Red Sox Prospects: Mata, Murphy, Walter offer a glimpse into the future

Red Sox pitching prospect Bryan Mata
Red Sox pitching prospect Bryan Mata / Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

The Boston Red Sox remain undefeated in 2023, as they defeated the Tampa Bay Rays by a final score of 7-6 in a Sunday afternoon game at JetBlue Park.

Boston Red Sox prospects propel team to victory on Sunday

The offensive player of the game for the Red Sox was Matthew Lugo. Lugo, who was ranked by as the organization's #12 overall prospect, went 2 for 2 with a double, a triple, and 5 runs batted in. And the spring training legend of Ryan Fitzgerald continued to grow on Sunday, as he hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the 9th inning to secure the victory.

But the most promising performances of the day came from young Red Sox pitchers. It started with 2 shutout frames from Josh Winckowski. In an exclusive on-air NESN interview with Tom Caron, Winckowski shared with the broadcast team that he was working on his slider grip during the off-season. The results were immediately apparent.

The 24-year-old righty scattered a double and a walk across his short outing, while notching 3 strikeouts in the process. Winckowski made 15 MLB appearances last season with the Red Sox (14 starts); he had a 5.89 ERA and 1.59 WHIP across 70.1 innings. He had only 44 strikeouts over that span. It's far too early to make a bold assessment, but if the Red Sox can get more effective Josh Winckowski in 2023 who can get more swings-and-misses, it would be a major boost to the depth of the big-league rotation.

Bryan Mata (23), Chris Murphy (24), and Brandon Walter (26) each had an opportunity to show Red Sox fans why there is a lot to be excited about in the organization's AAA pipeline of pitchers. And boy, did they deliver. The 3 combined to post 3 shutout innings of hitless ball, while walking only 1 batter and striking out 4.

Mata, Murphy, and Walter are all expected to begin 2023 with the WooSox, but all 3 have plenty of upside and may get the opportunity to make an impact on the big-league roster at some point during the season.

The Red Sox added several veteran players to its roster in recent months, and these moves largely dominated the off-season conversations surrounding the team. However, the organization is quietly starting a youth movement that will continue to gain momentum. Rafael Devers is only the beginning of what will be a new era of Boston baseball.