Allen Webster, RHP
Webster has had some difficulty of late, as he was crushed in his second start with the Red Sox by the Twins, and has walked nine batters in 10 innings since his return. Of course, he's also struck out 12 and given up just two runs in those frames, so it's tough to complain too much. Next time, though, let's hope that the free passes slow down a bit, especially since control and command are the things that could, in the long run, keep Webster from being a top-of-the-rotation kind of arm, and leave him more as an average starter or force a move to relief.
One thing he needs to make sure to do -- in the minors, but more specifically in the majors -- is to continue to use his high-velocity sinking fastball. His four-seamer is nowhere near as good of a pitch as it's a bit straight, so it doesn't matter if it's moving fast against major-league hitters -- we saw that already against the Twins, a problem that was compounded by Webster's lack of command that night. He's still a key pitching prospect for Boston that could help the team as soon as this year, but he has things he needs to continue to refine before he's quite there.
Chris Martin, RHP
Martin hasn't pitched much at Triple-A, only because he spent most of the season in the Eastern League pitching for the Double-A Sea Dogs. Even though he's barely logged any innings at the level, the 27-year-old is worth watching: he's not your typical 27-year-old reliever in Triple-A. Martin didn't get his start in the Boston system until 2011, as he was in the independent leagues in 2010. He was drafted by the Rockies all the way back in 2005, but nothing ever came of that on the professional level.
His secondary stuff still needs some sharpening, but he's 6-foot-7 with natural sink on his low-90s fastball -- he's capable of inducing grounders, or at least weak contact due to batters getting on top of his heater. If he can continue to succeed with some time at Triple-A against the most advanced hitters he's faced in his career, then he enters the conversation for a potential call-up if and when the Red Sox need one for their bullpen. With Jose De La Torre already on the 40-man and back in Pawtucket while Alex Wilson is in the majors, it might not happen, but the fact there's a possibility of yet another relief option under team control who could be shuttled back-and-forth between the majors and minors is a positive.
Chris Hernandez, LHP
Hernandez has bounced between starting and relieving a bit this year, depending on the roster construction of the PawSox at the time -- he got his latest start filling in for Rubby De La Rosa this past week, as the right-hander was scratched with an intercostal strain. He threw four innings, striking out three while walking two, and allowed just one earned run to score.
Hernandez hasn't had a great season to this point, as he's giving up a whole lot of hits and just enough homers to make you wonder considering his grounder-oriented ways. Then again, he's mostly starting, and when he's relieving, he's still putting in a starter-esque workload -- since relief is likely in his future, it's not a shock to see him scuffle at times. He's been getting plenty of ground outs, and while he doesn't miss a ton of bats, he misses enough when combined with that grounder approach. In relief, the lefty could be very useful, but that might not happen in 2013, barring catastrophe, given the Red Sox will shortly have more lefties in the pen than they know what to do with.
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