Red Sox calling up former Yankees draft pick after Kevin Plawecki DFA

Mar 1, 2021; Fort Myers, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox Frank German #90 poses during media day at JetBlue Park. Mandatory Credit: MLB photos via USA TODAY Sports
Mar 1, 2021; Fort Myers, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox Frank German #90 poses during media day at JetBlue Park. Mandatory Credit: MLB photos via USA TODAY Sports /

Red Sox DFA Kevin Plawecki, call up RHP Franklin German

The revelation that the Boston Red Sox had designated Kevin Plawecki for assignment on Friday night was shocking and logical at the same time.

After two solid years with the club, Plawecki struggled at the plate this season, only hitting .217/.287/.287, a significant drop from the previous years. He was set to reach free agency this offseason anyway, and with a few weeks left on the regular-season docket, the Sox are shifting focus to next year:

Triple-A standout Franklin German will take Plawecki’s spot on the roster.

Frank German, former Yankees draft pick, will make his MLB debut with Red Sox

German, who says he prefers to go by Franklin, not Frank, was originally drafted by the New York Yankees in the fourth round of the 2018 June Amateur Draft. The Sox acquired him in the Adam Ottavino trade in January 2021. Primarily a starting pitcher at the beginning of his professional career, the move to the bullpen has paid off in spades.

The 24-year-old righty spent most of the season with the WooSox, with whom he posted a 2.58 ERA and 0.94 WHIP with 24 games finished and seven saves. In 38 1/3 innings, he collected 46 strikeouts and issued 16 walks. Between Double- and Triple-A this year, he had a 32.5% strikeout rate and held opposing batters to .155/.269/.226. He’s only allowed two home runs all year.

Earlier this season, WooSox manager Chad Tracy praised the hard-throwing prospect, currently the eighth-best pitcher in the organization on MLB Pipeline:

"“Hard thrower. It’s mid-to-upper-90s.I think Frank’s been excellent. His split is starting to come. He’s starting to throw the split more and he’s throwing it very effectively. He’s got a good breaking ball.Most of the time it’s 98, 99 (mph) with really good life and you have to honor the split as well.”"

The Sox could certainly use him.

In Jeurys Familia’s final game with the Red Sox on September 13, the Sox bullpen had a 5.65 ERA since the All-Star break, one of only two teams with an ERA over 5 in that span. Injuries have been a serious issue all year, but the bullpen wasn’t built to contend in the first place.

So, as Boston braces for their second last-place finish in three years, it’s encouraging to at least see the front office using the remaining games productively. While other teams exhaust themselves with playoff runs, the Sox will get their first impressions of how their young talent performs at the big-league level before next year, which will inform the roster construction this offseason. Connor Wong, who made a brief debut in 2021, has seen more playing time at the big-league level recently. In recent weeks, they finally called up first baseman Triston Casas and relievers Eduard Bazardo, Zack Kelly, and Kaleb Ort; Ort showed off his 100+ mph fastball against the Yankees earlier this week. Starting pitchers Brayan Bello and Josh Winckowski have been up and down from the club all season.

Poaching former Yankees pitching has worked out well for the Sox in the Chaim Bloom era. Garrett Whitlock, the steal of the Rule 5 Draft, has undoubtedly been Bloom’s best find. If German can continue his success at the big-league level, it will be enormous for the Boston bullpen in the coming years.