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October 16, 2018 at 8:00 AM

Scouting Scratch: Chase Shugart and Andrew Politi

FORT MYERS, Fla -- The initial returns on the Red Sox 2018 draft class were that the organization went heavy on hitters and potential bullpen arms.  Chase Shugart, the team’s 12th-round pick out of the University of Texas, was seen as one of these potential bullpen arms in part because of his frame (listed at 5-foot-10, 180 pounds). Despite his only making four starts after a long delay before his debut after his signing, I have now seen him twice and believe he has a chance to be a potential starting pitcher. In this Instructs start, he was very effective, throwing two perfect innings and striking out four.

Shugart is a plus athlete and doesn’t have any projection remaining, but his arm is loose and he repeats his delivery well. He throws from a high-three quarters arm slot and shows strong pitchability and feel on the mound.

Shugart has a four-pitch mix, with all four grading out around average or above. Shugart’s fastball sat 91-93 mph, topping out at 94 mph in this start. He did show more velocity when I saw him during the regular season with Lowell, sitting 93-95 mph and topping out at 96 mph. As a starter, it seems like he would sit in the lower of those ranges while maintaining the ability to dial it up in certain situations or in shorter stints. His command of the pitch in this outing was impressive, and it showed ride and the ability to miss bats from both sides. I found that interesting—with his height, you would expect plane to be an issue. He got five swinging strikes on the heater over his two innings of work. The pitch projects as an above-average to plus offering.

Shugart featured all three of his secondary pitches, relying primarily on his curveball and changeup. He threw his curve 77-81 mph with sharp break and tight rotation. The pitch flashed above-average and has out-pitch potential with refinement. Shugart also threw a handful of changeups at 84-86 mph. He showed the ability to turn the pitch over and threw it with the same arm speed as his fastball. Shugart only threw one slider at 85 mph with short, two-plane break. During the regular season look, he had featured his slider prominently, with the pitch showing above-average break, so perhaps he was working on his other secondaries here.

Shugart’s stuff has looked extremely impressive in two- and three-inning stints, but it will be interesting to see how it holds up deeper into games. Given his frame, that would be my biggest concern, as otherwise his four-pitch arsenal, command profile, and feel look like that of a potential back-end starting pitcher.


2018 15th-round pick Andrew Politi signed for only $25,000 as a senior, but showed the ability to miss bats during his time in Lowell, striking out 43 in 29 innings. He carried that over to this appearance, striking out the side in his only inning of work. Politi doesn’t have much upside, but has a plus fastball and potential average breaking ball that could play in an up-and-down reliever role.

Politi’s delivery is max-effort, throwing from a high arm slot with hard recoil and a head whack. His fastball sat 92-95 mph during his inning in Instructs. The pitch is straight and lacks plane, but when he keeps it down is effective. Politi showed both a slider and curveball in the outing. The slider showed more tilt, whereas the curveball was more vertical and he threw one average one that he back-doored to a left-hander for a strikeout looking.

Photo credit: Chase Shugart courtesy of texassports.com and Andrew Politi by Kelly O'Connor

Ian Cundall is Director of Scouting for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @IanCundall.