While the Red Sox’ traditional Rookie Development Program will not take place for the second straight year, the team will have 28 minor leaguers — including some of the organization’s top prospects — assemble at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Fla., for instruction from January 24-28.
The group includes first baseman Triston Casas (ranked by Baseball America as the No. 2 prospect in the Sox organization and No. 19 overall), second baseman Nick Yorke (3/31), and corner infielder Blaze Jordan (No. 7 in the Red Sox organization).
However, because of the lockout imposed by MLB owners, members of the team’s 40-man roster cannot be invited to participate. Thus, prospects such as Jarren Duran (No. 4 in the system), Brayan Bello (5), Jeter Downs (6), Byran Mata (8), Josh Winckowski (9), and Jay Groome (10) will not be involved in the program.
With that group of near big league-ready contributors unavailable, the Sox invited chiefly top prospects and/or newcomers to the organization who finished 2021 in full-season, Low-A or above.
Included in that group are slugger Alex Binelas and middle infielder David Hamilton, both of whom were acquired from the Brewers (along with Jackie Bradley Jr.) for Hunter Renfroe in December as well as minor league Rule 5 selections Brian Keller and Austin Lambright.
The team opted not to invite top prospect Marcelo Mayer, the shortstop taken in the first round of the 2022 draft, given that he’s never played above the Florida Complex League level.
The top pitching prospects in the group are lefthanders Chris Murphy and Brandon Walter. Murphy dominated at times after his late-season promotion to Double-A Portland, twice getting recognized as the Pitcher of the Week at that level, while Walter had one of the most dramatic breakout seasons by a Red Sox minor league pitcher in years. Both are likely to open 2022 in Double-A Portland.
The Winter Warm-Up will run from January 24-28 and will include strength training, conditioning, and on- and off-field instruction to prepare for spring training and the 2022 season.
Here is a complete list of invitees:
LHP Brendan Cellucci
RHP Michael Feliz
RHP Franklin German
RHP Brian Keller
RHP Zack Kelly
LHP Austin Lambright
LHP Chris Murphy
RHP A.J. Politi
RHP Chase Shugart
LHP Brandon Walter
RHP Thaddeus Ward
LHP Jeremy Wu-Yelland