Tomase is of the opinion that Craig Breslow will serve as an assertive leader in the Red Sox front office.
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During Arbella Early Edition, John Tomase discusses his impressions from Craig Breslow’s introductory press conference.
Curious about the differences in Craig Breslow’s approach compared to his predecessor Chaim Bloom? We got a glimpse on Tuesday.
Two pitchers were added to the Red Sox’s 40-man roster, but the focus was on the one they did not protect. Shane Drohan, a left-handed pitcher, showed potential as a rising star at the beginning of last season but struggled when he reached Triple-A. On Tuesday, he was excluded from the 40-man roster, so he will be open to other teams in the December draft. Assuming he’s not traded first, Rule 5 Draft.
The move came as a surprise. Drohan was ranked as the top contender. The Red Sox prospect ranks No. 18 on the MLB Pipeline list. According to Baseball America’s midseason update, No. 9 is… According to SoxProspects.com, 13. He received high praise from both internal and external sources after achieving a 5-0 start with a 1.32 ERA at Double-A Portland. In 2022, his fastball saw a significant increase from 89-92 mph to as high as 95 mph, while analysts praised his changeup as a formidable weapon. If he had continued producing at Triple-A, he almost definitely would have been called up to the big leagues last summer.
It did not occur. In Triple-A Worcester, he had a 5-7 record with a 6.47 ERA. Throughout 89 innings, he struggled with control, issuing 63 walks, and had difficulty preventing home runs, allowing 19. The Red Sox decided to shut him down before his last start, claiming that he had reached his innings limit.
According to our Craig Breslow interpreter, the Red Sox manager is as much of an athlete as he is a scholar.
Breslow comes into the picture at this point. In 2019, he began revamping the Cubs’ minor league pitching system, prioritizing velocity and skill development over short-term outcomes. Last season, the Cubs were at the top of the minors in terms of velocity. They also saw their homegrown pitchers continue to excel in the major leagues. Left-hander Justin Steele stood out, going 16-5 with a 3.06 ERA and earning his first All-Star team selection.
Adbert Alzolay, Javier Assad, and 2021 first-round pick Jordan Wicks all made significant contributions, providing the Cubs with a strong foundation of young pitchers, and more promising prospects are on the horizon.
It should be pointed out that Alzolay is the sole hard thrower in that group, so the Cubs are not creating a system of identical power pitchers. If a pitcher doesn’t have a top-notch fastball, he needs to be skilled at controlling and shaping his pitches.
On the other hand, Drohan may not fit the profile. Despite boosting his fastball speed to 92-94 mph, his velocity is still only considered average. There is also a worry that his skills may not be effective beyond Double-A, particularly in light of his difficulties in Worcester. His control over his curveball and changeup is still uncertain.
When Breslow was introduced, he promised to take action and made it clear that he wouldn’t become infatuated with every prospect. This was his statement. Drohan’s hype from last year didn’t last through a full season, and the Red Sox are fine with letting him go if necessary.
Breslow opted to protect the club’s minor league pitcher of the year, right-hander Wikelman Gonzalez, and Single-A righty Luis Perales. Both of them share the common trait of throwing hard, especially Perales. Gonzalez’s fastball reaches speeds in the mid to upper 90s, while Perales hit 99 mph. Both have the essential components of a top-tier arsenal, making their protection crucial.
Drohan still has potential to make an impact in the major leagues, possibly even with the Red Sox. However, his age (25 in January) and limited experience (19 starts at Triple-A) make him the type of pitcher that rival organizations may go after in the Rule 5 draft.
Should he decide to depart, it will be due to Breslow’s difficult decision and his commitment to impartially assessing the farm system he took over.