Opening Day is just about two weeks away, which means we are getting closer to the point of narrowing down roster options and getting close to the regular season 25-man group. The Red Sox still have a ways to go before they get to that point, but they have made their first round of roster cuts, announced on Tuesday.
There aren’t too many surprises here, but a lot of these guys are among the top prospects in the organization. Although they are out of contention for starting the year in the majors, a handful of these players have a good chance of making their way up to Boston in 2019.
Michael Chavis certainly headlines this group, and he definitely opened some eyes in camp this year. We still don’t have a clear answer on where he’s going to ultimately end up defensively, but we did learn that the team is serious about him playing second base. Offensively, he is the real deal. His swing will probably be a bit more exposed against more consistent high-level pitching, but that’s not enough to take him down. Chavis should be up at some point in 2019, and while I’m not sure exactly what role he’ll play I’m fairly confident he’ll get some at bats and that he’ll do real damage in those chances. Perhaps most surprising about this decision is that he is heading down to minor-league camp but Bobby Dalbec is still in major-league camp.
Other than Chavis, Travis Lakins and Josh Taylor are the other two here that are most likely to contribute in 2019. Lakins, of course, was on the doorstep last season and many (myself included) felt he deserved a chance in the majors last September. That didn’t happen, but the former starter should be among the first minor-league options to get the call up to Boston in case of injury and/or underperformance. I’m not surprised he didn’t make the Opening Day roster, though I am a little surprised he didn’t make it beyond the first round of cuts. Taylor is lower on the depth chart, but he gives Boston a hard-throwing lefty, which is something they’ve lacked since Andrew Miller was traded.
The rest of the group are on the fringe as potential 2019 contributors at best. Mike Shawaryn could be interesting and the team doesn’t have a ton of starting pitching depth ahead of him, though he also doesn’t have a super exciting ceiling. Denyi Reyes is on the 40-man roster, but I’d be surprised if he plays himself onto the active roster this year. Carson Smith may miss the entire 2019 season as he works his way back from a shoulder injury.