Kutter Crawford has made the Red Sox’ Opening Day roster, manager Alex Cora announced earlier Monday morning. The right-hander will be one of 15 pitchers Boston carries on its 28-man roster to begin the 2022 season and will be available out of the bullpen for Thursday’s opener against the Yankees in the Bronx.
Crawford, who turned 26 last week, was originally selected by the Sox in the 16th round of the 2017 amateur draft out of Florida Gulf Coast University. The Florida native came into the year regarded by Baseball America as the No. 15 prospect in Boston’s farm system, ranking eighth among pitchers in the organization.
After undergoing Tommy John surgery in October 2019 and missing all of 2020 as a result, Crawford put himself on the map last season by throwing harder and limiting his walks.
While the Red Sox were navigating their way through a COVID-19 outbreak in September, Crawford was called up from Triple-A Worcester to start in place of Nick Pivetta on Sept. 5. His big-league debut did not go as planned (5 earned runs in 2 innings pitched), but the righty continued to make strides upon being returned to Worcester and was ultimately added to Boston’s 40-man roster in November to receive protection from the Rule 5 Draft.
On the heels of an off-season in which he posted a 0.42 ERA over five starts (21 1/3 innings pitched) for Estrellas Orientales of the Dominican Winter League, Crawford received his first invite to major-league camp and has impressed the Red Sox this spring.
In three Grapefruit League appearances out of the Sox’ bullpen, Crawford has pitched to the tune of a 2.25 ERA to go along with eight strikeouts to just one walk across four innings of work. In his most recent outing against the Pirates on March 29, Crawford struck out five over two scoreless frames while sitting between 95-97 mph with his four-seam fastball.
Cora has previously acknowledged that in terms of stuff, Crawford is one of the best pitchers the Red Sox have. To complement his high-octane fastball, the 6-foot-1, 209 pound hurler also works with a cutter, a curveball, a sinker, and a changeup.
Throughout his minor-league career, Crawford has primarily been used as a starter. The plan now, per Cora, is to use Crawford as a multi-inning reliever out of the bullpen beginning on Thursday.
(Picture of Kutter Crawford: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)