Red Sox release prospect acquired in Andrew Benintendi trade

The Red Sox have released minor-league outfielder-turned-pitcher Freddy Valdez, per the club’s transactions log.

Valdez, 21, was one of five players Boston acquired as part of the three-team trade with the Royals and Mets that sent outfielder Andrew Benintendi to Kansas City in February 2021. The Red Sox initially obtained outfielder Franchy Cordero and right-hander Josh Winckowski and then received three more prospects (Valdez, and righties Grant Gambrell and Luis De La Rosa) as players to be named later that June.

At the time of the trade, Valdez was regarded by MLB Pipeline as the No. 14 prospect in the Mets’ farm system after originally signing with the club for $1.450 million as an international free agent coming out of the Dominican Republic in July 2018.

As a then-19-year-old outfielder, Valdez had impressed scouts by flashing intriguing power potential and athleticism. Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom had high praise for the right-handed hitter after acquiring him from New York.

“Corner outfielder, power-profile,” Bloom said of Valdez when speaking with reporters (including’s Christopher Smith) back in June 2021. “ery young. For a guy who is as power-oriented as he was as an amateur — and who has a lot of the strengths and weaknesses that come with that profile — to get into pro ball and perform the way he did initially was really impressive. Got him on our radar. And we got to see him a little bit in extended (spring training).”

Despite the high praise from Bloom, Valdez struggled at the plate in each of the last two seasons and never graduated past rookie ball. He batted just .229/.356/.33 with no home runs and 16 RBIs over 31 Florida Complex League games in 2021 and then slashed .192/.286/.289 with one homer and nine RBIs across 22 games while repeating the same level last year.

On the heels of back-to-back disappointing campaigns, Valdez was converted into a pitcher earlier this season. But the 6-foot-3, 212-pounder never made it out of extended spring training before being cut loose by the Red Sox on Thursday.

Valdez joins Cordero, who was non-tendered over the winter after spending two seasons in Boston, as two pieces from the Benintendi trade who are no longer with the organization. The three players who remain are all pitchers. Winckowski, 24, has posted a 2.15 ERA in 17 appearances (29 1/3 innings) out of the Red Sox bullpen so far this year. Gambrell, 25, was recently promoted from High-A Greenville to Double-A Portland and has put up a 1.69 ERA in his first two starts (10 2/3 innings) with the Sea Dogs. De La Rosa, 20, owns a 2.88 ERA in 25 innings of work for Low-A Salem.

As noted by’s Chris Cotillo, though, neither Gambrell or De La Rosa are ranked among the top 60 prospects in the Red Sox’ farm system by

(Picture of Freddy Valdez: Bryan Green/Flickr)


James Paxton runs into early trouble as Red Sox get swept by Angels in 7-3 loss

The Red Sox were unable to avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the Angels on Wednesday night. Boston dropped its third straight to Los Angeles and its fourth overall in a 7-3 loss at Angel Stadium to fall to 26-24 on the season.

With Tyler Anderson starting for the Halos, the Sox had a chance to strike early. After singling to lead off the top half of the second inning, Rafael Devers went from first to third base on a one-out single off the bat of Pablo Reyes. Connor Wong then came up to the plate and worked a 2-2 count before madness ensued.

Wong whiffed at an 88.4 mph fastball at the top of the zone. At the same time, Reyes took off for second base, prompting Angels catcher Chad Wallach to unleash a throw to Luis Rengifo, who was covering the bag. Rengifo, however, noticed that Devers had taken off for home in an attempt to score and wasted little time in gunning him down at the plate to complete the inning-ending strike ’em out, throw ’em out double play.

Perhaps that sequence of events gave the Angels some momentum, because they broke through against Red Sox starter James Paxton in the latter half of the second. Paxton, who had given up just three runs through his first two starts (11 innings) of the season, issued a leadoff walk to Hunter Renfroe. Brandon Drury followed by roping a double to right field to put runners at second and third for Gio Urshela, who opened the scoring by plating Renfroe with a 315-foot sacrifice fly.

Paxton fanned Rengifo for the second out, but he extended the inning by issuing a seven-pitch walk to Wallach. Rookie shortstop Zach Neto then broke it open by crushing a 392-foot three-run home run to right field to put the Angels up, 4-0. An inning later, Paxton was bitten by the long ball again, this time serving up a one-out solo shot to the vaunted Shohei Ohtani to increase the deficit to five runs.

