Red Sox Prospect Contenders: Bryan Mata, Brandon Walter, and Chris Murphy
Bryan Mata (14 starts between AA Portland and AAA Worcester), Brandon Walter (11 starts between AA and AAA), and Chris Murphy (28 AA/AAA starts) have all impressed this spring. There really isn't much else to say - they have looked really, really good.
The trio has combined for 7.2 shutout innings with 13 strikeouts; over that stretch, they have surrendered only 3 hits, 3 walks, and 1 hit-by-pitch. To say they have checked all the boxes would be an understatement, but it's not yet clear just how much they would need to show Alex Cora and the Red Sox organization in the coming weeks to merit a "leapfrog" Crawford and Winckowski.
Barring additional health setbacks (which is possible, but hopefully not), Mata, Walter, and Murphy will likely begin the season in the WooSox rotation. This will allow each of them to get into a regular routine (as opposed to pitching in relief or bouncing back-and-forth between the Red Sox and the WooSox).
With that said, Alex Cora told MassLive's Chris Cotillo that Mata is likely to make his MLB debut at some point in 2023. The same chance likely exists for Walter and Murphy if their performance merits the opportunity and the schedules align.
"This is where we are at now, you start talking about these kids. Bello and Mata and Whitlock and Tanner, you see it coming. At one point, (Mata) is gonna be part of this and he's gonna help us to win a few games."- Alex Cora
Is Cora hinting at a youth movement that has begun within the Red Sox organization? It sure seems like it. Rafael Devers (26) is undoubtedly the cornerstone of the organization's plans, but players like Brayan Bello (23), Triston Casas (23), Bryan Mata (23) and a host of others will be a big part of this team's recipe for success going forward.