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SoxProspects News

May 2, 2022 at 1:00 PM

April Players of the Month: Ryan Fitzgerald and Brandon Walter

It was a great month for hitters in the system, with Ryan Fitzgerald (pictured) edging out players like Yolmer SanchezCeddanne Rafaela, and Alex Binelas for the award. A 29-0 strikeout-to-walk ratio left Brandon Walter with little competition on the pitching side, though his fellow Portland rotation-mates did keep him honest. 

After hitting .313/.450/1.063 with four home runs in 16 at-bats in spring training, Fitzgerald started out just as hot in Triple-A. He hit four home runs in his first four games for the WooSox and finished the month with a line of .306/.370/.694. He had six home runs and drove in 19 runs, though he also struck out in 32 percent of his plate appearances. He played all over the field defensively, including starting at second, third, and all three outfield positions. He even started to get some reps at first base in practice, which shows that the Red Sox are thinking about ways that Fitzgerald can help the major league squad. Currently ranked 23rd in the system, the 27-year-old will look to keep the good times going and prove he deserves a look as a utility player in Boston. 

Walter has followed up his 2021 SoxProspects.com Pitcher of the Year award with a Player of the Month award in April. He allowed only three runs over 23 innings (1.17 ERA) and did not walk a batter while striking out 29. What makes it even more impressive is that this is his first taste of Double-A. According to the updated SoxProspects.com rankings, Walter has passed Jay Groome as the second-best pitching prospect in Portland behind Brayan Bello (the runner-up for this award). Walter did not even make the Salem rotation until late June in 2021, and he has had a meteoric rise up the rankings since then. The 25-year-old needs to be added to the 40-man roster this offseason, and there is a chance the Red Sox add him sooner than that if they believe he can help the major league squad. It is not a likely scenario, but with the way Walter is pitching right now, it is not an impossibility either. 

Photo Credit: Ryan Fitzgerald by Kelly O'Connor