Red Sox drafted 8 pitchers in 2021; how did each of them fare during first full pro season?

The Red Sox selected and signed eight pitchers in the 2021 amateur draft. Of those eight, seven were taken out of college, one was taken out of high school, and one has yet to make his professional debut.

For the vast majority of these pitchers, the 2022 minor-league campaign represented their first full seasons in pro balls. Here is a rundown of how each of them fared this year, beginning with the highest draft pick and ending with the lowest one.

Elmer Rodriguez-Cruz, RHP (4th round, 105th overall pick)

Taken out of Leadership Christian Academy in Puerto Rico, Rodriguez-Cruz forwent his commitment to the University of Oregon by signing with Boston for $497,500. The 19-year-old right-hander made his pro debut in the Florida Complex League this summer and posted a 1.95 ERA with 36 strikeouts to 12 walks over 11 appearances (8 starts, 32 1/3 innings) before earning a promotion to Low-A Salem in late August. He then allowed one run while striking out six and walking three in two starts (6 innings) with the Salem Sox.

Listed at 6-foot-3 and 160 pounds with room to grow, Rodriguez-Cruz throws from a three-quarters arm slot and operates with a four-pitch mix that consists of a 90-93 mph fastball that tops out at 95 mph, a 75-78 mph curveball, an 80-83 mph changeup, and a slider that is considered to be a work in progress. He is currently regarded by SoxProspects.com as the No. 19 prospect in Boston’s farm system.

Wyatt Olds, RHP (7th round, 196th overall pick)

Olds, 23, broke camp with High-A Greenville this spring after ending the 2021 season in Salem. The University of Oklahoma product forged a 6.01 ERA with 130 strikeouts to 50 walks over 26 outings (25 starts) and 106 1/3 innings for the Drive. He also made one start for Double-A Portland in September and allowed two earned runs across 4 2/3 innings of work.

At 6-foot and 183 pounds, Olds pitches exclusively from the stretch and possesses a 93-96 mph fastball that tops out at 98 mph, an 85-88 mph slider, and an 87-89 mph changeup, per his SoxProspects.com scouting report. He is currently regarded by the site as the No. 56 prospect in the organization.

Hunter Dobbins, RHP (8th round, 226th overall pick)

Sliding in right ahead of Olds in SoxProspects.com’s year-end rankings is Dobbins. The Texas Tech product missed the entirety of the 2021 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery last March and signed with Boston for $197,500 four months later. After making a full recovery from the procedure, Dobbins debuted with the Salem Red Sox back in June. He compiled a 5.22 ERA — but much more respectable 3.76 xFIP — with 68 strikeouts to 22 walks over 17 starts spanning 69 innings pitched.

Dobbins, also 23, is listed at 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds. The former Red Raider works with a four-pitch arsenal that includes a 91-94 mph heater that tops out at 96 mph, a 74-78 mph curveball, an 83-85 mph changeup, and a high-80s slider that is used sparingly, according to SoxProspects.com. He is projected by the site to make the jump to Greenville next spring.

Matt Litwicki, RHP (10th round, 286th overall pick)

Litwicki is the one pitcher in this draft class who has yet to take the mound in an organized game. The 24-year-old righty was limited to just 31 1/3 innings at Indiana University (missed the entire 2018 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, missed time in 2021 because of back and shoulder injuries) and received a $47,500 signing bonus from the Sox.

Per SoxProspects.com, Litwicki suffered a setback while rehabbing earlier this year and wound up missing the entirety of the 2022 campaign as a result. When healthy, the 6-foot-2, 220-pound hurler has shown that he can reach 99 mph with his four-seamer while also mixing in a low-80s slider. As of now, it remains to be seen if Litwicki is on track to be ready for spring training.

Christopher Troye, RHP (12th round, 346th overall pick)

Troye, who turns 24 in February, received a $122,500 signing bonus from Boston after spending four years (and undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2020) at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The Brentwood native missed the first month or so of the 2022 season with an undisclosed injury, but he made his way to Salem by mid-May.

