Red Sox pitching prospect Chase Shugart ‘had a lot of success in Puerto Rico’ this winter, Brian Abraham says; ‘It was a really good experience for him’

Chase Shugart was one of several Red Sox minor-leaguers who spent part of their off-season playing winter ball outside of the United States.

Suiting up for Indios de Mayaguez of the Puerto Rican Winter League, Shugart posted a 2.84 ERA and 1.11 WHIP with nine strikeouts to two walks over five relief appearances spanning 6 1/3 innings of work during the regular season.

In the postseason, Shugart’s star shined even brighter. The right-handed pitching prospect allowed a total of one run on five hits, two walks, and nine strikeouts across six outings (6 1/3 innings pitched) out of the bullpen for Mayaguez. That’s good for an ERA of 1.42.

Prior to making the trek to Puerto Rico in December, Shugart had only been used as a starter since being drafted by the Red Sox in the 12th round of the 2018 amateur draft out of the University of Texas.

Last season alone, the 25-year-old pitched to the tune of a 4.78 ERA and 4.34 FIP to go along with 93 strikeouts to 24 walks over 22 starts (105 1/3 innings) for High-A Greenville.

Upon returning from Puerto Rico earlier this month, Shugart was one of 28 Red Sox minor-leaguers to receive an invite to the team’s weeklong Winter Warm-Up minicamp in Fort Myers.

That minicamp commenced at the Fenway South complex on Monday, and it also gave reporters (including’s Christopher Smith) an opportunity to speak with Sox director of player development Brian Abraham.

When asked about the long-term role of certain pitchers in the organization such as Shugart, Abraham seemed to indicate that Boston will attempt to maintain as much flexibility as they can moving forward.

“I think there’s still an opportunity to start, but I think ultimately we see him more as a bulk reliever type role,” Abraham said of Shugart. “He had a lot of success in Puerto Rico in the short amount of time he had down there. It was a really good experience for him based on the conversations we had with him today.”

Shugart, who is listed at 5-foot-10 and 198 pounds, is a four-pitch pitcher who operates with a fastball that hovers around 93-95 mph and tops out at 97 mph, a 74-80 mph curveball, an 81-84 mph slider, and an 84-87 mph changeup, per his scouting report.

While he may have only been used as a starter to this point in his professional career, Shugart does have experience in the bullpen that goes beyond what he did in Puerto Rico.

To begin his career at Texas, the Bridge City native pitched out of the bullpen during both his freshman and sophomore seasons before moving to the Longhorns’ starting rotation in 2018.

As Abraham alluded to in his conversation with the media on Monday, the Red Sox value relievers who can provide the club with multiple innings out of the bullpen when needed.

Given his history as a starting pitcher, Shugart could potentially fit that mold if he is going to become a reliever on a full-time basis. With that being said, Shugart is projected by to begin the 2022 minor-league season in Double-A Portland’s bullpen.

(Picture of Chase Shugart via his Instagram)

Red Sox pitching prospect Victor Santos’ debut season with Double-A Portland was a solid one

It was one year ago Tuesday (January 18) when the Red Sox traded infielder C.J. Chatham to the Phillies for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

The trade allowed the Sox to create an opening on their 40-man roster, which enabled them to acquire veteran reliever Adam Ottavino and pitching prospect Frank German from the Yankees the following week.

Nearly four months after the initial trade between Boston and Philadelphia was finalized, it was revealed on July 17 that the Red Sox would be acquiring another pitching prospect in Victor Santos from the Phillies to complete the Chatham deal.

Santos, 21, originally signed with Philadelphia as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2016. The young right-hander opened the 2021 minor-league season with High-A Jersey Shore before earning a promotion to Double-A Reading in late June.

In 13 appearances (five starts) between Jersey Shore and Reading to begin the year, Santos posted a 2.20 ERA and 3.69 FIP to go along with 40 strikeouts to nine walks over 41 innings of work.

Upon getting assigned to Double-A Portland in mid-July, the 6-foot-1, 191 pound hurler proceeded to put up a 2.58 ERA and 3.49 FIP with 45 strikeouts and six walks across 10 outings (eight starts) spanning 45 1/3 innings pitched to close out his 2021 campaign.

