Red Sox promote top pitching prospect Chris Murphy to Triple-A Worcester

On the heels of being named Eastern League Pitcher of the Week on Monday, Red Sox pitching prospect Chris Murphy has been promoted from Double-A Portland to Triple-A Worcester, per the team’s minor-league transactions log.

Murphy, 24, was originally selected by the Sox in the sixth round of the 2019 amateur draft out of the University of San Diego. The California-born left-hander is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 9 prospect in Boston’s farm system, which ranks third among pitchers in the organization.

In 15 outings (13 starts) for the Sea Dogs this season, Murphy has posted a 2.58 ERA and 3.34 FIP with 91 strikeouts to 31 walks over 76 2/3 innings of work. Among qualified Eastern League pitchers, he ranks fourth in strikeouts per nine innings (10.68), fourth in strikeout rate (29.8%), first in batting average against (.169), second in WHIP (1.00), third in ERA, and third in FIP, per FanGraphs.

Listed at 6-foot-1 and 175 pounds, Murphy operates with a four-pitch mix that consists of a 92-94 mph fastball that tops out at 96-97 mph, an 80-82 mph changeup, a 73-75 mph curveball, and an 80-84 mph slider. He has proven to be more effective against left-handed hitters compared to right-handed hitters over the course of his professional career and that has once again been the case this season.

Murphy becomes the third starting pitching prospect the Red Sox have promoted from Portland to Worcester so far in 2022, as he joins the likes of fellow southpaw Brandon Walter and hard-throwing righty Brayan Bello.

Like Walter, who is currently on the WooSox’ 7-day injured list because of a neck strain, Murphy can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in his career this winter if he is not added to Boston’s 40-man roster by the November deadline.

With that, this promotion should give the Red Sox an ample opportunity to determine if Murphy — who does not turn 25 until next June — is indeed worthy of a 40-man roster spot. The lefty last pitched on Saturday, so he should be in line to make his Triple-A debut on Thursday or Friday, when the WooSox go up against the Rochester Red Wings on the road.

(Picture of Chris Murphy: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox promote Pedro Castellanos to Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox have promoted first baseman/outfielder Pedro Castellanos from Double-A Portland to Triple-A Worcester, per the club’s minor-league transactions log.

Castellanos, 24, originally signed with Boston for just $5,000 as an international free agent coming out of Venezuela in July 2015. So he has been with the organization for quite a while and is eligible to become a minor-league free agent this winter.

In 61 games with Portland this season, the right-handed hitter batted .279/.303/.463 (107 wRC+) with 18 doubles, one triple, eight home runs, 42 RBIs, 23 runs scored, seven walks, and 56 strikeouts over 254 plate appearances. He was hitting .358/.369/.519 in 20 games this month before earning a well-deserved promotion on Friday.

Among qualified hitters in the Eastern League, Castellanos ranks fifth in hits (67), fourth in doubles, eighth in RBIs, 12th in batting average, 22nd in slugging percentage, and 28th in OPS (.766), per FanGraphs.

Defensively, the 6-foot-3, 195 pounder received playing time at three different positions with the Sea Dogs in 2022. He logged 257 1/3 innings at first base, 26 innings in left field, and 129 innings in right field.

Castellanos, who turns 25 in December, will be getting his first taste of action at the Triple-A level. He is not in the WooSox’ starting lineup for their contest against the Charlotte Knights Friday night at Polar Park.

(Picture of Pedro Castellanos: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox promote hard-throwing relief prospect Franklin German to Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox have promoted relief prospect Franklin German from Double-A Portland to Triple-A Worcester, per the team’s transaction log.

German, 24, has posted a 3.18 ERA and 2.21 FIP with 18 strikeouts to three walks over 11 relief appearances spanning 11 1/3 innings of work out of Portland’s bullpen this season. The right-hander’s sixth and seventh outings of the year were separated by more than two weeks (April 26 to May 13) due to a non-baseball related issue.

Among Eastern League pitchers who have accrued at least 10 innings on the mound in 2022, German ranks 15th in strikeouts per nine innings (14.29), 11th in strikeout rate (39.1%), 13th in swinging strike rate (18.6%), 21st in batting average against (.154), 11th in WHIP (0.79), and 17th in FIP, per FanGraphs.

Originally selected by the Yankees in the fourth round of the 2018 amateur draft out of the University of North Florida, German was dealt to the Red Sox in the same trade that sent veteran reliever Adam Ottavino to Boston last January.

Traditionally a starting pitcher throughout his professional career to that point, German opened the 2021 campaign in Portland’s starting rotation. But he struggled to the tune of a 5.45 ERA across his first 19 appearances (18 starts) of the season before moving to the Sea Dogs’ bullpen on a full-time basis in late August.

