Connor Seabold will start for Red Sox in Monday’s series opener against Blue Jays

In addition to Yolmer Sanchez, the Red Sox will also be calling up right-hander Connor Seabold from Triple-A Worcester ahead of Monday’s series opener against the Blue Jays in Toronto, according to manager Alex Cora.

Seabold, who joined the Red Sox in Cleveland as a member of their taxi squad, will make the second start of his major-league career opposite Blue Jays hurler Kevin Gausman at Rogers Centre on Monday night.

While Sanchez is expected to take the place of outfielder Jarren Duran on Boston’s roster, it’s likely that Seabold will take the place of fellow right-hander Tanner Houck, who will also be placed on the restricted list since he, too, is not vaccinated against COVID-19 and therefore cannot travel to Canada.

The Red Sox originally hoped that Garrett Whitlock (right hip inflammation) would be able to return from the 15-day injured list in time to start on Monday. That is no longer the case as that responsibility will now fall to a rookie in Seabold.

In 11 starts for the WooSox this season, the 26-year-old has posted a 2.09 ERA and 2.99 FIP with 51 strikeouts to 14 walks over 51 2/3 innings of work. He was limited to just one inning in his most-recent outing at Polar Park on Friday so that he would be ready to go in case the Red Sox needed him.

Originally acquired from the Phillies with Nick Pivetta in exchange for relievers Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree in August 2020, Seabold is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 21 prospect in Boston’s farm system, which ranks 10th among pitchers in the organization.

Last September, Seabold made big-league debut against the White Sox under somewhat similar COVID-related circumstances. The California-born righty allowed two runs in three innings at Guaranted Rate Field on Sept. 11 and was optioned back down to Worcester the following day.

Since he pitched in the Arizona Fall League last year, it is already known that Seabold is vaccinated against COVID-19. The 6-foot-3, 200 pounder is already on Boston’s 40-man roster as well. On the mound, he works with a four-pitch mix that consists of a mid-90s fastball, a mid-80s slider, a low-80s changeup, and a mid-70s curveball.

Seabold will become the 10th (9th if you exclude Austin Davis) different pitcher to start a game for the Red Sox this season. He will be followed by Michael Wacha on Tuesday and Nick Pivetta on Wednesday.

(Picture of Connor Seabold: Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

Red Sox pitching prospect Connor Seabold joins team in Cleveland, is likely to make 2022 debut in Toronto on Monday

Red Sox pitching prospect Connor Seabold has joined the team in Cleveland as a member of their taxi squad.

While Rich Hill will start Sunday’s series finale against the Guardians, the expectation is that Seabold will either start or pitch after an opener in Monday’s series opener against the Blue Jays in Toronto, per The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham.

Seabold was limited to just one inning for this very reason in his latest start for Triple-A Worcester on Friday night at Polar Park. The right-hander allowed one run on two hits and now owns a 2.09 ERA with 51 strikeouts to 14 walks in 11 outings (51 2/3 innings) with the WooSox this season.

Originally acquired from the Phillies with fellow righty Nick Pivetta in exchange for relievers Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree in August 2020, Seabold is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 21 prospect in the Sox’ farm system, which ranks 10th among pitchers in the organization.

Boston finds itself in need of starting pitchers for its upcoming series at Rogers Centre as Nathan Eovaldi (low back inflammation) and Garrett Whitlock (right hip inflammation) remain out on the 15-day injured list.

Tanner Houck would seemingly be an option to fill in against the Jays, but he is not eligible to pitch in Toronto since he is not vaccinated against COVID-19. Houck, as well as outfielder Jarren Duran, will therefore be placed on the restricted list.

Seabold, who is vaccinated, made his major-league debut against the White Sox under somewhat circumstances last September while filling in for the COVID-stricken Pivetta. The then-25-year-old yielded two runs in three innings at Guaranteed Rate Field on Sept. 11 and was optioned back down to Worcester the following day.

Now 26, Seabold is looing forward to the challenges his second big-league outing — and first north of the border — will present.

“I’m stoked,” Seabold told NESN’s Jahmai Webster at Progressive Field on Saturday. “I mean, getting another opportunity to come back up and prove what I can do, that’s what you look for.”

