The wait is almost over Red Sox fans! Spring Training is right around the corner and we are that much closer to having baseball back. After the disappointment that was 2023, Boston is craving an opportunity to start 2024 off on the right foot.
Spring games are a good opportunity for fans to see a preview of how their team stacks up before the regular season. That includes getting to see prospects on the field you normally wouldn't get the chance to see play on a notable stage.
Roster spots are won during spring training and some players can rocket up the totem pole with impressive performances from the jump.
From time to thime, this can lead to promotions and unexpected additions. So let's examine three Red Sox prospects who have the opportunity to surprise everyone and earn the spotlight this Spring.
3 surprising prospects who will shine at Red Sox spring training
Fitts is a new addition to Boston's prospect list as he was acquired from the New York Yankees, alongside two other pitchers, in exchange for Alex Verdugo this offseason.
Selected by New York in the sixth round in 2021 out of Auburn, he went 11-5 with a 3.48 ERA. 9.6 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 across 27 starts for Double-A Somerset in 2023. Opponents only batted .227 against him over 152.2 innings pitched.
He features a mid-90s fastball but mentioned to the media that he's at his best when he throws it harder and wants to try to increase his velocity. Fitts also cited that a higher velocity fastball helps improve his ability to command his pitches.
"Over 95 (mph), I threw it in better zones, I was commanding it better and I had more success with it. So for me, it’s all about trying to throw over 95 mph. I’m trying to get my average (velocity) up."- RIchard Fitts on his fastball
Fitts already has a great handle on controlling his pitches and he's good at setting up hitters. His mentality is he'd rather give up a single than issue a walk. That's the right kind of mindset for a starting pitcher to have.
The 24-year-old complements his fastball with a slider and changeup. The slider is the better of the two pitches, so he'll be looking to improve the changeup to get himself to the next level. Scouts have him currently sitting as having fourth or fifth starter potential.
The Red Sox desperately need great starting pitching depth as that's one of their weak spots right now. There are rumblings that the team may have the opportunity to add someone like Jordan Montgomery but having internal options is always a plus.
Fitts has the stuff that allows for success against Major League bats. Currently ranked as Boston's 10th-best prospect, you can absolutely expect a great performance from him this Spring.