Jim Skeffington, president of the PawSox says this year’s team could be “one of the best and most talented teams in the history of the franchise”. Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell says the PawSox could have the best pitching staff in all of minor league baseball. So it’s easy to see why anything short of another Triple A title would be a disappointment for the Pawtucket Red Sox.
With the PawSox coming to the Lehigh Valley for a 4-game series to open the 2015 International League season we should get an early glimpse at how competitive the Ironpigs will be this year.
Baseball America Magazine, a leading resource for analyzing the top prospects in every organization, annually rates the best prospects in each organization. Of their top 10 prospects in the Boston Red Sox organization, 8 of them are on the 2015 Pawtucket roster and 3 of the top 5 on that list are left handed pitchers. Here is a list of those 8:
#1. Blake Swihart, Catcher. 2011 1st round draft pick
#2. Henry Owens, LH Starting Pitcher. 2011 Supplemental 1st round draft pick.
#3. Rusney Castillo. Outfielder from Cuba, signed for $72 million.
#4. Eduardo Rodriguez. LH Starting Pitcher. Signed by Orioles & traded to Boston for LH pitcher Andrew Miller.
#5. Brian Johnson, LH Starting Pitcher. 2012 1st Round draft pick.
#8. Matt Barnes, RH Starting Pitcher. Yet another 2011 1st round draft pick.
#9. Deven Marrero, Shortstop. 2012 1st Round draft pick.
#10. Garin Cecchini. Third Base. 2010 4th round draft pick.
In addition to those prospects, the Pawtucket roster also includes former 1st round draft pick, outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr.,and starting pitcher Keith Couch, the winning pitcher in the clinching game of the 2014 Governor’s Cup. Other highly rated players on the Pawtucket roster include first baseman Travis Shaw, second baseman Sean Coyle, outfielder Bryce Brentz and pitchers Brandon Workman and Zeke Spruill who was acquired from the Diamondbacks in a trade during the offseason.
Yes, the PawSox are talented and they are also very young. Of all the players mentioned above, the oldest is Cuban defector Rusney Castillo. He is 27.
“It’s a long season and you gotta trust it. I’ve tried ’em all, I really have, and the only church that truly feeds the soul, day in, day out, is the Church of Baseball.”
It’s time to play some baseball. Should be an interesting season!