Though Paxton got through the rest of the third unscathed, the damage had already been done. The veteran left-hander wound up allowing five earned runs on four hits and three walks to go along with five strikeouts over three innings of work. He finished with 59 pitches (35 strikes) and was charged with the losing decision as his ERA on the year rose to 5.14.

With Paxton done for the night, the Red Sox lineup finally got to Anderson in the fourth. Masataka Yoshida laced a one-out double to center field and Enrique Hernandez promptly drove him in with a two-base hit of his own to cut the Angels’ lead back down to four runs at 5-1.

Alas, Hernandez was left at second as Reyes grounded out to extinguish the threat. Nick Pivetta then came on for Paxton in the bottom of the fourth. After sandwiching a Neto single in between recording the first two outs of the inning, the righty served up a towering 396-foot two-run homer to Trout that put Boston in a 7-1 hole.

Despite the early indications that it might not have been his night, Pivetta rallied and put up zeroes in the fifth and sixth innings. The Red Sox then got one of those runs back in the seventh when Wong took Angels reliever Reyes Moronta 396 feet deep to left-center field for his fifth home run of the year.

Moments after Wong rounded the bases, Raimel Tapia ripped a one-out single and Rob Refsnyder and Justin Turner each drew two-out walks off Moronta to fill the bases for Yoshida. Angels manager Phil Nevin responded by giving Moronta the hook in favor of Chris Devenski, who got Yoshida to ground out to first.

Following two more scoreless frames from Justin Garza and Kenley Jansen, Wong came into score on an RBI single from Refsnyder with two outs in the top of the ninth. Turner then fittingly lined out to Trout to end it.

All told, the Red Sox went 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left eight runners on base as a team on Wednesday. They have scored just four runs in their last 41 innings dating back to the fourth inning of Saturday’s 4-2 win over the Padres in San Diego.

Next up: On to Arizona

The Red Sox will travel to Phoenix late Wednesday night and have Thursday off. They will then open a three-game weekend series against the Diamondbacks on Friday. Left-hander Chris Sale will get the start for Boston while Arizona has yet to name a starter.

First pitch from Chase Field is scheduled for 9:40 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of James Paxton: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Red Sox take Stanford infielder Tommy Troy with top pick in Keith Law’s first 2023 mock draft

In his first mock draft of the year for The Athletic, Keith Law has the Red Sox taking Stanford shortstop Tommy Troy with the 14th overall pick in the 2023 amateur draft.

“I think this is pretty open, with any of the guys I have just ahead of Boston’s pick also possibilities, as well as [Matt] Shaw,” Law wrote on Wednesday. “I could see the Red Sox being in on Kevin McGonigle given their predilection for high school hitters with potential plus hit tools with their first picks in 2020 (Nick Yorke) and 2022 (Mikey Romero).”

Troy came in as the No. 16 draft-eligible prospect in Law’s latest rankings, which were released earlier this month. Baseball America also has the 21-year-old infielder at No. 16 in its rankings while MLB Pipeline places him 20th on its most updated list.

A right-handed hitting junior, Troy batted a stout .404/.485/.720 with 14 doubles, four triples, 13 home runs, 43 RBIs, 61 runs scored, 16 stolen bases, 26 walks, and 29 strikeouts in 45 games (227 plate appearances) for Stanford this season. On the heels of such a productive campaign, the Los Gatos, Calif. native was named the Pac-12 batting champion on Tuesday.

Defensively, Troy has proven to be quite versatile over the course of his amateur career. With the Cotuit Kettleers of the Cape Cod Baseball League last summer, for instance, the 5-foot-10, 197-pounder saw playing time at both shortstop and second base. He also has past experience in the outfield, though he did play a lot of third base for the Cardinal this spring.

“He’s a plus runner who has played all three skill positions on the infield, but I think someone has to send him out as a shortstop and let him prove he can’t stay there,” Law wrote of Troy’s defensive capabilities. “If he’s not a shortstop, he has a harder path to everyday play, so giving him that chance is key to creating some upside.”

Per his MLB Pipeline scouting report, “Troy’s standout tool is his ability to make consistent, hard contact from the right side of the plate. He has impressive bat-to-ball skills and rarely strikes out or chases out of the zone, showing excellent pitch recognition, though there are some moving parts of his swing. There’s enough extra-base pop in there for there not to be concerns about impact at the next level and he could have average power in the future. He’s answered some concerns about his approach and lack of walks by being more selective in 2023.”

