The regular season is only 18 days away, despite the fact that I’m about to get at least another foot of snow dumped upon me, which means it’s getting closer to the time the Red Sox need to start thinking about how they’re going to construct their Opening Day roster. The final decisions certainly haven’t been made yet, but the team did cut down their roster on Sunday. In their first round of roster cuts in this spring, Boston sent twelve players down to minor-league camp. Here’s the full list.
We’ll take a quick second to look at each player’s spring performance as well as what they could provide in 2018 and/or beyond, in bullet-point form.
- Jalen Beeks made two official starts this spring, pitching to a 5.06 ERA over 5 1⁄3 innings in that span with four strikeouts and five walks. These numbers do not include Saturday’s rained out game in which he couldn’t get out of the first inning, though to be fair it was not a scheduled outing for the southpaw. Beeks is going to start the year in Pawtucket’s rotation and could serve as major-league depth in either the rotation or the bullpen given that he’s on the 40-man.
- Chandler Shepherd is being stretched out as a starter after pitching in relief for the entirety of his professional career. The righty made a total of three appearances, two of which were starts, this spring over just three innings. He had a rough time, pitching to a 21.00 ERA (not a typo) with three strikeouts and a walk. I’d be surprised if he got called up for starting duties this year, but he’s also on the 40-man and could very well play himself into some relief appearances at the highest level.
- Williams Jerez didn’t pitch this spring — I could have sworn that he did but apparently I’m mistaken or there is no written record of him making any appearances — but he’s another arm on the 40-man and could serve as left-handed depth. The former outfielder is still a bit rough around the edges but there’s real potential here.
- Ty Buttrey is the final pitcher on the 40-man to get cut, and he made four appearances over 4 2⁄3 innings. The right-handed reliever allowed just one earned run (plus three unearned runs) this spring with a strikeout and a walk, and should be part of the crowded right-handed middle relief depth.
- Austin Rei played in just six games this spring and had one single and one walk in ten plate appearances. The former second round pick is likely to start the year in Portland and is extremely unlikely to see major-league time in 2018. There’s not much of a ceiling here, though if things go well he could carve out a backup role at some point.
- Michael Chavis has been dealing with an oblique injury this spring and has yet to play. The team’s top hitting prospect (and some would argue top prospect regardless of position) could see some game action towards the end of camp and will probably start the year back in Portland. There’s an outside chance he could see major-league time in 2018, though I’d certainly bet against that at this point.
- Esteban Quiroz was an offseason signing out of the Mexican League and he didn’t have a great spring, posting a .694 OPS with a single, a triple and a home run in 21 plate appearances. If he impresses in Pawtucket he could come up as infield depth this year depending on how those in front of him perform and/or stay healthy.
- Jeremy Barfield had a home run and two doubles to post a .778 OPS in 22 plate appearances this spring. There’s a chance the outfielder could come up if an injury or two occurs on the major-league roster, though the potential of that may be a bit overblown given how good of a story it would be if it happened.
- Steve Selsky was brought back on a minor-league deal right before camp and he had just three singles and a pair of walks in 24 plate appearances with a .336 OPS. He’s going to serve as emergency depth in the outfield.
- Kyle Martin made four appearances this spring over 4 1⁄3 innings two earned runs plus one unearned run with five strikeouts and four walks. Martin is towards or at the bottom of that aforementioned glut of right-handed middle relievers.
- Fernando Rodriguez is a veteran right-handed reliever who allowed eight runs in eight innings over five appearances with nine strikeouts and three walks. He’s likely just emergency depth, though that could change with a good showing in Triple-A as he does have some solid major-league experience under his belt.