Since then, German has found success as a reliever that can mainly be attributed to an uptick in velocity. Last year, the 6-foot-2, 195 pound righty sat in the low-to-mid 90s as a starter. Upon transitioning to the ‘pen, he began reaching 97-98 mph while topping out at 99-102 mph with his fastball.

Because of this, German has caught the attention of Alex Cora and is firmly on the Red Sox manager’s “watchlist,” according to The Athletic’s Peter Gammons.

German, who turns 25 in September, is currently regarded by SoxProspects.com as the No. 30 prospect in Boston’s farm system. In addition to his high-octane fastball, the hard-throwing hurler also works with a changeup and slider.

By being promoted to Triple-A, German will join a WooSox bullpen that includes the likes of Eduard Bazardo, Silvino Bracho, Ryan Brasier, Taylor Cole, Michael Feliz, Durbin Feltman, Geoff Hartlieb, Zack Kelly, Kaleb Ort, A.J. Politi (who was promoted last week), and Phillips Valdez.

German’s promotion comes at an interesting time when you consider the fact that he can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this winter. The Red Sox would need to add him to their 40-man roster by the November deadline in order to proect him, so they could be using this as an opportunity to give German an extended look at the next level before making a decision regarding his future.

(Picture of Franklin German: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox promote relief prospect A.J. Politi to Triple-A Worcester

In addition to Brayan Bello, the Red Sox are also promoting relief prospect A.J. Politi from Double-A Portland to Triple-A Worcester, according to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

Politi, who turns 26 next month, began the 2022 season in Portland’s bullpen and posted a 2.03 ERA and 3.54 FIP to go along with 20 strikeouts to just three walks over 12 relief appearances spanning 13 1/3 innings of work for the Sea Dogs. The right-hander also went a perfect 4-for-4 in save opportunities.

Among Eastern League pitchers who have accrued at least 10 innings on the mound this year, Politi ranks 14th in strikeouts per nine innings (13.5), 23rd in walks per nine innings (2.03), 11th in strikeout rate (38.5%), 15th in swinging strike rate (17.9%), 25th in walk rate (5.8%), 19th in batting average against (.149), sixth in WHIP (0.75), 30th in ERA, and fifth in xFIP (2.29), per FanGraphs.

The Red Sox originally selected Politi in the 15th round of the 2018 amateur draft out of Seton Hall University. The New Jersey native signed with Boston for a modest $25,000 and has been used as both a starter and reliever throughout his professional career.

Last season, for instance, Politi made 15 starts for Portland and yielded a 7.01 ERA before moving to the bullpen on a full-time basis in September. He impressed in four outings there, made 11 appearances for the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League, and really has not looked back since then.

Listed at 6-feet and 195 pounds, the 25-year-old works with four different pitches in a mid-90s fastball (his best offering), a high-80s slider, a lower-80s curveball, and a changeup. He is currently regarded by FanGraphs as the No. 46 prospect in Boston’s farm system and can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft later this winter.

If the Red Sox would like to prevent that from happening, they would need to add Politi to their 40-man roster by the November deadline. Giving the righty an extended look at the Triple-A level will surely play a role in the club’s decision when that time comes.

With the WooSox, Politi will be joining a bullpen that includes the likes of Eduard Bazardo, Silvino Bracho, Michael Feliz, Durbin Feltman, Zack Kelly, Kaleb Ort, and Phillips Valdez, among others.

In order to call up both Bello and Politi to Worcester, the Red Sox will be sending left-hander Kyle Hart and right-hander Darin Gillies down to Portland.

(Picture of A.J. Politi: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox promote top pitching prospect Brayan Bello to Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox have promoted top pitching prospect Brayan Bello to Triple-A Worcester, as confirmed by The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier. Per his Instagram story, Bello spent part of his Monday at Polar Park and will wear the No. 64 with the WooSox.

According to Boston Strong on Twitter, who first took note of Bello’s social media activity, Bello will make his Triple-A debut against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders on Wednesday night.

Bello, who turns 23 on Tuesday, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 1 pitching prospect (fourth overall) in Boston’s farm system and the 86th-ranked prospect in all of baseball.

In six starts for Double-A Portland this season, the hard-throwing right-hander has posted a 1.60 ERA and 3.20 FIP to go along with 42 strikeouts to 12 walks over 33 2/3 innings of work. He tossed a seven-inning no-hitter against the Reading Fightin Phils at Hadlock Field earlier this month.

Among qualified Eastern League pitchers, Bello ranks seventh in strikeout rate (32.6%), second in swinging strike rate (19.3%) first in batting average against (.137), second in WHIP (0.83), second in ERA, eighth in FIP, and fifth in xFIP (2.68), per FanGraphs.

The reigning Red Sox Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year, Bello was originally signed by Boston for a modest $28,000 coming out of the Dominican Republic in July 2017. It has been quite the ascent for the Samana native since then.

Listed at a lanky 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds, Bello operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a high-90s fastball that tops out at 99-100 mph, an 85-89 mph changeup, and an 84-88 mph slider.

