FORT MYERS, FL: The Boston Red Sox take batting practice just before the start of the Grapefruit League Spring Training Game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
With just a month left in the minor-league season, it's time for players who have are ready to take the leap to the next level now to be placed there. You need room to promote players, but when you promote in bunches, that room opens up. Steven Wright heads to Triple-A Pawtucket, opening up room at Double-A Portland for Brandon Workman, clearing a spot in High-A Salem for Mike McCarthy.
Wright was recently acquired in the Lars Anderson swap with the Indians. He's a knuckler, one who throws a bit harder than what Red Sox fans are accustomed to after watching Tim Wakefield pitch in three different decades. He appeared in just one game with Double-A Portland, going six innings, striking out two, walking two, and giving up just one run. This is a continuation of the time he had already spent at Double-A, as with the Indians he threw 115 innings for Akron.
Wright is 27 years old, but you don't judge knucklers with the same kind of age thinking as you would a normal pitching prospect. Wright isn't even really a prospect, but as a knuckler, he is a project, and now he'll get back to Triple-A for the first time since 2011.
Workman is 23 years old, and in his second professional season. With High-A Salem, he struck out 8.5 batters per nine and posted a 5.4 K/BB. He occasionally has issues leaving the ball up in the zone, and against the more advanced hitters of the Eastern League, he'll need to be sure to keep the ball down and pound low in the strike zone to get his whiffs and grounders.
The right-hander joins fellow 2010-draftee Anthony Ranaudo in Portland, but given Ranaudo has been injured and ineffective during his time there, let's hope that Workman's fate is far different.
Last, we have McCarthy, who was in the middle of a 22-inning scoreless streak for Low-A Greenville. McCarthy is 24 years old, and has had a solid but unspectacular 2012 campaign for the Drive (besides the scoreless streak, anyway). The 14th-round selection from the 2011 draft will have the progress he's made tested at High-A; his strikeout rate already unsurprisingly dropped after his promotion from short-season Lowell, and it likely can't afford another major hit like that.