Takeaways from the first week of Red Sox Spring training
Red Sox prospect Ryan Fitzgerald is making his case for a roster spot
A lot can change in three years. Ryan Fitzgerald spent the 2019 season as a mediocre, 25-year-old second baseman in Single-A Salem, hitting just three home runs to go along with a modest .721 OPS. Fitzgerald’s professional career looked to be on the brink, and that seemed even more true when the pandemic wiped out his age 26 season.
Yet something strange happened in 2021. Fitzgerald suddenly started hitting for much more power, totaling nearly as many home runs (16) as he did in his first three seasons combined (18). He added that power without selling out or becoming impatient, as his strikeout rate and walk rate were virtually unchanged. Fitzgerald’s performance earned him a late-season promotion to Triple-A, where his numbers only improved (.262/.340/.571)
As if to silence anyone who thinks his performance has been a fluke, Fitzgerald has gotten off to a torrid start this spring. His seventh-inning blast on Saturday provided the only run in a 1-0 Red Sox victory, and he added a two-run homer in the Red Sox 5-0 victory over the Braves on Monday and a three-run shot in a 10-4 loss on Wednesday.
With a 28-man roster being implemented in April, Fitzgerald is establishing himself as a legitimate option for one of these spots, something that would have been unthinkable just a few short years ago.