Boston Red Sox prospect Eduard Bazardo is generating some buzz
The Boston Red Sox made some additions to their 40-man roster ahead of Friday’s deadline to protect prospects from being eligible for the Rule 5 Draft. Six of them were expected while a seventh prospect was less certain. Eduard Bazardo’s inclusion in this flurry of activity might have caught some by surprise but it’s time we started paying attention to the right-handed pitching prospect.
Jay Groome, Connor Wong, Bryan Mata, Hudson Potts, Jeisson Rosario and Connor Seabold all sit comfortably inside the top-30 Red Sox prospects in MLB.com’s rankings and the top-20 list on SoxProspects.com. Bazardo is nowhere to be found on either list and he’s never pitched above Double-A yet the Red Sox felt strongly enough about protecting him that they were willing to designate an extra player for assignment in order in order to clear a roster spot.
A closer look at Bazardo’s development shows why the Red Sox were concerned they might lose him to the Rule 5 Draft if they didn’t add him to the roster.
Bazardo produced promising results as a starter early in his minor league career but long-term durability concerns based on his slender frame prompted a move to the bullpen in 2019. The right-hander dominated in that role, posting a 1.76 ERA and 11.6 K/9 in 41 innings at High-A Salem. He proved he could handle stiffer competition when the organization moved him up to Double-A Portland where he owned a 2.78 ERA and 9.7 K/9 in 32 1/3 innings.
He has great control with a 2.4 BB/9 in his minor league career and he keeps the ball in the park with a 0.4 HR/9. Most of the Red Sox relievers were abysmal in those areas last season so Bazardo would be a breath of fresh air if that success translates to the majors.
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Bazardo impressed during the Fall Instructional League program where scouts noticed his improved repertoire. His fastball velocity went up a tick from when we last saw him in Portland, sitting between 93-97 mph. He utilized an excellent curve with an elite 3000 rpm spin rate that made many hitters look foolish with some horrible swings.
His splitter is a work in progress but having it in his arsenal gives hitters something else to think about to keep them honest. Even if he doesn’t develop the pitch enough to make it a trustworthy option, a reliever can still be dominant with the pair of plus pitches that Bazardo possesses.
The Red Sox desperately need bullpen help to upgrade a core of relievers that rated among the worst in baseball this year. Free agency should be one way to address this concern but Bazardo can be part of the solution at some point. He’ll start next season in Triple-A but could easily earn a promotion to the big leagues by mid-season if he thrives at that level. Developing him as a starter would take longer but he could skyrocket his way to Boston if he sticks to his relief role.
Bazardo isn’t considered a top prospect but he could start climbing those rankings soon. Unless, of course, he makes it to the majors quickly enough that he’ll lose that prospect status.