October 29, 2013 at 8:00 AM
SoxProspects.com is counting down its season-end top 40 prospects, recapping their seasons and previewing what's ahead in 2014. You can find all of the entries in this year's series here.
#9: Trey Ball, LHP
2013 Team: GCL Red Sox
Final Stats: 7 IP, 0-1, 6.43 ERA, 1.86 WHIP, 5 SO, 6 BB
Season in Review: The Red Sox, having their highest draft choice since selecting Trot Nixon in 1993, selected Ball with the seventh-overall pick of the 2013 draft. One of the best two-way players in the country, Ball gained attention for his performance on the mound (6-0, 0.76 ERA, 93 strikeouts, 13 walks, 46 IP) for New Castle Chrysler High School in Indiana. Previously committed to attend the University of Texas, Ball signed with Boston for $2.75 million on June 19, but fans eager for him to debut had to wait more than another month. The 6-foot-6 left-hander finally made his professional debut on July 29 in the GCL, and by the end of the season had appeared in just five regular season games and pitched seven innings, plus a scoreless two-inning start in the playoffs. Given his two-month layoff between the end of the high school season and his pro debut, his struggles—he allowed runs to score in four of his five regular season starts, and never went longer than two innings due to his pitch count—are easier to understand.
First-Hand Report and 2014 Preview: Ball is the only player we've covered in this series that we here at SoxProspects have not been able to lay eyes on in person yet, due in no small part to his light workload this year (its own conversation, which we plan on tackling on a future podcast). Ball is extremely athletic—he was considered a first-round talent in the outfield as well, and some teams even liked him better in that role. But both Ball and the Red Sox agreed that his future lay on the mound. The left-hander has a tall, skinny frame onto which he could pack on a lot of good weight with an offseason in the weight room, which could add velocity to his low-90s fastball. He throws a curveball and changeup, the former which he famously wasn't allowed to throw until only recently. The change shows plus potential, while the curve improved greatly this spring part of what catapulted him into the top of the first round. Expect Ball to head to Greenville to start next season for our first extended look at the earliest Red Sox draft pick in 20 years. Ignore the stats in a small sample this year, as this season was all about getting him used to pro ball and the five-day routine. – Chris Hatfield
Photo Credit: Trey Ball by The Boston Herald.