Among all pitchers who accrued at least 60 innings in the Double-A Northeast last year, Santos ranked 33rd in strikeouts per nine innings (8.18) second in walks per nine innings (1.36), 29th in strikeout rate (22.2%), second in walk rate (3.7%), 16th in batting average against (.233), seventh in WHIP (1.06), sixth in ERA (2.73), 10th in FIP (3.62), and 14th in xFIP (4.00), per FanGraphs.

A native of Villa Tapia, Santos works from a three-quarters arm slot and operates with a three-pitch mix of a 90-92 mph fastball that tops out at 94 mph, a 77-79 mph split-changeup, and a “slurvy” 77-81 mph slider, according to his scouting report.

This off-season, Santos returned to his home island to pitch for Leones del Escogido of the Dominican Winter League. Working strictly as a reliever, he pitched to the tune of a 2.45 ERA and 1.20 WHIP with 17 strikeouts and six walks over 14 appearances (18 1/3 innings) out of the bullpen for Escogido.

Santos, who turns 22 in July, is still technically eligible for the 2021 Rule 5 Draft since the Red Sox did not add him to their 40-man roster by last November’s deadline. However, due to the nature of the MLB lockout, the major-league phase of the Rule 5 Draft has been postponed indefinitely and a makeup date has not yet been determined.

If there is eventually a Rule 5 Draft and Santos goes unselected, the Dominican-born righty is projected by to begin the 2022 season in the starting rotation for the Sea Dogs. If that winds up being the case, an eventual promotion to Triple-A Worcester cannot be ruled out depending on how he performs in the spring.

(Picture of Victor Santos: Ben McCanna/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Brayan Bello recognized by MLB Pipeline as top international prospect in Boston’s farm system

With the 2021-2022 international signing window officially opening this weekend, MLB Pipeline recently identified each team’s top international prospect across Major League Baseball.

For the Red Sox, that was none other than pitching prospect Brayan Bello, who signed with Boston out of the Dominican Republic for just $28,000 back in July 2017.

Then just 18 years old, Bello has since emerged as one of the premier young hurlers in the Sox’ farm system at the age of 22.

This past season, the right-hander began the year in the starting rotation High-A Greenville and quickly made strides there. He posted a 2.27 ERA and 2.82 FIP to go along with 45 strikeouts to seven walks over six starts (31 2/3 innings pitched) for the Drive before earning a promotion to Double-A Portland in early June.

With the Sea Dogs, Bello picked up where he left off by pitching to the tune of a 4.66 ERA — but much more respectable 3.12 FIP — with 87 strikeouts and 24 walks across 15 starts spanning 63 2/3 innings of work.

During his run in Portland, Bello was selected to represent the Red Sox in the All-Star Futures Game at Coors Field alongside infielder Jeter Downs. He allowed one run on one hit while recording the final two outs of the third inning of that contest on July 11.

At the conclusion of the 2021 minor-league season, Bello was recognized by the Sox and was named the organization’s starting pitcher of the year. The fiery righty was subsequently added to the club’s 40-man roster in November in order to receive protection from the Rule 5 Draft.

Listed at 6-foot-1 and 170 pounds, Bello operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a mid-90s four-seam fastball that touches 98 mph, a changeup, and a slider. He is also in the midst of developing a two-seamer, according to Baseball America.

In terms of prospect ranks, Bello is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 5 prospect in Boston’s farm system, which ranks tops among pitchers in the organization. The Samana native is also ranked by MLB Pipeline as the top pitching prospect the Red Sox have in the fold.

Bello, who turns 23 in May, is presently projected by to begin the upcoming 2022 campaign with Portland. That being said, an early promotion to Triple-A Worcester certainly seems possible depending on the kind of start he gets off to in the spring.

(Picture of Brayan Bello: Kelly O’Connor/

Red Sox make history in hiring Katie Krall as development coach with Double-A Portland

The Red Sox have hired Katie Krall to serve as a player development coach with the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs, according to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

Per Speier, “Krall will have a hybrid role in which she navigates among the front office, coaching staff, and players, while helping to integrate technology and information into on-field work.”

Krall, 24, is a native of Illinois who graduated from Northwestern University in 2018. She is currently an MBA candidate at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

Upon graduating from Northwestern in 2018, Krall spent nearly two years working in the Commissioner’s Office as part of Major League Baseball’s Diversity Fellowship Program.

In January 2020, Krall was hired by the Cincinnati Reds to work in the club’s front office as a baseball operations analyst. She served in that role through the end of the 2021 season and her responsibilities included developing and integrating new tools and technology to improve baseball operations decision-making processes as well as providing comprehensive scouting coverage and statistical request support.