Troy, who does not turn 22 until next January, still has some baseball left to play before preparing for the draft. Stanford, which earned the top seed in its conference, opened Pac-12 tournament play against California on Wednesday night. DraftKings Sportsbook currently has the Cardinal with the fifth-best odds to win the 2023 College World Series at +1500.

The Red Sox landed the 14th overall pick in this year’s draft in the first-ever MLB Draft Lottery back in December. Boston has not used a first-round selection on a college position player since taking Andrew Benintendi out of Arkansas in 2015.

Back then, the 14th overall pick came with an attached slot value of $2,482,400. This year, the pick is valued at $4,663,100, which represents approximately 45.3 percent of the Red Sox’ $10,295,100 bonus pool.

The 2023 MLB Draft gets underway in Seattle on July 9, or six weeks from this coming Sunday. It will consist of 20 rounds and run through the final day of All-Star festivities at T-Mobile Park.

(Picture of Tommy Troy: AP Photo/John Hefti)

Red Sox move Corey Kluber to bullpen

For the second time in as many weeks, the Red Sox have moved a member of their Opening Day starting rotation to the bullpen.

During his weekly appearance on WEEI’s Gresh and Fauria earlier Wednesday afternoon, Red Sox manager Alex Cora announced that Corey Kluber would be joining Boston’s relief corps ahead of Garrett Whitlock’s return from the injured list this Saturday.

The decision to move Kluber to the bullpen comes two days after Tanner Houck put together his best start of the season in Monday’s 2-1 loss to the Angels in Anaheim. The right-hander allowed just one earned run on three hits, two walks, and one hit batsman to go along with eight strikeouts over six strong innings.

Coming off that solid performance, Houck will now get the start in Sunday’s series finale against the Diamondbacks in Phoenix. That responsibility was initially going to fall to Kluber, who has suddenly become the odd man out in a crowded rotation mix.

“We were waiting for Tanner to see how he felt after his start,” Cora said. “We’re going to make a change. Actually, Tanner is going to start on Sunday and Corey is going to go to the bullpen, starting on Friday.”

Kluber, 37, signed a one-year, $10 million contract with the Red Sox back in December that came with an $11 million club option for 2024. The veteran righty impressed in spring training and was named Boston’s Opening Day starter as a result.

Since taking the mound against the Orioles at Fenway Park on March 30, though, Kluber has struggled mightily, posting a dismal 6.26 ERA and 6.59 FIP with 34 strikeouts to 18 walks in his first nine starts (41 2/3 innings) as a member of the Red Sox. He allowed five runs (one earned) over a season-low 2 1/3 innings in this past Sunday’s 7-0 loss to the Padres in San Diego.

A two-time Cy Young Award winner, Kluber has only come out of the bullpen five times over the course of his 13-year big-league career. He did, however, make one relief appearance for the Rays in Game 2 of last October’s American League Wild Card Series against the Guardians.

“Well, we’ve been doing it for the last two or three years  having starters in the bullpen, and some guys we use more aggressively,” said Cora. “Others we’ve got to be patient, and the case with Corey, I think he came out of the bullpen last year in the playoffs, but he hasn’t done it throughout his career. 

“We’ve just got to make sure we give him enough time to be ready and see when we are  going to use him,” Cora added. “Obviously, we want him to get back on track, and back on track is throwing strikes, and this is something that he’s done throughout his career. He hasn’t done it the first month and a half [this] season. The stuff is … very similar to last year, but obviously the control and the command wasn’t there and we just got to make sure we keep making adjustments.”

With Kluber out of the picture for the time being, the Red Sox will now move forward with a five-man starting rotation consisting of Chris Sale, James Paxton, Houck, Whitlock, and Brayan Bello.

“We had that conversation with Corey and [he’s] very professional. He understands,” Cora said. “He signed here to be a starter, but right now he’s struggling and, you know, obviously the kids are throwing the ball well. There’s a lot of off-days coming up. So we decided to make the change.”

Kluber joins Nick Pivetta, Kutter Crawford, and Josh Winckowski as multi-inning options with starting experience available to Cora out of the Boston bullpen. Pivetta, of course, was jettisoned from the rotation last week to accommodate the addition of Paxton.

