Amidst the snowfall that continues to mount in New England, the sun was shining on Boston Red Sox Pitchers and Catchers, who have reported for Spring Training under balmy blue skies and swaying palm trees at Jet Blue Park in Fort Myers, Florida.
With 54 days until Opening Night at McCoy Stadium on April 10, a primer provides a glance at just a few of the players in big league camp who may spend some time this year in Pawtucket.
Sam Travis: Before suffering a season-ending knee injury in May of last season, Sam Travis was leading the PawSox with 6 home runs. The Indiana Hoosier was coming off an impressive 2016 Spring Training campaign, in which he hit .536 with two home runs and 13 RBIs in 17 games. Travis is expected back in Pawtucket during the season, and he is expected to play first base.
Robby Scott: The 27-year-old undrafted Florida State University product won the PawSox Most Valuable Pitcher Award in 2016, and received the September call-up to Boston, where he recorded multiple solid outings. Now a member of the 40-man roster, the southpaw will be competing for a spot in the Red Sox bullpen with other talented pitchers. Always available to help the PawSox Foundation, Scott was the 2016 recipient of the PawSox Sullivan Tire Community Spirit Award.
Brian Johnson: The number 31 overall pick in the 2012 draft, Johnson will look to build off of a promising end to his 2016 season. After returning in July from a leave of absence in June, the southpaw went 3-2, finishing the season with a WHIP of 1.43. The 26-year-old Florida native is known for his devastating curveball, and will look to refine his arsenal of pitches throughout Spring Training and in his 2017 campaign.
Kyle Martin: One of the newer additions to the Red Sox 40-man roster, Kyle Martin was one of the best relief pitchers for the PawSox in 2016. The 6-foot-7 Texas A&M product uses his large frame to create significant downhill action on his fastball, which sits between 91-95 mph. In 2016, Martin held opposing hitters to a .239 batting average, tallied 6 saves, and struck out 78 batters over 66.2 innings pitched.
Rafael Devers: Some scouts considered Rafael Devers as the best left-handed bat on the 2013 international market, and some now rank the third baseman (who of course throws right-handed) as the number 2 prospect in the entire Red Sox farm system. He ranked second in doubles (38) and total bases (208) in the low Class A South Atlantic League at age 18 last season. With a chance to be in Portland this year, Pawtucket may not be far behind for this talented young native of the Dominican Republic.
A full look at the Red Sox Top 30 prospects can be viewed here: http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2016?list=bos