The Red Sox needed to clear a spot on their 40-man roster after acquiring Richard Bleier from the Marlins for Matt Barnes and cash considerations on Monday. They cleared that spot by designating relief prospect Franklin German for assignment.
German, 25, was regarded by SoxProspects.com as the No. 22 prospect in Boston’s farm system, ranking seventh among pitchers in the organization. The Red Sox originally acquired the right-hander from the Yankees alongside veteran reliever Adam Ottavino in January 2021.
After beginning the 2021 minor-league season as a starter with Double-A Portland, German ultimately moved to the Sea Dogs’ bullpen and found success in a relief role. That success carried over to the 2022 campaign, as German earned German a promotion to Triple-A Worcester last May.
In 32 relief appearances with the WooSox, German posted a 2.58 ERA with 46 strikeouts to 16 walks over 38 1/3 innings of work. He pitched to a miniscule 1.54 ERA and held opposing hitters to a .431 OPS against from July 6 through September 14, which resulted in him getting called up by the Red Sox three days later.
German got lit up for four runs while failing to record an out in his big-league debut against the Royals at Fenway Park. He then allowed runs in his next three outings before ending his season with a scoreless appearance against the Blue Jays on October 2. All told, the righty posted an ERA of 18.00 (eight earned runs in four innings) to go along with four strikeouts and four walks.
Despite the rough showing in his first go-around at the big-league level, German was named the 2022 Red Sox Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year after forging a 2.72 ERA and 64:19 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 43 appearances (49 2/3 innings) between Portland and Worcester. He also compiled a 1.88 ERA (three earned runs in 14 1/3 innings) for the Aguilas Cibaenas of the Dominican Winter League.
The Red Sox will now have the next seven days to either trade, release, or waive German, who took part in the club’s rookie development program last week. Given that he does not turn 26 until September and still has three minor-league options, it seems likely that German will draw trade interest from other teams in need of relief help.
Though he lacks major-league experience, German does possess a three-pitch mix that consists of a four-seam fastball, a slider, and a changeup. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound hurler hovered around 97.7 mph with his four-seamer last season, per Baseball Savant.
It comes as somewhat of a surprise that German lost his spot on Boston’s 40-man roster given his standing as an intriguing prospect. As noted by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, though, the decision to designate German shows that the Red Sox are high on (and do not want to risk losing) other relievers like Ryan Brasier, Zack Kelly, Wyatt Mills, and Kaleb Ort.
(Picture of Franklin German: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)