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September 11, 2021 at 1:19 PM

Scouting Report Update: Seabold to make MLB debut

On Saturday, right-hander Connor Seabold will make his major league debut for the Red Sox, just over a year after he came to the organization in a trade from Philadelphia along with Nick Pivetta in exchange for Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree

Seabold was supposed to be part of the organization's dramatically improved high-minors pitching depth at the beginning of the year, but the same injury bug that got Bryan Mata (Tommy John surgery) during spring training and Tanner Houck (flexor muscle) and Thaddeus Ward (Tommy John surgery) bit him as well. After pitching at the Alternate Training Site in April, he began the minor league season on the injured list with right elbow inflammation and did not make his official season debut until a rehab assignment in the Florida Complex League in mid-July. Seabold finally made his first start for Triple-A Worcester on July 23, and in eight starts, he has a 3.67 ERA in 41 2/3 innings, striking out 44 hitters and walking 13.

In preparation to watch Seabold get his first taste of The Show tonight, read up on his freshly updated scouting report below, courtesy of our Director of Scouting, Ian Cundall!

Physical Description: Average, athletic frame. Minimal remaining projection.

Mechanics: Throws from a three-quarters arm slot. Does not use a wind-up. Medium-high leg kick. Controlled, repeatable delivery.

Fastball: 90-92 mph. Tops out at 95 mph. Above-average command and control profile. Around the plate, throws quality strikes. Really knows how to control the zone and gets a surprising number of whiffs with the pitch. Velocity has improved in pro ball, but ticked down after return from injury in 2021. Prior to his injury in 2021, he would come out at 93-95 mph before settling in at 91-93. Since returning, his velocity has been down around 90-92 mph, topping out at 93 mph. Potential average offering.

Slider: 81-86 mph. Primarily throws with 10-to-4 shape, but will intentionally manipulate shape. At times will be more horizontal, at others more vertical like a curveball. Average movement, but advanced feel allows the pitch to play up. Has shown bat-missing ability. Pitch has shown improvement in Triple-A. Potential above-average offering.

Changeup: 80-82 mph. Deceptive, throws with the same arm speed as his fastball and has good velocity separation. Pitch shows late, downward action. Has shown the ability to pull a string and have the pitch fall off the table. Showed advanced feel for offering prior to 2021, but during 2021 season has been more hesitant with the pitch, and has lost feel in some outings entirely. Will still flash plus potential on occasion but questions regarding consistency bring overall grade for the pitch down and create a greater range of potential outcomes for the pitch than you would expect at this point in his development. Potential average offering, but that grade could increase if feel he showed prior to 2021 returns.

Curveball: 75-79 mph. Long, 11-to-5 shape. Does not consistently snap off. Primarily used as a change-of-pace pitch early in counts to steal a strike. Not a major part of his arsenal, thrown only a handful of times in a given outing, but can be effective when sequenced correctly. Potential below-average pitch.

Career Notes: Missed nearly four months of the 2019 season with an oblique injury. Used that time to tinker with his changeup, which greatly improved. Impressed at the 2019 Arizona Fall League. Although he was not a non-roster invitee to Phillies spring training in 2020, was invited to Summer Camp when play resumed, and pitched at the Alternate Training Sites for both the Phillies and Red Sox. Opened 2021 at the Alternate Training Site. Missed the first two-and-a-half months of the 2021 season due to right elbow inflammation.

Summation: Potential number 5 starter. Ceiling of a solid 3-to-4 starter. Lacks a plus pitch right now, but will show three at least-average offerings. Strong pitchability and advanced command and control profile allow his arsenal to play up. At his best, can generate whiffs with three pitches. Not the highest ceiling, but command/control and feel/pitchability, combined with proximity to MLB, give him a high floor. Needs velocity and feel for changeup to return to reach his ceiling. With diminished velocity projects more as a spot-starter or low-end number five type.

Photo credit: Kelly O'Connor

Chris Hatfield is Executive Editor of SoxProspects.com. Follow him @SPChrisHatfield.

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