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Red Sox minor league preview: Greenville Drive

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Previewing the upcoming season for Low-A Greenville.

MLB: New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

As we get closer and closer to the start of the season, I’ll be spending the next few days looking at the expected rosters for each full-season minor-league club in the Red Sox organization. Today, we’ll start with Greenville. For reference, I’m using the projected rosters provided by the team at Sox Prospects.

Quick Summary

After having a ton of exciting talent at the lowest full-season level over the last few years, Greenville is looking a little boring this year. The pitching is still exciting, with some big names from recent drafts highlighting the rotation. The lineup leaves a lot to be desired, though.

The Star

Despite the overall lack of talent on this roster compared to years past, they still have one big name in Jason Groome. Last year’s first round pick had the talent to go at the very top of the draft, but makeup and signability pushed him to the Red Sox. We could look back at that as one of the most fortunate moments in team history in a few years. Groome has limited professional experience, just tossing a handful of innings in the GCL and NYPL in 2016. This will be our first extended exposure to the lefty, and our first chance to see if the talent lives up to the hype.

The Sleeper

Everybody has a different definition of “sleeper,” but for the purposes of this mini-series I’ll arbitrarily say it can apply to anyone that’s not a top-25 prospect. Furthermore, I’ll arbitrarily choose the Sox Prospect rankings to use. With that out of the way, my pick is Tyler Hill. The outfielder has had a strange path to this point. He was a 19th-round pick who hardly played in his first year, struggled in his second year then suddenly lit up the New York Penn League last season. There’s reason to believe it was a total fluke, but there’s real skill in there and the 21-year-old could be a fast riser with a quick start in Greenville.

The Rest

  • C.J. Chatham was disappointing in his first pro season, but that can happen as players adjust to a new lifestyle and new training regimens. With a full offseason under his belt, we’ll see if he can bounce back in 2017.
  • Yoan Aybar was given a moderate bonus out of the Dominican in 2013, and excelled in the DSL that same year before struggling mightily in short-season U.S. ball the last two years. He’s still just 19, though, so there’s plenty of time for the athletic outfielder to put it together.
  • Mike Shawaryn was the team’s fifth round pick last season out of the University of Maryland and impressed in 15 innings of work with Lowell. He’ll be overshadowed by Groome in this rotation, but he can be this year’s Roniel Raudes to Groome’s Anderson Espinoza.
  • Shaun Anderson could also fill that role as second-fiddle in Greenville’s rotation. The team’s third round pick last year pitched exclusively out of the bullpen at the University of Florida, but that’s because of how loaded their rotation was. He’ll be a starter for the Red Sox, at least to start his career.
  • Darwinzon Hernandez has come out of nowhere to develop into an intriguing pitching prospect. The lefty has a solid low-to-mid-90’s fastball to go with a potentially above-average curveball and decent changeup. He’s put up encouraging numbers in Lowell and the DSL, but he’s never pitched more than 65 innings in a season.
  • Gerson Bautista actually spent some time in Greenville last year, which was also the first year he spent as a full-time reliever. He has a big fastball, but needs to develop at least one of his secondaries if he wants to be the fast-rising flamethrower he has the potential to be.