Boston Red Sox starting pitching prospect Shane Drohan
It feels like we should get the most obvious one out of the way first. Shane Drohan started 2023 in an absurdly dominant fashion. He breezed through Double-A in a few weeks and spent the rest of the season in Triple-A.
There, the left-handed pitcher struggled. However, he showed flashes of his brilliance on several occasions.
Drohan finished the season with a 5.05 ERA, .260 BAA, and 158 WHIP between Double-A and Triple-A. The 24-year-old (who will turn 25 in January) struck out 129 batters compared to 72 walks in 123 innings.
Walks became an issue in Triple-A, as did home runs (19 of his 20 HRs allowed were with Worcester). His newfound velocity may have had something to do with the control problems that plagued Drohan as the season went on.
The struggles led to the Red Sox never calling him up. And apparently, it was enough that they didn't feel the need to protect him. Even with the rough Triple-A numbers, Drohan is an interesting arm with a decent amount of innings at the level.
Due to that, it's hard to envision no team snatching him up. Thad Ward was an early pick last season, and he wasn't as highly regarded as Drohan is now.
The Red Sox actually had an extra spot open on the 40-man roster when they placed Luis Perales and Wikelman Gonzalez on there. The fact that they left Drohan off felt ominous. You could argue that it means they aren't too worried about him getting picked up. That feels like a fool's wish, though.
The more likely case is that Boston has other plans for the 40-man roster. And they feel losing Drohan is a necessary evil.
This one is too obvious. A left-handed pitcher who dominated Double-A and twirled some gems in Triple-A isn't getting through the Rule 5 Draft unclaimed.