(Picture of Corey Kluber: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Red Sox promote pitching prospect Dalton Rogers to High-A Greenville

The Red Sox have promoted pitching prospect Dalton Rogers from Low-A Salem to High-A Greenville, per the club’s minor-league transactions log.

In six starts for Salem to begin the 2023 season, Rogers posted a 2.49 ERA and 2.18 FIP with 38 strikeouts to 13 walks over 21 2/3 innings of work in which he held opposing hitters to a .139 batting average against.

Among 84 Carolina League pitchers who have accrued at least 20 innings coming into play on Wednesday, Rogers ranks first in strikeouts per nine innings (15.78), first in strikeout rate (41.3 percent), third in opponents’ batting average, 22nd in WHIP (1.11), 30th in swinging-strike rate (13.6 percent), 20th in ERA, second in FIP, and seventh in xFIP (2.83), per FanGraphs.

As is the case with most young hurlers, though, Rogers has proven to be vulnerable to ball four at times. The 22-year-old averaged more than five walks per nine innings in his six starts with Salem, which is certainly suboptimal. Still, he managed to avoid any serious damage thanks to his ability to miss bats.

Rogers is in the midst of his first full professional season after being selected by Boston in the third round (99th overall pick) of last year’s draft out of Southern Mississippi. The Brandon, Miss. native, who spent part of his summer pitching for the Cotuit Kettleers of the Cape Cod Baseball League, signed with the club for $447,500 and made two relief appearances for the rookie-level Florida Complex League Red Sox in his pro debut.

Coming into the 2023 campaign, Rogers was ranked by Baseball America as the No. 29 prospect in Boston’s farm system. The publication noted that the 5-foot-11, 172-pound lefty “hides the ball well while driving down the mound to create good extension and a low release height. That combination, along with the ride and arm-side run on his 93-94 mph fastball (which tops out at 96), has given hitters fits at the top of the zone. He’s leaned heavily on his fastball to this point, though he has two secondaries — a low-80s changeup and low-80s slider — with the shape to develop into weapons if he can control them.”

As things stand now, Rogers is currently regarded by as the Red Sox’ No. 37 prospect, which ranks 11th among pitchers in the organization. Like Baseball America,’s director of scouting Ian Cundall notes that the southpaw possesses a deceptive delivery and operates with a three-pitch mix that is headlined by a mid-90s heater that has the potential to be a “plus pitch.”

Both Baseball America and are relatively high on Rogers, which likely reflects how the Red Sox feel about him. With that being said, though, Rogers will need to continue improving his control and command if he intends on developing as a starter. If not, he could eventually head to the bullpen as a multi-inning threat.

Rogers, who does not turn 23 until next January, becomes the second member of Boston’s 2022 draft class to make the jump from Salem to Greenville this season. Fellow lefty Nathan Landry, who was taken in the 15th round out of Missouri, was promoted earlier this month.

(Picture of Dalton Rogers: Kelly O’Connor/

Red Sox held to 2 hits in 4-0 loss to Angels; Brayan Bello impresses again

After being held to one run on Monday, the Red Sox were shut out in yet another loss to the Angels on Tuesday night. Boston fell to Los Angeles by a final score of 4-0 at Angel Stadium to extend its losing streak to three and drop to 26-23 on the season.

In similar fashion to Monday’s series-opening defeat, a young right-hander shined on the mound for the Sox. Brayan Bello, making his seventh start of the year, allowed just two earned runs on six hits and zero walks to go along with six strikeouts over a career-high seven innings of work.

Both runs Bello surrendered came by way of the long ball. To lead off the bottom of the first, a red-hot Mickey Moniak crushed a 418-foot solo shot to deep center field to open the scoring for the Angels.

Though Bello gave up two more hits in the inning, he was able to settle down by retiring nine straight batters from the middle of the second through the end of the fourth. Matt Thaiss then led off the bottom half of the fifth with a 409-foot solo homer of his own to double Los Angeles’ lead to 2-0.

Bello once again rebounded by keeping the Angels off the scoreboard over the next two innings. He retired the side in order in the sixth and then stranded Gio Urshela at second base after yielding a two-out double in an otherwise clean bottom of the seventh.

