The Boston Red Sox are using tomorrow’s second game of a double header as a chance to take a look at top pitching prospect Allen Webster.
It is not a move that the Red Sox have to make, but they are affording themselves a chance against the Kansas City Royals to take a look at someone who opened the organizations eyes this spring.
It is a very interesting development, given that the Red Sox have done this type of thing in the past with their top pitching prospects, letting them get their feet wet so they can come up with clear eyes later in the season and help the big club.
This an approach that has worked very effectively with Jonathan Papelbon, Clay Buchholz and Justin Masterson in the past and has let the team access whether their minor league system will be able to provide support for the second-half of the season.
The Red Sox rotation has been fantastic so far this season, leading Boston to a 12-4 record and first place in the American League East. Given John Lackey’s injury already this season and the injury to closer Joel Hanrahan, it is important for the Red Sox to continue to grow and develop pitching depth throughout their system.
If Webster pitches well against the Royals, the Red Sox will know they have someone that can provide relief to the rotation, something that caused Boston to miss the playoffs in 2011 due to the lack of minor league depth.
For Webster, it is a no pressure situation. No matter how well he pitches, he is likely going back to Triple-A Pawtucket for the time being. Given the Webster has thrown 131.1, 145, 130.2 innings over the past three years at the minor league levels means that he has been stretched out somewhat, but that the Red Sox are likely going to hold his innings down so that he can help later this season.
The Red Sox have done a very good job of building a system of very interesting prospects, putting them in prime position to make a big splash later this season if they need to go get a pitcher or a hitter. If the Sox know that Webster can help, the Red Sox can turn their attention towards an impact hitter if one becomes available.
Against a good Royals team, this should be a good gauge Webster’s development.