Despite only pitching eight professional innings, there’s a lot to like about 2018’s 12th-round pick Chase Shugart. Shugart spent time in college as both a reliever and a starter, but the Red Sox are currently trying him in the starting rotation. Can Shugart continue to develop into a starter, or will he move to the bullpen as his career progresses?
Red Sox Prospects: Chase Shugart
Just like fellow 2018 draftees Triston Casas and Nick Decker, Chase Shugart had an abbreviated 2018 season. Pitching just eight innings, Shugart recorded an encouraging 1.13 ERA, nine strikeouts, and just one walk. Shugart pitched in both the Dominican Summer League and with the short-season Lowell Spinners, making a combined four starts between the two levels. It’s obviously a small sample size, but Shugart impressed when he was on the mound.
Shugart currently has a four-pitch mix, although some of his pitches aren’t nearly as good as others. His fastball sits in the
Shugart’s curveball and changeup aren’t nearly as good as those two pitches, but they can be used as complements. Shugart is confident enough in his curveball to throw it in any situation, although he probably shouldn’t. The pitch is inconsistent, but when thrown correctly, has serviceable break and movement. His changeup, meanwhile, has a long way to go. While it’s deceiving out of his hand, Shugart cannot locate it with any type of consistency. If he keeps the pitch long-term, it should only be used in rare situations.
What To Work On
As previously mentioned, some of Shugart’s secondary pitches leave a lot to be desired. His fastball and slider offer the most promise, but even those offerings need some work.
None of his pitches are electric, so there isn’t much room for projection with Shugart. He doesn’t have top of the rotation stuff, so he’ll need three solid pitches in order to stay in the rotation. Right now, he doesn’t have that.
Shugart’s overall success as a prospect comes down to whether he’s able to master a third pitch. His fastball and slider have major league potential, but his curveball and changeup are far too inconsistent. Shughart doesn’t have the stuff to make it as a two-pitch starter, so he’ll need to develop one of his other pitches.
Even if starting doesn’t work out, his fastball and slider combination should play up in the bullpen. Worst comes to worst, Shugart has the makings of a seventh- or eighth-inning bullpen arm.
Shugart only pitched eight innings with the Red Sox last year, and none above the short-season Lowell Spinners. The righty will probably start the season with the Low-A Greenville Drive, and, with any luck, will start showing more consistency with his secondary pitches.