21 appearances Alvarez was dinged for 22 runs in just 20 innings. A rather amazing run and inning clip only enhanced by a 5.9 BB/9. In 2019 in the Marlins system, Alvarez went 2-8 with a 4.70 ERA in 50 games – all in relief. Boston is Alvarez’s seventh organization.
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In 2019, 27-year-old right-hander Robinson Leyer was with four teams ranging from Tacoma (AAA) to Lowell (A-) with mixed results. The final tally was 2-3/5.24 ERA primarily out of the bullpen. The projections for Leyer are upper minors depth who may be enjoying the Eastern League in 2020.
The last of the pitching contingent is 31-year-old left-hander Mike Kickham who has MLB experience dating back to 2014 when he was in the Giants organization. Kickham’s MLB vita is unremarkable, but in 2019 Kickham went 5-5/4.27 with the Marlins AAA team splitting duties between the ‘pen and rotation. If Kickham survives camp expect him at Pawtucket.
John Andreoli is a 29-year-old right-hand hitting outfielder. Andreoli has secured his MLB pension and health benefits with 26 games spread over two teams (Baltimore and Seattle) in 2018. Andreoli hit .230 in 61 PAs. In 2019 Andreoli split AAA time between Tacoma and Rochester hitting .255 with 16 home runs. Boston is Andreoli’s fourth organization and he could be in the PawSox outfield come April.
The Red Sox catching depth at all levels is virtually non-existent so welcome aboard season age- 30 right-hand hitting Jett Bandy. Bandy has seen MLB post-game spreads before having a 156 games and a .218 average with the Angels and Brewers over four seasons (2015-18). Bandy can throw with an MLB 32 CS% and 33 CS% in nine minor league seasons. Last season with Nashville (AAA ) Bandy hit .231 in 71 games but did crank out 13 home runs. A solid pickup for ready to play depth.
Outfielder Jantzen Witte is an old friend of BSI and a long-time Red Sox farmhand. Last season Witte – a soon to be 30-years-old – hit .277 as a mainstay of the PawSox. Witte is versatile and even tossed an inning in relief for Pawtucket. A scouting profile for Witte can be reviewed here.
The Red Sox have welcomed back 24-year-old right-hand hitting outfielder Nick Longhi. Longhi was in the Reds organization in 2019 hitting .282 with 12 home runs in 111 games for Louisville that is cleverly named “Bats.” Longhi was drafted by the Red Sox in 2013 (30th round) but was traded to the Reds for bonus pool money. Longhi has decent power and above-average defensive ability as noted and may be able to lock down a spot in AAA. Still has “potential.”