Red Sox pitching prospect Connor Seabold making MLB debut

The Boston Red Sox call up pitching prospect Connor Seabold

A potential glimpse of the future Boston Red Sox rotation will be on display Saturday night when Connor Seabold makes his major league debut against the Chicago White Sox. Seabold has been recalled from Triple-A while right-handed pitcher Brad Peacock has been sent to Worcester to clear a spot on the active roster.

The COVID-19 outbreak ravaging the Red Sox roster has sidelined Nick Pivetta and Chris Sale, sending the team reeling for replacements. Kutter Crawford was shelled for five runs in only two innings of work last Sunday in his major league debut filling in for Pivetta. Seabold presumably would have been the preferred option but he had pitched the previous night for Worcester. Now with Sale testing positive for COVID, Seabold will get his opportunity.

Seabold was acquired along with Pivetta in a deadline deal with the Philadelphia Phillies last year in exchange for Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree. Boston has undoubtedly won the trade based on what Pivetta has produced – not to mention the lack of production from the two relievers during their short stints in Philadelphia – but the upside of Seabold suggests the deal will ultimately be viewed as a heist.

The 25-year-old is ranked as the No. 8 prospect in the Red Sox system by SoxProspects.com and their second-best pitching prospect.

Seabold is in the midst of a promising season, posting a 3.67 ERA, 1.056 WHIP, and 9.5 K/9 in eight starts for the Triple-A WooSox. He missed over two months due to elbow inflammation but he’s pitched well since returning in July. The right-hander tossed six shutout innings in his most recent appearance and has allowed two runs or fewer in four of his last six starts.

According to his scouting report on Sox Prospects, Seabold throws a low-90’s fastball that tops out at 96 mph. He pairs it with a potentially above-average slider that he manipulates the movement on to give hitters different looks and shows the ability to miss bats, along with a deceptive changeup that has a similar motion to the fastball but has good separation in velocity. His curve remains a work in progress but could be utilized as a change of pace option.

The Red Sox could use some innings out of Seabold after Tanner Houck failed to escape the fourth inning last night. The bullpen is starting to get some reinforcements back from the IL but the depth will be tested with the rotation missing multiple arms, forcing the team to rely on spot starters who haven’t gone deep into games. Seabold has only lasted more than six innings in one of his starts this season so he could be a short leash.

Manager Alex Cora indicated that there is hope that Pivetta will return for Sunday’s game, according to MassLive’s Chris Cotillo. Pivetta tested positive for the virus but since he’s vaccinated, he could be activated if he’s asymptomatic and clears protocols in time.

The Red Sox have been forced to shuffle their rotation all season due to injuries, illness and ineffectiveness. The silver lining is that it has shown us that the organization has some depth and giving Seabold a late-season audition allows the Red Sox some insight into whether or not he can be counted on to fill out the back of the rotation next year.