Equipped with a four-seam fastball, slider, changeup, and curveball, Seabold is already a member of Boston’s 40-man roster. So, in theory, the Red Sox could add the California-born hurler to their major-league roster on Monday when Houck goes on the restricted list.

(Picture of Connor Seabold: Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

Connor Seabold limited to 1 inning in latest start for Triple-A Worcester in case Red Sox need a starter for upcoming series in Toronto

Red Sox pitching prospect Connor Seabold went just one inning in his 11th start of the season for Triple-A Worcester on Friday night. The right-hander allowed one run on two hits, no walks, and two strikeouts.

Matched up against the Charlotte Knights at Polar Park, Seabold served up a first-pitch home run to the very first batter of the game in Mark Payton. He then struck out Yolbert Sanchez and Blake Rutherford in consecutive order before giving up a two-out single to Xavier Fernandez. Micker Adolfo ended the inning by grounding out to third base.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 21 (16 strikes), Seabold was relieved by fellow righty Taylor Cole in the second inning. Following Worcester’s 10-2 win over Charlotte, WooSox manager Chad Tracy explained to reporters (including MassLive.com’s Katie Morrison) that Seabold’s early departure was not injury- or performance-related.

“I just was told that he’s an option and they might need a starter and I was just told to limit him to one inning,” Tracy said. “So for now, that’s what we know. So we’ll see what happens.

As things stand right now, the Red Sox find themselves in need of a starter for Monday’s series opener against the Blue Jays in Toronto. There was hope that Garrett Whitlock would be activated from the 15-day injured list in time to start that game, but the righty is still dealing with continued soreness in his right hip and is unlikely to pitch during the team’s road trip.

This is where someone like Seabold — who is on the 40-man roster comes into play. Since he only pitched one inning on Friday night, the 26-year-old would still be able to provide Boston with some length on Monday. He is also vaccinated against COVID-19, as that was a prerequisite for all minor-leaguers who played in the Arizona Fall League last year.

Originally acquired from the Phillies along with Nick Pivetta in August 2020, Seabold is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 10 pitching prospect in Boston’s farm system.

In his 11 starts with the WooSox this year, the California-born hurler has posted a 2.09 ERA and 0.99 WHIP to go along with 51 strikeouts to 14 walks over 51 2/3 innings of work. He is also holding opposing hitters to a .197/.262/.277 slash line against.

Under somewhat similar circumstances last season, Seabold made his major-league debut against the White Sox while starting in place of Pivetta at Guaranteed Rate Field on September 11. He allowed two runs over three innings in that outing and was optioned to Worcester the following day.

If Seabold does get the starting nod on Monday, he could replace another pitcher on the major-league roster like Tanner Houck, who will be placed on the restricted list since he remains unvaccinated against COVID-19.

As Tracy said, though, it’s more of a wait-and-see situation at the moment.

(Picture of Connor Seabold: Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

Red Sox place top pitching prospect Brandon Walter on Triple-A Worcester’s 7-day injured list due to neck strain

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)

3 Florida Complex League Red Sox pitchers combine for 22 strikeouts in 4-3 win over FCL Braves

The rookie-level Florida Complex League Red Sox pitching staff combined for an unprecedented 22 strikeouts in Thursday’s 4-3 win over the FCL Braves at CoolToday Park in North Port.

Nathanael Cruz got the start and struck out four of the six batters he faced over two scoreless, no-hit innings. The 19-year-old right-hander began the 2022 season with Low-A Salem but made just one start for the affiliate before being placed on the 7-day injured list on April 21.

Last Saturday, Cruz was officially sent out on a rehab assignment with the FCL Red Sox and has since allowed one earned run on three hits, no walks, and five strikeouts across two starts and three total innings of work.

Originally signed out of the Dominican Republic for $200,000 as an international free agent in July 2019, Cruz is currently regarded by SoxProspects.com as the No. 48 prospect in Boston’s farm system. Per his SoxProspects.com scouting report, the 6-foot-2, 175 pound hurler works with a 93-95 mph fastball, an 85-87 mph changeup, and an 80-82 mph changeup.

