The prospect game is like battleship— filled with hits and misses.
Last year, it looked like the Boston Red Sox were ready to give up on 2012 MLB draft fourth round pick Ty Buttrey but now, they are glad they stuck with him. His numbers last year compared to his performance now are truly a tale of two cities.
In his first full season of professional ball, Buttrey got knocked around on a consistent basis. Marred by injury and command issues, he went 0-5 for the Greenville Drive (Red Sox low-A affiliate), posting a 6.85 ERA in 11 starts.
On the contrary, this season he is one of the top pitchers in the system. Already promoted to high-A Salem thanks to four strong outings, he is keeping the ball rolling at the next level. To start the 2015 season, he is 4-0 in seven starts with a 2.31 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 39 innings.
His only flaw is command issues, but even those are inconsistent. Sometimes he can go out there and throw nearly 70% strikes, while other times he might walk six batters.
Of course if the occasional control issue is the 22-year-old’s only problem in the low minors, that is not the worst thing in the world. He strikes guys out at a high rate which is something that scouts look for in the lower levels, even more so than wins or ERA.
As a righty, Buttrey could go in a number of directions in his pro career but for now, the Red Sox will keep him as a starter. If all else fails, he could relieve, but his splits are not dominant one way or the other.
Buttrey might not be as dominant as Layne one way or the other which of course is an advantage as a starter. He still has a long ways to go but this season at least, he is putting himself back on track with the Ty Buttrey whom Boston gave a $1.3 million signing bonus to three years prior.