Tuesday night they announced nineteen Pawtucket Red Sox players have been called up to the parent team since the beginning of the year. It is the season of opportunity in the Red Sox farm system, and it is fun to see Spring Training in August. If you’re not contending then you better be re-building.
Bringing in young talent has new meaning, when you see Allen Craig, Shane Victorino and David Ross retire to the disabled list within one week. Craig and Victorino have severely tested their health insurance over the year, and Ross has been fighting through plantar fascitis for an undetermined period. Up come Corey Brown, Mookie Betts and Dan Butler a month early. Spring is in the air!
The rapid migration of young talent can only be a healthy sign for the dilapidated Red Sox. Already Brock Holt and Rubby DeLaRosa have emerged as Major League talent as they were promoted to replace the faltering Middlebrooks and Dubront. We would have waited till September to see this fruition, but for the rapid decline of these veterans. As it is, Holt and DeLaRosa are establishing themselves as starters for 2015.
A competition for center field seems inevitable as Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts, and Brock Holt all seem to be auditioning. Bradley, Jr. does not seem any more selective with his swings as the year goes on, and both Betts and Holt have shown good range and good arms in the outfield. Betts showed speed and acrobatic agility in the spectacular catch to salvage one game from the Yankees over the weekend. Holt showed a strong, accurate arm to home plate Tuesday night.
Rookie catchers are now in control of the Red Sox staff. Fortunately it is the same rotation that Christian Vasquez and Dan Butler caught in Pawtucket: DeLaRosa, Brandon Workman, Allen Webster, and sometimes Anthony Ranaudo, when opportunity knocks. The Pawtucket bullpen has been re-assembled in Boston: Alex Wilson, Tommy Layne,and recent acquisition Heath Hembree. So really nothing is different, except bigger and faster competition.
With Craig Breslow’s control in decline, it is heartening to see the effectiveness of Tommy Layne as a left-hander out of the bullpen. He made a fatal mistake by walking the lead-off batter on Tuesday, but he has been otherwise effective. By the way, shouldn’t there be a fine for walking the lead-off batter under any circumstances? At this point, there should be no reason not to throw strikes on the Sox pitching staff. Watch out, Rubby DeLaRosa!
With youth in the starting line-up, the Red Sox are no worse than they were in July. They lost on Tuesday, but they were competitive with a contending team, the Cardinals. Really they were beaten by a cluster of scratch hits, and they successfully executed a bunt sacrifice to score the go-ahead run. It’s Spring Training, and life is good.