Top Red Sox pitching prospect Brandon Walter has landed on Triple-A Worcester’s 7-day injured list due to a neck strain, the team announced on Friday.
Walter, who owns an 8.22 ERA in two starts (7 2/3 innings) for the WooSox, last pitched in a game on June 8, when he struck out five over six one-run innings against the Buffalo Bisons at Sahlen Field.
Since then, the 25-year-old left-hander has only just resumed throwing and is unlikely to return to Worcester’s starting rotation before the month of June comes to an end, according to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.
The Red Sox originally selected Walter in the 26th round of the 2019 amateur draft out of the University of Delaware. As an unheralded college senior, the New Castle native received a modest $35,000 signing bonus from the club.
After his first full professional season was wiped out as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Walter burst onto the scene in 2021 by posting a 2.92 ERA in 89 1/3 innings between Low-A Salem and High-A Greenville.
The 6-foot-2, 200 pound southpaw broke camp this spring with Double-A Portland and pitched to a 2.88 ERA (2.74 FIP) with 68 strikeouts to just three walks over nine starts (50 innings) with the Sea Dogs before earning a promotion to Worcester on the final day of May.
Equipped with a low-90s sinking fastball, a sweeping low-80s slider, and a plus changeup, Walter is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 6 prospect in Boston’s farm system, which ranks second among pitchers in the organization behind only fiery right-hander Brayan Bello.
Walter, who turns 26 in September, can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in his career this December if the Red Sox do not add him to their 40-man roster by the November deadline. Even with this latest setback, it seems all but certain that Walter will indeed be added this fall.
(Picture of Brandon Walter: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)