Krall’s upcoming endeavor with the Sea Dogs will not be her first experience in New England. She previously interned for the Hyannis Harbor Hawks of the Cape Cod Baseball League during the summer of 2017.

In hiring Krall, the Red Sox — as noted by Speier — become the first MLB team to have multiple women on coaching staffs in the organization. The Sox hired Bianca Smith as a minor-league coach last January, allowing her to become the first Black woman hired to coach in the history of affiliated baseball.

“I’m super excited about Katie,” Smith said of Krall in a recent conversation with Speier. “I know her background. I know what she’s done. I’m glad I’m able to be a resource to help. I’m excited to work with her.

“We’ve already talked about how we’ve got to get a picture when we’re together at spring training, because that’s going to be history in itself — that an organization has two women,” added Smith. “It’s kind of sad that it’s still a big deal, but we’re both really excited about it.”

Upon joining the Red Sox organization last year, Smith started out on a seasonal, six-month contract in which she worked primarily with hitters and outfielders in extended spring training in Fort Myers. Her responsibilities gradually increased once the 2021 Florida Complex League season began.

According to Speier, Smith will be promoted and undertake a full-time coaching role in Fort Myers in 2022.

This news comes at a time when glass ceilings are continuously shattering across baseball. Earlier this week, the Yankees introduced Rachel Balkovec as the new manager of their Low-A affiliate in the Tampa Tarpons, making her the first woman to ever be appointed manager of a minor-league team.

As of this moment, 11 women are slated to coach in affiliated baseball during the 2022 season. Of those 11, eight (including Balkovec, Krall, and Smith) have been hired by their respective clubs since January 2021.

(Picture of Hadlock Field: Ben McCanna/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

Red Sox bring back power-hitting outfielder Johan Mieses on minor-league deal for 2022 season

The Red Sox have brought back outfielder Johan Mieses on a minor-league contract for the 2022 season, according to the team’s transaction wire. It does not appear as though the deal includes an invite to major-league spring training.

Mieses, 26, originally signed a minors pact with the Sox in November 2019 after spending the first seven years of his professional career between the Dodgers and Cardinals organizations.

While unable to play in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mieses did re-up with Boston that year before truly making his impact felt in 2021. After breaking camp with Double-A Portland, the right-handed hitter batted .286/.368/.714 to go along with three doubles, 11 home runs, 22 RBIs, 19 runs scored, nine walks, and 19 strikeouts across 23 games (95 plate appearances) for the Sea Dogs.

On June 2, Mieses was promoted to Triple-A Worcester. He spent nearly two weeks away from the team in June for an Olympic qualifying event, then helped his native Dominican Republic win a bronze medal in the Tokyo Summer Games in August.

Upon returning to the United States, Mieses went on to play a total of 59 games with the WooSox and finished the year by slashing .211/.286/.368 with nine doubles, one triple, eight homers, 26 RBIs, 28 runs scored, three stolen bases, 22 walks, and 64 strikeouts over 230 plate appearances in those contests.

Defensively, Mieses has proven over the course of his career that he is capable of playing all three outfield positions. Last season alone, the 6-foot-2, 185 pounder logged 150 1/3 innings in left field and 230 innings in right field between Portland and Worcester.

As was the case last year, Mieses has presumably been brought back by the Red Sox to provide the club with experienced upper-minors outfield depth alongside the likes of Rob Refsnyder, Christin Stewart, and others.

Mieses, who turns 27 in July, is well-known for his slugging abilities. His .251 ISO ranked third among Red Sox minor-leaguers who accrued at least 300 plate appearances in 2021, per FanGraphs.

(Picture of Johan Mieses: Katie Morrison/MassLive)

How Red Sox’ Zack Kelly went from undrafted out of college to cusp of big leagues

Zack Kelly may be on the verge of the major leagues, but he has never considered himself a highly-touted prospect.

Undrafted out of Division II Newberry College (Newberry, S.C.), Kelly signed with the Oakland Athletics for just $500 in 2017. His first assignment as a pro was in the rookie-level Arizona League.

