No. 29: Red Sox starting pitching prospect Grant Gambrell
Grant Gambrell was part of the deal that brought Josh Winckowski and Worcester legend Franchy Cordero to the Boston Red Sox.
Gambrell had a rough journey in the Boston organization before 2023. Following the trade in 2021, the right-handed pitcher posted a 7.16 ERA in eight starts in High-A before missing the rest of the season due to injury.
Then he missed all of 2022 thanks to five surgeries that were done to remove a tumor (benign) from his heel.
With all that missed time, Gambrell was in a weird spot. If he never pitched again after all of that, I don't think anyone would've blamed him.
Instead, he was a 25-year-old in High-A. And through his first four starts, he wasn't producing (6.87 ERA).
Then came back-to-back strong outings, which were followed up by a promotion to Double-A. At the time, I said it felt like a sink-or-swim situation. Gambrell was older for High-A, and the Red Sox wanted to test him.
Gambrell did more than just swim. He went full Michael Phelps.
The Oregon State product posted a 3.42 ERA, .227 BAA, and 1.22 WHIP in 84 1/3 innings in Double-A. His season didn't end there, though.
Gambrell worked his way up to Triple-A before the end of the season. He allowed two runs on seven hits in 10 2/3 innings over two starts.
Overall, Gambrell put together a phenomenal season and went from High-A to Triple-A in a matter of months.
Gambrell has a cutter that works in the low 90s with good movement on it. He was pretty consistent with it, and honestly, the pitch seemed to improve as the year went on. The fact he just started working on it in Spring Training is exciting.
He has a changeup that stays in the mid-80s. The pitch has a good drop to it and is deceptive out of the hand. Like most parts of his game, it got better as the season crept along.
His slider sits in the high 70s/low 80s. It's shown a sharp break at times. I'm 99% sure he also has a curveball/sweeper because the movement has more vertical mixed in with the horizontal at times.
I'll never pretend to know more than I do, though. I only got to see him live one time, and I was in the press box (not always the best view for scouting pitchers).
Gambrell showcased some workhorse tendencies in 2023. He racked up 134 strikeouts compared to 46 walks in 126 1/3 innings. It was nearly a guarantee that he would give whatever team he was on at least five innings. Going six-plus was a regular thing for him, and he even managed eight innings one time (wild for a Double-A pitcher).
Grant Gambrell went from a forgotten piece of a trade to one of the best pitchers in the Boston minor leagues last season. The Red Sox may have found a legitimate rotation arm.