Jose Ramirez, not to be confused with the Guardians All-Star, pitched in relief of Cruz. The 21-year-old righty yielded three earned runs on three hits, no walks, and two hit batsman. He also fanned 12 of the 20 batters he faced over five innings to set a new career-high in that category.

In four appearances (three starts) for the FCL Red Sox this season, Ramirez has posted has posted a 5.14 ERA and 1.43 WHIP with 18 strikeouts to eight walks across 14 frames. He is, however, holding opposing hitters to a .642 OPS against.

The Red Sox originally signed Ramirez out of Santo Domingo in May 2018. While not regarded as one of the team’s top pitching prospects, the 6-foot-2, 170 pounder and operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a 90-95 mph fastball, a mid-70s curveball, and a late, fading changeup.

Lastly, Henry Nunez closed things out and earned the win by punching out six and walking only one over two more scoreless, no-hit innings. The 21-year-old right-hander has yet to allow a run through his first three relief outings (6 2/3 innings) of the 2022 season. He has done so while holding the opposition to a .248 OPS against.

Like Ramirez, Nunez is not regarded as one of the Red Sox’ premier pitching prospects. The native Puerto Rican originally signed with the club as an undrafted free agent coming out of Escuela Central High School in June 2020.

Per his SoxProspects.com scouting report, Nunez — who is listed at 6-foot-4 and 212 pounds, sits at 90-93 mph with his fastball and also works with a breaking ball and changeup that sit in the mid-70s and low-80s, respectively.

With Thursday’s victory over the Braves, the FCL Red Sox are now 8-4 on the young season. They will play two against the FCL Twins in Fort Myers on Friday.

(Picture of Nathanael Cruz: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox relief prospect Cody Scroggins has strung together 9 straight scoreless appearances for High-A Greenville

It has been exactly one month since Red Sox relief prospect Cody Scroggins first embarked upon a lengthy scoreless appearances streak with High-A Greenville.

In his last nine outings dating back to May 21, Scroggins has allowed five hits and six walks to go along with 14 strikeouts over nine cumulative scoreless frames.

The impressive run has lowered Scroggins’ ERA on the season down to 4.03. The 25-year-old right-hander has also gone 5-for-5 in save opportunities while posting a 3.10 FIP and 3.66 xFIP with 33 punchouts to 15 walks across 21 appearances (22 1/3 innings) for the Drive in 2022.

Among South Atlantic League pitchers who have accrued at least 20 innings on the mound so far this season, Scroggins ranks 15th in strikeouts per nine innings (13.30), 28th in strikeout rate (31.4%), 20th in FIP, and 26th in xFIP, per FanGraphs.

The Red Sox originally selected Scroggins in the ninth round of the 2019 amateur draft out of the University of Arkansas. The Oklahoma-born righty signed with the club for $100,000 and began his pro career with the Lowell Spinners.

After his first full professional season was wiped out as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Scroggins pitched to a 3.33 ERA in 48 2/3 innings between Low-A Salem and Greenville in 2021. All told, he currently owns a 4.91 ERA in 39 appearances at the High-A level since being promoted to Greenville last July.

Per his SoxProspects.com scouting report, the 6-foot, 195 pound hurler throws from a three-quarters arm slot and operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a 93-95 mph fastball that has some sink to it, an 84-86 mph slider, and an 85-87 mph changeup.

While not regarded by publications such as SoxProspects.com as one of the top pitching prospects in the organization, Scroggins did receive somewhat of a shoutout from FanGraphs’ Kevin Goldstein and Tess Taruskin back in March. They described the former Razorback as “a slider monster who sits 92-95 and has very poor control,” which would explain the high number of walks.

Scroggins, who turns 26 in August, would appear to be a prime candidate to earn a mid-season promotion to Double-A Portland if a spot becomes available in the Sea Dogs’ bullpen at some point this summer.

Until then, Scroggins will look to keep his scoreless appearances streak rolling as the Drive open a six-game series against the Bowling Green Hot Rods at Fluor Field on Tuesday night.

