Featured image courtesy of the Portland Press Herald
Trey Ball, the seventh overall pick by the Boston Red Sox in the 2013 MLB Draft, has not met expectations thus far through his career. The 24-year old lefty has a 5.02 career ERA in the minor leagues, including a 7.58 ERA with the Portland Sea Dogs in 2018.
However, despite the poor numbers, there’s suddenly a reason to believe in Ball’s future. The Red Sox have recently converted the pitcher into an outfielder, and the early results are promising. While it’s far too early to call this kid a future major leaguer, this change gives Ball an opportunity to salvage his career.
Former First-Round Pick Trey Ball Transfers to the Outfield
While Ball had been hitting in batting practice for the past few weeks, they lefty made his career debut at the batter’s box on Sunday night. Ball came to the plate four times, going 1-4 while hitting a two-run double which gave the Portland Sea Dogs the lead. While this is obviously a small sample, the fact Ball was able to make contact with professional pitching after not facing it for five years is a feat in of itself.
The Sea Dogs season ended on Labor Day, so Ball won’t have the opportunity to put together any more at-bats. However, his history suggests he might be able to stick as an outfield prospect. Coming out of high school, people questioned whether Ball would project better as a center fielder or a pitcher. While the Red Sox chose to develop him as a pitcher, he still likely would have been a first-round pick as an outfielder.
Ball has always been an amazing athlete dating back to his high school days. Back in 2012, Ball won the Indiana Baseball Player of the Year Award, in large part because of his outfield prowess. Nothing has happened with his raw talent, so the lefty should still have the ability to play adequate defense and swing the bat.
The biggest question with Ball is if he can adjust to professional pitching after such a long hiatus from hitting. He’s currently in AA, but would probably need a demotion in order to prevent being overmatched by high-quality opponents. At age 24, Ball is already on the older side for an AA player. By A-ball standards, he’s ancient.
However, becoming an outfield prospect is the best way for Ball to shed his “Bust” label. His career struggles as both a major and minor leaguer show that he has little to no future as a major league pitcher. Perhaps Ball can still be in the Red Sox future plans if he can harness that talented center fielder from 2012.