Boston Red Sox prospects: 2022 Rule 5 additions and subtractions
Additions and subtractions for the Boston Red Sox in the 2022 Rule 5 draft
The Rule 5 Draft did not get nearly the attention you would expect, although there was a good reason for that.
When the Rule 5 took place this week during Winter Meetings, it just so happened to be the day the baseball world decided to go crazy with free-agent signings. The Boston Red Sox, for example, added closer Kenley Jansen and outfielder Masataka Yoshida, but of course, the biggest news of the day was their loss of shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who signed a monster deal with the San Diego Padres.
All of that wildness sort of left the Rule 5 draft far away from most people’s minds.
First, let’s take a look at the players that the Red Sox lost in the draft.
There were some notable names in this group.
Pitcher Thad Ward was the first pick of the Rule 5 draft, going to the Washington Nationals.
Ward suffered an injury that forced him to get Tommy John surgery at the start of the 2021 season. He bounced back nicely with a strong showing in 2022. The righty posted a 2.28 ERA, .212 BAA, 1.15 WHIP, and 66 strikeouts over 51 1/3 innings between four levels (finishing up in Double-A).
Ward has a nasty slider and does a great job limiting hard-hit balls (11 home runs in 216 2/3 career innings). Boston must have some concerns due to his injuries. Still only has 41 1/3 innings in Double-A.
Reliever Andrew Politi wasn’t too far behind him, going to the Baltimore Orioles. The righty struggled mightily in 2021, spending most of the year as a starter. However, he converted to a full-time bullpen arm in 2022 and became one of the more dominant pitchers in the system. Politi posted a 2.34 ERA, .186 BAA, and 0.97 WHIP between Double-A and Triple-A last season. He picked up 83 strikeouts compared to 22 walks over 69 1/3 innings, converting all eight of his save opportunities.
Almost immediately after that, pitcher Noah Song went to the Philadelphia Phillies. Song was a weird one. The right-hander was a fourth-round pick of the Red Sox back in 2019. He tossed 17 fantastic innings in Low-A that year but hasn’t pitched since then.
Song is serving in the Navy. This has left him out of baseball action since 2019. The Phillies will be able to put him on the military list, but when he’s activated off of that, the clock will be ticking. Song had phenomenal potential when he was drafted. Now he’s a few years away from the game with just 17 innings of Low-A under his belt and the picture isn’t very clear for his return.
Finally, shortstop Cameron Cannon was selected by the Phillies towards the very end of the draft. Cannon is an offensively talented middle infielder. He struggled for most of last season but performed his best while in Triple-A.
Cannon finished the season with a .223/.307/.274 slash line between Rookie Ball, Double-A, and Triple-A. Injuries put a damper on his season, allowing Cannon to only appear in 51 games. The right-handed hitter had a great 2021 though (.284/.331/.440) so a bounce-back year could be in the cards.
Now onto the players that the Red Sox acquired.
Pitchers Joe Jacques (Pittsburgh Pirates) and Ryan Miller (New York Yankees) were brought into the organization.
Jacques is an interesting addition. The left-handed reliever had a solid year in Triple-A in 2021 and followed it up with an even better performance in 2022. He posted a 3.12 ERA, .242 BAA, and 1.18 WHIP in 43 1/3 innings between three levels (37 1/3 of those innings came in Triple-A).
Something that will always have some value is a left-handed bullpen arm. And Jacques has real potential there. Left-handed hitters were 4-for-47 (.085/.151/.106 slash line) against Jacques last season. Having him stashed in Triple-A seems like a great move.
Ryan Miller is admittedly a little less exciting. He flashed nice potential in 2018 and 2019. But didn’t pitch again until 2022. The right-handed reliever posted a 5.75 ERA, .230 BAA, 1.31 WHIP, and 50 strikeouts in 36 innings in High-A last season. He’ll be 27 before the start of next season, so the clock is ticking a little bit.
However, there is a chance he starts the year in Double-A. 2022 wasn’t a great season for Miller, but he had his moments. And it was the first time he pitched professionally in three years, so some rust is expected. Importantly, he did get better as the year went on. Maybe 2023 will be a big step forward.
Hey, the Boston Red Sox are taking a chance on a former prospect of the Yankees. It’s worked out nicely for them before.