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SoxProspects News

April 26, 2017 at 8:00 AM

System Restart '17: Mid-level pitching

The SoxProspects.com writing staff presents the System Restart, our season-opening, position-by-position preview of the Boston Red Sox farm system for 2017. This is the sixth of seven parts, featuring the system’s mid-minors pitching.

Position at a Glance: Between Greenville and Salem, the Red Sox have several pitching prospects who could advance relatively quickly and have at least a chance of developing into starters at the big league level. That said, none of these prospects have top of the rotation potential. – Ian Cundall

Top Prospects
Roniel Raudes, Salem (#8)
Raudes (pictured, right), an international free agent signed out of Nicaragua in 2014, spent last season in Greenville as one of the youngest players in the South Atlantic League at 18 years old. Raudes put up impressive numbers with a 3.65 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in 113 1/3 innings, striking out 104 batters and walking just 23. Raudes’ control and command are impressive for a pitcher his age, but he lacks dominating stuff, his fastball sitting around 88-90 mph. He mixes all four of his pitches, with his curve and change flashing average-to-better. Questions remain whether he simply possesses a profile that allows him to succeed at lower levels with better-than-typical command, pitchability, and funky mechanics, or whether he can truly succeed with his unique profile for an age-advanced arm at higher levels of the minors and the majors. Raudes begins the year as the youngest player in the Carolina League, but has been hit hard in two of his three outings, giving up 12 hits including three home runs in nine innings while striking out just six in those contests, with his lone positive start cut short due to a long rain delay. – Nick Rabasco

Travis Lakins, Salem (#12)
Lakins (pictured, left) appeared poised for a breakout last season, entering 2016 as the tenth-ranked prospect in the system after showing intriguing stuff in his professional debut with Salem and his first spring training. But the 6-foot-1, 180-pound right-hander’s stuff did not live up to its potential in 2016, as he saw a drop in his velocity and his curveball was not crisp. The disappointing campaign ended with an elbow injury at the end of July, but Lakins seems to have turned a corner in the early going this year. So far, his fastball is reportedly sitting in the low-to-mid-90s, and he has added a cutter that has shown the ability to miss bats. Given a somewhat conservative assignment to Salem to start the year, his strong start (3.38 ERA, 25 K to 6 BB in 21 1/3 IP) could lead to a quick promotion to Portland. Long-term, in order to continue to project as a major league starter, he will have to show that he can stay healthy with a 150-plus-inning workload despite his smaller frame. Otherwise, he may be looking at a future as a reliever. – Ian Dalley

Mike Shawaryn, Greenville (#14)
The Red Sox are hoping they got a steal after Shawaryn (pictured, right) fell to them in the fifth round of the 2016 draft. The 22-year-old right-hander struggled with injuries to start his junior year of college but hit the ground running when he joined Lowell, striking out 22 batters and walking just seven in 15 2/3 innings. The success was due in part to regained the velocity he flashed in his sophomore year that suggested he may be a first-round talent, hitting 91-93 with his fastball and topping out at 95. Now pitching for Greenville, Shawaryn has posted three dominant starts after getting rocked for nine runs in his 2017 debut. Since that inauspicious start, he has struck out 25 and walked just three in 15 1/3 innings, allowing three earned runs. Shawaryn is a physical presence on the mound, standing at 6-foot-3 with a sturdy 225-pound frame. He features one of the most unique arm angles in the system with a very low three-quarters arm slot. With a significant amount of effort in his delivery, there is always a concern for injury down the road. For now, Shawaryn is impressing with a potential plus fastball and an above-average slider. – Eric Gendron

Shaun Anderson, Greenville (#19)
Anderson (pictured, left) was Boston’s third-round pick in the 2016 draft after a successful career as a closer for the University of Florida, forced to Florida’s bullpen due to the incredible depth of the Gators’ pitching staff. The Red Sox are developing him as a starter given his potential for five solid offerings, including a fastball that sits in the low-90s, although none stand out as a true out pitch. Anderson's professional debut consisted of two appearances lasting 2 2/3 innings, during which he gave up nine runs on 12 hits before being shut down, but so far, Anderson has shown those results to likely be the result of a tired arm at the end of a long college season. in four starts, Anderson has given up just two runs on 13 hits and seven walks while striking out 23 over 21 2/3 innings. Anderson, along with rotation-mate Shawaryn, could see a midseason promotion to Salem with continued dominance of the South Atlantic League and put himself on the map as a potential major league starter in a system lacking in arms with that profile. – Conor Duffy

System Depth Chart (number in parentheses = SoxProspects.com ranking; italics = LHP)

SalemRaudes and Lakins made a nice 1-2 combo to start the season, but Raudes has struggled mightily while Lakins has looked like a candidate for a quick promotion to Portland. Glorius has been the best of the bullpen so far after a middling year in 2016.

Starters: Roniel Raudes (#8), Travis Lakins (#12), Matt KentDaniel McGrathDedgar Jimenez
Relievers: Gerson Bautista (#22), Austin Glorius (#34), Yankory Pimentel (#41), Trevor Kelley, Bobby Poyner, Mitchell Osnowitz, Adam Lau
Injured - XST rehab: Marc Brakeman (#49)

Greenville: The rotation is the deepest in the system, and Anderson and Hernandez have already started to take big steps forward. Getting Groome back on the mound after a lat injury in his first start sooner than later would be preferable. Nogosek was a candidate for Salem and could move up quickly.

Starters: Mike Shawaryn (#14), Shaun Anderson (#19), Darwinzon Hernandez (#21), Logan Boyd
Piggyback Starters/Swingmen: Robby Sexton, Hildemaro Requena, Daniel Gonzalez
Bullpen: Stephen Nogosek (#26), Matthew Gorst, Hunter Smith, Jordan Weems, Pat Goetze
Injured: Jay Groome (#3)