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Red Sox Top Prospect Voting: Eduard Bazardo looks to carry fall into summer

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The righty has a chance at making a real impact in 2021.

Eduard Bazardo
Kelly O’Connor

One of the fundamental challenges of this kind of prospect ranking exercise is just how you judge proximity versus upside. Everyone goes about it at least slightly differently, which is part of what makes it fun, and that conversation becomes more apparent the deeper you get into a list. Some people prefer the young, raw, unproven but supremely talented power/speed guys, while others prefer the lower ceilings but guys who are all but guaranteed a shot in the majors, and soon. The latest name on the list fits in the latter category. That would be Eduard Bazardo, who comes in at number 17 on our list, grabbing 48 percent of the vote.

Bazardo originally joined the Red Sox organization back in 2014 to just about no fanfare, signing an $8,000 bonus coming out of Venezuela. At the time he was a starter, and it was in that role he made his debut in 2015, pitching in the DSL. He was more mediocre there than anything, pitching to a 4.37 ERA, and from there he was put into more of a piggyback situation, coming out of the bullpen for multiple innings. He made just one start the following summer, still in the Dominican, and saw his strikeouts tick up a bit while his ERA ticked down a lot, all the way down to 0.79. It also wasn’t a traditional relief role at this point, as he finished with 45 13 innings in 17 appearances.

He would start the following summer in the DSL as well — it’s rarely a good sign when you’re making three appearances in the Dominican Summer League — but he was quickly moved up to the complex, and he pitched well at both spots, missing more bats than ever before. At this point, now in the 2018 season, he was brought up to Lowell, where he started to edge is way onto the radar. The righty was back to a regular starting role now, making nine starts for the Spinners with an impressive 2.36 ERA to go with over 10 strikeouts per nine innings. That was enough for a late-season promotion to Greenville, where he continued to start and put up a 3.21 ERA over five starts.

Even despite those results, though, it became clear that the rotation was not the best fit for Bazardo for multiple reasons. Part of that was his size, as he’s listed at just 6’0, 155 pounds. Part of that was his delivery, which can be very noisy. And it also had to do with his command. So in 2019, he was indeed pushed up the ladder again to Salem, but was back to that multi-inning relief role. He spent about half the season in High-A, pitching to a 1.76 ERA with almost 12 strikeouts per nine innings over 41 innings, which came over the course of 17 appearances. That led to a summer promotion to Portland, where he continued to throw the ball well. His outings got a bit shorter — he tossed 32 13 innings over 21 appearances — but he still performed, pitching to a 2.78 ERA with a little over a strikeout per inning.

All of this was setting up for him to be one of the sleeper candidates to make an impact in the 2020 season out of the major-league bullpen given his trajectory. The ceiling wasn’t high, but he just kept putting up numbers. Obviously, the 2020 season was wiped out which left Bazardo without a landing spot for the summer. It’s very clear that didn’t stop him from working out, though, because come Fall Instructs he was the talk of the organization. Bazardo showed up in Fort Myers throwing harder than ever before, suddenly sitting in the mid-90s rather than the low 90s with his fastball. That showing was enough to get him put on the 40-man last winter ahead of this upcoming season.

Bazardo is now a straight-up traditional reliever. He can still go multiple innings if they need him to, and he likely will at times, but the plan is for him to just be your typical bullpen arm, and he now looks the part more than ever. As mentioned, that fastball is much more impressive, combining the aforementioned velocity with good spin. He pairs that with a great curveball that he’s had for his entire career, and it is his best out pitch. It has good depth and he commands it fairly well. The 25-year-old does also have a splitter he’s only recently started throwing as well, but for the time being at least that is just a show-me offering. The stuff is there, but he still does have some issues in commanding his fastball that do, at the moment, limit the ceiling. In all, he has a ceiling as a good setup man, and a more likely future as a really solid middle relief arm.

Being on the 40-man, Bazardo has of course been present in spring training and he has looked good when he’s gotten into games. That could have made him a sleeper to make the roster out of camp, but he was recently optioned which means he’ll be down at the Alternate Site to kick off the season. I would definitely be ready for him to get his chance in the majors at some point this year, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if it comes at some point in the first half.

Here is our list so far:

  1. Triston Casas
  2. Jeter Downs
  3. Bryan Mata
  4. Jarren Duran
  5. Gilberto Jimenez
  6. Noah Song
  7. Bobby Dalbec
  8. Tanner Houck
  9. Connor Seabold
  10. Aldo Ramirez
  11. Thad Ward
  12. Jay Groome
  13. Nick Yorke
  14. Ronaldo Hernández
  15. Blaze Jordan
  16. Brayan Bello
  17. Eduard Bazardo

Now, you can head down into the comments and vote for the number 18 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...