In 26 relief appearances for the Red Sox, Troye produced a 4.86 ERA (3.10 FIP) with 50 strikeouts to 24 walks over 33 1/3 innings of work. His 35 percent punchout rate ranked ninth among Carolina League pitchers who accrued at least 30 innings, though his 16.8 percent walk rate was the 16th-highest in the league using that same parameter.

Given that he has the ability to strike out hitters and miss bats at a high rate, it should come as no surprise that Troye possesses tantalizing stuff. The 6-foot-4, 225-pounder sits in the mid-90s with his fastball and can reach 99 mph with the pitch, according to SoxProspects.com. He also flashes a 12-6 curveball, but has shown that he can struggle with his command at times. How he works to improve that will likely play a key role in his development moving forward.

Jacob Webb, RHP (14th round, 406th overall pick)

Webb may be the furthest along of any pitcher listed here. The 23-year-old righty out of Miami University of Ohio pitched across three different levels this season and made it as far as Portland. He posted a 3.18 ERA with 88 strikeouts to 28 walks in 44 total appearances (56 2/3 innings) between Salem, Greenville, and Portland before heading out west to pitch in the Arizona Fall League. With the Scottsdale Scorpions, Webb yielded four earned runs over 10 innings of relief while fanning 12 of the 41 batters he faced.

Listed at a burly 6-foot-5 and 246 pounds, Webb is currently ranked by SoxProspects.com as the No. 60 prospect in Boston’s farm system. The Dayton native operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a 94-96 mph heater that can reach 98 mph, an 82-84 mph slider, and an 88-90 mph changeup. He is projected to return to the Sea Dogs bullpen for the start of the 2023 season.

Luis Guerrero, RHP (17th round, 496th overall pick)

The lone junior college pitcher included here, Guerrero turned in a solid 2022 campaign after not pitching professionally in 2021. The 22-year-old right-hander out of Chipola College appeared in a total of 27 games between the FCL, Salem, and Greenville. He produced a 3.23 ERA with 59 punchouts to 17 walks over 39 combined innings of work. That includes a 2.08 ERA (1.66 FIP) in seven outings with the Drive.

Originally from the Dominican Republic, Guerrero is listed at 6-foot and 215 pounds. The Bani native can reach triple digits with his four-seam fastball and also possesses an 83-85 mph splitter, an 88-91 mph slider, and a 75-79 mph curveball, per his SoxProspects.com scouting report. He is currently regarded by the site as the 34th-ranked prospect in the system.

Tyler Uberstine, RHP (19th round, 556th overall pick)

A former member of the University of Southern California’s club baseball team, Uberstine transferred to Northwestern University in 2020 and has only seen his stock rise since then. This past season, the 23-year-old righty posted a 3.83 ERA with 101 strikeouts to 35 walks over 21 combined appearances (15 starts, 91 2/3 innings) between Salem and Greenville. He pitched well for the Drive (2.43 ERA) after being promoted in July, but was limited to just seven starts from that point forward due to a quad strain.

Uberstine, who turns 24 in June, is currently regarded by SoxProspects.com as the No. 32 prospect in Boston’s farm system. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound hurler works with a 92-94 mph fastball that tops out at 95 mph, an 85-87 mph changeup, and an 83-85 mph slider, according to the site’s scouting report on him.

(Picture of Elmer Rodriguez-Cruz: Bryan Green/Flickr)

Red Sox’ Wandy Abreu named Dominican Summer League Pitcher of the Year

Red Sox prospect Wandy Abreu has been named the Dominican Summer League Pitcher of the Year, Minor League Baseball announced on Friday.

Abreu, 20, made 18 relief appearances for the DSL Red Sox Blue affiliate this season. Thirteen of those 18 outings were scoreless, as the right-hander posted a 1.22 ERA and 3.14 FIP to go along with 45 strikeouts to 11 walks over 37 total innings of work.

