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Meet The New Guy: Jake Faria

He’s a minor league free agent who didn’t expect to be a minor league free agent at this point in his career.

Who is he and where did he come from?

He’s Jake Faria, a once-promising rookie who, unfortunately, has seen it all do down hill from there. The Red Sox signed him as a minor league free agent.

What position does he play?

He’s a right-handed pitcher, and while he initially came up and had some early success as a starter, he’s been almost exclusively a reliever at the Major League level since 2019.

Is he any good?

He was signed as a minor league free agent two weeks before Spring Training, so no, of course he isn’t any good. What’s interesting about Faria, though, is that it at least looked like he once was and would be.

After being rated as high as the eighth-best prospect in the Rays’ system, Faria was called up to the majors in the middle of the 2017 season. He made 14 starts as a rookie that year and was pretty damn good, finishing the year with a 123 ERA+. Then it all just. . . fell apart.

After opening the 2018 season as the Rays number three starter, he got off to a rocky start, spent significant time on the IL with an oblique injury, and then bounced back and forth between AAA and bigs upon his return. He began the 2019 in the bullpen, where he underperformed, walking 7 batters in 10 innings before being traded to the Brewers for Jesus Aguilar. His 8 innings in Milwaukee were about as bad as it gets: 18 hits, 3 homers, and 11 earned runs. Unsurprisingly, he was released and didn’t play at all in 2020.

He briefly made it back to the big leagues in 2021, this time with the Diamondbacks, and even got to make three starts (real ones, not as an opener). He was much better with the Diamondbacks than he had been in recent years — significantly lowering both his walk and hit rates from where it had been with Milwaukee — but it still amounted to below average production, and he was cut at the end of the year. He played last season with the AAA affiliate of the Twins, but didn’t even stick with the team past June.

Looking at the numbers under the hood, it seems much of his rookie year success was smoke and mirrors. He did a decent job missing bats that season, thanks to an effective split-finger fastball that held batters to just a .135 batting average and .203 slugging percentage. But he’s never been able to add much in the way of secondary offerings.

Show me a cool highlight.

This dude made into the 7th inning in his Major League debut! He must have been feeling real good about his future that night; it must be absolutely brutal to peak at the very start of your career.

What’s he doing in his picture up there?

Beaming both inside and out as he embarks on what he’s sure will be a long and fruitful career playing the game he loves, blissfully unaware of what that cruel bastard, fate, has in store.

What’s his role on the 2023 Red Sox?

It’s quite possible he doesn’t even make the Worcester roster out of Spring Training and you never think about him again. Otherwise, his most likely path to the Red Sox 40-man roster is a depth/swing-man reliever who only gets a chance if the bullpen suffers some injuries.