My 24th-ranked Boston Red Sox prospect and eighth-ranked pitching prospect may be the pitcher furthest from the big leagues. However, he has one of the best long-term projections.
The main reason I have Ty Buttrey ranked so low is because he is still a good 3-4 years from even sniffing the big leagues, and there are so many good arms ahead of him. He might be a top-20 talent in the Red Sox organization, but it is just so early in the process.
Buttrey may be just 20-years-old, but he is built like a full-grown man. The fourth-round pick rose up draft boards in 2012 when he started to show a mid-90′s fastball, something he has yet to show in his pro career. Instead, he tops out at about 93, but typically sits between 89-92. He has yet to develop the stamina for a full season, having his fastball drop to the 86-89 MPH range towards the end of the short-season New York-Penn League campaign in 2013.
He has a solid curve, but his change is only about five MPH slower than his fastball, not enough to keep hitters off balance at the higher levels.
Those concerns aside, he has only tallied 66 career professional innings with an ERA of just 2.18, and has yet to give up a long ball. He has the upside of a no. 3 starter, but if his arm stamina over a large number of innings doesn’t improve, he could become a solid mid- to late-inning reliever where he could dominate with his fastball/curve combo.
His progression should see him at full-season low-A Greenville to kick off the season, but his arm will certainly bear watching to see how it holds up over a full season. He needs to really improve his stamina and his control if he wants to move through the system with starting aspirations, but if the stamina doesn’t come and the control just improves slightly, he could end up moving quickly through the minors in a relief capacity.