Among the 294 DSL pitchers who threw at least 30 innings in 2022, Abreu ranked 56th in strikeouts per nine innings (10.95), 73rd in walks per nine innings (2.68), 32nd in strikeout rate (31.3 percent), 49th in swinging-strike rate (38.9 percent), 88th in walk rate (7.6 percent), 49th in batting average against (.191), 27th in WHIP (0.97), eighth in ERA, 51st in FIP, and 36th in xFIP (3.18), per FanGraphs.

Boston originally signed Abreu for just $1,000 as an international free agent coming out of the Dominican Republic last November. The Santo Domingo native is listed at 6-foot-4 and 238 pounds. Outside of that, there is not much information on him available.

While Abreu certainly enjoyed success in his pro debut this summer, it is worth mentioning that he was older (1.4 years on average) than the competition he was facing this season. The righty is projected to make the jump to the Florida Complex League next year, so it should be interesting to see how he adjusts to pitching in the United States.

In other award-related news, Ozzie Chavez was named the Dominican Summer League Manager of the Year after leading the DSL Red Sox Blue to a league-best record of 44-16. Chavez has been managing in the Dominican Summer League since 2019 after first joining the Red Sox organization as a minor-league coach in 2015.

(Picture of Dominican Republic flags: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

How did Red Sox pitching prospect Chih-Jung Liu fare in 2022?

Last Saturday marked the three-year anniversary of the Red Sox signing right-hander Chih-Jung Liu as an international free agent out of Taiwan.

Formerly a two-way player in high school and a switch-hitting shortstop in college, Liu received a signing bonus of $750,000 from the Red Sox to work strictly as a pitcher. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tainan City native did not make his professional debut until last July. He made one start in the Florida Complex League before spending the rest of the 2021 campaign with Low-A Salem.

After compiling a 4.29 ERA in 12 starts with the Salem Red Sox, Liu broke camp with High-A Greenville earlier this spring. In many ways, this season was a sophomore slump of sorts for the 23-year-old righty.

Through July 3, Liu had posted an unsightly 7.07 ERA and 6.30 FIP with 59 strikeouts to 25 walks in his first 15 appearances (13 starts) and 56 innings for the Drive. He was allowing more than two home runs per nine innings while yielding a .286 batting average against.

On July 6, Liu was placed on the development list. He did not appear in a game for the next nine days before returning to the mound on July 15. From that point forward, Liu pitched better, though the results were still not great.

In his next 10 outings (eight starts) for Greenville, Liu produced a 4.87 ERA and 6.84 FIP to go along with 47 strikeouts to 21 walks across 44 1/3 innings of work. His strikeout rate rose and his batting average against fell, but he still surrendered 2.64 homers per nine innings and walked nearly 11 percent of the batters he faced.

All told, Liu pitched to a 6.10 ERA and 6.54 FIP in 25 appearances (21 starts) and 100 1/3 innings with the Drive. Among the 18 South Atlantic League pitchers who tossed at least 100 frames this season, Liu ranked ninth in strikeouts per nine innings (9.51), 10th in strikeout rate (23.7 percent), and fourth in swinging-strike rate (14.9 percent). Yet he also ranked 14th in walks per nine innings (4.13) and walk rate (10.3 percent), 17th in batting average against (2.82), and dead last in homers per nine innings (2.42), WHIP (1.57), ERA, and FIP, per FanGraphs.

As inconsistent as those numbers may be, Liu still earned a late-season promotion to Double-A Portland. He made one start for the Sea Dogs on the road against the Somerset Patriots on September 18 and allowed two runs over 3 2/3 innings. Fittingly, one of those two runs came by way of the long ball.

Listed at 6-feet and 185 pounds, Liu possesses an athletic delivery and operates with a five-pitch mix that consists of a 93-95 mph four-seam fastball that tops out at 98 mph, a mid-90s two-seam fastball, an 80-82 mph changeup, an 83-86 mph slider, and a 78-80 mph curveball. He also used to throw a splitter as an amateur.

Liu, who turns 24 in April, spent his first two seasons in pro ball ranked by Baseball America as one of the top pitching prospects in Boston’s farm system. He has since fallen off the publication’s rankings, but he is still young enough that he could get back with a bounce-back effort in 2023.

