Left-hander Oddanier Mosqueda will get the start for the Red Sox in their seven-inning exhibition opener against Northeastern at JetBlue Park on Friday, manager Alex Cora announced earlier Tuesday afternoon.
Mosqueda, 23, received an invite to big-league spring training after re-signing with the Red Sox in November. The southpaw is coming off a 2022 season in which he posted a 4.30 ERA and 4.05 FIP with 76 strikeouts to 20 walks over 45 relief appearances (58 2/3 innings) for Double-A Portland.
Among the 99 Eastern League pitchers who tossed 50 or more innings last year, Mosqueda ranked 13th in strikeouts per nine innings (11.66), 11th in strikeout rate (31.4 percent), 22nd in batting average against (.211), 22nd in WHIP (1.12), 22nd in groundball rate (46 percent), 28th in line-drive rate (17.3 percent), 28th in swinging-strike rate (13.8 percent), and eighth in xFIP (3.40), per FanGraphs.
A native of Venezuela, Mosqueda originally signed with the Red Sox as an international free agent in July 2015. The Caracas product is currently regarded by SoxProspects.com as the No. 48 prospect in Boston’s farm system, which ranks 18th among pitchers in the organization.
At 5-foot-10 and 155 pounds, Mosqueda throws from a low three-quarters arm slot and operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a 90-92 mph fastball that tops out at 94 mph, a 78-80 mph curveball that features 1-to-7 break, and an 83-84 mph changeup that is on the firm side, according to his SoxProspects.com scouting report.
Earlier this month, Chad Jennings of The Athletic identified Mosqueda as a potential dark-horse to make an impact out of the bullpen in 2023, noting that the lefty “has been singled out by one Red Sox evaluator as a legitimate big league possibility this season.”
As currently constructed, the Red Sox are slated to carry just two left-handed relievers on their Opening Day roster next month in Richard Bleier and Joely Rodriguez. Last year, they carried three, all of whom are no longer with the team in Austin Davis, Jake Diekman, and Matt Strahm. They also traded Josh Taylor (who missed all of 2022 with back issues) to the Royals for infielder Adalberto Mondesi in January.
Given that he has yet to pitch above the Double-A level, it seems likely that the Red Sox would want Mosqueda — who turns 24 in May — to experience the ups-and-downs that Triple-A competition offers before they consider a big-league call-up.
If he is able to find success in Worcester to start the season, though, then perhaps Mosqueda will be on Boston’s radar sooner rather than later.
(Picture of Oddanier Mosqueda: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)