Red Sox

Prospect Mike Shawaryn could be next spot starter in Red Sox' shorthanded rotation

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USA TODAY Sports Photo

Prospect Mike Shawaryn could be next spot starter in Red Sox' shorthanded rotation

Next up: Mike Shawaryn?

With three off days in the next week, the Red Sox should only need one spot starter. And after underwhelming performances from Josh Smith and Hector Velazquez, Shawaryn could get a look after a solid run at Triple-A Pawtucket.

The burly 6-foot-2 right-hander is 1-2 with a 2.72 ERA in six starts. He's coming off his best outing of the season in a no-decision vs. Rochester in which he allowed five hits and just one unearned run over eight innings on Friday. He has yet to allow more than three runs in a start this season.

A fifth-round pick in 2016 out of the University of Maryland, Shawaryn (pronounced SHU-warren) isn't the prototypical Red Sox pitching prospect. He throws from a low three-quarters arm angle and relies on movement as much as velocity, which typically sits in the 92-93 mph range.

He's not a high strikeout guy (6.7/9 IP), but he has delivered consistent results at each level of the minors, never posting an ERA higher than 3.88.

When the Red Sox needed a starter for what ended up being a rainout against the Rays on April 26, they choose Smith, who made one relief appearance last week before starting and allowing a grand slam in a 4-1 loss to Baltimore on Monday.
Shawaryn had been in the mix.

"He was considered, but it didn't work out as far as where he was and the schedule," manager Alex Cora told reporters in Chicago over the weekend. "He got our attention in spring training, the way he uses his stuff and the way he uses his fastball. . . If we feel you can get outs, you're going to be part of the equation."

Shawaryn projects as a reliever or swingman in the big leagues -- he pitched primarily in relief in the Arizona Fall League while compiling a 2.13 ERA -- but opportunity can work in strange ways, as infielder Michael Chavis is proving now, and as Cora noted in spring training.

"I mean, Ryan Brasier contributed last year and he wasn't even in the conversation here," Cora said. "That's the message I've been telling them. Brandon Workman in 2013 was a big part of the World Series."

With David Price and Nathan Eovaldi sidelined by elbow injuries, the Red Sox are down two members of the rotation. Thanks to upcoming off days on Thursday, Monday, and next Thursday, however, they can probably rely on Eduardo Rodriguez, Rick Porcello, and Chris Sale to start six times during the eight-game homestand that begins Friday against Seattle.

E-Rod will start the opener and Porcello should get the ball on Saturday. That creates a need for a starter on Sunday. Mark down Shawaryn as an intriguing candidate.

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MLB Power Rankings: The Red Sox are bad... but how bad?

MLB Power Rankings: The Red Sox are bad... but how bad?

We're now two weeks into the 2020 MLB season and well... the Boston Red Sox are who we thought they were.

The Red Sox have a 4-8 record as of Thursday's off day, putting them in last place in the American League East. They're coming off a surprising 5-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays, which ended a four-game losing streak that spotlighted just how long this 60-game season is going to be. How's that for irony?

Without Chris Sale (Tommy John surgery) and Eduardo Rodriguez (myocarditis), the starting pitching staff has been anchored by Nathan Eovaldi and Martin Perez. After that, it's a bunch of guys who leave fans hoping the game isn't out of reach by the third inning.

So yeah, the Red Sox are bad, but just how bad are they? Let's see how they stack up with the rest of the league...

Dustin May blowing up for Dodgers, but here's why Red Sox passed on him in 2016 draft

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AP Photo

Dustin May blowing up for Dodgers, but here's why Red Sox passed on him in 2016 draft

The internet is losing its mind over lanky Dodgers right-hander Dustin May, who is unleashing 99-mph two-seam fastballs that look computer generated as they zip a foot and a half behind right-handed hitters.

The 6-foot-6, 180-pounder is 1-0 with a 2.63 ERA in three starts, with 15 strikeouts and only three walks in 13.2 innings. Just 22 years old, he looks like a future ace in an organization swimming in top-flight prospects.
 
https://twitter.com/PitchingNinja/status/1290822220567191554
 
May's stuff is so overwhelming, and his Dodgers pedigree so established as a consensus top-20 prospect, it's easy to assume he was selected high in the first round of the 2016 draft.

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That assumption would be false. May actually lasted until the third round, 101st overall, where the Dodgers convinced the Texas high schooler to forgo a commitment to Texas Tech with a signing bonus of $1 million, more than $400,000 above slot.

The Red Sox had the 11th pick in that round, 88th overall, and used it to select University of Florida right-hander Shaun Anderson, who signed for $700,000 before being traded a year later to the Giants in a deal for infielder Eduardo Nuñez. Anderson represented the Giants in the 2018 Futures Game and last year reached the big leagues as a swingman, starting 16 games and saving two. He owns a lifetime ERA of 5.42.

Anytime a third-rounder even reaches the majors, which only happens about 40 percent of the time, that's a worthwhile pick. So with all due respect to Anderson, May's breakout success leads to an obvious question: Did the Red Sox give serious thought to drafting him 88th in 2016?

Even though they liked him, the answer is not really. A standout at Northwest High School in Justin, Texas, May was a late bloomer. He threw in the low 80s as a sophomore, but with excellent command. His fastball jumped into the low-90s by his senior year, touching 95, but after a fast start, his velocity dipped. Most projections pegged him for the third or fourth round, where it would take an aggressive offer to buy out his commitment to Texas Tech.

The Red Sox weren't in position to make such an offer, because they had decided to use the 12th overall pick on a high-ceilinged high schooler of their own.

New Jersey left-hander Jay Groome began 2016 as Baseball America's No. 1 overall prospect, but he slipped after a transfer violation cost him half his senior year, and reneging on a commitment to Vanderbilt created character concerns. The Red Sox jumped at the chance to land the 6-foot-6, 220-pound horse with a mid-90s fastball and outstanding curveball, knowing they'd need to pay him above the slot recommendation of $3.2 million.

The problem is, they didn't know exactly how high they'd need to go, with rumors circulating that Groome sought $4 million. With each team allotted a bonus pool, the Red Sox couldn't risk paying Groome so much that there wasn't enough left for May. Groome ended up agreeing to a $3.65 million bonus, or roughly $430,000 above slot, which is about what it took for the Dodgers to sign May.

Groome underwent Tommy John surgery in 2018 and returned at the end of last season to throw four innings between rookie ball and short-season Lowell. He's currently working out in Pawtucket, where he impressed against Triple-A hitters in a recent live bullpen with an effortless 93-mph fastball that should add velocity as he builds back arm strength.

If Groome hits, then the Red Sox will have no complaints about a 2016 draft that has already produced four big leaguers and could add a couple more in first baseman Bobby Dalbec and shortstop C.J. Chatham, not to mention 19th-round left-hander Kyle Hart.

If they could do it all over again, though, they'd find a way to take May. They're not alone, because 30 teams combined to pass on the young star 100 times before the Dodgers struck gold.