“The A’s, they provided us with apartments in Arizona for the AZL, and [rent] was $300 a month,” Kelly recently recalled. “And so, the day we got our signing bonuses was also the first day we had to pay rent. So, I got my check and after taxes it was $323. I walk out of the building and I see on the big whiteboard: ‘RENT IS DUE TOMORROW: $300.’ So, I had to go cash my check, put away $300 for rent, then I had $23. And I kid you not, I took it to Applebee’s and I got a 2 for $20 for myself. So, I essentially signed for a plane ticket and an Applebee’s 2 for $20.”

From the beginning, Kelly’s journey through the minors has been riddled with hurdles, and he was still presented with challenges even after graduating from rookie ball.

After reaching the Double-A level with the Angels organization in 2019, Kelly tore the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his throwing elbow the following spring.

While he was ultimately able to avoid Tommy John surgery, the timing of Kelly’s injury was still far from ideal. Around the same time he was rehabbing, the COVID-19 pandemic was ravaging the United States. Citing financial losses caused by the pandemic, MLB teams began releasing minor-league players en masse.

Kelly was one of those casualties, as he was officially released by the Angels on May 29 — shortly after he told the team he was going to require some form of surgery in order to pitch pain-free moving forward.

“Getting surgery at my age was not something I thought was beneficial to me,” Kelly said. “Towards the end of May, when I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to get back to 100% without pain, I told them. And I was talking about bad timing, because I got released right after that. But I understood. Everybody had to make cuts for the most part. At that time, I thought I was going to have to get full-blown Tommy John surgery, … which wouldn’t have benefited them.

“So, I don’t blame them,” he added. “But, luckily for me, I didn’t have to get the full-blown elbow reconstruction and I was able to play this year. I was able to sign with Boston and be in a really good organization that I like and think has a bright future. It paid off.”

Kelly signed his first minor-league contract with the Red Sox last December. The right-handed reliever began the 2021 minor-league season at Double-A Portland, but earned his first promotion to Triple-A Worcester in late July. Between the two levels, he posted an impressive 2.18 ERA over 36 appearances spanning 45 1/3 innings of work.

Shortly before the conclusion of the Triple-A season, Kelly expressed interest in remaining with the Red Sox on another minor-league pact for the 2022 campaign. It did not take long for the two sides to reach an agreement.

“Probably two or three days after the season ended, we were already in talks, which is a little bit sooner than I thought it was going to be,” recalled Kelly. “A lot of it was done through my agent. Eventually, we came to an agreement. It was a no-brainer. So, I’m happy to be back.”

One thing in particular that Kelly enjoyed about his first year in the Red Sox organization was the way the team’s coaches communicate with one another — even at different minor-league levels. Take Sea Dogs pitching coach Lance Carter and WooSox pitching coach Paul Abbott, for instance.

“I like this organization because the coaches talk,” Kelly explained. “From the stuff me and Lance were working on in Portland, the day I got to Worcester with [Abbott], he brought that up and we were able to keep the same thing going. The other places I’ve been at, going from level to level, that hasn’t happened. It seems to be like that from the top down. Just talking to different people, kind of picking other guys’ brains, that was something that I was really happy to see. It makes the promotion that much easier.”

While still under contract for the 2022 season, Kelly’s status with the Red Sox is technically up in the air. Last month, Boston had the opportunity to add the 26-year-old to their 40-man roster but elected not to.

That decision has left Kelly eligible for the Rule 5 Draft, which usually takes place during the last day of the Winter Meetings but has since been postponed indefinitely due to Major League Baseball’s work stoppage.

“I thought I might have a chance to get added, but ultimately I didn’t, which I’m fine with,” said Kelly. “I trust Chaim [Bloom]. He’s proven himself over and over throughout the years and he knows what his plan is for this off-season.”

Assuming the major-league phase of the Rule 5 Draft takes place sometime between now and the start of the 2022 season, Kelly says he is not sure what to expect, but is eager to contribute at the big-league level if that’s a possibility.

“I think regardless of what happens, the preparation doesn’t change as far as what I’m doing,” he said. “But, obviously, the goal is to be in the big-leagues. And to come up and help a big-league club, I would be all over that opportunity. But, I think whatever happens is a win-win situation for me. If I were to get selected, I would hopefully stay in the big-leagues all year. If not, I’m in a really good place with Boston where I’m completely happy being.”

In the interim, Kelly — who turns 27 in March — does have a major-league invite to Red Sox spring training to look forward to next year. If he remains with Boston through the winter, it will mark his first time attending a big-league camp.