(Picture of Cody Scroggins: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Josh Winckowski will make second career start for Red Sox on Wednesday

Josh Winckowski will start for the Red Sox against the Athletics on Wednesday, the club announced on Tuesday.

With Nathan Eovaldi (low back inflammation) and Garrett Whitlock (right hip inflammation) both on the 15-day injured list, the Sox found themselves down two starters heading into their nine-game homestand at Fenway Park.

Nick Pivetta pitched admirably in Tuesday’s 6-1 win over Oakland, allowing just one run on three hits, two walks, and three strikeouts across eight strong innings of work.

Winckowski, meanwhile, will be making his second career big-league start on Wednesday. The right-hander made his major-league debut while serving as the Sox’ 27th man in a day-night doubleheader against the Orioles in Boston on May 28.

Over just three innings, Winckowski surrendered four runs on six hits and three walks to go along with four strikeouts on 62 pitches (36 pitches). He threw 29 sinkers, 16 sliders, 16 four-seam fastballs, and one changeup, per Baseball Savant. His fastball averaged 93.9 mph and topped out at 96 mph.

Since returning to Triple-A Worcester on May 29, Winckowski has made two starts for the WooSox. The 23-year-old struggled against the Syracuse Mets on May 3, but was superb in his last time out against the Buffalo Bisons (6 strikeouts over 7 scoreless innings) en route to being named International League Pitcher of the Week on Monday.

Because that start came on June 8, Winckowski will be working on six days rest when he takes the mound on Wednesday. The 6-foot-4, 202 pound hurler was slated to start for the WooSox at Polar Park on Thursday, but that will no longer be the case.

Originally acquired from the Mets in the three-team trade that sent Andrew Benintendi to the Royals last February, Winckowski is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 12 pitching prospect in Boston’s farm system, which ranks sixth among pitchers in the organization.

The Red Sox will need to create a spot on their 26-man roster for Winckowski, who turns 24 later this month and is already on the 40-man roster.

(Picture of Josh Winckowski: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox pitching prospect Elmer Rodriguez-Cruz tosses 4 scoreless innings in professional debut

Red Sox pitching prospect Elmer Rodriguez-Cruz made his professional debut in the Florida Complex League on Tuesday afternoon.

Matched up against the FCL Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, the right-hander allowed just two hits and no walks to go along with two strikeouts over four scoreless innings to lead the FCL Red Sox to an 11-0 win.

While pitch counts from these games are not available to the public, Rodriguez-Cruz took a no-hitter into the third inning and wound up retiring 12 of the 14 batters he faced.

The Red Sox originally selected Rodriguez-Cruz in the fourth round of the 2021 amateur draft out of Leadership Christian Academy in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. They swayed the 18-year-old away from his commitment to the University of Oregon by signing him for $497,500.

After not pitching competitively last season, Rodriguez-Cruz took part in the Sox’ fall performance program and came into the year ranked by FanGraphs as the No. 43 prospect in Boston’s farm system.

Back in March, FanGraphs’ Eric Longenhagen and Tess Taruskin described Rodriguez-Cruz as “a very projectable righty” who “showed a loose, whippy, inconsistent delivery on the showcase circuit and was sitting mostly 91-92 mph while topping out at 94. His curveball has good-looking shape but lacks power, and he has pretty crude feel for creating action on his changeup, but ERC is a premium arm talent developmental prospect.”

Per his SoxProspects.com scouting report, the 6-foot-3, 160 pound righty works at 90-93 mph and tops out at 95 mph with his fastball, 75-78 mph with his curveball, and 80-83 mph with his changeup.

Given that he does not turn 19 until August, it seems likely that the Red Sox will exhibit patience when it comes to Rodriguez’s development. The upside is certainly there, but on the flip side of that, there is no need to rush things.

(Picture of Elmer Rodriguez-Cruz: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox promote relief prospect Jacob Webb to High-A Greenville

The Red Sox have promoted relief prospect Jacob Webb to High-A Greenville, per the team’s minor-league transactions log. A spot on Greenville’s roster became available when fellow right-hander Brian Van Belle was promoted to Double-A Portland on Monday.

