Opinion

Candidates for the Boston Red Sox 40 Man Roster

There's a spot open on the Boston Red Sox 40 man roster, and the Sox need to fill it before September. Who will take the final roster spot?
Featured image courtesy of Zimbio.com (July 21, 2018 – Source: Rob Carr/Getty Images North America)

The Boston Red Sox head into September in an interesting situation. Currently, the Sox have an open spot on their 40 man roster, and that’s likely to change soon. Any player added to the Boston Red Sox 40 man roster before September call-ups are postseason eligible, meaning the Sox have a small window in which to make a move. There are several worthy options, but only one can earn the final spot.

Possible Players for the Boston Red Sox 40 Man Roster

Most Likely

Brandon Phillips

Even though the Red Sox have a strong amount of depth at second base, Brandon Phillips should be seen as the most likely call-up. Phillips has an extensive major league history and has stepped up his game in Pawtucket as of late. Since the end of July, the righty owns a .367/.393/.582 slash line with an accompanying 173 wRC+. Additionally, Phillips reportedly still plays solid defense and could be a great asset to this club down the stretch.

The biggest thing preventing Phillips’ promotion could be the players already in the majors. Right now, the Red Sox have Ian Kinsler, Brock Holt, and even an improving Eduardo Nunez capable of handling second base duties. However, each one of those players has a fairly severe injury history, and Phillips could serve as valuable insurance.

Travis Lakins

Red Sox Unfiltered has already covered Lakins out-of-nowhere rise in our Prospect Watch series, so we won’t waste much time breaking down what Lakins brings to the table. However, that article was posted weeks ago and doesn’t account for his latest statistics.

On the season, Lakins currently owns a 2.68 ERA, 3.28 FIP, and a 9.96 K/9 between Portland and Pawtucket. These are solid numbers, and the Red Sox could be tempted to test Lakins in the big leagues.

However, Lakins has been aided by a considerable amount of luck. His BABIP currently sits at .252, which is a decent chunk below the league average. This will normalize with time, meaning that he’s statistically likely to hit some bad luck in the coming month. It would be bad for everyone if that bad luck took place at the major league level.

Somewhat Likely

Michael Chavis

It would come as a surprise to see third baseman Michael Chavis promoted straight to the major leagues, but the Red Sox have done it before. Chavis started off slow in his return from suspension, but has greatly improved his production in the past month or so. Since August 2nd, Chavis is posting a .403/.469/.639 slash line with an absurd 203 wRC+.

However, asking Chavis to make the jump from AA to the majors is probably asking too much. The talent gap between those two levels is astronomical, and most players cannot handle that type of change that quickly. Granted, Andrew Benintendi made the jump, and Rafael Devers spent just a week in Pawtucket prior to his initial call-up, but those two were much better prospects than Chavis. It’s best if the Red Sox just play it slow with Chavis.

Mike Shawaryn

Should the Red Sox decide to go for a sixth starter or a long arm in the bullpen, they could turn to 23-year old righty Mike Shawaryn. Shawaryn’s ceiling is that of a back of the rotation starter, but the young hurler has done well in the minors this year. Starting of the year with Portland, Shawaryn made 19 starts, compiling an impressive 3.28 ERA, 3.22 FIP, and a solid 1.13 WHIP. He then earned a promotion to Pawtucket and has pitched even better.

This year in Pawtucket, Shawaryn owns a 2.49 ERA, 2.82 FIP, and a 0.97 WHIP. He’s striking out 9.97 batters per nine innings, and opposing batters are hitting just .173 off him. Granted, these numbers have come in just 21.2 innings of work. Still, it’s highly impressive for the borderline top-10 prospect.

The biggest knock against this idea is that the Red Sox don’t really need a long arm or an extra starter. Eduardo Rodriguez should be back soon, and he looked fantastic in his first rehab outing, and the other four members of the rotation are set in stone. The biggest pitching need is in the bullpen, and Shawaryn has only pitched out of the bullpen one time. He’ll get his chance in the majors soon, but it probably won’t come in 2018.

Long Shots/Dark Horses

Durbin Feltman

Ever since he was selected with the 100th overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, fans and media alike have speculated that Durbin Feltman could find his way onto the 2018 Boston Red Sox. While the 21-year old reliever has an absurd pitch tool, he probably won’t see Fenway Park in 2018.

Feltman has been absurdly good through his young career, throwing to the tune of 1.45 ERA, 0.79 FIP, and a 0.86 WHIP in 18.2 innings. His K/9 is a stupendous 13.98, and his BB/9 is a low 1.45. By all accounts, the kid is as advertised coming out of school.

That being said, he’s still in High A ball. Asking him to skip AA and AAA completely to join the major leagues is an absolute absurdity. No pitcher could possibly be expected to handle that big a jump in difficulty. It’s one thing doing it at AA, where a high amount of top prospects linger. It’s a whole different thing to do it in A ball, where good prospects are typically scarce.

Kelvin Herrera

The Boston Red Sox may look outside the organization to fill the final spot on their 40-man roster. If they do, they’ll almost certainly target a reliever like Kelvin Herrera. Herrera is one of the better bullpen arms in the game, owning a 2.47 ERA and a 3.90 FIP between the Kansas City Royals and the Washington Nationals.

The Nationals traded for Herrera prior to the trade deadline, but they’re self-aware enough to realize they don’t stand a chance this year. The Nationals currently sit at 64-64, third place in their own division and 6.5 games out of the final Wild Card spot. With Herrera in the final year of his contract, the Nationals should try to get something in exchange for the 28-year old.

Boston reportedly had a deal for Herrera fall through at the last second at the trade deadline. Obviously, the Red Sox are interested, and with the deadline passed, other teams won’t be around to drive up the price. Of course, since this would be a waiver trade, any other team could ruin any agreed deal by putting in a waiver claim. Teams like the Yankees, Indians, and Astros won’t want to see the Red Sox get better, so they could easily put in a waiver claim to block the Sox from getting Herrera.

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