Brandon Workman has been unhittable early on in his last two starts.
No, literally unhittable. Over his his first six innings against the Oakland Athletics on July 14, he had given up no hits and struck out 10. Then Monday against the Tampa Bay Rays, he threw five no-hit innings while striking out nine.
Now, he eventually gave up hits and allowed two runs in each game, with the Boston Red Sox managing to lose both; still, there is certainly reason for optimism nonetheless.
Workman is listed as the 12th-best prospect and seventh amongst pitchers for the Red Sox, but he is clearly the most major league-ready guy in the system and could hold onto the fifth starter job for quite a while.
Workman’s long-term projection is no higher than a fifth starter and more than likely a bullpen arm, but that doesn’t mean he is not incredibly valuable. When Clay Buchholz comes back and/or the Red Sox add a starter via trade, look for Workman to become a swing guy. He can certainly stick on the 25-man roster, making a spot start at times or eating three innings out of the bullpen to manage the workload of other guys.
Other prospects that might have an impact down the stretch are Drake Britton, Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa. Britton is currently working out of the bullpen, and it is likely the only place he will see work for the major league club this year. Webster has struggled in his time in the bigs, but certainly has the stuff to be successful.
De La Rosa might be the most interesting pitcher in the minors right now. He proved with the Dodgers that he can be an impact arm. While he is working as a starter right now, his best value might be as a late-inning reliever. His fastball can reach triple digits and he may be the closer of the future in Boston.