Who are the pitchers the Red Sox acquired from the Yankees for Alex Verdugo? Based on a survey of major league evaluators, here’s a look at the Red Sox’ three new righthanders.
RHP Richard Fitts
Richard Fitts, who turns 24 this month, is the headliner. He looked like a Day 1 draftee at Auburn, but injuries and diminished fastball velocity dropped him to the Yankees in the sixth round in 2021. He’s been healthy in pro ball, and with that, his stuff has bounced back — particularly a low- to mid-90s four-seam fastball (topping out at 96 miles per hour) with ride that has missed bats through Double A.
Fitts spent all of 2023 with Double A Somerset, going 11-5 with a 3.48 ERA, 26 percent strikeout rate, and 7 percent walk rate. He also features a slider and changeup, though two evaluators viewed those as fairly generic.
Based on his strike-throwing, pitchability, fastball shape, and strong makeup reports, there’s at least a chance he could emerge as a back-end starter. In a survey of a half-dozen evaluators, four saw him as a reliever — anywhere from a late-innings contributor to a multi-inning pitcher to an up-and-down depth guy — while two believed his starter upside is real. Still, as a pitcher likely to open the year in Triple A with at least some chance of emerging as a fifth starter, Fitts represents a demographic lacking in the Sox system.
RHP Greg Weissert
Weissert, 28, was an 18th round selection in 2016 who has been an up-and-down depth reliever for the Yankees the last two seasons, going 3-0 with a 4.60 ERA, 24 percent strikeout rate, and 10 percent walk rate. He throws a four-seam fastball and sinker (both averaging around 94 m.p.h.), sweeper, and changeup, a mix that resulted in huge strikeout numbers in Triple A in 2022 (37 percent strikeout rate) but ticked back slightly in 2023 (34 percent).
Nicholas Judice, 22, was taken by the Yankees in the eighth round of this year’s draft out of the University of Louisiana Monroe. He’s a reedy, 6-foot-8-inch pitcher who spent most of his college career relieving. Despite his lankiness, he’s athletic and coordinated, with a fastball that sat around 92 m.p.h. but would flash into the mid-90s, with the potential for more as he gets stronger. He complemented his fastball with a good slider (as well as a rarely used changeup), and it’s not hard to envision additional power and late-innings potential as he gets onto a professional strength-training program.
Read more about the Alex Verdugo trade
- Red Sox trade Alex Verdugo to Yankees for three pitching prospects
- On Baseball: By trading Alex Verdugo, Craig Breslow clears the air for Red Sox
- What’s next? How the Alex Verdugo trade sets the stage for the rest of the Red Sox offseason.