Red Sox pitching prospect Chase Shugart picked up his third save of the season in Double-A Portland’s 2-1 win over the Somerset Patriots at Hadlock Field on Tuesday afternoon.
Taking the mound for the ninth inning, Shugart worked his way around a leadoff walk by retiring the next three batters he faced in order to secure Portland’s 20th win of the season. 13 of the 21 pitches he threw went for strikes.
In 14 appearances out of the Sea Dogs’ bullpen this year, the right-hander has posted a 2.25 ERA and 4.01 FIP to go along with 20 strikeouts to seven walks over 20 innings of work. In the month of May, he has allowed just one earned run over his last 10 1/3 innings pitched.
Among pitches in the Eastern League with at least 20 innings under their belt to this point in the season, Shugart ranks 20th in batting average against (.194), 22nd in WHIP (1.05), 16th in ERA, and 20th in xFIP (3.57), per FanGraphs.
Shugart, 25, began his professional career as a starter after being selected by the Red Sox in the 12th round of the 2018 amateur draft out of the University of Texas at Austin. The former Longhorn had prior experience as a reliever in college, but did not return to that role until this past winter.
Pitching out of the bullpen for Indios de Mayaguez of the Puerto Rican Winter League, Shugart yielded just two runs on five hits, two walks, and nine strikeouts across five appearances spanning 6 1/3 innings. He took what he gained from his time in Puerto Rico and impressed the Red Sox during the team’s Winter Warm-Up program in Fort Myers back in January.
At that point in time, the club essentially decided that Shugart would be a full-time reliever moving forward, and it certainly seems as though the native Texan has embraced that opportunity so far.
Coming into play on Wednesday, Shugart leads the Sea Dogs’ pitching staff in appearances while also ranking first among relievers in number of innings pitched.
Portland has seen its bullpen composition change up a bit as of late, as a pair of other right-handers — Franklin German and A.J. Politi — recently earned promotions to Triple-A Worcester. Taking this into consideration, Shugart should figure to play an even larger role for the Sea Dogs moving forward.
Listed at 5-foot-10 and 198 pounds, Shugart is currently regarded by SoxProspects.com as the No. 51 prospect in Boston’s farm system. Per his SoxProspects.com scouting report, the righty operates with a four-pitch mix that consists of a 93-95 mph fastball that tops out at 97 mph, a 74-80 mph curveball, an 81-84 mph slider, and an 84-87 mph changeup.
Shugart, who turns 26 in October, can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this December if he is not added to the Red Sox’ 40-man roster by the November deadline.
(Picture of Chase Shugart: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)