Finishing with 98 pitches (67 strikes), Bello induced 12 swings-and-misses while averaging 96.1 mph with his four-seam fastball. The 24-year-old hurler was ultimately charged with the tough-luck loss, but he did lower his ERA on the season down to 4.08. That includes a 2.57 ERA in five starts since being recalled from Triple-A Worcester on April 28.

In relief of Bello, Joely Rodriguez received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora in the eighth. The left-hander immediately gave up a leadoff double to the pinch-hitting Taylor Ward and then served up a 393-foot two-run home run to Mike Trout that effectively put this one out of reach.

Heading into the ninth inning trailing by four, the Red Sox had gotten very little from their lineup to that point in the contest. Angels starter Griffin Canning, who came into play Tuesday sporting a 6.14 ERA in six outings, outdueled Bello by putting up zeroes over seven effective frames.

Canning scattered two hits and three walks. He only allowed one runner to advance into scoring position. That happened in the top of the second, when Triston Casas drew a two-out walk and Enmanuel Valdez followed with a single. Reese McGuire then struck out on a foul tip to extinguish the threat.

After veteran lefty Matt Moore replaced Canning in the top of the eighth, the pinch-hitting Rob Refsnyder drew a leadoff walk to bring the tying run to the plate with no outs. Refsnyder essentially switched places with Alex Verdugo, who grounded into a force out, before Masataka Yoshida grounded into an inning-ending, 4-6-3 double play. Jacob Webb then made quick work of Justin Turner, Rafael Devers, and Valdez in the ninth to end it.

Tuesday marks the third shutout loss of the season for the Red Sox and the second in their last three games. They have scored just one run in their last 32 innings dating back to the fourth inning of Saturday’s 4-2 win over the Padres in San Diego.

Next up: Paxton looks to help Sox avoid sweep

The Red Sox will look to avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the Angels in Wednesday night’s series finale. James Paxton is slated to make his third start of the season for Boston while Los Angeles will counter with fellow southpaw Tyler Anderson.

First pitch from Angel Stadium is scheduled for 9:38 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Brayan Bello: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Tanner Houck strikes out 8 over 6 strong innings, but Red Sox muster just 4 hits in 2-1 loss to Angels

Despite Tanner Houck’s strong start, the Red Sox were held to just one run on four hits in a series-opening loss to the Angels on Monday night. Boston fell to Los Angeles by a final score of 2-1 at Angel Stadium to drop to 26-22 on the season.

Houck, making his ninth start of the year for the Sox, put together a solid outing in his bid to remain in the rotation. The right-hander allowed just one run on three hits, two walks, and one hit batsman to go along with a season-high eight strikeouts over six innings of work.

The Halos got to Houck for that lone run in their half of the second. After drawing a one-out walk, Brandon Drury went from first to third base on a Matt Thaiss single. He then opened the scoring by coming in from third on an RBI groundout off the bat of Luis Rengifo.

Houck proceeded to load the bases by hitting a batter and giving up another single, but he escaped the jam by fanning Mike Trout on an 84 mph slider at the bottom of the zone. From the middle of the third inning through the end of the sixth, the righty retired eight of the last nine batters he faced.

In addition to striking out Trout and Shohei Ohtani a combined four times on Monday night, Houck induced 17 swings-and-misses on his 83 pitches (65 strikes). The 26-year-old hurler did not factor into the decision, but he did lower his ERA on the season to 4.99.

Shortly before Houck’s night to an end, the Red Sox got on the board in the top of the sixth. After being held in check by Angels starter Jaime Barria, Connor Wong led off the inning with a groundball double off veteran reliever Aaron Loup. Wong then moved up to third on an Alex Verdugo groundout and scored the then-tying run on a Masataka Yoshida RBI single.

With things knotted up at 1-1 going into the seventh, Kutter Crawford took over for Houck out of the Boston bullpen. Making his first appearance since being activated from the 15-day injured list on Friday, Crawford worked his way around a leadoff double in the seventh and came back out for the eighth.

Unfortunately for the Red Sox, Mickey Moniak broke the tie by crushing a 401-foot leadoff home run to deep right field to put the Angels back up, 2-1, going into the ninth. Chase Silseth then closed it out by making quick work of Verdugo, Yoshida, and Justin Turner as Crawford was charged with the loss.

At a swift two hours and five minutes, Monday marked Boston’s second-quickest game of the season behind only a 2-1 win over this same Angels team that took one hour and 57 minutes to complete back on April 16.

