Brandon Workman's name has always seemed a perfect fit*. While we fawned over more exciting prospects, he chugged away in the background, making his way from level to level, never missing a beat. He was the sort of consistent arm that any farm system would love to have, but is easily pushed away from the forefront in a system that's as good as Boston's has been these past two years.
Had Workman continued in that pattern, we may have seen him make the jump to the majors and pitch a few decent innings out of the bullpen or maybe get a decent spot start. That's not quite what happened, which explains why he's in at #8 instead of, say, #13.
Workman certainly made the jump. And his 4.97 ERA is about what you might expect from a rookie. Certainly nothing special, but not the sort of disaster that can't be worked on. But that doesn't tell the story of Workman. Of the 23 runs he allowed, 18 of them came in the last two months of the season, when he was doing the first bullpen work of his career. Six of those came in impromptu long-relief work after a catastrophic start from Steven Wright against the Astros (a game the Red Sox would manage to take 15-10 in the end).
Even that time as a reliever wasn't a total disaster, with Workman turning in nearly nine innings of scoreless postseason baseball by year's end. But what's really pushed the 25-year-old Texan into the limelight is the time he spent as a starter. He only spent three games in that role, starting on July 14 and ending with the month, but in that time Workman pitched 18 innings of 2.45 ERA baseball, striking out 18 batters and walking just four as he held opposing hitters to an OPS of .555. His performance against the Athletics in particular stands out, with Workman taking a no-hitter into the late innings.
Had the Red Sox not acquired Jake Peavy, we might have a much better idea of just how real those performances were. As it stands, 18 innings is very little to go on. But what Workman showed in that time was so flashy in comparison to the image Sox fans have developed of him that it's reminding us that even for high-floor prospects there's some difference between the baseline and the ceiling.
Is Workman an ace in the making? Even a #2? It's hard to imagine. We can't let ourselves get carried away with 18 innings. But it's really difficult to imagine him not having a solid career in the majors, and if those 18 innings has some of us dreaming about a #3, well, don't wake us up just yet.
- Xander Bogaerts, SS
- Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
- Garin Cecchini, 3B
- Henry Owens, LHP
- Matt Barnes, RHP
- Blake Swihart, C
- Allen Webster, RHP
- Brandon Workman, RHP
By now you all know how this works: I'll name candidates in the comments below, and you rec the comment of the player you want to vote for. For those unfamiliar with how to go about that, just click "actions" underneath the comment and then "rec." Nice and easy, though you do have to be a member to join in.
On the off chance I forget or otherwise leave someone out, you are free to start your own voting thread for that player. I'll even give it a rec of my own to make up for your vote.
As for rules, please stick to just the one vote. That's about it.
*Also, perfect for making puns with even though I can't seem to manage today.