“My goals are the same as they have been,” said Kelly. “It’s to make quality pitches, continue to pitch to my philosophies, ultimately make it to the big leagues, help the team win, and hopefully win a World Series.”

(Picture of Zack Kelly: Katie Morrison/MassLive)

New Podding the Red Sox episode: Red Sox reliever Zack Kelly joins the show

On this week’s installment of Podding the Red Sox: A Podcast, I am joined by Red Sox minor-league reliever Zack Kelly.

Kelly, 26, spent the 2021 season between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Worcester. The right-hander posted a 2.18 ERA and strikeout-to-walk ratio of 69:18 over 36 relief appearances (45 1/3 innings pitched) across both levels. He re-signed with Boston on another minor-league contract for 2022 in October and has received an invite to major-league spring training.

Among the topics Zack and I discussed in this week’s episode are how he initially drew interest from the Red Sox last year, the differences between pitching at Double-A and Triple-A, the congruency within the Red Sox organization, how he made made his way as an undrafted free agent who signed with the Athletics out of a Division II school for $500, undergoing and recovering from elbow surgery, getting cut loose by the Angels during the pandemic, getting interviewed by the New York Times, his upcoming Rule 5 candidacy, his expectations for the 2022 season, and much more!

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

Thank you to Zack for taking some time out of his offseason schedule to have a conversation with yours truly. You can follow Zack on Twitter (@Zack_Kelly) by clicking here and on Instagram (@Zack_Kelly19) 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 Zack Kelly: Katie Morrison/MassLive)

Red Sox pitching prospect Thaddeus Ward plays catch for first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery

Red Sox pitching prospect Thaddeus Ward posted a video on social media of himself playing catch on Wednesday, marking the first time he has done so since undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Ward, 24, is regarded by Baseball America as the No. 14 prospect in Boston’s farm system, ranking seventh among pitchers in the organization.

The right-hander was originally selected by the Sox in the fifth round of the 2018 amateur draft out of the University of Central Florida and had opened the 2021 minor-league season with Double-A Portland.

Just two starts and eight innings into his tenure with the Sea Dogs, however, it was revealed that Ward would require Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow after he suffered a forearm strain in mid-May. The procedure was later performed by Dr. James Andrews in Florida in early June, thus ending the righty’s year prematurely.

Fast forward six months later, though, and it appears that Ward is on the right track towards a full recovery. While it’s likely that he won’t pitch in a game again until late 2022 at the earliest, the Red Sox will still have an interesting decision to make regarding Ward’s status in the coming weeks.

Major-league clubs have until November 19 to add eligible minor-leaguers to their 40-man roster in order to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft, which is slated to take place during the winter meetings in December.

Along with the likes of Jeter Downs, Brayan Bello, and Gilberto Jimenez, Ward is one of several top Red Sox prospects who could become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft if they are not added to Boston’s 40-man roster later this month.

A native of Fort Myers, Fla., the 6-foot-3, 192 pound hurler is certainly an interesting candidate to be added. In his first full professional season in 2019, he posted a 2.14 ERA and strikeout-to-walk ratio of 157:57 over 25 starts spanning 126 1/3 innings pitched between Low-A Greenville and High-A Salem.

This past spring, he put up a 5.63 ERA and 2.64 FIP to go along with 11 strikeouts to five walks in his two outings for Portland prior to getting injured.

With that being said, there would be some caveats to adding Ward on account of the fact that he is still recovering from Tommy John surgery, which can take anywhere between 12-18 months to heal from.

Put another way, if the Red Sox were to add Ward to their 40-man roster before the Nov. 19 deadline, he would essentially be taking up a spot on their roster going into next season. Boston could place Ward, who turns 25 in January, on the 60-day injured list to temporarily clear a roster spot, but would subsequently be starting his service time clock as a result of doing so.

If Ward were to be left unprotected heading into next month’s Rule 5 Draft, other clubs would have the chance to select him. Any team that picks him up, though, would then ordinarily be tasked with carrying him on their active roster for a minimum of 90 days.

Since that would be unlikely to execute in Ward’s case, his new club would presumably place him on the 60-day injured list for the entirety of the 2022 campaign before being subject to the same set of rules in 2023.

Those rules being that once healthy, Ward will have to remain on his new team’s 26-man roster for the entire 2023 season or otherwise be offered back to the Red Sox.