Next up: Bello vs. Canning

The Red Sox will look to avoid a third straight loss in the middle game of this three-game set against the Angels on Tuesday night. Brayan Bello will get the start for Boston while fellow right-hander Griffin Canning will go for Los Angeles.

First pitch from Angel Stadium is scheduled for 9:38 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Tanner Houck: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Red Sox place Richard Bleier on 15-day injured list, recall Brennan Bernardino from Triple-A Worcester

Before opening a three-game series against the Angels in Anaheim on Monday night, the Red Sox placed veteran reliever Richard Bleier on the 15-day injured list due to left shoulder inflammation. In a corresponding move, fellow left-hander Brennan Bernardino was recalled from Triple-A Worcester, the club announced.

Bleier made his 19th appearance of the season for Boston in Sunday’s 7-0 loss to the Padres in San Diego. Over 1 1/3 innings, the 36-year-old gave up one run on one hit, which came on a solo homer off the bat of the left-handed hitting Matt Carpenter in the bottom of the third.

Following Sunday’s performance, Bleier now owns a 5.85 ERA and 5.44 FIP with 12 strikeouts to three walks across 20 innings of relief in his first season with the Red Sox. While the southpaw has excelled when it comes to getting batters to chase (36.6 percent chase rate) and not giving up free passes (3.4 percent walk rate), he has struggled in other areas.

According to Baseball Savant, Bleier currently ranks in the 10th percentile of all big-league pitchers in expected batting average (.291). He also ranks in the 13th percentile in expected slugging percentage (.498), the seventh percentile in strikeout rate (13.8 percent), the fourth percentile in whiff rate (16.3 percent), the first percentile in fastball velocity (86.9 mph), and the third percentile in fastball spin.

Acquired from the Marlins for Matt Barnes and cash considerations in late January, Bleier was brought in to tame opposing left-handed hitters out of the bullpen. As was the case on Sunday, though, Bleier has not had the best of time against lefties and is actually faring better against righties.

So far, lefties are hitting a stout .429/.467/.786 with one double and three home runs in 31 trips to the plate against Bleier this season. Righties, on the other hand, are batting just .231/.268/.346 with three doubles and one home run over 56 plate appearances.

At this point in time, it remains to be seen if Bleier will require more than 15 days on the injured list. If that is not the case, Bleier will first be eligible to be activated on Tuesday, June 6, when the Red Sox open a three-game set against the Guardians in Cleveland.

Bernardino, meanwhile, is up with Boston for the second time this season. The 31-year-old was optioned to Worcester last Tuesday, but he actually joined the big-league club in San Diego over the weekend as a member of the taxi squad. He was eligible to be called up on Monday since he is replacing an injured player.

Claimed off waivers from the Mariners in mid-April, Bernardino has appeared in 11 games for the Red Sox thus far. In that time frame, the native Californian has pitched to a 3.65 ERA (4.75 FIP) with 10 strikeouts to three walks over 12 1/3 innings of work.

With Bleier going on the injured list, Bernardino joins Joely Rodriguez as the only two lefties available to manager Alex Cora out of the Red Sox bullpen.

(Picture of Richard Bleier: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Angel Bastardo named South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week

Red Sox pitching prospect Angel Bastardo has been named the South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week for the week of May 15-21, Minor League Baseball announced on Monday.

Bastardo made his seventh start of the season for High-A Greenville in its 3-2 loss to the Bowling Green Hot Rods at Fluor Field last Wednesday. Though he did not factor into the decision, the right-hander allowed just one hit on two walks and seven strikeouts over six scoreless innings. He finished with 80 pitches (50 strikes) and induced 11 swings-and-misses.

In seven starts for the Drive this season, Bastardo has posted a 5.03 ERA and 4.13 FIP with 47 strikeouts to 17 walks over 34 innings of work. The 20-year-old has impressed as of late by holding opposing hitters to a .170 batting average against in the month of May.

Among qualified pitchers in the South Atlantic League, Bastardo ranks second in strikeouts per nine innings (12.44), second in strikeout rate (32.9 percent), fifth in opponents’ batting average (.206), 13th in WHIP (1.26), first in swinging-strike rate (20.2 percent), 11th in FIP, and eighth in xFIP (3.88), per FanGraphs.