On that note, SoxProspects.com projects that Liu will return to Portland for the start of the 2023 season. He can become Rule 5-eligible for the first time in his career next fall, so pitching his way onto the Sox’ 40-man roster could serve as some form of motivation for him.

(Picture of Chih-Jung Liu: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox pitching prospect Shane Drohan has swing-and-miss stuff

Because Jeremy Wu-Yelland underwent Tommy John surgery in April, Shane Drohan was the only member of the Red Sox’ 2020 draft class to pitch competitively this season.

Drohan, who was taken in the fifth round out of Florida State University two years ago, broke camp with High-A Greenville this spring after spending the entirety of the 2021 campaign at Low-A Salem.

In 22 appearances (20 starts) for the Drive, the left-hander posted a 4.00 ERA and 4.21 FIP to go along with 136 strikeouts to 40 walks over 105 2/3 innings of work. He allowed just two earned runs in his final three outings with Greenville before earning a promotion to Double-A Portland on August 16.

With the Sea Dogs, Drohan pitched to a 3.38 ERA with 21 strikeouts to 11 walks over five starts (24 innings). While he gave up runs less frequently, the 23-year-old southpaw saw his strikeout rate fall and his walk rate rise, which led to a higher FIP of 5.75.

It was certainly an adjustment period for Drohan, but he at least ended the year on a strong note by fanning eight of the 20 batters he faced in a 10-9 win over the Somerset Patriots in mid-September.

Between the two stops (Greenville and Portland), Drohan produced a cumulative 3.89 ERA and 4.49 FIP with 157 strikeouts to 51 walks across 27 appearances (25 starts) and 129 2/3 innings pitched. His 28.5 percent punchout rate ranked 50th among the 311 minor-league pitchers who threw at least 100 innings this season. His 16 percent swinging-strike rate ranked 15th, per FanGraphs.

On the heels of such a productive year on the mound, Drohan was named to SoxProspects.com’s 2022 All-Star team earlier this week. The Fort Lauderdale native is now regarded by the site as the No. 28 prospect in Boston’s farm system, which ranks 10th pitchers in the organization.

What makes Drohan so effective and capable of inducing whiffs in bunches? Well, he stands at 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds and operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of an 88-92 mph four-seam fastball that tops out at 94 mph, a 75-77 mph curveball, and a 78-81 mph changeup.

Drohan, who turns 24 in January, will be entering an important season in 2023 as the former Seminole can become Rule 5-eligible for the first time in his career. He is projected by SoxProspects.com to return to Portland next spring and the Red Sox will have until next November to add him to their 40-man roster.

As things stand now, Drohan has the upside to a be a back-end starter at the big-league level. Pitching his way onto Boston’s 40-man roster next season would certainly go a long way in solidifying — or maybe even surpassing — that projection.

(Picture of Shane Drohan: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Who is Eybersson Polanco? Get to know the Red Sox’ Latin Program Pitcher of the Year

In similar fashion to Andy Lugo, Eybersson Polanco was named the Red Sox’ Latin Program Pitcher of the Year last month.

Polanco, 19, made 12 starts for the Dominican Summer League Red Sox Red this season. The right-hander posted a 1.78 ERA and 2.96 FIP to go along with 50 strikeouts to 17 walks over 50 2/3 innings of work. He led his team in strikeouts and WHIP (0.95) and represented them in the Dominican Summer League All-Star Game in July.

Among 31 qualified DSL pitchers this year, Polanco ranked 15th in walks per nine innings (3.02), 13th in strikeout rate (25.8%), fourth in batting average against (.177), fifth in WHIP, 13th in groundball rate (46.2%), fourth in ERA, third in FIP, and 11th in xFIP (3.42), per FanGraphs.

Like Lugo, there is not much information available on Polanco since he only just completed his first professional season. The Red Sox originally signed the 6-foot, 170-pound righty out of Venezuela last July. He received a $50,000 bonus while fellow countryman Jedixson Paez netted $450,000, making him the highest-paid pitcher from the club’s 2021 international signing class.

