Red Sox pitching prospect Brandon Walter ahead of Portland Sea Dogs debut: ‘Everybody says Double-A is the separator. I’m kind of excited to see how I match up, how I’m going to attack these hitters’

Red Sox pitching prospect Brandon Walter is slated to make his first start of the season for Double-A Portland on Sunday afternoon as they go for a series victory over the New Hampshire Fisher Cats at Hadlock Field.

Update: It was a quality 2022 debut for Walter, who allowed zero runs on one hit, no walks, and one hit batsman to go along with seven strikeouts over five solid innings of work. 40 of the 62 pitches he threw went for strikes.


Walter, 25, burst onto the scene in 2021 while putting together a stellar season between Low-A Salem and High-A Greenville. The left-hander was not even regarded by Baseball America as one of the top 30 prospects in Boston’s farm system at this point last year.

After breaking minor-league camp with Salem, though, Walter proceeded to put up a 1.45 ERA and 1.78 FIP with 46 strikeouts to just six walks over his first 13 appearances (two starts) and 31 innings of the season before earning a promotion to Greenville in early July 6.

With the Drive, Walter was used primarily as a starter. The lefty posted a 3.70 ERA and 3.13 FIP to go along with 86 strikeouts to 14 walks across 12 starts and 58 1/3 innings pitched at the High-A level. He was recognized by MLB Pipeline as the organization’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year in October.

The Red Sox originally selected Walter in the 26th round of the 2019 amateur draft out of the University of Delaware. As a late-round senior sign, the New Castle native received a modest $35,000 bonus from the club.

Two years removed from Tommy John surgery at the time of signing with the Sox, Walter made his professional debut in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League. He appeared in 13 games for the GCL Red Sox before the season came to a close.

The following spring, Walter fell victim to the fact that the 2020 minor-league season was wiped out because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the Red Sox did not invite him to their alternate training site that summer, Walter was left to develop on his own time. But he went on to take advantage of his time away from affiliated ball.

“I just used that whole time [to my advantage],” Walter told’s Ian Browne back in December. “I wanted to add on some weight. I put on 15 pounds of muscle during that time to try to make myself a better athlete. I kept the arm going, I kept throwing. I just trained. I mean luckily for me, there was a bunch of Minor Leaguers from my area that were in the same situation. So we all just kind of looked at it as a time to get better.”

On the heels of what had the makings to be a lost year in 2020, Walter came into camp last spring and made immediate strides by displaying an increase in fastball velocity to coincide with his changeup and slider.

Among High-A East pitchers who accrued at least 50 innings on the mound in 2021, Walter ranked fourth in strikeouts per nine innings (13.27), 16th in walks per nine innings (2.16), second in strikeout rate (36.3%), 18th in walk rate (5.9%), eighth in batting average against (.211), seventh in WHIP (1.03), fifth in swinging strike rate (17.6%), fourth in FIP, and first in xFIP (2.58), per FanGraphs.

For as dominant as Walter was in Greenville last summer, he was — on average — facing hitters who were slightly less than a year younger than him. That will likely not be the case for 6-foot-2, 200 pound southpaw in 2022.

As he recently explained to The Portland Press Herald’s Travis Lazarczyk, Walter is aware of the significance that comes with the jump from pitching at High-A to pitching at the Double-A level.

“Obviously, Double-A is a big jump up from High-A. It’s one of the biggest jumps you’re going to make in professional baseball,” Walter said. “The hitters are just smarter. They’re older. They’re not going to chase as much stuff outside the zone as younger guys in the lower levels. They’ll do more damage when you make mistakes in the middle.

“Everybody says Double-A is the separator,” he added. “I’m kind of excited to see how I match up, how I’m going to attack these hitters.”

Walter, who turns 26 in September, enters the 2022 season as Baseball America’s No. 11 Red Sox prospect, which ranks fifth among pitchers in the organization.

Beyond the jump from High-A to Double-A, the 2022 campaign is undoubtedly an important one for Walter since he can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in his career by the end of the year.

So, you can make the case that Walter will be pitching for a spot on Boston’s 40-man roster this season while also auditioning for 29 other teams in the event that he is not added to the Sox’ 40-man come late November.

(Picture of Brandon Walter: Kelly O’Connor/


New Podding the Red Sox episode: Red Sox pitching prospect Brandon Walter joins the show

On this week’s installment of Podding the Red Sox: A Podcast, I am joined by Red Sox pitching prospect Brandon Walter.

Walter, 25, was originally selected by Boston in the 26th round of the 2019 amateur draft out of the University of Delaware.

A native of Delaware himself, the left-hander is a few weeks removed from a breakout 2021 season in which he enjoyed much success with Low-A Salem and High-A Greenville.

All told, Walter posted a 2.92 ERA and strikeout-to-walk ratio of 132:20 over 25 appearances (14 starts) spanning 81 1/3 innings pitched between the two levels this season.