It’s a fascinating situation, and one that can definitely be classified as unique and maybe even somewhat confusing. That said, all signs seem to point to the Red Sox not adding Ward to their 40-man roster by the Nov. 19 deadline and thus exposing him to this winter’s Rule 5 Draft.

(Picture of Thaddeus Ward: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

What does the future hold for Red Sox prospects Hudson Potts and Jeisson Rosario?

Exactly 14 months ago Saturday, the Red Sox traded veteran first baseman Mitch Moreland to the Padres in exchange for a pair of prospects in Hudson Potts and Jeisson Rosario.

At the time, Potts, an infielder, and Rosario, an outfielder, were regarded by Baseball America as the No. 16 and No. 24 prospects in a loaded San Diego farm system, respectively. The two spent the remainder of the 2020 season at Boston’s alternate training site and participated in fall instructs before being added to the club’s 40-man roster in November.

To open the 2021 campaign, both Potts and Rosario received invites to major-league spring training in Fort Myers, though neither saw much action in Grapefruit League play due to separate injuries.

On March 13, Potts and Rosario were both optioned to the alternate training site and were later assigned to Double-A Portland to kick off the minor-league season. Potts, however, did not make his Sea Dogs debut until June 10 on account of the oblique injury he had been dealing with throughout the spring.

To that point in the year, Rosario was hitting a modest .243/.333/.279 (77 wRC+) with four doubles, 10 RBI, 13 runs scored, two stolen bases, 15 walks, and 40 strikeouts across his first 28 games (126 plate appearances) for the Sea Dogs.

The two teammates appeared in the same lineup for the first time on June 11 as the Sea Dogs went up against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats at Hadlock Field. Potts, batting fifth and starting at third base, went 1-for-4 with a two-run double, a walk, and three strikeouts. Rosario, batting leadoff and starting in center field, went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, a walk, and two strikeouts.

From the following day on, Potts appeared in seven more games (76) for Portland than Rosario (69) did, though neither were really able to produce at the plate on a consistent basis.

Potts, who turned 23 on Thursday, finished the season ranked as the No. 24 prospect in the Sox’ farm system, per Baseball America. All told, the 6-foot-3, 229 pound right-handed hitter slashed .217/.264/.399 (76 wRC+) to go along with 18 doubles, 11 home runs, 47 RBI, 33 runs scored, 16 walks, and exactly 100 strikeouts over 78 games (307 plate appearances) for the Sea Dogs.

Rosario, on the other hand, recently had a birthday as well as he turned 22 last Friday. Similarly enough to Potts, Rosario at the moment is regarded by Baseball America as the 26th-ranked prospect in Boston’s farm system.

Listed at 6-foot-1 and 209 pounds, the left-handed hitter out of the Dominican Republic batted .232/.335/.307 (84 wRC+) with 15 doubles, one triple, three homers, 36 runs driven in, 48 runs scored, 11 stolen bases, 50 walks, and 113 strikeouts across 98 games spanning 405 trips to the plate for Portland.

While neither Potts or Rosario exactly lit it up at the Double-A level, they both showed some flashes of their potential while being amongst the younger position players who accrued at least 300 plate appearances in the Double-A Northeast this season.

That being said, the futures of both prospects starts to become interesting when looking ahead to the next few weeks of the Major League Baseball offseason.

Clubs have until November 19 to add eligible minor-leaguers to their 40-man roster in order to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft. The Red Sox have a plethora of prospects (such as Jeter Downs, Brayan Bello, Gilberto Jimenez, and Josh Winckowski) they will need to protect before then, so they will need to clear some space in order to do so.

Approximately six members of the 2021 Red Sox are slated to file for free agency at the conclusion of the World Series, though that number could increase on account of contract options attached to other players like J.D. Martinez, Kyle Schwarber, and Christian Vazquez.

By the time the dust settles from that, the Red Sox will likely have the room on their 40-man roster to add the prospects they deem necessary to protect from the Rule 5 Draft, which typically takes place during the winter meetings but could be altered this year since the league’s collective bargaining agreement expires at the beginning of December.

Still, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom has not hesitated to part ways with prospects on Boston’s 40-man roster in the past if it means creating avenues for other moves. Last December, the Sox dealt pitching prospect Yoan Aybar, then on the club’s 40-man, to the Rockies in exchange for infield prospect Christian Koss.