Paez, who earned Latin Program Pitcher of the Year last season, was signed by Angel Escobar in January 2021. Polanco, on the other hand, was signed by Lenin Rodriguez six months later.

Given that he just turned 19 in September, it feels safe to assume that Polanco still has plenty of room to grow. That applies to his physical maturation, mechanics, and pitch arsenal, among other things.

Polanco is projected by SoxProspects.com to make the jump to the Florida Complex League in 2023. Paez made strides in Fort Myers this year and is now regarded by the site as the No. 12 pitching prospects in Boston’s farm system. Perhaps Polanco can do the same beginning next summer.

(Picture of Eybersson Polanco via his Facebook)

Red Sox pitching prospect Thad Ward diagnosed with left oblique strain

On Monday night, Red Sox pitching prospect Thad Ward was forced to exit his Arizona Fall League start in the fourth inning after being escorted off the mound by a team trainer.

Ward, making his second start for the Scottsdale Scorpions, had allowed two runs on four hits, five walks, and two strikeouts over three-plus innings of work in a 7-1 loss to the Surprise Saguaros.

According to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, Ward was removed from Monday’s contest with a left oblique strain. It remains to be seen if the right-hander will pitch again before the Arizona Fall League season comes to a close next month.

Ward, 25, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 25 prospect in Boston’s farm system, ranking ninth among pitchers in the organization. The former fifth-round draft selection out of the University of Central Florida was sent to the AFL this year after missing the majority of the 2021 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Upon returning to the mound in July, Ward made 13 starts across four different levels. With Double-A Portland — where he last pitched at in 2021 — the 6-foot-3, 192-pound hurler posted a 2.43 ERA with 41 strikeouts to 14 walks over seven starts spanning 33 1/3 innings of work to close out the 2022 campaign.

In his first start for Scottsdale last Tuesday, Ward sat at 91-94 mph with his two-seam fastball while also mixing in an 81-85 mph slider (his best pitch) and an 87-89 mph changeup.

Ward, who turns 26 in January, can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft later this winter. As noted by Speier, the Red Sox likely plan on adding the righty to their 40-man roster in order to prevent that from happening. If that is indeed the case, Ward could be in a position to make his major-league debut at some point next summer.

(Picture of Thad Ward: Jill Weisleder/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Could Red Sox pitching prospect Bryan Mata make his MLB debut next season?

The Red Sox saw their top pitching prospect in Brayan Bello make his major-league debut this season. Could fellow right-hander Bryan Mata be next in line next year?

Bello, who appeared in 13 games and pitched 57 1/3 innings for the Red Sox in 2022, has graduated from his prospect status. Barring a major surprise, Mata will likely enter the 2023 season ranked by most publications as the top pitching prospect in Boston’s farm system.

Although he has yet to debut for the Sox, Mata has gotten a taste of the big-league lifestyle. The 23-year-old hurler travelled with the club to Toronto as a member of the taxi squad for their final road trip of the season. He threw a bullpen session at Rogers Centre prior to Friday’s game against the Blue Jays.

“His first big-league bullpen,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters, including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith, last week.

As The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier previously reported, Mata was unlikely to be added to the 28-man roster since the Red Sox just wanted to familiarize him “with the big-league environment, including pregame pitchers’ meetings that take place in advance of series and games.”

Still, that the Red Sox elected to include Mata in such meetings shows that they think highly of him. Boston originally signed the native Venezuelan for just $25,000 in January 2016. He had already emerged as one of the more intriguing pitching prospects in the system before undergoing Tommy John surgery last April.

Upon returning from the procedure earlier this spring, Mata made one start for Low-A Salem and three starts for High-A Greenville before making the jump to Double-A Portland — the level he last pitched at in 2019 — in late June. With the Sea Dogs, he posted a 1.85 ERA in 10 appearances (nine starts) and strung together 18 consecutive scoreless frames before earning a promotion to Triple-A Worcester in late August.

