We are still a few days away from the trade deadline, so we don’t really know what’s going to happen to the Red Sox roster over the weekend. Things haven’t picked up at all around the league — and it goes without saying more important things than baseball are happening, and hopefully teams are focusing more on those issues and what they can do to help than trades — but we did see Taijuan Walker traded to Toronto on Thursday. I would expect things to pick up this weekend, even if it looks like it will certainly be a quieter deadline than usual.
Either way, the Red Sox should be involved in one way or another, even if it’s just with a couple of smaller deals. We’ll focus on any deals in next week’s roundtable, but for this week I want to ask what people want to see after. Specifically, I asked the staff which players they want to see come up from the Alternate Site for the final month of the season once the deadline passes.
I need to see Jarren Duran against major-league pitching like I need air to breathe. The tweaks he’s made to his swing at the Alternate Site, now holding his hands lower a la Alex Verdugo/Anthony Rizzo, seems to have unlocked more power than people thought was originally there. Coupling his plus hit tool with even average power is an offensive force at the plate. His speed also makes the average defense play up, so total package we’re looking at a potential STUD in all caps. It has me very giddy to see what he can do at the major-league level. And with Jackie Bradley Jr. almost certainly gone after this season, there’s a chance Duran could be the everyday center fielder as soon as next season, so getting him a taste of major league action sooner rather than later can only help his development.
I would be cautious about bringing guys up. The stakes are extremely low for the Sox at this point in the season, so there’s no need to rush anyone who isn’t ready for the big leagues. However, I wouldn’t mind seeing a couple of spot starts from someone like Tanner Houck or Bryan Mata just for a change of pace. Perhaps giving a few Kevin Pillar/Jose Peraza at bats to Jarren Duran and Bobby Dalbec wouldn’t hurt as well. Taking at bats from aging veterans and starts from career relievers isn’t a big deal, and I personally would like to see what the youngsters bring to the table, even if it’s late in the season.
Once the deadline has passed, I really want to see Tanner Houck and Bryan Mata. Our pitching is horrible, (Shocking, I know) so why not get a look at Houck and Mata against major-league hitters. Yes, they will probably be pretty horrible but it will show them what they need to work on in the offseason. On the hitting side, we really need to see Bobby Dalbec against major-league pitching. That way we know if he is better than Michael Chavis or not. If we trade Pillar or Jackie Bradley Jr., I would also love to see Jarren Duran. From all the reports and video I have seen, I’ve been impressed with the changes he has made.
As I write this, the possibility of a mega fire sale with the Red Sox unloading Xander Bogearts, J.D Martinez, Matt Barnes, Christian Vazquez, Kevin Pillar, Mitch Moreland and (maybe) more remains a terrifying alternative following the most illogical trade since Babe Ruth. There are a few prospects who would be fun to watch but I’d like to see Jay Groome get a cup of coffee. Still just 22, (as in, since August 23rd) Groome missed much of 2018 and 2019 with Tommy John surgery and is still getting back into the game. But he’s had some success at the alternate site and needs to be added to the 40-man roster in December or risk being snatched up during the Rule 5 Draft. I’m not advocating just tossing him into the fire, of course. He’s still working hard to get back into the pitching shape he was in prior to the surgery. But if he’s had a few strong outings and seems healthy, let him go out there for a few innings before the season ends. The stakes won’t ever be lower.
The Red Sox’s biggest weakness right now is starting pitching and although it is way too late for them to really make a push toward competition (should the season even continue), it would be helpful to get a glimpse at what the future of the rotation will look like. Obviously the 2021 rotation will have guys like Chris Sale and Eduardo Rodriguez back, but there isn’t a ton of depth. That fact has been laid bare this summer. With that in mind, I’d like to see Bryan Mata get a shot at making some starts. He’s the number three prospect in the organization according to FanGraphs, and although his ERA was pretty high last season, his peripheral numbers were more palatable. Maybe it is too early to rush him to the majors, but it is also possible the experience could be beneficial in the long run, especially since FanGraphs has him projected to arrive in 2021 anyway.
I’m on team #YouthMovement, myself. Bring up all the big guys in the system, Tanner Houck, Jarren Duran, Bobby Dalbec, Bryan Mata, Jeter Downs... hell, give Jay Groome a chance to pitch at the end of the season if we can.
We’re running out of time to make decisions on some players, like Groome, and we need as much information as we can get. He has to be added to the 40-man roster after the season regardless, or he will most certainly be taken in the Rule 5 Draft and stashed in somebody’s bullpen. Adding him to the 40-man roster early doesn’t penalize us unless we send him back down at some point and burn an option. Having him be on the roster at the end of the year gives us three years to make a final verdict on him, which is the same as if we didn’t bring him up. Having the extra information will be vital.
As for everyone else, there’s no good reason not to see them up. Houck, Dalbec, Duran, Mata, Downs, and so many other prospects figure to be regular players on future Red Sox teams if all breaks well. It’s important to see what they have so we know how to build around them.
There’s not really a whole lot to get excited about! But if I were to pluck anyone from camp it’d have to be Bobby Dalbec At some point you gotta pull the trigger on beginning someone’s major league development and nows his time. Dalbec’s already 25 and is going to have trouble as a right handed hitting corner infielder with swing and miss issues. I can’t tell you what his future holds, but it’s time for them to shit or get off the pot with this kid because he’s catching up to me in age and that’s not a good thing for a prospect.
I think most of the names to see have been covered here. I think Dalbec has to come up soon. Shelly alluded to this, but I would really like to see Dalbec against major-league pitching before making any sort of decision on Michael Chavis. I’d also like to see Houck, but I’m less enthused about seeing him as a starter than others here. I think you have to do it, but if for no other reason than to finally convince yourself that he is a reliever. Get him in that role and let him flourish. I do not agree about Mata and Groome. It’s no secret I love Duran, but I’m conflicted about this one and as much as this is a cop out answer I’ll defer to the organization on this one. Whatever they decide I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. It’s just such a weird situation with the reported gains but also the fact that he hasn’t played much about High-A and struggled for a chunk of that experience in Double-A.
The one name I was a bit surprised not to see anywhere in the other responses was Nick Pivetta. I’m not overly optimistic about the Red Sox “fixing” the recently-acquired righty, but I am very interested to see what tweaks the coaching staff in Pawtucket may or may not have made. I’m assuming he’ll get a chance before the end of the year, so that’s one thing I’m anticipating. I’d also like to see C.J. Chatham if for no other reason than just wanting to make sure he’s safe and okay after hearing essentially nothing about him since March.
Assuming that one of Kevin Pillar, Jackie Bradley Jr., or Andrew Benintendi isn’t on the roster after the trading deadline, I would love to see the Red Sox bring up Jarren Duran. Duran, as it has been reported by many who cover the team, has reworked his swing to get to more of his power and to prevent himself from getting beat on fastballs in on his hands. As a result of this Duran has become a much more complete hitter. This transformation coupled with his 70 grade speed and average outfield defense make him a legitimate candidate to take over an outfield spot for the Red Sox next year. He should start getting some reps now.
The other player we really need to see is Bobby Dalbec. Michael Chavis has been terrible this year at the plate and remains an undersized option at first base. Mitch Moreland has been so excellent that it would be surprising if he wasn’t playing for another team after the deadline. In steps Dalbec who can play first, third, and DH and has the optimal height for a first baseman at 6’4”. I don’t know if he can hit better than Chavis, but I do know he gives Devers a bigger target to throw to. Bring him up!