The 2019 MLB season is officially underway, and with it comes the start of minor league baseball. The Boston Red Sox have a stacked roster, but they’ll inevitably need to turn to their minor league ranks at some point during the season. If and when they do, they’ll be turning to their highest minor league associate, the Pawtucket Red Sox. The Red Sox farm system as a whole isn’t that promising, but there are quite a few intriguing young minor leaguers to keep an eye on.
Pawtucket Red Sox Season Preview: What to Watch For
Michael Chavis (Scouting Report)
Michael Chavis is the best prospect in the Red Sox system and could make his major league debut as early as this season. Chavis, a first-round pick in 2014, had a fantastic 2017 before missing the first half of 2018 after failing a PED test. However, Chavis proved he wasn’t a one-year fluke by going on an absolute tear in 2018. The righty finished his season with a .298/.381/.538 slash line in 46 games between Portland and Pawtucket.
Chavis’ bat is basically major league ready, but he still needs time to develop as a fielder. Chavis is a decent defensive third baseman, but the Red Sox already have Rafael Devers manning the hot corner. If Chavis is to become a major league mainstay, he’ll need to learn how to play first and second base. Chavis spent some time at first in 2018 and played first and second base during spring training. He’s currently blocked by a barrage of major leaguers, but Chavis should compete for a major league spot by the start of the 2020 season at the absolute latest.
Travis Lakins (Scouting Report)
The biggest issue with the 2019 Boston Red Sox is their bullpen, but Travis Lakins has an opportunity to be the franchise savior. Lakins spent the early part of his major league career as a starter and never amounted to much. However, Lakins climbed up the prospect rankings after converting to a reliever midway through the 2018 season. In 37.1 innings of relief, Lakins recorded a 1.21 ERA and a 3.06 FIP while posting an 8.92 K/9.
Lakins should be in the majors sooner rather than later, as his talent combined with the bullpens’ collective questions makes him a quick fix to Boston’s problems. Lakins was the beneficiary of some batted ball luck in 2018, but he still has the stuff to be a major league arm. If he can continue to develop, he could make it to the majors as early as March.
Mike Shawaryn (Scouting Report)
Mike Shawaryn doesn’t have the highest ceiling, but he has a safe floor and should be Pawtucket’s opening day starter in 2019. Shawaryn climbed through the minor league ranks thanks to a solid pitch tool combined with decent command and strikeout potential.
Shawaryn isn’t eligible for the Rule 5 Draft until 2020, so he’s not on the 40-man roster. However, if the Red Sox need a minor league spot starter, Shawaryn will be the first name called. While players like Darwinzon Hernandez have higher ceilings, Shawaryn is the most pro-ready starting pitcher prospect in the Red Sox system. The 24-year old righty had a great season last year and could be a full-time major leaguer in 2020 if he has a strong season.