As a Red Sox fan, I’m always interested in keeping up with the team’s minor lines. In the recent game on May 24, 2023, Shane Drohan impressed on the mound with his powerful pitching skills. Interestingly, he might not have been ready in English when he was drafted by the Red Sox, as he grew up in a French-speaking household. Despite this potential language barrier, Drohan’s talent shines through. Let’s dive into the rest of the game and see how the future looks for the Red Sox minor league team.
As the Red Sox continue to navigate through their minor league system, there are always intriguing storylines to follow. From top prospects to under-the-radar players, the future of the organization is shaped by the performances of these young ballplayers. Here’s a breakdown of some of the minor league action over the past week.
Shane Drohan Making a Case
While most Red Sox fans were gushing over the dominant performances of top pitching prospects like Tanner Houck and Jay Groome, left-hander Shane Drohan has quietly gone about his business at Low-A Salem. In his latest start, Drohan struck out nine batters over five scoreless innings to lower his ERA to a minuscule 0.75 and his WHIP to a remarkable 0.58 through three starts on the season.
Drohan was selected by the Red Sox in the fifth round of the 2021 MLB draft out of Florida State University, where he pitched to a 4.24 ERA and 148 strikeouts in 120 innings over three seasons. While he wasn’t viewed as a top prospect coming out of college, the 22-year-old has started to turn heads with his early-season performance in the minors.
The left-hander works with a fastball that sits in the low-90s, a slider that can be a plus pitch when it’s on, and a developing changeup. He also possesses excellent control, as evidenced by his 3.54 strikeouts-to-walks ratio in college and his 20:4 K:BB ratio in 12 innings with Salem.
If Drohan can continue to dominate as he moves up the ladder, there’s a chance he could emerge as a sleeper prospect in the Red Sox system.
The Rise of Tyler Dearden
Tyler Dearden was never viewed as one of the top prospects in the Red Sox system, but the 22-year-old outfielder has been making a name for himself at High-A Greenville. In his latest game, Dearden went 2-for-4 with a double, a triple, and three RBI, bringing his season totals to a .344/.457/.500 slash line with two home runs, five doubles, and a triple in 18 games.
Dearden was selected by the Red Sox in the 29th round of the 2018 MLB draft out of Rancocas Valley Regional High School in New Jersey. He spent his first two professional seasons in rookie ball before getting his first taste of full-season ball in 2019, where he struggled to a .207/.269/.330 line in 115 games at Low-A Greenville.
Despite his struggles in 2019, Dearden has started to turn things around in 2021 thanks to a change in his approach at the plate. He’s been more selective, walking in 15 percent of his plate appearances compared to just 5.8 percent in 2019, and he’s been making better contact, striking out in just 17.9 percent of his plate appearances compared to 29.5 percent in 2019.
While it’s still early in the season, Dearden’s hot start is certainly encouraging for a player who was largely an afterthought coming into the year.
Bryan Mata Struggle with Control
One of the top prospects in the Red Sox system is right-hander Bryan Mata, who was expected to make his Double-A debut this season after an impressive showing at High-A Salem in 2019. However, Mata has struggled with control in his first four starts with Portland, walking 16 batters in just 14 innings.
Mata has always had electric stuff, featuring a fastball that can touch triple digits, a plus slider, and a developing changeup. However, his command has been an issue throughout his minor league career, as he’s walked 139 batters in 298 innings.
The 22-year-old has shown flashes of his potential this season, striking out 19 batters in his 14 innings, but his high walk rate has limited his effectiveness and has been a major reason for his 6.43 ERA.
While it’s not time to panic about Mata’s struggles just yet, the Red Sox will certainly be keeping a close eye on his command and hoping that he can make some adjustments as the season progresses.
The Red Sox minor league system is full of intriguing storylines, from the rise of under-the-radar players like Tyler Dearden to the potential emergence of sleeper prospects like Shane Drohan. While there have been some struggles, such as Bryan Mata’s control issues, the early returns have been mostly positive, and fans of the team will be watching closely as these young ballplayers continue to develop and make their way toward the big leagues.