The Governors’ Cup Champions, Pawtucket Red Sox, are now ready to open the 2015 season after a long offseason. One constant through all of this change will be the presence of talented prospects on McCoy Stadium’s field.
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Blake Swihart, the top prospect for the PawSox, will be leading a team of young players. Swihart, 23 years old, is undoubtedly the most promising catcher prospect in baseball. He has been compared to Giants all-star Buster Posey. Swihart is one of the few catchers who can both hit and field at an extraordinary level while leaving little holes. Swihart was suggested as a replacement for Boston’s catcher Christian Vazquez, who had season-ending Tommy John surgery. Swihart was not offered a replacement because he needed more time to adjust and perfect his game.
Rusney Castillo Jr. and Jackie Bradley Jr. will roam the outfield. The club signed Castillo, a Cuban national, to a $72.5 million seven-year deal last August. He was expected to remain a fixture in Boston’s outfield for many years. His path to the majors was not clear after Hanley Ramirez was acquired by the team. Mookie Betts was able to make it into the lineup thanks to a strong 2014. Shane Victorino will also play, if he is able.
Castillo was the odd man out, with Allen Craig and Victorino out of minor league options. Castillo could be a Boston at-bat if one of these two is traded or hurt. Castillo will continue to be acclimatized with American baseball in Pawtucket until then.
Bradley’s struggles at the plate last season were well documented. His terrible numbers in Boston led to him being demoted in August. Bradley made some adjustments to his swing in the offseason, focusing on his hands. He hopes this will result in more consistent contact and harder hitting. Bradley has already proven his ability to hit at the MLB level with his gold glove defense.
Pawtucket’s three top prospects in pitching are Henry Owens, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Brian Johnson. Although none of these youngster have yet made their big league debuts, there is not much depth in Boston at this position so it would not be surprising if one of them gets his chance with the Red Sox.
Pawtucket hosts their home opener against the Rochester Red Wings on April 16, at 7:05.