As we are now just ten days away from the start of the 2020 season, the Red Sox are still working to fill their 60-man player pool for the year. After adding Mike Kickham to the mix over the weekend, they had filled 50 of those spots. Since then, there has been indication that they are interested in free agent pitcher Zack Godley, perhaps among others, and the team has met to talk about the open spots. Well, apparently they made a decision with some of the prospects, as five are being added to the pool.
Chris Cotillo had the first report indicating that Jeter Downs would be part of the player pool. Shortly after, Alex Speier mentioned that joining him would be Jay Groome and Jarren Duran along with Tanner Houck and Bryan Mata.
All five of these prospects are among the consensus top ten in the organization, with Houck being on the fringe of that list but making the cut in most places. They join Bobby Dalbec from that group as well. Downs was, of course, the headlining prospect from the Mookie Betts trade and is arguably the top prospect in the entire system. He, Duran, Houck and Mata are all upper-level players who could feasibly get some time in the majors this summer.
Groome is a bit of a different case as he has not pitched much at all as a pro due to injury issues and has never pitched a game above Greenville. It seems very unlikely he’d actually pitch in the majors this summer. However, he is an important prospect in the system and someone they probably want to be as hands-on with as possible with his development. It’s also worth noting that the team has to make a 40-man decision with him this winter as he is Rule 5 eligible, so being able to at least watch him work out all summer will better inform that decision.
Most notably excluded from this list is Triston Casas, the other name along with Downs in contention for the top prospect in the organization. Like Groome, he is far enough from the majors that he likely wouldn’t be a factor there at all this year. However, many believed the team would also like to have him develop in Pawtucket with the rest of the taxi squad, too. For now, though, he is not among the 60, and it seems like if he is invited at all it will be later in the year.