Henry Owens, Brian Johnson Soon to Join Rotation

Prior to a third straight pitching debacle against the Chicago White Sox, manager John Farrell just casually mentioned to the media that both Brian Johnson and Henry Owens should get the call in the next week. These starters are ranked No. 4 and No. 5 respectively overall in the Boston Red Sox farm system

“We’re going to stay on turn through the weekend,” Farrell said according to NESN’s Ricky Brian Johnsondoyle. “Monday being the off-day, we’ve got the ability to adjust going forward. But as we’re taking a look at (recently recalled outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr.), our goal and our intent is to see Brian Johnson and probably Henry Owens at some point. So, all that is on the horizon.”

With pitchers Joe Kelly (2-6, 5.94 ERA), Justin Masterson (4-2, 5.62 ERA) and Rick Porcello (5-11, 5.81 ERA) struggling for most of the season and knuckleballer Steve Wright being a 30-year-old journeyman who is more of a spot starter than a long-term option in the rotation, it makes sense to bring up the young pitchers to see if they should be kept or dealt this off season.

Eduardo Rodriguez has proven that he has some work to do, but has pitched admirably while up with the Boston Red Sox this season to the tune of a 4.26 ERA in 11 starts to go along with a 6-3 record and a 52:20 K:BB ratio. The 22-year-old should be in the starting rotation to start the 2016 season

The Red Sox already got a look at Johnson last week as he went 4.1 innings while allowing four earned runs. He may have walked four batters in the outing and thrown more curve balls than fastballs, but the prospect proved he could pitch even with less than stellar stuff on the mound. The fastball topped out at 90 and he can’t blow away anyone, but he showed strong composure for a 24-year-old.

As for Owens, the 23-year-old had a tough go of it to start the 2015 season in Pawtucket, but is 1-4 with a 2.86 ERA over his last 10 starts. Over that span, he has walked just 18 and struck out 54 in 63 innings of work, including a couple nine strikeout contests on July 10th and July 18th in which he allowed three earned runs over 13 innings of work.

The Red Sox need to see which of these lefties will be a mainstay going forward and what better time than now when the team is all but mathematically eliminated from postseason contention.

Red Sox Reunite with Justin Masterson

justin masterson

This one might just be bigger than Lebron James’ return to Cleveland.

According to Buster Onley on twitter, the Boston Red Sox signed a familiar face in Justin Masterson who is coming off the weakest year of his career. He is set to earn $9.5 million for a one-year deal.
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The Jamaican born pitcher posted a 5.88 ERA in 28 appearances last season, 25 of justin mastersonwhich were starts. He was not pitching in the best of health (he had a knee injury) and is one year removed from being an All-Star, making it a low-risk high-reward scenario.

In the past of course, Masterson was once a member of the Boston Red Sox and served an important role for the team.

Drafted in the second round of the 2006 MLB draft out of San Diego State University, he made his MLB debut in 2008, and spent the rest of that and the following season as a member of the Boston Red Sox until he was dealt in a package trade that sent Victor Martinez from the Cleveland Indians to the Boston Red Sox.
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In his time in Boston, Masterson was a swing man who made both starts and relieved, and did so effectively. During his stint in Boston, Masterson made 67 appearances, 15 of which were starts.

Since it seems clear that the club is still in search of a number one starter, it will be interesting to see whether or not the club puts Masterson back into his old role. He could bounce back and pitch effectively as a starter, but the team could also hoard talent and put Masterson in a relief role only to take him out if they need a starter.
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Bringing Justin Masterson back to Boston seems like the move fans will be most happy about as they were disappointed to see him go just five years ago. It seems like he was traded forever ago, but now he is back where he belongs.

Projecting Boston Red Sox 2015 Roster

red sox rosterAfter an abysmal 2014 Boston Red Sox season, it is safe to assume next season there will be some drastic changes made to the team as a whole in order to take a 71-91 team and make them into contenders once again.

The base for a successful team is all there — it just could use a bit more star power. Here are some projections of what the Boston Red Sox roster may look like in 2015.
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Starting Lineup

C: Christian Vazquez: After hitting .240 while gunning down 52% of attempted base stealers, there is no doubt Vazquez gets his job back. He did everything that was asked of him and his bat will get better next season.

1B: Mike Napoli: No surprise here. Napoli is one of the best players when it comes to getting on base which is why Boston likes him so much.
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2B: Dustin Pedroia: It is time to make Pedey captain of the Red Sox already. He has been a mainstay since 2006 and has been productive every single year.

SS: Xander Bogaerts: After a hot start followed by some rough summer months, Bogaerts will get a second chance to prove he is what scouts dreamt him up to be.

3B: Pablo Sandoval: An adequate third baseman with above-average power, Sandoval could provide the team with some security at the hot corner for 2015 at least.