In five starts with the WooSox, Mata pitched to 3.47 ERA and 3.12 FIP with 30 strikeouts to 15 walks over 23 1/3 innings of work. According to Speier, the 6-foot-3, 238-pound righty was operating with a high-90s sinker, a four-seam fastball that reached triple digits, an improving slider, and a whiff-inducing changeup.

While his arsenal is tantalizing, Mata does need to work on throwing more strikes and giving up fewer walks. Though his 29.4 percent strikeout rate remained constant between Portland and Worcester this year, he saw his walk rate rise from 11.7 percent to 14.7 percent after going from Double-A to Triple-A.

“I think the strike-throwing thing is the next step,” Cora said. “He had some good games and some OK games. The stuff will always play. And he’s come a long way since his injury. And we really like his season. He was able to get his innings. We’re really excited. It’s just a matter of we need to be patient. But as far as stuff, he’s really good.”

Mata, who turns 24 in May, is already a member of Boston’s 40-man roster. Because of that, he could be in a position to make his major-league debut at some point next season. There are still some things to iron out, though, and they could determine Mata’s role moving forward. Can he stick as a starter? Or is he better suited for the bullpen? The answer will be revealed soon enough.

(Picture of Bryan Mata: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox pitching prospect Thad Ward strikes out 7 in Arizona Fall League debut

Red Sox pitching prospect Thad Ward impressed in his Arizona Fall League debut for the Scottsdale Scorpions on Tuesday afternoon.

Getting the start against the Mesa Solar Sox at Sloan Park, Ward allowed two earned runs on four hits and one walk to go along with seven strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings of work.

Both runs Ward gave up came on a two-run homer off the bat of Cubs prospect Brennen Davis in the third inning. The 25-year-old right-hander finished with a final pitch count of 70 (46 strikes) and induced nine swings-and-misses.

According to MLB.com’s Jim Callis, Ward hovered around 91-94 mph with his two-seam fastball while also mixing in an 81-85 mph slider and an 87-89 mph changeup.

“The fastball was working well,” Ward told Callis. “I think a lot of it was due to mixing in a lot of sliders in early to try to get them off of that and then beating them with the fastball. My catcher, Andy [Thomas of the Giants], did a really good job of calling pitches and made sure we mixed it up pretty well so we didn’t get predictable. It just worked out that way.”

Originally selected by the Red Sox in the fifth round of the 2018 amateur draft out of the University of Central Florida, Ward is currently regarded by MLB Pipeline as the No. 15 prospect in Boston’s farm system, which ranks fifth among pitchers in the organization.

The Fort Myers-area native earned Red Sox Minor League Pitcher of the Year honors in his first full season as a pro in 2019, but has since been limited to 15 starts in the minors due to the COVID-19 pandemic and undergoing Tommy John surgery last June.

Thirteen months after going under the knife, Ward returned to the mound in July. The 6-foot-3, 192-pound hurler made six starts between the Florida Complex League, Low-A Salem, and High-A Greenville before getting back to Double-A Portland in in early August. He posted a 2.43 ERA with 41 strikeouts to 14 walks in seven starts (33 1/3 innings) with the Sea Dogs to close out the 2022 campaign.

“There were glimmers where I thought, ‘OK, now I’m fully back,’ and then there’d be an outing or two where I didn’t feel quite as good,” Ward said of his road back from Tommy John. “So it’s been a little bit of back and forth. It took a little bit to where I finally felt like myself again up on the mound and not having to make some adjustments and I could just compete.”

Ward, who turns 26 in January, can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this winter if he is not added to Boston’s 40-man roster by November 20. The Red Sox likely sent Ward to Arizona with this in mind so that they could get an extended look at him going up against more advanced competition.

If he remains in the organization through the off-season, Ward could very easily make the jump to Triple-A Worcester for the start of the 2023 season. That would possibly put him in a position to make his major-league debut at some point next summer, though that is far from a guarantee.

