Red Sox manager Alex Cora has yet to officially name a starter for Saturday night’s game against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field, though he did shed light on who the team is leaning towards rolling with.
Connor Seabold, one of the top pitching prospects in the Red Sox farm system, will indeed get the starting nod for what will be his major-league debut on Saturday.
“Not yet,” Cora said when asked if the Sox had decided on a starter for Saturday following Friday night’s 4-3 loss to the White Sox. “We’re going to talk about it tonight, but there’s a good chance that it might be Seabold.”
Seabold was one of four players (along with Kaleb Ort, Jack Lopez, and Chris Herrmann) from Triple-A Worcester who traveled with the Red Sox to Chicago as part of the club’s taxi squad.
Nick Pivetta was originally in line to get the start for Boston in Saturday’s bout with Chicago, but has since been ruled out on account of testing positive for COVID-19.
While there still remains a chance that Pivetta could start in place of Chris Sale — who was placed on the COVID-19 related injured list on Friday after testing positive for the virus on Thursday — if he is cleared by Major League Baseball to return to action, that would still leave the Red Sox without a starter for Saturday.
This is where Seabold comes into play. The 25-year-old right-hander made his last start for Worcester on September 4, allowing just one hit and three walks while striking out four over six scoreless innings of work against the Rochester Red Wings.
After the start of his 2021 season was pushed back by approximately 2 1/2 months due to right elbow inflammation, Seabold has been impressive in his time with the WooSox, posting a 3.67 ERA and 4.17 FIP to go along with 44 strikeouts to 13 walks over eight starts (41 2/3 innings pitched) dating back to July 23.
Originally acquired from the Phillies alongside Pivetta in exchange for relievers Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree last August, Seabold is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 12 prospect in the Red Sox farm system, ranking sixth among pitchers in the organization.
He was added to Boston’s 40-man roster last November in order to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft.
Per his SoxProspects.com scouting report, the 6-foot-3, 195 pound hurler primarily operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a 91-93 mph fastball that tops out at 95 mph, a deceptive 80-82 mph changeup, and an 83-85 mph slider.
Seabold, who does not turn 26 until January, would become the 10th different starting pitcher the Red Sox have used this season if he does indeed make his big-league debut this weekend.
The California native would also become the ninth Sox player to make their major-league debut this year, joining the likes of Connor Wong, Jack Lopez, Jarren Duran, and fellow pitchers such as Garrett Whitlock, Hirokazu Sawamura, Raynel Espinal, Kutter Crawford, and Eduard Bazardo.
(Picture of Connor Seabold: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)