Among the topics Brandon and I discussed are what he attributes to his stellar 2021 campaign, what he did during the COVID-19 layoff last year, how he has changed as a pitcher since undergoing Tommy John surgery in college, what his draft experience was like coming out of the University of Delaware in 2019, how he has exceeded expectations as a 26th-round selection, what his plans for the offseason look like, where he would like to begin the 2022 season, and much more!

The episode is available to listen to on iTunes and Spotify, among other platforms.

Thank you to Brandon for taking some time out of his Monday to have a conversation with yours truly. You can follow Brandon on Twitter (@b_walt_) by clicking here and on Instagram (@b_walt_) by clicking here.

Thank you for listening and we will see you next time! Please make sure to subscribe and leave a five-star review if you can!

(Picture of Brandon Walter courtesy of the Greenville Drive)

Red Sox pitching prospect Brandon Walter owns 0.53 ERA in last 3 starts for High-A Greenville

Of the four Red Sox pitching prospects who started for their respective affiliates on Sunday, Brandon Walter is undoubtedly the least-known of the bunch.

Going off’s most-recent top 60 rankings, Walter (No. 41) ranks ranks behind the likes of Triple-A Worcester’s Kutter Crawford (No. 27), Double-A Portland’s Brayan Bello (No. 7), and Low-A Salem’s Bradley Blalock (No. 36).

Still, of those four hurlers, Walter put together the most impressive outing in High-A Greenville’s 2-1 victory over the Rome Braves at Fluor Field on Sunday afternoon.

In what was his sixth start of the year for the Drive, the left-hander kept the Braves off the scoreboard while scattering just one hit and two walks to go along with five strikeouts over five dominating innings of work.

Walter, who turns 25 next month, opened the 2021 season with Salem and posted a miniscule 1.45 ERA over 13 appearances (two starts) spanning 31 innings of work, resulting in a promotion to Greenville in early July.

Making his Drive debut on July 6, Walter got off to a shaky start, allowing a total of 12 earned runs to cross the plate over his first three outings and 12 innings pitched with the affiliate. That’s good for an ERA of 9.00.

On July 28, however, Walter seemingly turned a corner, as he struck out a career-high 12 batters while surrendering just two unearned runs on one hit, one walk, and one hit batsman over the course of six strong frames against the Hickory Crawdads.

Since then, the 6-foot-2, 200 pound southpaw really has not looked back and has emerged as one of the sharpest starters in the High-A East as a result.

That being the case because, going back to July 28, Walter has pitched to the tune of a dazzling 0.53 ERA and 1.67 FIP while striking out more than 39% of the batters he has faced over his last three starts (17 innings).

On the 2021 campaign as a whole, the Delaware native has produced a 4.03 ERA, a 3.62 FIP, and 2.09 xFIP to go along with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 46:6 in his six starts and 29 innings of work put in with Greenville.

Among the top hurlers in the High-A East who have pitched at least 29 innings so far this season, Walter ranks fifth in strikeouts per nine innings (14.28), 16th in walks per nine innings (1.86), eighth in strikeout percentage (37.7%), 15th in walk percentage (4.9%), 29th in WHIP (1.10), 30th in FIP, and first in xFIP, per FanGraphs.

The Red Sox originally selected Walter in the 26th round of the 2019 amateur draft out of the University of Delaware. In his time with the Blue Hens, the southpaw was forced to miss the majority of the 2017 season and the entirety of the 2018 season on account of undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Per his scouting report, Walter lowered his arm slot during the COVID-19 shutdown last year, which in turn added more velocity and life to his two-seam fastball. He also works with a mid-80s changeup and a slider that has “major-league potential.”

On top of that, the 24-year-old recently drew a comparison to Rays lefty Ryan Yarbrough from FanGraphs‘ Eric Longenhagen earlier this month as well.

“Walter had a huge velo bump from 2019-21, climbing from the upper-80s into the mid-90s,” Longenhagen wrote last week. “He’s also lowered his release a little bit, and works largely off a two-seamer (he can occasionally climb the ladder, living off angle) and changeup, as well as a tertiary slider that has more lateral movement now than it did in 2019 (probably due to the release change). He has an atypical delivery for a starter but definitely has a backend starter’s repertoire and command. In many ways, he’s similar to Ryan Yarbrough. I have Walter projected in a multi-inning relief role.”

Given how well he has performed in Greenville as of late, one has to wonder if Walter could be on the fast track to yet another promotion to Portland in the not so distant future — especially if the Red Sox project him to be more of a multi-inning reliever as Longenhagen suggests.

Regardless of that, though, Walter is lined up to make his next start for the Drive sometime next weekend during their series against the Bowling Green Hot Rods (Rays affiliate) in Southern Kentucky.

(Picture of Brandon Walter: Bryan Green)