(Picture of Thad Ward: Barry Gossage/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Red Sox pitching prospect Victor Santos tosses 5 one-run innings in final start of season for Triple-A Worcester

Victor Santos ended his first full season in the Red Sox organization on a strong note Monday night.

In his final start of the year for Triple-A Worcester, Santos held the Rochester Red Wings to just one run on four hits and one walk to go along with five strikeouts over five solid innings of work.

The right-hander very well could have pitched deeper into the game after only throwing 72 pitches (49 strikes) through five, but it was ultimately called in the top of the sixth due to rain in the Rochester-area. And so the WooSox came away with a 6-1 win over the Red Wings while Santos was credited with a complete-game victory.

Monday’s performance continued an encouraging trend for Santos that dates back to August 25. In his final six starts of the season for Worcester, the 22-year-old hurler posted a 1.91 ERA and 2.45 FIP with 39 strikeouts to just nine walks across 33 frames.

This comes after Santos initially struggled when he first made the jump from Double-A Portland to Worcester last month. The Dominican-born righty was tagged for 17 runs in his first three starts (10 2/3 innings) for the WooSox before turning things around in late August.

Prior to earning that aforementioned promotion, Santos had pitched to a 4.97 ERA and 4.78 FIP with 79 punchouts to 20 walks over 19 appearances (16 starts) spanning 101 1/3 innings for the Sea Dogs to begin the 2022 campaign.

The Red Sox originally acquired Santos from the Phillies as the player to be named later in the January 2021 trade that sent minor-league infielder C.J. Chatham to Philadelphia. He made his organizational debut in Portland last July.

Listed at 6-foot-1 and 191 pounds, Santos throws from a three-quarters arm slot and operates with a four-pitch mix that consists of a 90-92 mph four-seam fastball that tops out at 93 mph, a low-90s sinker, an 82-84 mph split-changeup, and an 83-86 mph slider, per his SoxProspects.com scouting report.

Although he has already reached Triple-A and does not turn 23 until next July, Santos is not currently regarded by any major publication as one of the top pitching prospects in Boston’s farm system. He is instead viewed by sites such as SoxProspects.com as a “potential solid organizational starter” who has the “ceiling of an emergency up-and-down depth arm.”

That being said, Santos can become Rule 5-eligible this winter. If left unprotected by the Red Sox, he could be scooped up by another team in December. Assuming he does not get picked up, though, Santos would seemingly be in line to return to Worcester’s rotation for the start of the 2023 season.

(Picture of Victor Santos: Katie Morrison/MassLive)

Former Red Sox prospect Jay Groome named Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week; left-hander has posted 3.48 ERA since being traded to Padres

Former Red Sox pitching prospect Jay Groome was named the Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week for the week of September 12-18 on Monday.

In his last start for Triple-A El Paso, Groome scattered three hits and zero walks to go along with six strikeouts across six scoreless innings in a 13-0 win over the Round Rock Express.

Since joining the Chihuahuas’ rotation last month, Groome has posted a 3.48 ERA and 4.52 FIP with 36 strikeouts to 18 walks over eight starts spanning 41 1/3 innings of work. Opposing batters are hitting .277 with a .777 OPS off the left-hander.

A former first-round selection of the Red Sox in 2016, Groome was dealt to the Padres in exchange for veteran first baseman Eric Hosmer and fellow prospects Max Ferguson and Corey Rosier at the trade deadline.

At that time, Groome was regarded by Baseball America as the No. 13 prospect in Boston’s farm system. The 24-year-old southpaw is now ranked by the publication as the No. 10 prospect in San Diego’s farm system, which ranks sixth among pitchers in the organization.

Listed at 6-foot-6 and 262 pounds, Groome operates with a 90-94 mph fastball that touches 95-96 mph, a 76-80 mph curveball, a 79-82 mph changeup, and an 85-87 mph slider. The New Jersey native is already on the Padres’ 40-man roster and will have just one minor-league option remaining after this season.

Taking that into account, MLB Pipeline notes that the Padres could elect to use Groome out of the bullpen if they no longer believe he has starter potential.

(Picture of Jay Groome: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)