Red Sox promote relief prospect Theo Denlinger to Triple-A Worcester

As part of a slew of minor-league roster moves, the Red Sox promoted relief prospect Theo Denlinger from Double-A Portland to Triple-A Worcester on Tuesday.

Denlinger, 26, was acquired from the White Sox back in February in exchange for fellow right-hander Franklin German.

To begin his first season as a member of the Red Sox organization, Denlinger posted a 2.29 ERA and 3.10 FIP with 20 strikeouts to seven walks in 14 relief appearances (19 2/3 innings) for the Sea Dogs. Opponents only hit .149 against him while his 6.4 percent line-drive rate and 57.4 percent groundball rate would rank among the best in the Eastern League if he was qualified.

Denlinger, who turns 27 in July, is currently regarded by SoxProspects.com as the No. 48 prospect in Boston’s farm system, which ranks 19th among pitchers in the organization. The Iowa native was originally selected by Chicago in the seventh round of the 2021 amateur draft out of Bradley College (Peoria, Ill.) and signed with the club for just $10,000.

Standing at a burly 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds, Denlinger primarily operates with a two-pitch mix that consists of a 93-96 mph fastball that tops out at 97 mph and a 79-82 mph slider that features long, 11-to-5 break. He has also shown the ability to throw a two-seam fastball and cutter, both of which he first implemented last year.

Denlinger becomes the second member of the White Sox’ 2021 draft class to make the jump to Worcester this season, joining fellow righty reliever Taylor Broadway. Broadway, of course, was acquired from Chicago as the player to be named later in last August’s Reese McGuire/Jake Diekman trade. He currently owns a 5.40 ERA (6.91 FIP) in 15 outings (23 1/3 innings) for the WooSox.

Troye, Bell also promoted

Denlinger was not the only Red Sox relief prospect to receive a promotion on Tuesday. Righties Christopher Troye and Brock Bell were also moved up to Portland and Greenville, respectively.

Troye, 24, forged a 1.96 ERA and 3.60 FIP with 37 strikeouts to nine walks in 14 appearances (18 1/3 innings) for Greenville. The 2021 12th-round draft pick out of UC Santa Barbara has struck out nearly 49 percent of the batters he has faced so far this season.

Bell, 25, produced a 4.58 ERA and 4.64 FIP with 15 strikeouts to five walks in 11 appearances (19 2/3 innings) for Low-A Salem. The 2019 seventh-round selection out of State College of Florida, Manatee–Sarasota is the son of former All-Star infielder Jay Bell.

(Picture of Theo Denlinger: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Advertisement

Red Sox trade Franklin German to White Sox for right-hander Theo Denlinger

The Red Sox have acquired minor-league right-hander Theo Denlinger from the White Sox in exchange for reliever Franklin German, the club announced earlier Friday afternoon.

Denlinger, 26, was originally selected by Chicago in the seventh round of the 2021 amateur draft out of Bradley University (Ill.). The Cuba City (Wis.) High School product signed with the club for just $10,000 and made his professional debut in the rookie-level Arizona Complex League.

Last season, Denlinger posted a 4.47 ERA and 4.18 FIP with 66 strikeouts to 21 walks in 40 relief appearances (48 1/3 innings) between High-A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham. The righty initially broke camp with the Dash and pitched to a 3.60 ERA across eight outings (10 innings) before earning a promotion in early May.

With the Barons, Denlinger forged a 4.70 ERA and 4.63 FIP to go along with 49 strikeouts to 18 walks over 32 appearances spanning 38 1/3 innings of work. He also converted five of eight save opportunities. Among the 132 pitchers who accrued 30 or more innings in the Southern League last year, Denlinger ranked 29th in strikeouts per nine innings (11.50) and 30th in strikeout rate (29.5 percent), per FanGraphs.

Listed at 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds, Denlinger features a 94-96 mph fastball with big movement and a slider that “looks good on paper” but is considered by scouts to be “very vulnerable,” according to FanGraphs’ Eric Longenhagen.

Denlinger, who turns 27 in July, has been assigned to Double-A Portland. He very well could wind up in the Sea Dogs bullpen with fellow 2021 draftee Taylor Broadway, who the Red Sox acquired from the White Sox as the player to be named later in the Jake Diekman/Reese McGuire trade last August.

German, on the other hand, was designated for assignment on Monday so that the Red Sox could clear a spot on their 40-man roster for lefty Richard Bleier, who they acquired from the Marlins in exchange for Matt Barnes and cash considerations.

Boston originally acquired German alongside veteran reliever Adam Ottavino in January 2021. The righty worked out of Portland’s starting rotation to begin the 2021 season, but ultimately moved to the Sea Dogs’ bullpen and found success in a relief role. hat success carried over to the 2022 campaign, as German earned a promotion to Triple-A Worcester last May.

In 32 relief appearances with the WooSox, German posted a 2.58 ERA with 46 strikeouts to 16 walks over 38 1/3 innings of work. He pitched to a miniscule 1.54 ERA and held opposing hitters to a .431 OPS against from July 6 through September 14, which resulted in him getting called up by the Red Sox three days later.

The 25-year-old got shelled for four runs while failing to record an out in his big-league debut against the Royals at Fenway Park. He then allowed runs in his next three outings before ending his season with a scoreless appearance against the Blue Jays on October 2. All told, German produced an ERA of 18.00 (eight earned runs in four innings) with four strikeouts and four walks in his first taste of big-league action.

Despite that rough showing, the Red Sox were able to find a trade partner for German, who still has three minor-league options remaining and is coming off a 2022 season in which he was named Boston’s Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year.

Regardless of how he pans out with the White Sox, German becomes the latest member of the 2022 Red Sox be lopped off the 40-man roster and join a new organization this winter. He joins the likes of Barnes, Darwinzon Hernandez, Connor Seabold, Eduard Bazardo, Tyler Danish, Eric Hosmer, Franchy Cordero, and Jeter Downs, among others.

(Picture of Franklin German: Dylan Buell/Getty Images)