LF: Daniel Nava: Yes, this is correct. Daniel Nava grabs the starting center field job provided his .363 career OBP in four seasons. He is an on-base machine lacking much trade value so Boston gets good use out of him.

CF: Rusney Castillo: The Cuban defector signed a huge contract with the Boston Red Sox so there is no reason why he should not start given the fact that he played well in his limited time in Boston.
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RF: Mookie Betts: With a bat like Betts, it does not matter where he plays in the field as long as he gets his bat in the lineup. Expect an All-Star caliber season out of Betts.

DH: David Ortiz: After clubbing 35 home runs in 2014, David Ortiz is back in action ready to crush another 30 balls out of the park.

Bench

C: David Ross: No, Ross is not a flashy option at catcher, but he still stays. With a market thin on catching, Boston sticks with who they know best.

IF: Jemile Weeks/Jonathan Herrera: No, this is not a joke. Boston needs some depth in the infield and both players have done a respectable job as utility infielders in the past, so Boston lets the pair battle it out and the better man wins.

UTL: Brock Holt: Granted his extreme versatility and ability to get on base at an adequate clip, there is no reason why Boston should let go of Holt which is why he stays.

OF: Shane Victorino: Given his recent injury history, Victorino plays an active role as the team’s fourth outfielder. Any time a lefty is pitching, expect him to take the place of Daniel Nava who struggles mightily against southpaws. Playing in over 100 games if healthy, it will be almost as if Victorino is indeed a starter.

Starting Rotation

SP: James Shields: No, Jon Lester does not come back to the Red Sox next season. Luckily though, they are able to scoop up veteran righty James Shields for a little less money than Jon Lester.

SP: Justin Masterson: It is clear Boston likes Masterson, so why not get him after a down year? He was an All-Star in 2013 and he is looking to bounce back and have a big year in 2015.
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SP: Joe Kelly: No question about it, Joe Kelly has found his new home and will be mainstay in Boston for years to come.

SP: Clay Buchholz: After a phenomenal 2013 season and a shaky 2014, Boston rolls the dice on Buchholz once again in hopes of a productive season. If not, there is plenty of pitching depth in Pawtucket waiting to be used.

SP: Rubby De La Rosa: For a time, it appeared as though De La Rosa was a lock for the Red Sox rotation. After a few rocky outings at the end of the year due to a huge workload (161.2 IP), De La Rosa still gets the job while manager John Farrell gives him a strict pitch limit early in the year.

Bullpen

RP: Tommy Layne: Tommy Layne has one job and he does it well. Dominating left-handed hitters, there is no doubt Layne had a big 2014 season. Whether or not he posts a 0.95 ERA once again is up for debate, but it seems possible.

RP: Phil Coke: In need of a lefty to compliment Layne, Boston turns to the free agency market and lands Phil Coke. Coke, 32, held lefties to a .257 batting average while posting a 3.88 ERA on the year in all.

RP: Alex Wilson: Despite tossing under 20 outings this season, Alex Wilson has earned himself a job in Boston. A solid reliever who can go multiple innings when called upon, Wilson finds himself as a sixth inning man.

RP: Burke Badenhop: After posting a 2.29 ERA in a true breakout season, there is no doubt Boston does whatever they can to bring back reliever Burke Badenhop. An enforcer of the double play, the sinkerballer tosses some crucial innings for Boston next season.

RP: Steven Wright: Like Tim Wakefield, Steven Wright throws the knuckleball. He carries the torch but unlike Wakefield, he does it as a long reliever after some impressive outings last season.
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RP: Junichi Tazawa: Ever since 2012 Junichi Tazawa has been one of the best relievers on the team. Racking up holds left and right, Tazawa gets the eighth inning on a nightly basis once again next season.

RP: Edward Mujica: Now this one may come as a bit of a shocker. Instead of option for veteran Koji Uehara, Boston trusts Edward Mujica to close out games. He did so eight times this year and 37 times the year before, making it clear he has a closer’s mentality. He posted a 1.78 ERA in 29 appearances after the All-Star break while closing six games in six opportunities which makes it a bit less idiotic to give him the role.

Despite a few minor changes to the Boston Red Sox, the team is going to be a good one. With the biggest additions coming in the rotation, adding Shields and Masterson will make all the difference in the world when it is all said and done.

The lineup is strong although it lacks substantial power while the bullpen is stellar.

The farm system is loaded with talent that is ready to help the big league team whenever it is called upon.
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The 2012 Boston Red Sox finished last in the American League East while the 2013 team won the World Series. The 2014 Boston Red Sox finished in last yet again making one wonder if there is a possible pattern to winning. If there is, then 2015 will be a great year.