For most of this young season, the Red Sox carried three open spots on their 40-man roster. You knew there was going to be some moves to fix that at some point, whether it be a trade, free agent signing or promotion of player off the 40-man. Teams just don’t waste that kind of space for a long time. When Josh Smith was called up a little more than a week ago, one of those spots was taken. That left them with two, and after today they are left with just the one open spot. On Saturday afternoon Boston claimed minor-league first baseman Joey Curletta off waivers from the Mariners. He’ll be assigned to Double-A Portland.
The #RedSox today claimed right-handed hitting first baseman Joey Curletta off waivers from the Seattle Mariners. Curletta, 25, was assigned to Double-A Portland.— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) May 4, 2019
Curletta is a name some will be familiar with if you really follow the minor leagues. This isn’t because he was a top prospect in Seattle’s organization, but rather because he won the Texas Player of the Year award in 2018. The first baseman hit .282/.383/.482 with 23 homers at the Double-A level last year, good for a 135 wRC+. The right-handed bat is a large man, listed at 6’4”, 245 pounds. Because of that and some of his tools at the plate and in the field, Curletta has drawn some comps to current Mariners first baseman/DH Daniel Vogelbach.
The now-25-year-old was drafted in the sixth round out of high school by the Dodgers back in 2012. He was sent to the Phillies towards the end of the 2016 season as a player to be named later in a trade that sent Carlos Ruiz to L.A., but didn’t play any games in the organization. He was sent to the Mariners organization a few months later for reliever Pat Venditte. After his big 2018 season the Mariners put Curletta on the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft, but he’s gotten off to a slow start this year. Through his first 27 games in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League (Triple-A) he’s hitting just .245/.303/.400 for a 70 wRC+.