If anyone is going to make their big league debut with the Boston Red Sox this season, odds are, they will take the organization by surprise.
Last year, the Red Sox held their rookie development program and a total of ten players were invited to it — which is way more than usual. The point of it is to help players get acclimated to the big league atmosphere, work out a bit and get ready for the season. For the most part, it is for players who the big league club thinks have a good shot at being called up at some point during the season.
This year, however, the Red Sox did not even bother having one.
Prospects tend to come in waves and the Red Sox are reaping the benefits of that at the moment. This season, they should have major contributions on the mound and at the plate from younger players, guys who have already made their big league debuts though.
The Red Sox had nine first year big leaguers last season (Eddie Rodriguez, Henry Owens, Noe Ramirez, Brian Johnson, Jonathan Aro, Dalier Hinojosa, Blake Swihart, Travis Shaw and Deven Marrero). Yes, there will be plenty of guys who still retain rookie status that could be called up from the PawSox, but they have a taste of big league experience at least.
Realistically, someone is bound to make their big league debut with the Sox this year. It is also realistic to expect that it will not be nine players.
PawSox closer Pat Light boasts a fastball that tops out in the triple digits — and he looks like someone who could contribute if given the opportunity. He struggled a bit last year because he was tipping his pitches. But once he got that sorted out, he was fine.
Jorge Marban is another reliever with a shot to impact the top team. A trip to Australia last winter resurrected his career after he had not played Minor League Baseball since 2011. He went 7-2 with a 1.31 ERA split between three levels. The one issue with him though is that he is not a strikeout pitcher per se.
More help on the mound could come from the likes of Williams Jerez, who started his pro career as an outfielder and William Cuevas, an Eastern League All-Star last year.
Infielder Marco Hernandez is the only position player on the 40-man roster yet to make his MLB debut, so he might be bound for a call-up at some point. The 23-year-old hit .305 in the upper minors last season.
First baseman Sam Travis, who tore the cover off the ball in AA last year hits left-handed pitching particualry well, so he could be bound for a promotion at some point.
Could Yoan Moncada also make it to the top in 2016? It’s unlikely. But man, would that be a sight.