One of the top prospects in the Red Sox minor league system will have to delay his career. Twenty-three year old starting pitcher Noah Song received official orders to report to flight school at Naval Air Station Pensacola no later than today, June 26th. This means the young righty will have to take at least a year off from baseball to fulfill his duties with the United States Navy.
When Song was selected by Boston in the fourth round of the 2019 MLB Draft, it was a known possibility that he may have to step away from baseball due to service commitments. While it's admirable and necessary for Song to be serving his country, it's disappointing for Sox fans who want to see the promising talent shoot up the ranks sooner rather than later.
Noah Song, a 22-year-old Navy grad/2019 Red Sox 4th rounder is too advanced for the NYPL. He’s working 94-97 with life against the Staten Island Yankees for the Lowell Spinners. Here he is against Eqezuiel Duran. @fangraphs @FG_Prospects https://t.co/nhyoLwsENw pic.twitter.com/Kh3Idh9u1t— Josh Herzenberg (@JoshHerzenberg) August 16, 2019
Song graduated from the Naval Academy just a month before he was drafted and then reported to Lowell to play for the Single-A Spinners. He was extremely impressive over the summer as he allowed just two runs in seven starts to the tune of a 1.06 ERA. Song also struck out 19 while walking five in 17 innings of work with opponents batting just .167 against him. The buzz around Song only amplified when he joined Team USA as a reliever. He allowed only one hit and struck out six in just over five innings of international competition.
Back in October, Song had submitted a waiver request to transfer to the Navy reserves. This would have allowed him to pursue baseball right away. However, that request was rejected in December. Song then updated that request in April with the intent to head to flight school right away and start his two years of training. "The original waiver, which requested the ability to continue my service by transferring my commission to the Navy Reserves and concurrently pursuing a professional career with the Red Sox organization, gave me the best chance to make it to the major leagues," Song said in a statement. "However, I understand transferring immediately into the reserves is unlikely because the law and policy in my case do not permit it," he continued.
Noah Song of the @USNavy and @USABaseball spoke after the U.S. win about what it’s meant for him to represent his country in the @Premier12 — before beginning flight school next month. @RedSox @TeamUSA pic.twitter.com/w85RyCQzzU— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 15, 2019
Song can apply for an early release next May, though that being granted is unlikely. For those that pay attention to this sort of thing, Song ranked No. 9 as a prospect on Boston's farm by Baseball America. The minor leagues have been thin for the Red Sox in recent years and pitching is of course, always at a premium. Still, this will all have to take a back seat for a while and we'll have to hope he can keep his momentum going when he returns to the mound in a year or two.