We are now less than a week from the first official workout of spring for the Red Sox, with pitchers and catchers reporting on Thursday and the first workout coming on Friday. It’s been a long offseason, largely filled with inactivity before a flurry of small and mid-tier moves taking place over the last month or so. Now, we’ll finally be able to see them on the field, at least just to work out at first.
Spring training is going to be a bit different this year with COVID-19 still a major problem in this country. Teams will no longer be able to take players from minor-league camp for big-league games anymore, among other changes. Teams had until Friday night to send in their list of non-roster invitees. This list can change as the year goes on, but teams may not have more than 75 players in camp. To start off, Boston will have 70 after announcing 30 names to be invited on Friday. We’ll quickly go through all 30 below.
- Roldani Baldwin has looked like a strong offensive catcher in the past, but injuries have slowed his development and at this point he’s more likely an organizational player than a true major-league prospect.
- Kole Cottam was a fourth round pick back in 2018 and like Baldwin is an offense-first prospect. This will be a big season for him to keep his ceiling as a potential MLB backup.
- Chris Hermann was just recently signed by the Red Sox. There’s no ceiling here whatsoever but he has major-league experience and will serve as the club’s third catcher to start this year.
- Austin Rei is a former second round pick who has never been able to put it together offensively but plays good enough defense to keep progressing up the minor-league ladder.
- Triston Casas is, of course, one of the top two prospects in the system and maybe the top depending on who you ask. (I would say he’s the top.) He’ll be on the shortlist of players to watch most closely.
- Chad De La Guerra gets lost in the shuffle a bit but it was only a couple of years ago that he looked like he would be a surprise call-up soon. He’s fallen off a bit since, but there’s still a chance he’s higher on the depth chart than we may think as a guy who can play all around the infield.
- Jeter Downs is the other potential top prospect in the system. Downs hasn’t really gotten a chance to play for the Red Sox organization yet due to COVID, but he could be up in the majors as soon as midseason if all goes well.
- Josh Ockimey is another guy who can be kind of forgotten, but while there’s often focus on what he can’t do he is still a good power hitter who can hurt right-handed pitching. He could make his debut in 2021.
- Nick Yorke is an aggressive placement here after having just been drafted out of high school last summer. That Boston is putting him in big-league camp shows how highly they think of him.
- Jarren Duran is riding a bit of a hype balloon lately after his performance at the Alternate Site and then in Winter Ball in Puerto Rico. He’s a longshot to start the year in the majors, but we should see him in Boston at some point this summer.
- Michael Gettys was an early minor-league signing for the Red Sox. A former Padres prospect, Gettys has a bunch of tools but has never been able to put it together consistently.
- Yairo Muñoz was one of the biggest surprises to be taken off the 40-man this winter, but since he cleared waivers he remains in the organization. He may have the best chance of cracking the Opening Day roster of anyone on this list.
- César Puello is back for his second stint with the Red Sox to serve as Triple-A outfield depth. He did get a cup of coffee in the bigs at the end of last season.
- Seth Blair was a late minor-league signing last summer just before the season got started. He’s an interesting comeback story and could be a surprise in the bullpen in Worcester or Portland with good stuff but some command issues.
- Matt Carasiti is another recent minor-league signing. He’s working his way back from Tommy John surgery and is potential middle relief depth.
- Raynel Espinal was selected in the minor-league portion of the 2019 Rule 5 Draft. COVID wiped out his 2020, so this will be his first time actually pitching in the Red Sox organization.
- Durbin Feltman has become something of a forgotten man after a disappointing 2019 and then having the 2020 season wiped out. If he gets off to a big start this year don’t be surprised to see him as a real contributor in the big-league bullpen by late summer.
- Frank German was the prospect who came along in the Adam Ottavino deal. Most see him as a future reliever, so it will be interesting to see what kind of role they’ll have him ramping up to this spring.
- Stephen Gonsalves was claimed off waivers last summer and then taken off the 40-man this winter. A former top prospect, he was getting some low-key buzz at Pawtucket last year and could be a sleeper to serve as major-league depth this season.
- Daniel Gossett is another recent minor-league signing. A former Oakland A, the righty will serve as rotation depth with some big-league experience under his belt.
- Zack Grotz is yet another minor-league signing from this offseason. He has some big-league experience and could be emergency bullpen depth with a focus on getting ground balls over missing bats.
- Matt Hall is indeed still in the organization, but not on the 40-man. The lefty will again serve as emergency depth, though he’ll start lower on the depth chart than he did a year ago.
- Kyle Hart is coming back after making his major-league debut last season. He’s hoping if he gets another chance this summer it’ll go a lot more smoothly.
- Kevin McCarthy is a minor-league signing from early in the offseason. Along with Muñoz, the former Royals reliever is among the most likely to make the Opening Day roster.
- Kaleb Ort was picked up in the minor-league portion of the Rule 5 Draft this summer and profiles as emergency bullpen depth.
- Andrew Politi is getting some buzz of late among prospect types. A former 15th round pick, he can bounced between the rotation and the bullpen and has missed plenty of bats in the process.
- Caleb Simpson was signed right before the league started up again last summer. The righty has big fastball and little command.
- Thad Ward was one of the biggest breakout prospects in the organization in 2019. After not being able to participate at the Alternate Site last summer, he’ll get a chance to cement himself as a top prospect in the coming season.
- Ryan Weber is another depth option from last season who remains in the organization after being removed from the 40-man. He’ll be emergency rotation depth this season.
- Josh Winckowski was just acquired in the Andrew Benintendi trade. It will be interested to see what his stuff looks like after reportedly making big gains at Instructs last fall.