Call to the bullpen changed the career of Boston Red Sox prospect Michael Gettys
The Boston Red Sox added an exciting outfield prospect in 2020 when they picked up Michael Gettys.
Gettys was coming off a 2019 season that saw him slash .256/.305/.517 with 29 doubles, five triples, and 31 home runs. Gettys drove in 91 runs, scored 97 more, and stole 14 bases as well. And he did all of that in Triple-A for the San Diego Padres.
2021 didn’t exactly hit those highs though. The right-handed hitter slashed .201/.271/.349 with seven doubles and five triples in 46 games in Triple-A. He drove in 14 runs, scored 24 more, and stole seven bases as well. But he also struck out 60 times in just 149 at-bats.
Then something weird happened. Gettys went all the way back to Rookie Ball. But he wasn’t an outfielder anymore. Gettys was trying his luck on the bump.
Now a relief pitcher, Gettys started 2022 in High-A. In 29 2/3 innings at the level, the right-handed reliever posted a 3.34 ERA, .325 BAA, 1.55 WHIP, and 23 strikeouts compared to seven walks.
Okay, a lot of those numbers outside of the ERA don’t look great. But he improved quickly. Through May, Gettys had a 5.63 ERA, .391 BAA, and 1.88 WHIP. It looked like the pitching experiment wasn’t working.
That’s when something clicked.
From the start of June through July 13, Gettys made 10 appearances totaling 13 2/3 innings. He allowed just 12 hits, four walks, and one earned run in that time. This stretch led to a promotion to Double-A.
Gettys proved that it wasn’t just a random hot streak in High-A. He performed even better at the higher level. In 18 2/3 innings Double-A innings, Gettys surrendered one earned run on 10 hits and eight walks. He only struck out eight batters, but who cares? Did you see those numbers? That’s a 0.48 ERA, a .167 BAA, and a 0.96 WHIP. Wild.
Gettys seems to have three pitches. His fastball works in the low-to-mid-90s with some movement. On rare occasions, he will lose the pitch but he tends to have really good command over it.
Next is a curveball that sits in the high 70s. This pitch has a really nice sweeping break to it. He drops it in for a lot of strikes and seems to feel comfortable throwing it at any time. No major complaints here, as he doesn’t leave it flat too often.
Finally, there’s a slurve (?). Honestly, I can’t really tell what it is. It’s definitely different from his curveball though. There’s a noticeably different break to it. The break is less exaggerated and sharper. It works in the high-70s-to-low-80s. Doesn’t seem as consistent with this as his curveball, but has nice potential.
Gettys lacks a strikeout pitch. He doesn’t really have anything that misses bats. This could lead to trouble at some point. But the fact that he improved when moving up to Double-A shows that he can adjust. He does that by creating a ton of weak contact.
Gettys works fast, and his lack of strikeouts and base runners allowed leads to quick innings. That’s something everyone can get excited about.
The rapid improvements should also be noted. At the start of the 2021 season, Gettys was an outfielder. By the end of the 2022 season, he was one of the most productive relievers in the entire Boston Red Sox system. He’s a quick learner. Could that lead to more improvements? A new pitch? Higher velocities or spin rates?
I’m not going to sit here and try to tell you that Gettys is the next can’t-miss prospect. What I will tell you is that in Year One of a en entirely new position, he was not only productive but he improved heavily as the season went on. He’ll be 27 all of next season. That’s still young enough to make a major impact (Zack Kelly is 27 and Kaleb Ort is 30 and both made their MLB debuts this season).
If the Red Sox are patient and let him continue to improve (at this rapid pace no less), Gettys could reward them in a major way. And it all started because of a call to the bullpen.