If we were to tier out the Red Sox farm system, it would seem to me that there is a clear break of tiers after the eighth spot with Tanner Houck, at which point things get crowded and there’s a whole lot of directions you can go basically through the rest of the top 15, if not the entire top 20. That should make the rest of these votes very interesting. That brings us to this vote, in which we got a second consecutive pitcher for the first time on the list. Coming in at number nine on our community ranking, grabbing 32 percent of the vote, is Connor Seabold.
Seabold is, of course, one of the newer prospects in the Red Sox system, but he’s been a pro for a few years now. The righty was originally drafted back in 2014 out of high school by the Orioles, but he did not sign, instead heading to college at Cal State-Fullerton. After putting together three solid years there, including a junior year in which he posted a 2.96 ERA over 127 1⁄3 innings, the righty was again drafted, this time by the Phillies in the third round back in 2017.
He did sign that time, and went out to short-season ball in Williamsport to start his pro career that summer. He only got 10 innings under his belt that summer, but he looked good, allowing just a single run with 13 strikeouts and two walks. That was clearly enough to push him along to full-season ball in 2018, and in fact he was pushed up to High-A. Seabold wasn’t exactly dominant at this level, but his 3.77 ERA over 12 starts at the level was enough for a promotion up to Double-A midway through his first full professional season. He struggled with the adjustment, pitching to a 4.91 ERA over his final 11 starts of the season, but he was also in Double-A the summer after being drafted.
Even with the relatively lackluster performance in 2018, particularly to close the year, Seabold still had some mild excitement around him just for the simple fact he was moving so quickly. Unfortunately, 2019 would turn into something of a lost season. The righty didn’t end up getting to start his season on time, suffering an oblique injury early in camp that spring. That caused him to sit out until the end of June, when he finally made his way back to the mound. The Phillies understandably took it easy, giving him a few appearances in Rookie ball before getting a couple back at High-A.
After the rehab appearances he was finally able to make his way back to Double-A, but at this point it was already the end of July and there were only five or six weeks left in the season. So Seabold didn’t get a chance to fully redeem himself at the level, but he did get to make seven starts, and despite the missed time he looked solid. Over 40 innings of work he pitched to a 2.25 ERA with 36 strikeouts and 10 walks. That did, for what it’s worth, include six innings of one-run ball in Portland.
Following the partially lost season, Seabold was looking for a full year in 2020 to reestablish his value and get his road to the bigs back on track. Unfortunately, the pandemic got in the way, but he was still able to head to the Phillies Alternate Site for the summer. Except, as we know, he’d only spend half the summer there. Boston traded Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree to the Phillies, and as part of the return Seabold came over to Boston. Although he has yet to pitch a real game in the Red Sox organization, coaches did get a chance to work with him down in Pawtucket and by all accounts things went relatively well.
Seabold doesn’t have the most enticing stuff and ceiling you’re going to hear about in the Red Sox system, but there is a very solid pitcher here who is relatively close to the majors. The righty has a starter’s frame and good mechanics that should be able to keep him in the rotation long-term as long as the production allows it. He came out of college as a control/command guy, but his stuff has ticked up as he’s gotten more work with professional coaches. There’s not any pitch that will totally blow you away, though the changeup comes the closest and is his best offering. He also throws a fastball that sits in the low-90s that can get up to the mid-90s here and there along with a slider that could use a little more work but is decent enough as a third pitch.
A few months ago Seabold was added to the 40-man in order to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. That puts him right on the doorstep to the majors, and he is expected to start the season in Worcester’s rotation. He won’t be the most highly-rated starter there — Bryan Mata will be there as well, and perhaps Tanner Houck depending on how things shake out up in the bigs — but he could be up more quickly than at least Mata. This is all contingent on his performance in camp and at Worcester, of course, but he could be among the first rotation depth candidates to get a call, perhaps as early as May or June. That the Red Sox have felt comfortable shipping out guys like Chris Mazza and Joel Payamps, to me, shows a confidence that Seabold will be ready, and perhaps sooner than we may have expected a few months back.
Here is our list so far:
- Triston Casas
- Jeter Downs
- Bryan Mata
- Jarren Duran
- Gilberto Jimenez
- Noah Song
- Bobby Dalbec
- Tanner Houck
- Connor Seabold
Now, you can head down into the comments and vote for the number ten prospect. As a reminder, to do this you go down below and find the comment from me corresponding with the player for whom you’d like to vote. When you find said player, just click the “rec” button, and that will count your vote. To do this, you will need to be logged in as a member of the site. If you’d like to vote for a player who is not listed, just leave a comment saying “Vote for ___ here” and I’ll rec the comment to count your vote. We encourage discussion, of course, but please don’t comment under specific players’ names. Instead, scroll to the bottom to start a new comment thread in order to keep the players at the top of the comment section. Until next time...