Red Sox top prospect Bobby Dalbec headlines list of nonroster invitees to spring training
Red Sox spring training will feature a powerful crowd at the hot corner.
On Thursday, the team announced the addition of 10 nonroster invitees to spring training, a group headlined by third baseman Bobby Dalbec, ranked by Baseball America as the team’s top prospect. Dalbec hit .257/.361/.588 with 32 homers (tied for fourth-most in the minors) and 70 extra-base hits (second-most in the minors) for High A Salem and Double A Portland in 2018.
The 2016 fourth-round selection will join 40-man-roster members Rafael Devers and second-ranked prospect Michael Chavis as third basemen in big league camp, giving the team three players age 23 and younger with significant power potential at the position.
Dalbec and Chavis likely will also see time across the diamond at first base during spring training. They’ll be joined there by another prospect with a nonroster invitation to big league camp, Josh Ockimey, who hit .245/.356/.455 with 20 homers in 117 games for Portland and Triple A Pawtucket last year.
Two other top-10 prospects, righthander Mike Shawaryn and shortstop C.J. Chatham, are among the invitees.
Shawaryn, a 2016 fifth-rounder out of the University of Maryland, was 9-10 with a 3.44 ERA, and 8.0 strikeouts and 2.3 walks per nine innings for Portland and Pawtucket last year. Though he performed well out of the bullpen in the Arizona Fall League, he’s expected to get stretched out as a starter to open this year. Nonetheless, Shawaryn enters the season as a big league depth consideration for either the rotation or bullpen.
Chatham, a 2016 second-rounder, split 2018 between Single A Greenville and Salem after missing nearly all of 2017 with injuries. He hit .314/.350/.389, showing the ability to make steady contact while playing strong defense at shortstop — a combination that suggests at least a future righthanded utility infield bat, with a chance to emerge as an everyday up-the-middle infielder, particularly if he makes strength gains that unlock greater power.
Behind Xander Bogaerts, the Red Sox have few righthanded-hitting shortstop options in the system, helping to explain why the 24-year-old will get a look in camp despite never having competed in the upper levels of the minors.
The list of invitees also includes outfielder Rusney Castillo, who appears destined for a sixth straight season in Pawtucket, and returning outfielder Bryce Brentz, who signed a minor league deal to return to the Red Sox, the organization with which he spent his first eight pro seasons before landing in the Mets organization in 2018.
The group also includes catcher Austin Rei, outfielders Tate Matheny and Cole Sturgeon, and utility infielder Chad De La Guerra.
The Red Sox also announced a number of personnel moves in their minor league and player development system. Billy McMillon will manage Triple A Pawtucket, with hitting coach Rich Gedman, pitching coach Kevin Walker, and Bruce Crabbe returning to the PawSox staff.
Joe Oliver will manage Double A Portland after three years in High A Salem; hitting coach Lee May Jr. and pitching coach Paul Abbott will remain in Portland. Corey Wemberly will move up to manage Salem after spending last season with the Lowell Spinners. Iggy Suarez will return to Single A Greenville, and former Red Sox minor leaguer Luke Montz will manage Lowell.
Ryan Jackson, who served as Reds hitting coordinator from 2012-16, will serve as the new Red Sox field coordinator; infield coordinator Andy Fox will also serve as assistant field coordinator. Darren Fenster, who spent last year as the Portland manager, will serve as outfield and baserunning coordinator, a position held by McMillon in recent years.
The Red Sox are reconfiguring their pitching oversight. The role of pitching coordinator, long held by Ralph Treuel, will be split into pitching coordinator for logisitics (Treuel) and pitching coordinator for performance (Dave Bush), with Bush working with upper levels pitchers on data-driven approaches to pitch development, usage, and strategy. Bush will be assisted in the lower minor by former Red Sox minor leaguer Shawn Haviland.
The Sox also hired Paddy Steinfort — the director of Performance and Leadership Development with the 76ers — as a minor league mental skills coach.