Webb, 23, was originally selected by the Red Sox in the 14th round of the 2021 amateur draft of Miami University and signed with the club for $122,500 last July. The Ohio native is currently regarded by SoxProspects.com as the No. 57 prospect in Boston’s farm system, ranking 26th among pitchers in the organization.

After closing out the 2021 campaign in Salem, Webb returned to the Red Sox for the start of his first full professional season. Leading up to Tuesday, the righty posted a 2.19 ERA and 3.33 FIP with 39 strikeouts to 19 walks over 18 relief appearances spanning 24 2/3 innings of work. He also converted three of a possible six save opportunities.

Among Carolina League pitchers who have accrued at least 20 innings on the mound so far this year, Webb ranks seventh in strikeouts per nine innings (14.23), 16th in strikeout rate (33.6%), 11th in swinging strike rate (18.3%), 18th in ERA, and 26th in FIP, per FanGraphs.

As indicated by his 16.4% walk rate, command has been an issue at times for Webb. Still, the stuff is there and it clearly played a factor into his promotion. Per his SoxProspects.com scouting report, the burly 6-foot-5, 245 pound hurler works with a three-pitch mix that consists of a 92-94 mph fastball, an 81-85 mph slider, and a changeup.

Now that he has been promoted to Greenville, Webb will join a Drive bullpen that includes the likes of Ryan Fernandez, Cody Scroggins, Casey Cobb, Devin Roedahl, Michael Gettys, Jacinto Arredondo, Robert Kwiatkowski, and Austin Lambright.

(Picture of Jacob Webb: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox pitching prospect Brendan Cellucci finding success as opener with High-A Greenville

On the morning of May 11, Red Sox pitching prospect Brendan Cellucci woke up with an 11.70 ERA through his first nine appearances (10 innings) of the season for High-A Greenville.

Since being selected by the Sox in the 12th round of the 2019 amateur draft out of Tulane University, Cellucci had always been used as a reliever. But the left-hander was struggling mightily while repeating High-A to begin the 2022 campaign.

So, after the first week of May, the Drive decided to switch things up with their pitching staff. Cellucci would become an opener and make his first professional start on Wednesday, May 11, against the Asheville Tourists.

In two scoreless innings of work at McCormick Field that night, the 23-year-old faced the minimum while walking one and striking out four on 26 pitches — 19 of which were strikes.

Since then, Cellucci has thrived as an opener who pitches exclusively on Wednesdays and Sundays. In 10 starts for the Drive, the lefty has posted a miniscule 1.83 ERA and 2.82 FIP with 30 strikeouts to 14 walks over his last 19 2/3 innings of work.

As a reliever to start off the year, Cellucci produced an 18.2% strikeout rate, 18.2% walk rate, .317 batting average against, and a 2.30 WHIP. As a quote-unquote starter, he has produced a 38% strikeout rate, 17.7% walk rate, .138 batting average against, and a 1.17 WHIP, per FanGraphs.

Walks do remain an issue for Cellucci, though the Philadelphia-area native has been able to cut down on the free passes just a bit since moving to Greenville’s starting rotation.

Listed at 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds, Cellucci operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a 93-95 mph fastball that tops out at 97 mph, an 83-86 mph curveball, and an 85-87 mph changeup, per his SoxProspects.com scouting report.

Cellucci, who turns 24 at the end of the month, is currently regarded by FanGraphs as the 39th-ranked prospect in Boston’s farm system. Back in March, FanGraphs’ Kevin Goldstein and Tess Taruskin described Cellucci as a southpaw with a solid foundation who “just needs to work on his ability to locate his three offerings in order to actualize his potential role as an impact reliever.”

With that being said, Cellucci can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in his career this winter. The Red Sox, of course, would need to add him to their 40-man roster by the November deadline if they intend to prevent that from happening.

In the meantime, it certainly seems as though Cellucci could be on his way to earning a midsummer promotion to Double-A Portland given that he has already logged 67 innings in Greenville dating back to the start of last season.

(Picture of Brendan Cellucci: Gwinn Davis/Greenville Drive)