This past July, outfield prospect Marcus Wilson was designated for assignment in the wake of the trade deadline and was later claimed off waivers by the Mariners.

The same sort of thing can be said about fellow outfielder Franchy Cordero, a former top prospect acquired by the Red Sox in the three-team trade that sent Andrew Benintendi to the Royals back in February who was recently designated for assignment himself so that right-handed reliever Phillips Valdez could be re-added to the 40-man.

Cordero may have cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A Worcester last week, meaning he remains under team control with Boston, but it just goes to show that Bloom and Co. do not mess around when it comes to 40-man roster depth.

This is not to say that Potts or Rosario — or other prospects on the 40-man roster such as Connor Wong, Ronaldo Hernandez, Jarren Duran, or Jay Groome — are destined for a fate similar to that of Aybar, Cordero, or Wilson. It’s just something to consider.

Taking that point into consideration, though, it is worth mentioning that Rosario is one of a handful of Red Sox minor-leaguers playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic. He has yet to start a game for Tigres del Licey.

(Picture of Hudson Potts: Kelly O’Connor/

Red Sox prospect Josh Winckowski closes out season with another impressive outing for Triple-A Worcester

Red Sox pitching prospect Josh Winckowski wrapped up his first season with his new organization on a promising note Friday night.

Making his second start for Triple-A Worcester since being promoted there late last month, Winckowski allowed just one earned on two hits, three walks, and seven strikeouts over six innings of work against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Phillies affiliate) at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown, Pa.

Coming off a strong showing in his last time out against the Rochester Red Wings, Winckowski retired each of the first six batters he faced in order before running into some trouble in the bottom half of the third.

There, the right-hander led the inning off by serving up a solo home run to Logan O’Hoope. He then issued a four-pitch walk to Nick Maton, who proceeded to advance all the way to third base on a Josh Ockimey throwing error after Arquimedes Gamboa reached safely on a fielder’s choice.

Despite being put in a tough spot at that moment, Winckowski did not waver, as he stranded Maton at third by getting Adam Haseley to fly out to left field before Luke Williams grounded into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play that was started by Jack Lopez and turned by Jonathan Arauz.

Having escaped that jam, Winckowski settled in a bit by retiring the side in order in the fourth, maneuvering his way around a two-out single in the fifth, and working around two walks in the sixth with an emphatic punchout of Darick Hall to end his night on a positive note.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 84 (47 strikes), Winckowski ultimately picked up his first winning decision at the Triple-A level by leading the WooSox to a 4-3 victory over the IronPigs on Saturday.

In his first and final two starts of the season with Worcester, the righty allowed a total of three earned runs on five hits, three walks, one hit batsman, and 13 strikeouts over 12 innings pitched. That’s good for a 2.25 ERA and 3.27 FIP.

Winckowski, 23, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 16 prospect in Boston’s farm system, ranking ninth among pitchers in the organization.

The Red Sox orginally acquired the former 15th-round draft pick of the Blue Jays from the Mets as part of the three-team trade that sent outfielder Andrew Benintendi to the Royals back in February.

He received an invite to major-league spring training before opening the 2021 minor-league season with Double-A Portland, where he posted a 4.14 ERA and 4.02 FIP to go along with 88 strikeouts to 30 walks over 21 outings (20 starts) spanning exactly 100 innings of work.

That led to him being named the Sea Dogs’ Pitcher of the Year, and it also netted him a promotion to Worcester on September 24.

Of the four prospects (Winckowski, right-handers Grant Gambrell and Luis De La Rosa, and outfielder Freddy Valdez) Boston added as part of that three-team swap with New York and Kansas City, Winckowcki is the furthest along in regards to his development.

Per his scouting report, the 6-foot-4, 212 pound hurler out of Fort Myers operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a 92-94 mph fastball that tops out at 97 mph, an 84-86 mph slider, an 88-91 mph changeup, and a reported split-finger fastball.

The timing of Winckowski’s promotion and success with the WooSox certainly comes at an interesting time when considering the fact that he can once again become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this winter.

While still with the Blue Jays last year, he was left unprotected upon becoming eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time, though that seems unlikely to happen this time around.

Having said all that, the Red Sox have until November 20 to add Winckowski — as well as any other eligible prospect they would like to protect — to their 40-man roster if they do not wish to expose him to the Rule 5 Draft come December.

(Picture of Josh Winckowski: Billie Weiss/MLB Photos via Getty Images)