Bastardo, who turns 21 next month, is currently regarded by as the No. 40 prospect in Boston’s farm system, which ranks 14th among pitchers in the organization. The native Venezuelan originally signed with the Red Sox for just $35,000 as an international free agent coming out of Moron in July 2018.

With a projectable 6-foot-1, 175-pound frame, Bastardo throws from a three-quarters arm slot and operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a 93-95 mph fastball that tops out at 97 mph and shows sink, an 83-86 mph curveball that varies in shape, and an 84-88 mph changeup that can be inconsistent at times, according to his scouting report.

Given that he has made just seven starts at the High-A level thus far and still has areas to improve in (i.e. command and control of the strike zone), it would not be surprising if Bastardo were to spend most of the 2023 season with Greenville before garnering consideration for a promotion to Double-A Portland.

With that being said, that timeline could accelerate if Bastardo continues to turn in impressive outings for the Drive as he has been doing. It is also worth mentioning that the righty can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft at the end of the year, though him being added to Boston’s 40-man roster in November seems unlikely at this point since he is still a ways away from sniffing the major-leagues.

(Picture of Angel Bastardo: Kelly O’Connor/

Red Sox officially release Ryan Brasier

The Red Sox have officially released veteran reliever Ryan Brasier, the club announced earlier Sunday afternoon.

Brasier was designated for assignment following last Sunday’s 9-1 loss to the Cardinals at Fenway Park in which he gave up three runs over a career-high 2 1/3 innings. The 35-year-old right-hander is now free to sign elsewhere as a free agent after clearing waivers while the Red Sox remain on the hook for the remainder of his $2 million salary this year.

In 20 relief appearances for the Red Sox this season, Brasier struggled to a 7.29 ERA and 4.40 FIP with 18 strikeouts to nine walks across 21 innings pitched. He lost his spot on Boston’s active roster when left-handed reliever Joely Rodriguez was reinstated from the injured list last Monday.

“Honestly, a new start might not be bad,” Brasier told reporters last Sunday night. “Obviously getting to play at Fenway every day is a dream come true. Two parks you want to play at growing up are Yankee Stadium and Fenway. And I got to do both a lot. So grateful. It sucks obviously but new start.”

Brasier first joined the Red Sox organization as a minor-league free agent shortly before the start of the 2018 season. After spending the previous year pitching for the Hiroshima Carp of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, the righty impressed in spring training and was called up by Boston for the first time that July.

Having gone nearly five years between big-league appearances, Brasier proved to be a major contributor out of the bullpen for the Red Sox during their historic World Series run. He compiled a 1.60 ERA in the regular season and allowed just one earned run over nine postseason outings (8 2/3 innings) in his first taste of October baseball.

After pitching to a 4.57 ERA from 2019-2020, Brasier dealt with a plethora of injuries in 2021 and did not make his season debut until early September. He was effective down the stretch and compiled a 1.50 ERA in 13 outings (12 innings), but that success did not carry over into the 2022 campaign.

Instead, Brasier posted a 5.78 ERA over a team-high 68 relief appearances (62 1/3 innings). Because he ended the season on a strong note, though, Brasier kept his roster spot through the winter and made his fourth career Opening Day roster this spring. While the Red Sox may have been optimistic about Brasier’s outlook heading into the 2023 season, things changed relatively quickly.

To go along with a 7.29 ERA in 21 innings pitched this year, Brasier was also hit hard. According to Baseball Savant, the 6-foot, 227-pound hurler currently ranks in the fifth percentile in average exit velocity, the second percentile in hard hit rate and the eighth percentile in expected batting average.

Even with those discouraging peripherals in mind, it would not be surprising if Brasier were to land with a new team in need of experienced bullpen depth in the coming days or weeks. If Brasier were to sign elsewhere, his new team would only be responsible for a prorated portion of the league minimum salary.

“A couple tweaks, maybe somebody sees something that they think they can build on,” Brasier said of potential suitors. “That’s all you can really ask for.”

Brasier, who turns 36 in August, forged a 4.55 ERA and 3.79 FIP with 211 strikeouts to 65 walks in 222 career appearances (one start) spanning 209 2/3 innings of work in a Red Sox uniform. He ranks 37th on the club’s all-time list for appearances.

With Brasier’s release, Chris Sale and Rafael Devers are now the only two players remaining from Boston’s 2018 championship team.

(Picture of Ryan Brasier: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)