Can the pitchers figure things out in Worcester?
Pitching was one of the bigger storylines in Triple-A last season, and it certainly wasn't a good thing.
The Worcester Red Sox couldn't figure things out on the mound. Every pitcher was struggling, both starters and relievers. Players who dominated in Double-A (like Shane Drohan) had a rough time in Triple-A. Even Chris Murphy (who saw success in the Majors) didn't produce in Triple-A.
There's an argument that this had to do with catching. Jorge Alfaro was the primary catcher for a large chunk of the season, and he's next-level bad defensively. Would that hinder some development? Sure. But would it lead to nearly everyone looking like the worst versions of themselves? That seems unlikely.
Kyle Teel (who we'll talk about in a bit) will probably be in Triple-A, at least for a little in 2024. Teel is an incredible defensive talent and will help the pitching staff. He won't be there all year, though. Was it a product of the players? Is it the ballpark (it is hitter-friendly)? Will we see the same issue in 2024?
Grant Gambrell (who we'll also talk about soon) looked good in his short stint at the end of the season. He'll be there to start the year. Wikelman Gonzalez might be in Worcester soon. Isaac Coffey, Hunter Dobbins, and Christopher Troye could be on their way, too.
Will these pitchers suffer the same fate? Or will their talent shine through?
Bad surface numbers don't tell the full story, especially in Triple-A. As mentioned before, Chris Murphy was vital for Boston in 2023 despite struggling in Worcester. Imagine if they didn't give him a look just because his ERA was high.
However, surface numbers are still necessary. They might not tell the full story, but they do tell a story. It won't instill confidence in anyone if all of Boston's top pitching prospects falter in Worcester. So the question is, does history repeat itself?