Since he is already on the Boston’s 40-man roster, Bello could very well make his big-league debut later this season. For the time being, though, the 22-year-old will join a talented WooSox rotation that consists of other high-caliber prospects like Connor Seabold, Josh Winckowski, and Kutter Crawford.

(Picture of Brayan Bello: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox promote top pitching prospect Jay Groome to Double-A Portland

The Red Sox have promoted top pitching prospect Jay Groome to Double-A Portland, per MiLB.com’s transaction wire.

Groome, 23, is regarded by Baseball America as the No. 9 prospect in the Sox’ farm system, ranking fourth among pitchers in the organization.

Boston originally selected the left-hander with the 12th overall pick in the 2016 amateur draft out of Barnegat High School (N.J.) and later signed him for $3.65 million that July.

After an injury-riddled 2017 season, Groome underwent Tommy John surgery the following spring, resulting in him missing the entirety of 2018 and the majority of the 2019 campaign.

While the COVID-19 pandemic prevented Groome from pitching in any meaningful games last year, the New Jersey native still got work in at the Red Sox’ alternate training site and fall instructional league before being added to the club’s 40-man roster in November in order to receive protection from the Rule 5 Draft.

Invited to his first major-league camp earlier this spring, Groome opened the 2021 season at High-A Greenville and posted a 5.16 ERA and 4.13 FIP to go along with 75 strikeouts to 24 walks over 12 starts spanning 52 1/3 innings pitched through July 7.

At that time, Groome stepped away from the affiliate for the birth of his daughter and did not return until July 30. In six starts with the Drive since then, the lefty put up a 5.52 ERA and 4.76 FIP — as well as a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 33:8 — over 29 1/3 total innings of work.

Among High-A East pitchers with at least 80 innings under their belt this season, Groome ranks first in strikeouts per nine innings (11.9), first in strikeout rate (30.8%), and third in xFIP (3.97), per FanGraphs.

Despite some of those numbers being underwhelming, Groome has still earned himself a promotion to Portland and will make his highly-anticipated Sea Dogs debut as they face off against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Blue Jays affiliate) in Manchester on Saturday night.

Per his Baseball America scouring report, the 6-foot-6, 251 pound hurler operates with a four-pitch mix that consists of a 92-95 mph fastball that “has missed a ton of bats” this year, a curveball that “has been more of an average pitch” post-Tommy John, a recently-added slider, and a changeup.

As he prepares to make his first start at the Double-A level on Saturday night, Groome will don the No. 46 with the Sea Dogs.

UPDATE: Groome’s first start with Portland went well, as he scattered just two hits and zero walks to go along with a career-high 10 strikeouts over five innings of work. 53 of the 83 pitches he threw went for strikes.

(Picture of Jay Groome: Billie Weiss/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Red Sox promote minor-league outfielder Johan Mieses, who leads organization with 11 homers, to Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox have promoted minor-league outfielder Johan Mieses from Double-A Portland to Triple-A Worcester, according to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

Mieses, who turns 26 next month, originally signed a minor-league contract with the Sox back in November 2019, but did not play at all in 2020 on account of the minor-league season being cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Re-upping with Boston on another minor-league pact this past fall — after not receiving an invite to the team’s alternate training site or fall instructional league — the Dominican native opened the 2021 campaign with Double-A Portland and has done nothing but mash since then.

Over 23 games with the Sea Dogs, Mieses slashed .286/.368/.714 (188 wRC+) to go along with three doubles, a team-leading 11 home runs, 22 RBI, 19 runs scored, nine walks, and 19 strikeouts in 95 trips to the plate.

While primarily batting cleanup in his time in Portland, the 6-foot-2, 185 pound right-handed hitter played 11 games in right field, three games in left field, and nine games at designated hitter.

A former top prospect of the Dodgers organization who was signed out of the Dominican at 17, Mieses was part of the trade that sent infielder Breyvic Valera from the St. Louis Cardinals to Los Angeles in April 2018.

In his tenure with the Cardinals, Mieses appeared in 22 games for Triple-A Memphis across multiple stints with the affiliate during the 2019 season. In those 22 games, he hit .339/.414/.677 with six homers and 17 RBI.

Throughout his professional career, the slugging outfielder has shown a propensity for hitting home runs. That much is made evident by his 120 career homers at the minor-league level.

“It’s real power. The homers are legit,” Red Sox farm director Brian Abraham told The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier. “His ability to drive the baseball and overall production at the plate has been consistent all season for Portland in the middle of their lineup. We felt now was a good opportunity to challenge him at the next level.”

As he prepares to embark upon this next phase of his career with the WooSox, one has to wonder if Mieses — who will be donning the No. 40 — will be able to take advantage of the way the ball has been flying out of Polar Park so far this season.

(Picture of Johan Mieses: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)